And we're back! Another year done and dusted, one that was jam-packed with Switch games. It might have lacked a mainline Zelda or Mario, but Pokémon fans got double bubble in 2022, with Pokémon Legends: Arceus and Pokémon Scarlet and Violet topping and tailing the year.
In between those potent Pocket Monster packages, we got a large portion of Kirby (plus a tasty side dish), a selection of sports (both the Switch and Mario Strikers variety), a trio of excellent games with a '3' in the title (Xenoblade, Splatoon, and Bayonetta), and both Koei Tecmo and Ubisoft taking the reins on Nintendo IP with Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes and Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope respectively.
And that's just the first-party stuff. Throw in all the quality third-party releases — Square Enix, in particular, was on fire this year with games like Triangle Strategy, Dragon Quest Treasures, and Crisis Core — a deluge of excellent indies, including Citizen Sleeper, Neon White, Tunic, and Chained Echoes, a great selection of retro collections, and a bevy of quality ports of games big and small, and there simply aren't enough hours in the day to play everything we want to.
Which brings us to your picks of the top 50 best Switch games of 2022. As always, we asked Nintendo Life readers to rate the games this year, and the list below — as governed by the User Ratings for each title in our games database — is the result. The order can and will change, even after publication, subject to those fluctuating User Ratings, which means it's never too late to rate your collection (even those pesky late-December arrivals) and influence the list.
Can't see your favourites? Head to our library of Switch games and use the search bar to find what you're looking for (or scroll to the very top of this page to do the same). Note. To become eligible, a game needs to have been rated by a minimum of 30 users.
Enough waffle. Let's scroll down and enjoy 50 of the very best games of the year, 2022 edition...
50. Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium (Switch eShop)
As long as you’re okay with its unreasonable lack of online functionality and screen filter niggles, there are hundreds of hours of fun to be had with Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium. 32 mostly excellent games and another historically notable preservation piece, it recalls the essence of what an arcade felt like. Achieving that feeling, however brief, will be enough to justify a purchase for those with an affinity for gaming’s rich history.
49. Pokémon Scarlet and Violet (Switch)
There are still plenty more ways we’d like to see the Pokémon franchise evolve but despite some glaring technical hiccups, Pokémon Scarlet & Violet has us excited about the series' future. We really hope Game Freak can figure out how to smooth out the series’ ongoing performance issues on Switch because they’re going to become a serious detriment over time.
Scarlet & Violet is most fun and exciting when you're just exploring the world, and while there are many small new details and improvements to the Pokémon formula, it still plays it safe in a few areas. Regardless, things point toward a promising future for Gen 9 and beyond. It’s a smaller step than many may have hoped for, especially considering what Pokémon Legends: Arceus did, but it's definitely one in the right direction.
48. Nintendo Switch Sports (Switch)
Nintendo Switch Sports is a charming but barebones offering. It's not a bad game by any stretch but it lacks an awful lot of what would make for a solid recommendation. Online play is the best option on offer with unlockable customisations and a predictably broader pool of players, but its limited scope means you'll be doing the same thing time after time. Local play is hobbled by a lack of any unlockables whatsoever, and with such limited options to change up how each sport plays out, solo play is a slog. There is fun to be had here, but it's more in the vein of the occasional 30-minute play sessions with friends than anything with major long-term appeal. Nintendo Switch Sports is 'fine', then, but little more than that.
47. Cult of the Lamb (Switch eShop)
Cult of the Lamb proves to be a remarkably fresh take on the roguelite genre, not just in its goofy and creepy aesthetic, but in its smart blending of action and survival mechanics. Gameplay remains tense without ever feeling like it’s unfair and a steady stream of unlockables and collectables ensures that your efforts are always rewarded. It’s just a shame that the performance isn’t up to snuff, at least at launch, as that’s really the only major complaint that we have here. We’d still give this a hearty recommendation to anyone who thinks it might be up their alley; it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Cult of the Lamb proves itself to be a great new addition to the Switch library.
46. Tinykin (Switch eShop)
As a whole, Tinykin is more than just a wholesome, stress-free 3D platformer or 'Pikmin Lite'; it's a lesson in appreciating the simple things in life, including the help from those around you. Even with a mass of collectibles and a free-flowing storyline to follow, Tinykin never feels cluttered or overwhelming. Despite feeling a lot like a certain Nintendo series when you first pick it up, the game has enough of a unique identity to separate itself from the pack, offering a pleasant, pure platforming spin on Pikmin.
45. Pocky & Rocky Reshrined (Switch)
Despite obvious comparisons to the Super Nintendo game, Pocky & Rocky Reshrined is, for the vast majority, a completely new entry in the series. Tengo Project, well aware of the original’s pedigree, was smart enough to only use it as inspiration, rather than attempt to follow its lead beat-for-beat. Within this modern framework, the developer has constructed a thrilling tapestry of light, colour, and action-packed junctures for hardcore gamers to get their teeth into. Is it better than Natsume’s venerable 1992 outing? No, but it’s about on par, albeit for slightly different reasons. Pocky & Rocky: Reshrined is a blessing, a gorgeous-looking, delightfully artful new interpretation of a much-loved classic.
44. Sonic Origins (Switch eShop)
Sonic Origins is, on one hand, a near-definitive way to experience four stone-cold classics that represent some of the highest peaks of Sonic's career. On the other, most of these games are already readily available and there aren’t many new features or additions to justify buying them yet again. The cutscenes, museum elements, and missions are all very pleasant but they're also the minimum you would expect for a series this prestigious and popular.
For players ready to play these classics for the first time, Sonic Origins is the go-to way to experience Sonic’s 16-bit heyday. Die-hard 2D Sonic veterans may be less enamoured with the package and the small but noticeable differences between the Classic Modes presented here and the games in their true original configurations. Regardless, it's sure nice to have Sonic CD available in a convenient form on the most convenient of consoles. Not perfect, then, but great comfort-food gaming.
43. Infernax (Switch eShop)
While Infernax is tough, it's resolutely fair. You can't really make the game 'easy', but you can absolutely mitigate the difficulty or take a break doing something else when you get stuck. Don't expect a simple ride, though, and don't expect to take the right decisions on a first playthrough — not that anything seems particularly 'right' in this beautifully bloody little world. It's only familiarity that lets Infernax down. There's nothing really new here, but it's all done and delivered so well that you won't really care unless you're desperate for a completely fresh experience. In which case why play a faux-retro NES throwback to begin with? A cut above most efforts in the subgenre, Infernax both demands and requires attention.
42. Nobody Saves The World (Switch eShop)
Nobody Saves the World is a thrillingly well-paced and enjoyable action adventure that Switch owners won’t want to miss. An addictive quest system, surprisingly deep class system, attractive art style, and punchy combat all come together to make for a varied and engaging experience that oozes quality at every turn. If you’re a fan of RPGs with a lot of customization, old-school Zelda games, or classic arcade beat ‘em ups, Nobody Saves the World is absolutely a title you need to add to your library.
41. The DioField Chronicle (Switch)
Despite its shortcomings, The DioField Chronicle is a decent tactical RPG experience with enough JRPG tropes to interest fans of both genres. The unique gameplay provides plenty of challenge, though it can require a lot of grinding to keep pace with the difficulty curve. The art style is beautiful both in and out of combat but the characters and plot fail to live up to the same standard. In this case, the game's ambition outstretched its means and it ended up falling just short of where it wanted to be. Still solid, though, even if it falls short of greatness.
Sorry Persona 5 but I had to (temporarily) lower your score just so I could see Xenoblade on top where it belongs.
Arceus was my choice for the Switch, but I can totally agree with XBC3. Probably my favorite narrative in gaming this year. I’m not a fan of the gameplay, but I still gave the game a 9/10 simply because the story hooked me deeply. It’s up there with Red Dead 2 and Death Stranding for top gaming narratives of all time, in my eyes.
@BenAV You did the right thing. Persona 5 had its time to be GotY already. As great as it is, let’s let a new game take the crown.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land is in fourth. Well, when you consider the fact that the two big JRPGs (which I'm pretty sure were the only two games this year that got 10/10) were obviously going to make the top two, that's pretty good! Wasn't expecting the Portal Collection to make third, but ok! Haven't played it, as I have the games on PC. but still pretty cool.
Edit: Wait, now Kirby is at third? Only being behind the RPGs? PERFECTION
Xenoblade 3 deserves the top position
Very solid list! I'm glad to see Xenoblade 3 up there! I'm also happy to see Niers user score went up. When I first checked it was sitting at an 8.0.
Kirby, Pokémon Violet/Scarlet, Legends Arceus, Xenoblade 3, Splatoon 3.. This year was fantastic.
I truly hope 2023 will be just as good!
Live A Live deserves better!
I bought 39 made-in-2022 games, although a lot of those were cheaper indies. I'm a bit surprised 3 of my top 10 aren't on this top-50 list at all, but I guess there were just a lot of great games. My 10 ten are:
*= not on this list. I suspect if the ranking was 'one of favorite games of year' rather than stars, Pokemon Violet/Scarlet would have appeared since a lot of people both loved it and acknowledged its flaws.
There are plenty of games on this list I haven't played but are on my wishlist and a few that are just not really my preferred genre.
Apparently I've only played 11 of these 50 games and the 7 in my top 10 were the only ones I paid for. I played the free part of Capcom Arcade 2nd and demos of live a live, Tinykin, and Splatoon 3; they weren't bad but I didn't like them quite enough to buy them at full price.
I agree with the top 2. Absolutely outstanding gaming. There are some odd positions here but that is to expected as it's a vote and number of votes vary from game to game.
Kinda crazy how few brand new games are on this list. Remakes, collections and reissues are clearly where the money is.
I only played one of the games on this list. It's somewhat of a liberating experience to not be caught up in hype and fomo.
Neon White at 20 is a tragedy. Play that game everybody, it’s amazing
@skulltulips I’d usually find a list like this for a console to be sad but on Switch I get it; portability is valuable to a lot of people and it totally gives a new lease of life to older games. Now if this were a list for say the PS5 and it was full of old ports and remasters when it should be pushing games forward with new experiences…that would be sad
I swear if The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles was eligible for this list, it would've taken every single award for me. PEAK F***** FICTION BABY.
I don't tend to play a lot of games from the current year (instead choosing to focus my time on games I missed from previous years) but out of the little I played from 2022 specifically? My Game of the Year is unquestionably Pokemon Legends Arceus. It's weird, it's janky and it doesn't always stick the landing....but my god was it one of the most thought-provoking, engaging and just plain fun overhauls of my all-time favourite series into something entirely new. I hope to Arceus we get more Legends games because this subseries has gigantic potential for the future.
Splatoon 3 was also a fantastic experience that fully cemented Splatoon as my favourite in-house Nintendo series thanks to it basically refining every little grievance from 1 and 2 into near perfection, easily my runner-up from this year.
Anyone who thinks 2022 was a down year for gaming on Switch is just wrong.
Kirby was the biggest surprise. Could have been #1 just because it came from no where.
For me it's
Kirby and the Forgotten Land
TMNT Shredders Revenge
Haven't played XC3 since I lost interest in the franchise after X so won't comment on it or other jrpgs I skipped this year. Live a Live was the one I was most interested in but I'm waiting to play that.
Really surprised at Triangle Strategy being outside the top-10. Don't really get that.
Tunic and Rouge Legacy are definitely two games I want to play, but I'll be finishing some other games first.
I'm not sure what my top 10 are, but Kirby and the Forgotten Land, XC3 and Pokémon Legends: Arceus are three of them.
Splatoon 3 is incredibly fun too, but I've not been taking advantage of that yet.
Glad to see Kirby & XC3 so high up. Both fantastic games.
I know it was always going to be unlikely, but I was kinda hoping Samurai Maiden would have squeaked by on the lower end of the list. Probably not too many people around here have played it, though.
My favourite games this year on the Switch (not necessarily released this year):
Pokemon Brilliant Diamond
Disney's Magical World 2 Enchanted Edition
Pokemon Legends Arceus
Kirby And The Forgotten Land
Rune Factory 5
The Cruel King And The Great Hero
SteamWorld Dig 2
Super Mario 3D World + Bowsers Fury
Story Of Seasons Pioneers Of Olive Town
The Legend Of Zelda Skyward Sword HD
Pocky & Rocky Reshrined
Lego Star Wars The Skywalker Saga
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shredder's Revenge
Bravely Default II
Andro Dunos 2
Of course there are still quite a few games from this year I want to play, mostly jrpgs. And last but not least the honorable mentions:
The Smurfs Mission Vileaf, Asterix & Obelix Slap Them All, Marsupilami Hoobadventure, Y's Origin, Crash Bandicoot 4 It's About Time, De Blob 1+2, Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series, Hotwheels Unleashed
Some absolutely great games on the Switch this year:
Most of my play time went to my Xbox and Elden Ring this year, but the games above on the Switch were fantastic.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land might be the best, most complete idea of a game I've played on Switch, since the Switch launched!
It's mechanically sound, the gameplay is varied, there's a lot to see and do, and the audio/visuals are a treat. Kirby made such a seamless transition to 3D that it's hard to believe HAL Laboratory didn't do this sooner.
An absolute must-play.
@FishyS Unfortunately, Pokemon Scarlet/Violet have been lampooned rather than appreciated for what it is, which is an admittedly large step forward for the mainline games in the series, so I’m sure it was littered with 1 star reviews. I agree with you that it’s a fantastic title.
Great shout to Dream Buffet too. I liked it, even if I wouldn’t top 10 it. Surprised fewer people have said anything about it.
My Switch only top 10:
1. Pokémon Legends: Arceus
2. Triangle Strategy (c’mon NLife let’s get this one in the top 10)
3. Pokémon Violet
4. Xenoblade Chronicles 3
5. Kirby and the Forgotten Land
6. Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course
8. Splatoon 3
9. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge
10. Sonic Frontiers
Although, with Sports Story coming out today, we realistically have the possibility that that game may land anywhere in the top 10. Switch had a stellar year. The top 9 are all 9/10 or 9.5/10s for me too. Really strong showing. Shoutout to Beacon Pines too, which I liked about as much as Sonic, though for totally different reasons.
P5R is a great game but I wouldn't put it above Xenoblade Chronicles 3 simply because it's a 6 year old game
Triangle Strategy was my personal GOTY, and I definitely think it deserved to be in the top 10 at least! It’s such a fun strategy RPG and almost a perfect game in my opinion.
Persona 5....oh I haven't even opened this game yet and already on S&V gaming.....
Triangle Strategy in the top ten. Nice!
And XC3 in top spot, right where it belongs.
@RR529 samurai maiden did look kind of fun, but the $60 price tag scared me and likely most others away; if it's ever on a really good sale I might snag it. It only received 8 user reviews which is far below the 30 required to even be eligible for this article.
My top 3 is:
FEW Three Hopes (best musou ever)
Kirby Forgotten Land (Best Kirby game)
Bayo 3 (i thought this was going to be my goty, but bayo 2 is better)
Glad to see Xenoblade 3 in the top 2 spot, but in my personal opinion I think it deserves the top spot over Persona 5, being the pinnacle of it's masterpiece series and an actually new game.
EDIT: XC3 is currently at the top spot, but we'll clearly be seeing a back and forth.
Sigh. No mention of Chained Echoes. Maybe it's too recent? It's nonetheless incredible.
I mostly agree with the rankings, especially since XC3 took the top spot. Possibly the best gaming narrative I've played in recent memory.
I understand this list is fluid per the site's aggregate rankings, but I really do think Live A Live deserves to be a little higher.
I just want to say that streets of rage 4 is way better than tmnt shredder’s revenge.
good list - shows there are a ton of good stuff to be played
and of course scarlet and violet was too late to really make it on here but the real game of the year just came out too..
>>>>>> Lil Gator <<<<<<<<
that game is a masterpiece
Someday everyone will know how good "Nobody Saves the World" really is, and that's from someone who doesn't really like rpgs.
Any 2022 list that doesn't include Persona 5 Royal is fraudulent. Especially after the years of port begging..
I cannot argue with that top 5. I'm surprised to see Triangle Strategy so high. Would I enjoy it if I like Fire Emblem?
@Purgatorium I'd take advantage of that. Some of these top games weren't really marketed enough to give anyone FOMO, but I'd love to be in the position you're in of getting to play them for the first time.
Great job NL community, really solid list.
Very happy to see 13 Sentinels in at #11
Why no love for HORRID HENRY'S KRAZY KARTS!?!?!? ; )
@skadoom Dragon Quest Treasures (released Dec 9) also wasn't listed despite being mentioned in the opening paragraphs. It likely was too late to properly number either.
This year was quite the banger for me in the third-party and indie departments, though pretty ho-hum for the first-party department (even with the amazing Kirby and the Forgotten Land).
1) Atelier Sophie 2 ~The Alchemist of the Mysterious Dream~ (Switch)
2) Infernax (Switch)
3) Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga (Switch)
4) Lil Gator Game (Switch)
5) Sonic Frontiers (Switch)
6) Rogue Legacy 2 (Switch)
7) Nobody Saves the World (Switch)
8) Little Noah: Scion of Paradise (Switch)
9) Sonic Origins (Switch)
10) Kirby and the Forgotten Land (Switch)
Cotton Fantasy (Switch)
Kao the Kangaroo (Switch)
The Outbound Ghost (Switch)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge (Switch)
RPGolf Legends (Switch)
Here's hoping 2023 will see both first-party and third-party (and indie) libraries at the equal qualities and quantities...
If I ignore older ports that I absolutely love, like Persona 5R, 13 Sentinels, Stanley Parable, Nier Automata, No Man’s Sky and Portal Collection then my top 5 would be:
1. Xenoblade Chronicles 3
2. Triangle Strategy
3. AI Somnium Files Nirvana Initiative
4 .Pokemon Legends Arceus
5. Disney Dreamlight Valley
Finally! At least here where people have actually played XB3 it gets the deserved victory.
Push Square put The Last of Us Part 1 on their GOTY list which admittedly cracked me up 🤣
Anyway for me personally Kirby Pokèmon Legends Arceus and Xenoblade Chronicles 3 were the Switch's best highlights for me. In fact I'm planning a second playthrough of Legends Arceus and Kirby soon. Oh that's right Sonic Frontiers too.
Pokemon Legends Arceus I feel should've been even higher, but I'm glad it got lots of love irregardless. It was without a doubt my GOTY and one of my favorite games of all time. Phenomenal game and deserves the praise...
...I understand people not wanting an older port of a game like Persona 5 Royal getting number 1, cos it was already a GOTY when it came out and is one of the biggest JRPGs ever, really I do understand where people are coming from. It's just sad to see people intentionally lowering the score though for it in favor of Xenoblade 3, which I just can't get into the gameplay of, but tbf that's just personal taste, cos I can tell it's a great game. I think the solution is to not take ports into consideration for these, cos a game like P5R is as close to perfection as it gets and shouldn't get it's score -slightly- tanked because of it.
Would like to give a last min nod to Dragon Quest Treasures. Doing a playthrough of it right now. It's not perfect, but the general gameplay loop is a lot of fun. Definitely enjoying it.
Loved Kirby and the Forgotten Land. Huge Kirby fan anyway, so that helped. Lol. But I had an absolute blast with it.
I guess many people here didn't play the originals, otherwise Monkey Island would be in the top 10 for sure haha. What a FANTASTIC game!
Xenoblade 3 clearly deserves the top spot, though. Persona 5 is a great game, sure, but it came to Switch way too late, it can't be first!
Pokemon Legends Arceus takes this for me. Scarlet and Violet fall a little short of it, but I still like them. Also the Kirby and the Forgotten Land deserves a mention for sure. It's the most enjoyable Kirby game for me in two decades. I hope they keep making Kirby games like it!
@tseliot Oh I'm definitely going to get to some of these eventually. Though 2023 is looking like it's going to be a big year so eventually could be a while.
Man I was waiting to see how high the diehard apologists had managed to push Pokemon Scarlet/Violet. I know that it's widely hated, but nowhere in the top 50? I smell shenanigans...
where is Chained Echoes?!???
@N64-ROX So it was actually on the list? I thought maybe it wasn't at all because I didn't see in the top 50 lol.
@BenAV I’m sorry I like xc3 but it’s not in the same class as persona 5 royale people who think it is needs to get their heads re-examined I’m sorry xc3 is good but persona 5 royale is a MASTERPIECE
@Joekraken Other way around. Played Persona 5 Royale recently and it was pretty good but nowhere near any of the mainline Xenoblade games.
@Itakiteacher it wasn't on the list at all - I was surprised because there's usually plenty of people in the comments section saying it's fantastic, don't listen to the haters.
Persona 5 is really loved heh? I expected Pokemon violet and scarlet on 1, but they aren't even on the list. I had hoped for Kirby to be on place 1, but 3 is also very good. I did expect Bayonetta 3 to be higher though, and Mario+Rabbids much higher (the lower difficulty in Mario+Rabbids from what I have heard might have spoiled it).
Chained echoes was on the list but seems to have dropped off. The list is constantly evolving after all (wich is rubbish in my opinion, but I don't work for this site so what can I do?).
I think FFVII Crisis Core deserves to be here.
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