Nintendo Life Most Anticipated Games 2021

We've updated the list below with some new announcements and removed the 2021 Switch games that have come and gone already. Still loads to look forward to in 2021!

2020 is but a dim and distant memory (at least, we wish it was!) and we're a good way through 2021 now. We have seen some fantastic games come to Switch this year and although a few big names have slipped into 2022 — for understandable reasons — there are still some heavy hitters to come before the bell rings on 31st December.

Below we've rounded up thirty(ish) of the biggest Switch games we're looking forward to in the remaining months of 2021. They run the gamut from AAA first-party offerings to promising looking indies, plus a few big names that have been waiting in the wings for a while and stand a chance of surprise-dropping this year (fingers crossed!).

We've had a lot of great titles so far this year like Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury, Bravely Default II, Monster Hunter Rise, New Pokémon Snap, Famicom Detective Club, Game Builder Garage, Mario Golf: Super Rush, Tony Hawk's 1+2, Disgaea 6, Monster Hunter Stories 2, Zelda: Skyward Sword HD, WarioWare: Get It Together! and Metroid Dread *breathe* — with just a few months left there's still plenty more to look forward to before the year is out.

So, let's take a look at our most anticipated Switch games of 2021... and beyond!

The Good Life (Switch eShop)

The Good Life (Switch eShop)The Good Life (Switch eShop)
Publisher: PLAYISM / Developer: White Owls
Release Date: 15th Oct 2021 (USA) / 15th Oct 2021 (UK/EU)

SWERY's The Good Life is described as a 'debt replayment daily life RPG' and 'Daily Life Simulator x SWERISM'. It's set in Britain and looks like what you get if you Twin Peaks was transplanted into the Galar region from Pokémon Sword and Shield. From famed the director behind D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die and Deadly Premonition, it's coming on 15th October.

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: Cloud Version (Switch eShop)

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: Cloud Version (Switch eShop)Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: Cloud Version (Switch eShop)
Release Date: 26th Oct 2021 (USA)

There was a bit of understandable disappointment when details after the announcement of this for Switch quietly added 'Cloud Version'. Streaming sadness aside, this looks like a rather fun and different take on a massive Marvel franchise, so we're interested to see how it shapes up on Switch when it arrives on 26th October.

Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water (Switch eShop)

Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water (Switch eShop)Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water (Switch eShop)
Publisher: Koei Tecmo / Developer: Koei Tecmo
Release Date: 28th Oct 2021 (USA) / 28th Oct 2021 (UK/EU)

Previously a Wii U exclusive in the Fatal Frame franchise (known as Project Zero in Europe), Koei Tecmo's Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water was one of the few titles that actually made use of Wii U's central asymmetrical gimmick. That coupled with a lukewarm critical reception made a Switch port seem unlikely — we gave it a 2/10 likelihood of a Switch port in our round-up of the Wii U games not yet on Switch.

The franchise has a devoted and loyal fan base, though, and Koei Tecmo has made the decision to rework the Gamepad elements and bring the game not only to Switch, but other platforms, too. A very welcome surprise! It's launching 28th October.

Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars (Switch eShop)

Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars (Switch eShop)Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars (Switch eShop)
Publisher: Square Enix / Developer: Square Enix
Release Date: 28th Oct 2021 (USA) / 28th Oct 2021 (UK/EU)

An intriguing recent announcement from Square Enix, with this looking like a rather different take on the RPG genre; it has a demo on the eShop if you want to try it out. It's a game from Yoko Taro (who directed Nier: Automata) and uses cards and awesome artwork for everything in the game, from landscapes to character units. It arrives on 28th October.

Mario Party Superstars (Switch)

Mario Party Superstars (Switch)Mario Party Superstars (Switch)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo
Release Date: 29th Oct 2021 (USA) / 29th Oct 2021 (UK/EU)

Updating five boards and 100 minigames from the first three Mario Party games on Nintendo 64, Mario Party Superstars is the second entry in the series to grace Switch following Super Mario Party. While some might call that overkill, these are incredibly popular party games and the minigames and gentle competition they contain make it hard not to have fun when it's Mario Party time.

Come 29th October, you'll want to have your furniture in the garage — its gonna be a large one.

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World War Z (Switch)

World War Z (Switch)World War Z (Switch)
Release Date: 2nd Nov 2021 (UK/EU)

This certainly fits the bill as one of those "I can't believe they're porting that to Switch" games, as it's a shooter that prides itself on flooding the screen with a lot of zombies.

The meat of this game is a co-op campaign spread across various major cities, though it also has a PvP mode if that's your thing. Port specialist Saber Interactive has some impressive Switch games on its record so we're hopeful this will transition well to Nintendo's hybrid when it arrives on 2nd November.

Just Dance 2022 (Switch)

Just Dance 2022 (Switch)Just Dance 2022 (Switch)
Publisher: Ubisoft / Developer: Ubisoft
Release Date: 4th Nov 2021 (USA) / 4th Nov 2021 (UK/EU)

Ah yes, we're getting our annual fix of Just Dance on Nintendo hardware. While it's easy to be jokey about the series, to be completely fair it's enduringly popular, especially on Nintendo hardware. This latest entry arrives on 4th November.

STAR WARS: Knights of the Old Republic (Switch eShop)

STAR WARS: Knights of the Old Republic (Switch eShop)STAR WARS: Knights of the Old Republic (Switch eShop)
Developer: Aspyr
Release Date: 11th Nov 2021 (USA)

Originally released in 2003 and becoming a critical and audience darling, this immersive RPG has had re-release requests for so long that those involved finally cracked and delivered. If you love 'expanded universe' lore, particularly of a pre-Disney Star Wars age, and have a taste for some old-school mechanics and visuals, this could be a lot of fun when it arrives on 11th November.

Shin Megami Tensei V (Switch)

Shin Megami Tensei V (Switch)Shin Megami Tensei V (Switch)
Publisher: Atlus
Release Date: 12th Nov 2021 (USA) / 12th Nov 2021 (UK/EU)

Confirmed for a simultaneous global launch on Nintendo Switch sometime in on 12th November 2021, this is a Switch exclusive from Atlus. First announced way back in 2017, we've had to wait a while for it, although Shin Megami Tensei III Nocturne HD Remaster arrived on 25th May, so hopefully that'll tide fans over until the new game hits. There'll certainly be no shortage of SMT action this year on Switch.

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl (Switch)

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl (Switch)Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl (Switch)
Developer: ILCA
Release Date: 19th Nov 2021 (USA) / 19th Nov 2021 (UK/EU)

Announced as part of February's Pokémon Presents showcase celebrating the franchise's 25th anniversary, and confirmed for release on 19th November 2021, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are Switch remakes of the DS entries that lacked the extra adjectives. Fifteen years since the original Pokémon Diamond and Pearl brought Gen IV and the series to a non-Game Boy handheld, we'll get to relive our Sinnoh days on Switch through the lens of a chibi style unique to the series (so far). Can. Not. Wait.

Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp (Switch)

Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp (Switch)Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp (Switch)
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: 2022 (USA) / 2022 (UK/EU)

To say that we've wanted to see the return of the 'Wars' series for a while would be the understatement of the decade — fans of Advance Wars in particular have wanted to see the series back in the spotlight, but ever since Fire Emblem: Awakening really took off in the West, developer Intelligent Systems has had its hands full with swords, axes and lances.

Fortunately, WayForward has advanced to the front line with this remake combining the first two Game Boy entries. Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp marches to Switch on 3rd December, so you won't have to Stop the Cavalry this Christmas.

Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain (Switch)

Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain (Switch)Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain (Switch)
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: 3rd Dec 2021 (USA) / 3rd Dec 2021 (UK/EU)

Announced on a quiet Thursday in early September, the Big Brain Academy series — the slightly more relaxed sibling of Brain Age / Brain Training from back in the Nintendo DS era — is back in December with Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain on Switch.

Featuring 4-player brain-based bouts, you'll also be able to battle brainiacs from around the world via a new online where you challenge other people's ghost data in a brain vs. brain sorta scenario. It's out on 3rd December and looks like decent family fare for the holidays.