2014 - Mario Kart 8
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe repackaged the 2014 original on the hybrid handheld for all of the millions of people who didn't play on Wii U and added in that excellent (and sorely missed) Battle Mode for good measure. This is the pinnacle of the entire series; a fast, attractive, sublimely playable romp which has to rank as one of the best racing games of all time. It's the definitive Mario Kart experience, content-rich and a delightful feast of comedic, cartoonish karting action.
Honourable Mentions: Shovel Knight, Bayonetta 2
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2015 - The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (PC/PS4/Xbox One)
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a masterpiece, and Switch's Complete Edition is a truly impressive achievement. Performance isn't perfect, and we'd forgive you for playing elsewhere if you have the option, but the Switch version captures the genius of the game incredibly well — it's still an impactful, engaging, unforgettable role-playing experience. The Witcher 3 set the bar for modern RPGs back in 2015, and you could argue that it's yet to be bettered.
Honourable Mentions: Undertale, Rocket League
Non-Switch Nom: Splatoon
2016 - Stardew Valley (PC/PS4/Xbox One)
Another indie darling, Stardew Valley is a truly magical life sim. Games can often be enjoyable but they don’t all manage to be as captivating as this. It requires a significant amount of time to be invested; the enjoyment doesn’t necessarily come from the day-to-day actions you perform, but rather from the general growth of pride, satisfaction, and sense of security as the days go by — and Switch is a great platform to play it on.
2017 - The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Wii U/Switch)
After years of following the same old template, Nintendo bravely took the Zelda series in a new direction and delivered an absolute triumph which still has us regularly revisiting its iteration of Hyrule. Breath of the Wild was a revolution for the series and the open-world genre, but the Legend of Zelda essence was still there — its soul remained, and the end result was captivating.
Honourable Mentions: Super Mario Odyssey, Nier:Automata, Cuphead, Hollow Knight, Fortnite
2018 - Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Switch)
'Everyone is here.' And they were. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate truly was the ultimate instalment in the series, throwing in not only the kitchen sink, but ripping out all the plumbing and fixtures and fittings from the entire house and flinging them in with an abandon which should rightly have resulted in an incoherent mess were it not for the direction of Masahiro Sakurai.
And it bought Banjo-Kazooie back to a Nintendo console. Historic, indeed.
Honourable Mentions: Tetris Effect, Celeste
2019 - Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition (Switch)
Slightly bending the rules here, as this was originally released for 3DS (and PS4) in Japan in 2017, the cumbersomely named Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition is one of the best games Square has ever put its name to, plain and simple — and this Switch release was a fine port, too. Featuring a heartwarming, well-paced narrative supported by a cast of fantastic characters, a dense and interesting overworld packed with dozens of hours of content, and one of the finest soundtracks we’ve heard in a JRPG, it all combines to make this an unforgettable modern classic.
Honourable Mentions: 13 Sentinels, Tetris 99
2020 - Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Switch)
Animal Crossing: New Horizons took the series and not only dragged it back onto home consoles, but improved upon every single facet imaginable. There was more to do, more to see, more to change, more to mould, and more to love-- and it came at a time when it was a genuine lifeline for many people separated from loved ones by global lockdowns.
Honourable Mentions: Hades, Ori and the Will of the Wisps
2021 - Metroid Dread (Switch)
Metroid Dread was a triumphant return for both Samus Aran and developer MercurySteam, 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. Best Metroid game ever? There'll likely be calls of recency bias, but there's a very strong argument that 2D Metroid has never been better.
Honourable Mentions: Monster Hunter Rise, SMTV
2022 - Xenoblade Chronicles 3 (Switch)
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is a genuine masterpiece and the highlight of Monolith Soft's superb series thus far. It's an emotionally-charged and surprisingly edgy epic with a sprawling and hugely engaging narrative populated by a cast of unforgettable characters. Throw in some of the very best combat we've had the pleasure of getting to grips with in this genre to date, and you're left with one of our very favourite games on the system.
Non-Switch Nom: Elden Ring
What gold will 2023 bring Switch owners, we wonder. Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom arrives in May and it feels like it's pre-ordained to be a GOTY candidate given its illustrious predecessor... but you never can tell! It's totally possible it could turn out *whisper it* a little underwhelming. Perhaps Pikmin 4 could turn out to be Nintendo's 2023 winner! With third parties continuing to bring intriguing games to the console and plenty of surprises yet to be revealed, we're excited to see what's in store.
Worst case scenario? As you can see from the above, Switch is a veritable time capsule of classic games from practically the very beginning, so plenty to keep us going for, oh, a good few decades yet.
Some fine video games, wouldn't you agree?
What's that? You wouldn't agree with our picks?! Well, it's only natural given the breadth of games available. Feel like there's something desperately missing, though? Let us know what tweaks you'd make in the comments below, and we might even make some tweaks of our own.
In the meantime, here's to another 50-ish years of video games!