Monster Boy is a tremendous accomplishment. It’s a gorgeous looking game with a fantastic soundtrack and does its spiritual predecessors proud by nailing the Wonder Boy mechanics while still offering something that will appeal to modern audiences. As long as you can appreciate that it’s still very much an old-school game at heart and you’re going to get some 8-bit era platforming trickiness as a result, you’re going to thoroughly enjoy playing through this adventure for the 12-15 hours it’ll take you to beat it. It may not be Wonder Boy by name, but it’s definitely wonderful by nature.
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Owlboy is a three-pronged attack of success: the gameplay is tight, satisfying, and remains fresh throughout; the game’s world is visually stunning thanks to some truly masterful pixel art and you’ll find yourself really caring about the cast of characters and the world surrounding them thanks to a compelling storyline and background lore. This is a game that is absolutely worth your time; if anything we’ve mentioned above has you even remotely intrigued by this game, we urge you to consider giving it a go.
This cat knows where it's at. With tight controls, retro-styled minimal art style and a superb sense of progression, Gato Roboto is the perfect Metroidvania (or Meowtroidvania) to play whilst you’re waiting for an actual Metroid or appropriate Castlevania game. Only its difficulty leaves a bit to be desired at times - anybody with a lick of experience will likely breeze through it in no time, and we wish it lasted a little longer. Nevertheless, some people may well see its brevity as a plus point and the game is chock full of meaningful upgrades, secrets and spectacular boss battles to keep you busy, if only for a few hours.
Gorgeous to behold and equally delightful to play, Timespinner is yet another top-notch Metroidvania on Switch. A lack of tough exploration challenges and an under-utilised time-freeze gimmick aside, it succeeds in using the popular genre as a vehicle for a genuinely intriguing science-fantasy tale that will motivate players to explore every inch of its fantastic pixel-art world.
Blasphemous is a beautifully crafted Soulslike/Metroidvania action game set in a delightfully unhinged, deliriously gory world filled with well-designed enemies, satisfyingly meaty combat and some truly memorable and grotesque boss battles. Platforming sections are uniformly well-crafted and the whole thing comes together to create one of the most visually arresting and solidly enjoyable action titles currently available on Switch. Spanish developers The Game Kitchen have created a nightmare world in Cvstodia, one that will truly test your combat and platforming skills and leave you begging for more come that final bloody battle.
What we have here is a flawless port of a game which nobody expected to see on Switch, and it absolutely deserves all of the praise it has received. From start to finish, Ori and the Blind Forest is a real joy to play. Challenging yet never feeling unfair or discouraging, and almost relaxing to control, the mesmerising art style and musical score are the icing on the cake that makes the player actually care about the protagonist and want to keep playing to the game’s conclusion. It is a surprise to see this game make its way to the Nintendo Switch, but we’re very glad that it has - it's an unmissable experience.
The original La-Mulana was a masterpiece in its own right, but we’d contend that it’s been edged out by the sequel. What we have here is an expertly-paced, crushingly difficult, and utterly mystifying adventure that constantly beckons you to explore deeper and acquaint yourself with its unique charms. La-Mulana 2 definitely isn’t for everybody – if you consider yourself an impatient or clumsy player, steer clear – but those who put in the time and effort to crack this nut will be deeply satisfied that they did so. We’d give La-Mulana 2 a high recommendation for anybody looking for a deep and challenging new Metroidvania for their Switch; it’s an acquired taste, but one you will come to savour.
Carrion is a special thing in many ways--a game which puts you in the shoes (or slithering eldritchtentacles) of the game's 'boss'--but its actual meat and potatoes structure is as formulaic as the genre gets. Thankfully, its core gameplay of tearing room after room of people into wet chunks of corpse never, ever gets old, and sustains the experience throughout. It looks superb, sounds great and is plenty of fun to play, despite some minor issues which just hold Carrion back from the absolute upper echelons of the Switch library. Still, if you're after a Metroidvania with a twist, this one is digustingly intriguing.
Shantae and the Seven Sirens is the culmination of everything WayForward has learned since that initial release a little less than two decades back. It pulls some of the best elements from the titles that came before it – such as the dungeons and fast transformations – while adding in several cool new ones too, like the collectable cards and lovable new characters. A short-but-sweet runtime, well-drawn visuals, a catchy soundtrack and a well-designed map make this one an easy recommendation to anybody looking for the next must-have Metroidvania for their Switch.
Minoria is a great Metroidvania that we’d hate to see slip under the radar amongst the more well-known titles like Bloodstained and Hollow Knight. It’s not quite as feature-rich as some of the other titles in the genre and will only last roughly five hours or so, but the combat is so impressive that we’d urge you to check it out.
Alwa’s Legacy is an excellent example of how to do a proper sequel; it takes everything that Alwa's Awakening did well and builds on it, adds in a few new ideas of its own, and corrects the issues that were previously present. It may be a little on the short side, but Alwa’s Legacy is the special sort of game that only comes around once in a great while, reminding you of the kind of quality that’s possible when a dedicated crew puts in the time to make a polished and tightly designed final product.
Though slightly more linear than The Blind Forest, Ori and the Will of the Wisps still scratches that Metroidvania itch beautifully. It's not just a great sequel; in many ways, it outdoes its predecessor. The addition of more customization options, a greater focus on combat and a better-developed story – all in a game that's running at 60 frames per second – allows the sequel to comprehensively outshine the original. This came at a cost of stability at launch (a patch is in the works which will hopefully banish the occasional soft locks and crashes).
Even with these issues, though, Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a must-buy for anyone even the slightest bit interested, and we're confident that the stability problems will be addressed. This is a supremely enjoyable platform adventure which everyone should experience.
That's a pretty tasty collection, wouldn't you say? Think we've missed one? Reckon the patchy Switch version of Bloodstained gets enough right to warrant inclusion? Let us know in the comments 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.