Nintendo Life's Game Of The Year So Far 2024
Image: Nintendo Life

We're halfway through 2024 already, and you know what that means? It's time to look back at 2024 so far and talk about our favourite games of the year.

In 2024, we're entering the twilight years of the Switch, so first-party offerings have been a little more muted for the first six months. But there's still been plenty to keep us busy on the hybrid console.

We've asked the NL team and our fantastic contributors to share a couple of their favourites from 2024. From princesses to unicorns to cards and weird little guys, you might just find your next favourite game here. Or you might just nod in agreement with us the whole way (or, we suppose, shake your head in furious disagreement).

Anyway, you'll be able to share your thoughts at the bottom by voting in our poll, but why not see what we think makes the cut so far?

Ollie Reynolds, staff writer

Animal Well
Image: Nintendo Life / Bigmode

Having skipped many of Nintendo's first-party offerings this year, I spent a lot of time with what you might describe as "smaller" games. My favourite of the bunch was Llamasoft: The Jeff Minter Story, which is just a sublime glimpse into the mind of one the most prolific game creators in the UK. Digital Eclipse took what worked well with Atari 50 and just built upon it in the most wonderful way.

I love Balatro, of course, and I suspect it'll be up there as a solid contender at the end of the year, but then Animal Well also cropped up and gave it a real run for its money. It took a little while to click for me, but it's a cracking game. Finally, I have to shout out Alisa Developer's Cut, which remains my biggest surprise of the year. It's a pitch-perfect throwback to classic survival horror and serves as an excellent alternative until Capcom finally releases the OG Resident Evil trilogy on Switch. Anytime now...

Jim Norman, staff writer

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown
Image: Nintendo Life / Ubisoft

For a "quiet year", the first six months of 2024 have kept me well-fed. I am trying with all my might to not mention Balatro again, but good grief was that a well-spent few weeks of my life. And Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown was one of the tastiest Metroidvanias I've seen in a long time.

I'd also like to give a little shout-out to Pepper Grinder. I really hope that this bite-sized platformer survives the onslaught of Zelda and Mario releases in the next six months because it has truly brought me the biggest smiles so far this year.

Alana Hagues, deputy editor

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
Image: Nintendo Life / Nintendo

I've admittedly spent way more time on other consoles this year, but my trusty Switch never leaves my side. Balatro had a tight grip on me for over a month with some addictive card play and Animal Well is just pure magic — 2024 is the year I fell in love with puzzles, secrets and community gameplay.

I have to mention Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door: I stand by my statement that it's the best Mario RPG, and the Switch version is the definitive way to play. But my favourite new game, other than Animal Well, is Unicorn Overlord. Lacklustre story aside, I could not put this one down the whole time I was reviewing it. Beautiful, rewarding, fun — Vanillaware has done it again.

Gavin Lane, editor

Image: Nintendo Life / Digital Eclipse

As per usual, I've spent the first half of 2024 catching up on games I missed in previous years, so as great as Pikmin 4 and Link's Awakening are, they've had their time. I'd echo Ollie with his Balatro and Llamasoft picks, but without repeating other people too much, Cavern of Dreams and Wizardry are both very enjoyable. Whether they'll have done enough to stay in my Top 5 or 10 of the year come December is another question, but at the halfway point it's worth mentioning both. And Pocket Card Jockey, of course.

I've still got loads to catch up on (looking at you Animal Well and Pentiment) before we get to the big Z and the other contenders still to come this year. But based on what I've played so far, it's been a year of high quality for me with no obvious GOTY frontrunner at this stage. Looking forward to what the back half brings.

Kate Gray, contributor

Botany Manor
Image: Whitethorn Games

My games of the year so far are partly ones I didn't expect, and partly ones I absolutely did. The first one is Botany Manor — it's gorgeous, it's clever, and it's a nice length (for me, at least). The second one is Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, which was already one of my favourite games of all time, and the remake has just cemented it even further.

I strongly suspect that Ace Attorney Investigations Collection will make its way into the list before the end of 2024!

Gonçalo Lopes, contributor

Unicorn Overlord
Image: Nintendo Life / Atlus

My current game of the year came out in the dawn of 2024. Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is an amazing Metroidvania with sublime combat and challenging gameplay, filled with memorable boss fights and a stellar soundtrack. I admit I have been putting off the final boss battle with the final boss, but I was very happy with the upcoming story DLC announcement.

My second choice for now is Vanillaware’s epic medieval fantasy tactical RPG Unicorn Overlord. I'm always eager to pick up anything new from this unique developer, but I was not expecting to drop 66 hours on the single-player campaign with 100% completion. I do hope the rumoured sequel turns out to be real. Six months down, six months to go...

Those are our thoughts, but what about you lovely lot? Pop your favourite game of the year so far in our poll, and let us know your thoughts in the comments too. And if you're after a reminder of all the games we've awarded an 8/10 or higher, you can find that on the Reviews tab.

What's your Switch Game of the Year of 2024 so far?