Nintendo Life eShop Selects January 2023
Image: Nintendo Life

Thank goodness January is over, hey? It always feels like it's twice as long as it actually is, and it doesn't help that it's cold and a little quieter on the gaming front. So it's time to dig deep and take a look back at last month for our monthly eShop Selects picks!

In New Year's traditions, we're breaking our resolution already and letting some of those interesting 7/10s sneak into the vote this time around. Other than Fire Emblem Engage, there weren't too many headliners for the Switch, but there are plenty of little (and big) curios ready to download.

Let's not hang about then. We'll get started with our honourable mentions for January 2023!

Honourable Mentions

There was one clear winner this month, but every game eligible this month got at least one vote, so you can't go wrong with these highlights — even with their flaws!

3. Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider (Switch eShop)

We've definitely got a bit of a weakness here for retro-style platformers, and so does JoyMasher, the developer of the excellent Contra-inspired Blazing Chrome. The team has followed this up with another banger in Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider, which puts you in the shoes of a cybernetic ninja rebelling against its totalitarian creators.

It looks like something straight out of the SNES and Mega Drive era, and it's clearly inspired by Shinobi III, Strider, and Mega Man. Oozing with slick neo-retro style, Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider embraces the quick precision platforming and sword-slashing of some of our favourite games with aplomb. It helps that it isn't super difficult either, meaning we've gone back for a few more rounds just to soak in the nostalgia.

We gave JoyMasher's excellent retro platformer a 9/10, so go and check out our review to see why you should pick this one up.

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2. A Space for the Unbound (Switch eShop)

Stunning pixel art is par the course on these kinds of lists, but A Space for the Unbound is in another league with its unique visuals and gorgeous backdrops. It's also a coming-of-age story set in '90s Indonesia, with a magical twist.

You'll start playing Mojiken's gorgeous adventure game thinking it's going in one direction, and it'll sweep the rug out from under your feet multiple times. It's heartfelt, honest, and a beautiful examination of depression, growing up, and all of the pain that life brings as a teenager. It's otherworldly. Oh, and you can pet and name every single cat in the game — what's not to love?

A Space for the Unbound got an 8/10 in our review, which we wrote while holding back tears. It's bound to make you cry.

1. Persona 4 Golden (Switch eShop)

It should be no surprise to see Persona 4 Golden at the top of January's list, and there's a good reason. Persona 5 may have the game to really explode, but critics were lauding Persona 4 Golden on PS Vita back when it first launched in 2012.

So what's the fuss? Well, it's a fantastically-written RPG set in the sleepy Japanese town of Inaba where a murderer is running lose and shoving victims into TVs via the 'Midnight Channel', a strange otherworld where demons lurk. As the protagonist, you and your school friends will need to catch the murderer while juggling school life, social life, and Persona-wielding powers. Persona 4 Golden refines many of the features that Persona 3 introduced to the series, and with a stellar story and wonderful characters to bond with, there's no surprise this RPG is considered one of the best.

Every single staff member voted for Persona 4 Golden, making it January's best eShop title in NL's eyes. If you need more convincing, our 9/10 review should help there.

< Nintendo eShop Selects - December 2022

What was your favourite eShop game last month?

How we decide our eShop Selects top three: As we reach the end of every month, the Nintendo Life staff vote on their favourite titles from a list of games selected by the editorial team. To qualify for this list, these games must have been released as a digital-only Nintendo Switch eShop title in that particular month, and must have been reviewed on Nintendo Life; we select the qualifying games based on their review scores.

Staff are then asked to vote for three games that they think deserve to sit right at the very top of that list; first choice gets 3 points, second choice gets 2 points, and third choice gets 1 point. These votes are then tallied to create a top-three list, with the overall winner taking that month's top prize.