2019 was a fantastic year for Nintendo Switch owners, with a stellar lineup from the platform holder itself joined by a near-endless stream of brilliant third party games; finding the time to play them all was by far the biggest problem facing Switch (and Switch Lite) gamers.
Nintendo's console got off to a rocketing start in 2017 with the heavy hitters of launch game The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey, and that continued into 2018 with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Third parties and indie devs really took Switch to their hearts, too, releasing quality new games and ports aplenty.
2019 gifted us several top-drawer Nintendo-made Switch titles in the form of Super Mario Maker 2, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, the quirky Ring Fit Adventure, Luigi's Mansion 3 and the all-conquering Pokémon Sword and Shield, but nearly every week brought more essential games to the eShop from other studios, huge and tiny alike.
The following list of the 50 best Switch games from 2019 is ranked according to the user ratings associated with Switch games on Nintendo Life's database. As such, it can still be influenced after publication by your ratings. If you've yet to give your personal score to some (or all) of 2019's Switch releases, the ranking below could yet change, so feel free to score your favourites. Can't see your favourites? Just head to our library of Switch games for 2019.
So, let's take a look at the very best Switch games from 2019 according to you lovely lot...
Much like the port of the first game, Doom II on Switch delivers an exceptional rendition of a seminal sequel, and the handful of audio and visual imperfections that blighted both it and the original DOOM at launch having been buffed out with patches. Consequently, it holds up just as well as it ever did, and for the low asking price this is a great way to play a classic FPS.
To have Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice on Switch in this form is a blessing that you shouldn’t miss out on. The game itself is a psychological sensory experience that we thoroughly recommend, but the fact that it’s been translated to Switch in such a complete fashion is the true surprise here. It doesn’t feel like a downgrade at all – it stands proudly alongside the other ‘miracle’ ports on the system, arguably surpassing them in some ways. It’s a remarkable effort and a challenge to other developers who insist Switch couldn’t handle their games. Anything’s possible, it seems, and we take our hats off to QLOC – bravo.
Assassin's Creed: The Rebel Collection has come as something of a surprise to us after the disappointment of Assassin's Creed III Remastered. Here are two excellent swashbuckling epics ported to Nintendo's console in fine fashion. Black Flag is a revelation in portable mode and looks and performs almost flawlessly as you blast your way around the Caribbean on Edward Kenway's captivating pirate adventures. Rogue, although it struggles to keep up slightly here and there, is always eminently playable and together with the excellent Freedom Cry, they give Assassin's Creed fans something they've wanted for a very long time now – this is handheld Assassin's Creed at a standard we weren't sure we'd ever see on Switch.
World End Syndrome has everything you would expect from a saucier entry in the visual novel genre yet manages to add depth to characters which you may have assumed were present only to look fabulous in bikinis. It offers plenty of replayability but also provides a satisfying ending if you're more of a one-and-done individual. If you're after a well-crafted visual novel featuring a little more than the standard anime lady tropes (but also the standard anime lady tropes), this is a fine example with a pleasantly substantial and gripping story, to boot.
The ground-breaking RPG from 1988 comes to Nintendo Switch with updated controls. Can you succeed where your father failed and vanquish the barbaric Baramos? Now all three installments of the Erdrick Trilogy can be played on Nintendo Switch! Every wondrous weapon, spectacular spell and awesome adversary in this rich fantasy world is yours to discover. ■ Story On the morning of your sixteenth birthday, you are charged with a seemingly impossible task by the King himself: to assume the mantle of your father Ortega, hero of the land of Aliahan, and slay the Archfiend Baramos, master of darkness! What trials await you, intrepid hero, as you set out on a quest not even your legendary father was strong enough to complete? ■ Game Features - Customisable Party System. Set out on an adventure with a party of up to four characters who can be customised to your specifications at Patty’s Party Planning Place: choose names, genders and jobs.
In many ways, the first Resident Evil is – and can only ever be – a product of its time. Even when tuned and honed and buffed to perfection, it has its own idiosyncratic personality and ways; change them and you change the game. Cumbersome and horrifying in equal measure, it refuses to let you have your brains and eat them, so while series veterans will know what to expect, new players should prepare themselves for a schooling in game mechanics which have largely fallen out of fashion. Context is essential, then, but the Switch port shows this classic at its absolute best and there’s arguably no better way to sample the original Resident Evil formula, provided you’ve got the stomach for it.
Baba Is You is like a compilation of gift shop brain teasers; they’re not for everyone, but some people can’t get enough of them. And while it may sound like just another sketchy smartphone game, it’s surprisingly one of the most unique puzzlers you can find on the Switch and the way in which it encourages you to break its rules and create your own ones is refreshing and unique. Its sudden difficulty spike and lack of a hint system could easily discourage some from continuing, but if you enjoy a good brain teasing, you could easily spend hours getting lost within Baba’s puzzles. Just make sure to take a break or two, or you may forget which Baba is you.
Slay the Spire is an endlessly addictive roguelike card-battler that’s a perfect fit for the Switch; a beautifully balanced game that arrived on Nintendo's system with all the benefits of an extended period of Early Access on PC. Its combination of ferocious battles, entertaining chance encounters and selection of three impressively different player characters make every run to the top a nerve-wracking and totally absorbing affair. Massively inventive sets of cards combine majestically into hugely destructive combos and attack and defence options fuse perfectly together, enabling players to use the information provided by the brilliantly transparent Intent system to strategise endlessly against the hordes of foul monstrosities that stand between themselves and victory. Sure, you’ll eventually see every enemy and chance encounter and yes, there are a few framerate niggles here and there, but overall this is one dungeon crawler that will live long in our system memories.
What you've got here are two of the finest examples of the genre, accompanied by a third likeable entry which is also well worth a look. When you consider how many titles Konami is packing into its Anniversary Collection packages – and that their retail price is almost half what Square Enix is demanding for the three games included here – it's impossible to not question the value of Collection of Mana. However, there's no denying the fact that Secret of Mana is one of the finest console RPGs of all time, and even though it's readily available elsewhere, playing it on Switch is like wrapping yourself up in a warm and familiar blanket; it's just right somehow. We could argue that Secret of Mana is merely the appetiser for the real star of this collection: Trials of Mana. It's nothing short of a masterpiece and finally getting the chance to play it officially in English is a landmark moment for SNES and RPG fans alike.