There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension (Switch eShop)

When it comes down to it, There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension is a bit of a misnomer. There is certainly a game to be found here, and it’s a ruddy good one. If you’re not a fan of point-and-click style adventure games, then you may want to look elsewhere, but with an experience packed with ingenious puzzles and excellent self-aware jokes, this is one of the strongest examples of the genre in recent years. It’s right up there with the best; don’t miss out.

UnderMine (Switch eShop)

UnderMine is a ridiculously easy game to recommend. If you are at all a fan of roguelite games, you owe it to yourself to pick this up at your earliest convenience. Developer Thorium Entertainment demonstrates clear mastery in overall design, controls, upgrade systems and presentation, which all come together here to make for a thoroughly engrossing experience. The one caveat is that those of you who are sick of roguelites won’t find anything to change your mind here; if you fall in that camp, it’s perhaps best to take a pass, even if you're essentially missing out on one of the best examples of the whole genre. Otherwise, we’d give UnderMine a high recommendation; this is absolutely worth your time.

Tadpole Treble Encore (Switch eShop)

There’s no denying that Tadpole Treble Encore isn’t for everybody, as it’s a rather short entry in what is traditionally a niche genre. Even so, you’d be doing yourself a disservice by missing out on this adorable experience. Tadpole Treble Encore is a thoroughly well-paced and enjoyable adventure, one which is supported by solid game design and excellent audiovisual presentation. If you missed out on this on the Wii U or find yourself itching for a worthwhile rhythm game for your Switch library, we’d urge you to pick this up as soon as you can. If you’re one of the few who played this on Wii U, we’d still say it’s worth a double dip — just bear in mind that it’s not a massively overhauled experience.

Where's Samantha? (Switch eShop)

It's still amazing how far small developers can now go with their presentation and storytelling, and this is another good example. It adopts a fabric-style world that'd do Nintendo's woolly worlds credit, and is all about a swatch of fabric exploring, jumping and solving puzzles to find their friend. It doesn't quite have the internal consistency of Woolly World or Kirby's Epic Yarn, where every last gameplay element fits the theme, but with charming narration (from TV's Rufus Hound, no less) and a reasonable difficulty level, Where's Samantha? seems particularly well-suited to gamers looking for a relaxing time.

A Monster's Expedition (Switch eShop)

This is a game that was critically acclaimed on PC in 2020, and is also perfect for playing on the Switch. You play as a rather charming monster from a top-down view, and what you have is a sort-of open world that you explore by solving puzzles to hop between islands. While the puzzles will make you think, the low-pressure and beautiful setting means you can progress at your own pace.

Steel Assault (Switch eShop)

Steel Assault is like a bite of an extremely delicious, well-seasoned steak. Just one bite. It lingers in your mind and makes you wish for more, yet in some respects, that’s much better than if you were given the whole thing and took it for granted. If you liked the snappy action and ridiculous difficulty of may old arcade classics, then Steel Assault is absolutely something you should look into. It’s absurd, it’s fun, it’s hard. And it’s short. It doesn’t offer up much more once you've reached the end, but what’s here is intensely well-executed, and we’d definitely recommend you give it a go.

The Kids We Were (Switch eShop)

An award-winning time-travel narrative adventure game with a nostalgic view of 1980s suburban Japan, The Kids We Were had us thinking about Attack of the Friday Monsters! on 3DS, which immediately put it in our good books. Developer GAGEX's voxel-style visuals bought to mind The Touryst, too — another fine game to evoke. It launched on 2nd December and while we haven't been able to check it out ourselves, it's currently sitting on a Metascore of 83 and it's one we'll definitely be downloading over the holidays.

ISLANDERS Console Edition (Switch eShop)

Islanders is an elucidation of how games build meaning from abstract systems. However, more than that elucidation, Islanders gave us the time to ponder. It’s a repetitive, extended, calming experience that uses just enough power of just narrow enough a collection of faculties to induce a half-aware presence in reality. Which is when you think up all the dumbest questions: could it be that contemplating the meaning of life is the meaning of life? Woah.

A fine and varied selection and no mistake. Let us know which ones you've played and enjoyed — or any other 2021 games you feel deserve some more time in the spotlight — with a comment below.