If you're feeling blue and are after a little video gaming pick-me-up, we've got just the thing. While the scope and function of interactive entertainment has grown far beyond mere escapism these days, games are still a brilliant way to jump into a totally different environment and get away from it all when things are looking grim.
The blue skies might be overcast in real life, but there is plenty of positivity to be found in our favourite Switch games and we've assembled a motley crew below to lift your spirits. So, below you'll find a (non-exhaustive, obviously) list of some of the games we love to fire up when we're in need of a cheer-up and the N64 isn't hooked up for a blast of Banjo-Kazooie.
Obviously, games and laughs with friends is a great way to beat the blues, so you might want to start with our selections of the best couch co-op Switch games or best Switch party games if you're not a solo gamer, or check out our selection of the best games to play if you can't leave the house.
If you're twiddling your thumbs on your own, though, let's take a look at our picks - in no particular order - of the best feel-good games on Nintendo Switch...
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Stuck inside dreaming of taking off on a world trip and escaping this dreariness? You could always go 2D with New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, or Super Mario Maker 2, but Mario's latest full-fat 3D platformer takes you on a tour of the world that's sure to lift your spirits. Whether you're a people person who prefers the hustle and, indeed, bustle of New Donk City or prefer the quiet contemplation and isolation available on the surface of the moon, Super Mario Odyssey's got it all. It doesn't get more upbeat than this. Or does it?
Arguably the ultimate puzzling mashup, there's something for everyone and colour to spare in Puyo Puyo Tetris. Whether you're into puyos or tetrominos, the game will tap into your nostalgia for either while also giving you a respect for the other. With plenty to enjoy for solo or multiple players, you really can't go wrong firing this up of an evening.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is like a warm, relaxing cup of something. We beat the main game long ago, but we still fire it up regularly simply to roam around Hyrule finding the odd Korok seed and letting the rolling hills and clean digital air calm our nerves. We find it great for stress relief (and we found sailing the Great Sea in The Wind Waker equally soothing), but Breath of the Wild's engaging gameplay and general gorgeousness make it perfect for lifting your spirits and beating the blues in in any other month of the year, too.
Link's Awakening is equally lovely if you're after a more traditional Zelda adventure, too.
Another standby we dive into whenever we're feeling down, a quick blast through Green Hill Zone can be rather restorative. Obviously the melodious mix of music, waterfalls and dancing flowers is likely to lighten your mood, but it's more than that. It's an odd and comforting thing to navigate through an old favourite on little more than muscle memory. We'd liken it to listening to a favourite song, or perhaps closer, playing your favourite song on a musical instrument; something about the mechanics of it soothes the soul.
The arrival of Animal Crossing: New Horizons for Switch made us think back to how we abandoned our Wild World town when Animal Crossing: New Leaf arrived. We regret not saying goodbye properly to the residents of our town (Dibly, because 'Crinkley Bottom' was over the character limit) and, alas, we've done the same with Bell Air, our poor old New Leaf town. Still, we're way too distracted catching fish and making custom designs to linger on the past and New Horizons is proving to be the perfect tonic to the trying times we're living in. Whatever entry you have to hand, though, Animal Crossing is the most heart-warming and delightful of games.
With more of a focus on farming than the previous entry, Stardew Valley is a country life sim that's equally captivating if you're looking to escape the January drudgery. After inheriting your farm there's a lot of work to do but like any of the very best sims, soon all the elements click into place and the joy of running a well-oiled machine takes over. With a very pleasant 16-bit style to the visuals, this is a wonderful way to get away from it all wherever you take your Switch.
A lovely little mixture of atmospheric puzzles, low-key exploration and minigame mayhem, The Touryst was one of 2019's most entertaining gems which arguably got a little lost in the other big releases towards the end of the year. It's bursting with joyous energy and surprises; the very definition of short and sweet. It's a great time for tourysm.
This one caught us by surprise, but Just Shapes & Beats is an utter delight. Don't let the label 'musical bullet hell' put you off - this is an accessible and joyous chiptune romp with homages to gaming's past and an infectious, positive spirit. It may well have passed you in the flood of releases hitting the Switch eShop - do yourself a favour and try out on of the best feel-good games on Switch.
One of the surprise announcements last year alongside a couple of other previously Xbox-exclusive games that have since arrived on Switch, New Super Lucky’s Tale is a great port of an underrated platformer that features a greatly improved camera and channels the spirit of the golden age of 3D platformers. It's a little on the short side and may not provide much of a challenge to more hardened gamers, but it's got an uncanny ability to make us smile.
Katamari Damacy REROLL is like liquid anti-cynicism. While it's also likely to induce some stress, the game's delightfully quirky and unique personality will dose you up with charm enough to make you forget your tension and troubles. The Switch edition is arguably the best way to play short of digging out your PS2, and with a wonderful HD sheen the Prince of the Cosmos looks better than ever on Nintendo's hybrid console. Lovely.
Nothing like a walk in the country to raise your spirits, hmm? The breakout indie hit of 2019 is a refreshing change for the stealth genre. Gone are the night-vision goggles and dark camo-suits you might expect; here they're replaces by a big white goose with bad social skills. You've probably heard more than enough about Untitled Goose Game since it launched and conquered the internet, but if you're after something light-hearted, give the goose a honk.
Want to jump in a colourful car and burn rubber into the sunset? Horizon Chase Turbo harks back to an arcade past when all you needed for a good time was the top down, a sunset on the horizon and an attractive co-pilot with their hair blowing in the breeze. It's more Top Gear on the SNES than Out Run, but it channels that blue sky feeling beautifully and makes for an exhilarating ride on Switch.
Alternatively, there's always Out Run.
With an incredibly mood-lifting soundtrack and 2D gameplay that recalls the classic Donkey Kong Country games, a restorative jaunt through the colourful, bouncy worlds of Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair is a great way keep the clouds at bay. The original game was a fun nostalgia trip, but Playtonic's sequel polishes everything and delivers a far better experience overall, one which we heartily recommend.
And speaking of DKC, having topped our ranking of the best DK games of all time it's unsurprising that we love revisiting Retro's most recent Donkey Kong Country game when we're feeling down. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze isn't just a great platformer, it's one of the great platformers and it will help thaw the iciest of moods. Looking and playing better than the series ever has, veteran DKC composer David Wise returned with this sequel, meaning that the music alone is enough to reduce us to tears of happiness. Tropical Freeze is a total joy, and perfect company if you're feeling glum.
A Short Hike is a fat-free indie experience from top to bottom and feels like the very best bits of multiple game genres, stripped of all padding and bloat, mixed perfectly into a delicious video game stew that only gets richer and richer the more you play. An exploration in every sense of the word, and a perfect tonic if you're feeling down in the dumps, A Short Hike is cute without being twee, challenging without being obnoxious, and emotional without being cloying. A landmark game for all ages. Don't miss this one.
It's a triple helping of 3D Mario goodness on Switch - what else is there to say? Super Mario 64 is an absolute genre-defining classic, Super Mario Sunshine, for all its flaws, is one of the brightest, bounciest games on any console ever (the Isle Delfino theme alone is worth the price of admission), and Super Mario Galaxy took the plumber to new heights. This limited-time port might not add many real bells or whistles, but the underlying quality here is immeasurable. Get it before it's gone.
Of course, we've taken the happy-chappy rainbow-coloured route with this selection of feel-good games, but sometimes a chunky shotgun and an undead horde can be the best way to shake off the blues, so you might want to check out something like Resident Evil 4 or DOOM if you're after a more adult experience.
What games do you like to play when you're feeling less than 100%? Let us know with a comment 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, 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, Shmups, Fighting Games, Hidden Gems, 2D Platformers, 3D Platformers, Sports Games, Beat 'Em Ups, Chill Games, Family Games, Retro-Inspired Games, Short Games, and the Best Switch Exclusives, as well as Every Arcade Archives Game, Every ACA Neo Geo Game and Every SEGA AGES Game On Switch.
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, and 2019. And finally, if you're interested in other Nintendo consoles and retro games, check out the Best Game Boy Games, Best Nintendo DS Games, Best Nintendo 3DS Games, and the Best GameCube Games, as well as Every Nintendo Switch Online NES Game and Every Nintendo Switch Online SNES Game.