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...
Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Complete Edition is a content-packed RPG with plenty to see and do. Its evolution system feels wholly unique when compared to another monster-breeding game series you might find on Nintendo hardware, and while the grind may be too much for some, it’s comfortably one of the best creature-catchers on the Switch – although Pokémon still holds the crown, of course.
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is a visually phenomenal upgrade on a PlayStation karting classic, and one that faithfully recreates both its positives (its unique drift boosting system) and its potential irritants (30fps, tricky AI). It does bring a whole new set of issues – mainly lengthy loading times and the fact that playing offline stops you making any progress towards unlocking anything – but while these prevent the game from becoming an absolute must-have, they don’t sour the experience enough to stop us wholeheartedly recommending it regardless.
It’s unknown at this point just how big of a project Deltarune will turn out to be, but this first chapter proves to be a solid, if a little too safe, take on the unique gameplay and humour that made Undertale such a hit. At worst, Deltarune Chapter 1 is just a smaller and shallower version of Undertale; at best, it’s a promising glimpse into a much more ambitious project that will hopefully grow to escape the shadow of its forerunner. Regardless, you can download Deltarune Chapter 1 for free from the eShop; see what you think.
New Super Lucky’s Tale is a solid port of an underrated platformer with a greatly improved camera. It's a little on the short side and may not provide much of a challenge to more hardened gamers – and if you already own it on Xbox One there really isn't enough new here to warrant a second purchase – but what makes it worth a look is its uncanny ability to make you smile, and this is something that can't be overlooked, especially in modern times.
Mortal Kombat 11 is the best Mortal Kombat since MK2, a bold and bombastic entry that boasts a fighting model that finally matches the slapstick theatrics of gory Fatalities. It's further proof that MK, much like Street Fighter, has just as much relevance in the 21st century as it did in the '90s thanks to the way it evolved while retaining its core identity. On Switch, it's a performance-first experience that nails 60fps, and boasts every mode and mechanic from other versions, only with a noticeable downgrade in the aesthetics department. The heavy-handed application of microtransactions aside, MK11 could be a contender for the best fighter on Nintendo Switch, and certainly better than the dire Switch port of its successor.
Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer Featuring The Legend of Zelda *breathe* is an excellent game, but is it a Zelda game?
Short answer: Absolutely. Long answer: This wasn't a case of Brace Yourself Games simply swapping out the sprites of Crypt of the NecroDancer with Link and Zelda. This musical take on Hyrule and the top-down Zelda mechanics we all know so well freshened the formula while retaining all the hallmarks you'd expect in a Nintendo-developed Zelda title. You get the exploration, the discovery, the wonder, the items, the dungeons, and — most of all — the music, all shot through with a rhythm-based gameplay twist that takes a while to get used to, but is immensely satisfying once you do. It's also arguably the most replayable Zelda game ever, with each new game juggling the landscape and layout of the kingdom (cleverly playing with the notion of Hyrule's ever-changing geography throughout the series), meaning no playthrough will be quite the same.
It won't click with everyone, and if you're after 80-hour epics, you'll want to look elsewhere. But there are plenty of them already. Having a smaller Hylian experience that feels uniquely fresh and also completely 'Zelda' is a joy.
Inti Creates knocked it out of the park with Blaster Master Zero 2, improving on the original 'reboot' in nearly every conceivable way while also setting a clear path forward for what could hopefully become a flagship series for the company. Tight platforming action, memorable boss battles, plenty of extra side content, and some gorgeous pixel art make this one of the easiest recommendations on the eShop; we’d strongly encourage you to pick this one up. Whether you’re a long-time fan of the series or are just getting into it for the first time, Blaster Master Zero 2 is a stellar experience from stem to stern, and further cements Inti Creates’ legacy as one of the best developers in the retro gaming business.
Donkey Kong Country fans rejoice: this is the spiritual successor you’ve been waiting for. The worst thing you could say about it is that the overworld exploration may prove to be too involved for those who are in it purely for the runny-jumpy stuff, but those who are happy to mix platforming with top-down adventuring and don’t mind adapting to the constantly changing pace will find the best of both worlds here. Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair is a fantastic sophomore effort that pays tribute to Rare's past and establishes Playtonic as one of the UK's most exciting studios.
Yoshi’s Crafted World has colour and charm to spare, even if its inventiveness is largely limited to its looks. For Yoshi fans, it does exactly what you expect it to, which is perhaps the worst thing we can say about it; it contains few genuine surprises. The game is delightfully presented, though, and makes for another very solid entry in Nintendo’s ever-growing pantheon of material-based platformers. If you’re looking to share a light-hearted platformer with the family, or simply relax in a big chair with a cup of something warm and a comfy pair of socks, be sure to have a spare pair ready – Yoshi's Crafted World will charm the ones you’re wearing right off.