Exclusive to Nintendo Switch Online subscribers, PAC-MAN 99 may seem initially daunting with mechanics it simply doesn't explain but once you experiment and learn by fire, it won't take long to realise its true potential. Arika and Bandai Namco have barely touched the formula of this four-decade-old classic, and yet with just a few new layers it feels like a brand new game. We've invested more time than we care to admit into the previous '99' entries and it's clear PAC-MAN 99 is destined for evergreen greatness.
If, like us, you've been waiting a significant chunk of your life for a sequel to Pokémon Snap, then you're in luck; New Pokémon Snap brings back almost everything that made the original special and fleshes it out into a much more elaborate game. This is something you can sink some serious time into and while there are some minor frustrations and pacing issues in the story, playing freely at your own pace is a pure joy. The original has gone down in history possibly as Pokémon's greatest spinoff, and it may have been dethroned.
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Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir & Famicom Detective Club: The Girl Who Stands Behind (Switch eShop)
Although based on a pair of Japan-only Famicom Disk System games, these localised Famicom Detective Club remakes are Switch exclusives and a form of living history — a chance to catch up on what you missed out on, either by being too young, or not being able to speak Japanese. Though The Missing Heir has its faults, those faults are largely down to "that's just how games used to be", and it's held up remarkably well all the same. Prequel tale The Girl Who Stands Behind is just as appealing and upgraded as its predecessor, and we really can't recommend one without the other, although you can play either separately. The story in The Girl Who Stands Behind is creepier, and the characters are more likeable, though they're also a little more forgettable at the same time. This double-bill of murder mystery games is a must-play for anyone who loves the genre.
WarioWare: Get It Together! is a triumphant Switch debut for the subversive series that makes some daring changes to core gameplay, resulting in the best entry in the franchise to date. With a generous roster of playable characters, lots of solo and multiplayer modes to dig into, and stages that cleverly adapt to your choices on the fly, this is a superb compilation of hilarious microgames that delivers more ways to play than ever before. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll dodge bird droppings on a skateboard. So grab a few friends or family members, break out the controllers, and gather round the TV — WarioWare: Get It Together! is essential stuff.
No More Heroes III has the faults of both its mainline predecessors – it’s a little more tedious than No More Heroes 2, and a little less meaningful than No More Heroes. It makes up for this, however, by being another inarguably impressive, balls-to-the-wall carnage-fest, a blood-spattered love letter to excess, and a Suda51 fan’s wet dream splashed across the Switch. The story it tells is cool. The game it plays is cool. Neither of these crucial aspects reach the heights of the series' Nintendo Wii origins, but nobody who truly gets No More Heroes could reasonably be disappointed with this third incarnation. The joke’s beginning to wear thin, but it’s all in the telling. And Suda51 can still spin a very fine yarn.
Mario Party Superstars is a love letter to the parties you remember attending 20 years ago. A disappointingly slim selection of boards takes the shine off things somewhat, but it’s hard to argue that this is the best Mario Party has been in over a decade. No new ideas absolutely feels like a missed opportunity, but by the same token we’d much prefer to have all these classic ideas intact rather than potentially tainting them with unwanted and unnecessary inclusions only added for the sake of being new. Grab a can of Tango and a fistful of 10p Freddos — you’re going to party like it’s 1999.
Metroid Dread is a triumphant return for both Samus Aran and developer MercurySteam. This is a super-slick, hugely entertaining and exquisitely designed entry in the Metroid franchise that plays better than anything we've seen from the series so far. With a bunch of fantastic new abilities, super tense and enjoyable stealth sections, plenty of great big boss fights and a story that fans will definitely enjoy, we can't really see how this one could have been improved.
Best Metroid game ever? There'll likely be calls of recency bias until the hype settles in a year or two (probably around the release of Metroid Prime 4, in fact), but there's a very strong argument that 2D Metroid has never been better.
Shin Megami Tensei V is a modern masterpiece. It successfully delivers on all the aspects that have made the series thus far so popular with fans — namely through its high difficulty, heavy narrative themes, and expansive team-building options — while polishing up and tightening the weaker aspects. Things like a more easily navigable map and more difficulty options to cater to players of all skill levels comfortably make this the most approachable entry in the series, and it feels like there are more things to do in the world than ever before. If you are at all a fan of RPGs or have been looking for a good entry point into this oft-overlooked series, we would strongly encourage you to pick this up as soon as you can. Shin Megami Tensei V was worth the wait; Atlus successfully stuck the landing with this one.
Designated a mainline entry in the series by Game Freak itself, Pokémon Legends: Arceus feels like the result of the developers learning lessons for 25 years, refining the formula, and finally taking the franchise in a new, incredibly exciting direction. Technically it may stumble in places, but with an emphasis on extremely rewarding exploration, addictive catching mechanics, a fine roster of Pokémon and a genuine sense of scale that’s unlike anything in the series, Pokémon Legends: Arceus is up there with the greatest Pokémon games ever made in our book.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a great big colourful joyride of an adventure for our little pink pal. This first fully three dimensional mainline entry in the franchise is bursting at the seams with fun and inventiveness, managing to transpose everything we know and love about past Kirby games to this all-new arena whilst adding plenty of delightful new aspects as it goes. Mouthful Mode is just as daftly entertaining as it looked in the trailers, each and every level is packed full of secrets and dripping in wonderful detail, and there are enough side activities, collectibles and co-op fun here to keep you entertained and coming back for more for a good long while.
Are your favourite games included? Did we miss anything entirely that you think deserves a spot? This is an ever-evolving list that will be updated as-and-when worthy exclusive games crop up (or fall off when they turn up on other platforms). Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
This article is one of our Switch Essentials guides which cover a wide variety of genres, including the Best Switch FPS Games, the Best Switch RPGs, the Best Switch Games For Kids, the Best Switch Couch Co-Op Games and the Best Switch Fitness and Exercise Games. We can also help out hunting down the Best Switch Horror Games, the Best Switch Racing Games, the Best Switch Action-RPGs, the Best Nintendo Switch Roguelikes, Roguelites and Run-Based Games, the Best Free Switch Games, the Best Remakes And Remasters, the Best Switch Music And Rhythm Games, Best Feel-Good Switch Games, Best Switch Open-World Games, Best Switch Soulslike Games, Best LGBTQ+ Switch Games, and even Games to Play After You've Finished Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Whatever your favourite genre, we've got you covered: Strategy Games, Metroidvanias, Puzzle Games, Party Games, Online Multiplayer Games, Local Wireless Multiplayer Games, Shmups, Twin-Stick Shooters, Visual Novels, Kart Racers, Fighting Games, Football Games, Funny Games, Golf Games, 'Walking Sims' And Narrative Games, Switch Games For Lovers And Lonely Hearts, Detective Games, Hidden Gems, 2D Platformers, 3D Platformers, Puzzle Platformers, Tabletop Mode Games, Run and Gun Games, LEGO Games, Sports Games, Survival Games, Beat 'Em Ups, Camera Games, Chill Games, Family Games, Retro-Inspired Games, Short Games, Card Games and Deck-Builders, and Life Sims And Farming Games.
Still hungry for more? Elsewhere we look at Wholesome Games, TATE Mode Games, Flight Sim and Space Combat, Point and Click Adventure Games, and the Best Switch Exclusives, as well as Every Arcade Archives Game, Every ACA Neo Geo Game, Every SEGA AGES Game On Switch, plus the Best Switch Ports, Best Wii U-To-Switch Ports, Best Switch Collections And Compilations, Best Cheap Switch Games, Best Switch Demos, Games That Are Better On Switch OLED, Switch Games Under $10, $20, $50, and Switch games with the Best Soundtracks and the Best Graphics. Phew!
If you're looking for the best Switch games regardless of genre, our reader-voted selection of the Best Nintendo Switch Games should help you out, and you can also find the Best Nintendo Switch Games of 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. And finally, if you're interested in other Nintendo consoles and retro games, check out the Best Game Boy Games, Best GBC Games, Best GBA Games, Best Nintendo DS Games, Best Nintendo 3DS Games, Best NES Games, Best SNES Games, Best N64 Games, Best GameCube Games, and Best Wii Games, and Best Wii U Games, as well as Every Available Nintendo Switch Online Retro Game, and ranked lists of Every Nintendo Switch Online NES, SNES, N64 and Sega Genesis / Mega Drive Game.