Velocity 2X (Switch eShop)

Velocity 2X (Switch eShop)Velocity 2X (Switch eShop)
Publisher: Curve Digital / Developer: FuturLab
Release Date: 20th Sep 2018 (USA) / 20th Sep 2018 (UK/EU)

'All killer, no filler'; music to our ears. In an age where indie titles are becoming increasingly more reliant on procedural generation to do all the heavy lifting, it can be immensely satisfying to play a game that is tailor-made for one specific experience. Velocity 2X excels in this regard, offering up an immaculately designed, endlessly replayable arcade experience - half shoot 'em up, half platformer - that shows just how engaging twitch gameplay can be. This is one you definitely don’t want to miss out on. We're usually happy enough to experience the 'no filler' part of the well-known phrase, but Velocity 2X supplies the 'killer' too.

Severed (Switch eShop)

Severed (Switch eShop)Severed (Switch eShop)
Publisher: Drinkbox Studios / Developer: Drinkbox Studios
Release Date: 8th Aug 2017 (USA) / 8th Aug 2017 (UK/EU)

A joy to behold from start to finish, Severed also appeared on Wii U and 3DS, so there's a better chance that you caught it elsewhere before. However, if you didn't, it's an almost perfectly executed action-adventure game with RPG elements, real-time combat and a whole lot of slicing the body parts from various creatures. With beautifully designed dungeons full of rewarding puzzles and a pleasing combat system, you’ll likely find yourself wishing you could play more of the game when it's over. That’s the only real downside – you’ll probably be finished with the main story after six hours and left wanting more – although wishing you could play more isn’t necessarily a complaint if you're a time-starved gamer with a backlog. If you have the means to do so, we heartily recommend putting that backlog to one side and giving this one a go.

Floor Kids (Switch eShop)

Floor Kids (Switch eShop)Floor Kids (Switch eShop)
Publisher: MERJ Media / Developer: MERJ Media
Release Date: 7th Dec 2017 (USA) / 18th Dec 2017 (UK/EU)

Dizzyingly stylish and crazy fun, Floor Kids is a breakdance battle trip with infectious sketch-art style, a driving musical pulse, and engaging, creative flow-state gameplay. Its DIY-dancing mechanics grant players a freedom seldom seem in rhythm games, and that gamble completely pays off; instead of tapping along to the beat, you’re tapping into a sense of flow, creativity and fun to make your own moves, and that’s both immensely satisfying and wholly unique. Whether you’re a wannabe breaker or a music game guru looking to dance to a different drum, Floor Kids is a killer cut.

Rolling Gunner (Switch eShop)

Rolling Gunner (Switch eShop)Rolling Gunner (Switch eShop)
Publisher: Mebius / Developer: Mebius
Release Date: 20th Jun 2019 (USA) / 20th Jun 2019 (UK/EU)

Directed by ex-Cave dev Daisuke Koizumi, who worked on Deathsmiles 2 and Dondonpachi, amongst other great entries in the genre, Rolling Gunner has pedigree, and it shows; this is one of the most addictive, accessible and downright fun shmups currently available on Nintendo’s system. It plays beautifully, looks amazing and is overall one of the most engaging side-scrolling shmups released in recent memory. Kudos to Mebius for creating an entry in the genre that does so much to welcome newcomers into the fold whilst at the same time offering a blisteringly difficult challenge with plenty of hidden depth for hardened warriors looking for their next shooter addiction.

FAR: Lone Sails (Switch eShop)

FAR: Lone Sails (Switch eShop)FAR: Lone Sails (Switch eShop)
Publisher: Mixtvision / Developer: Okomotive
Release Date: 18th Aug 2019 (USA) / 18th Aug 2019 (UK/EU)

Without saying a word, FAR: Lone Sails conveys a poignant tale of hope and perseverance, masterfully balancing style with substance for an experience that feels every bit as sublime as it looks. Sure, you could grumble about the its relative shortness, the occasionally obtuse puzzles and the very, very minor control issues, but these problems dissolve away once you're invested in the journey. We highly recommend that you give this a spin.

Fight'N Rage (Switch eShop)

Fight'N Rage (Switch eShop)Fight'N Rage (Switch eShop)
Publisher: Blitworks / Developer: Seba Games Dev
Release Date: 26th Sep 2019 (USA) / 26th Sep 2019 (UK/EU)

Who says the beat 'em up is dead? Fight’N Rage is one of the must-own action games on Nintendo’s console. Its surprisingly deep and satisfyingly weighty combat engine combined with three strong and varied player characters and a host of cleverly-designed enemies elevate it above the usual button-mashing experience perhaps expected of entries in this genre. It’s got an excellent arcade mode that branches off in various directions as you make your way to the final boss battle, as well as a ton of unlockable modes and extras to keep you coming back for more. Whether you’re a learned fan of old-school beat ’em ups or you just like pummelling the life out of mutant punk pussycats and monkeys dressed as Bruce Lee, you owe it to yourself to experience what Sebastian Garcia has created here; it’s easily one of the best beat’em ups we’ve played.

Blasphemous (Switch eShop)

Blasphemous (Switch eShop)Blasphemous (Switch eShop)
Publisher: Team17 / Developer: The Game Kitchen
Release Date: 10th Sep 2019 (USA) / 10th Sep 2019 (UK/EU)

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.

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The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors (Switch)

The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors (Switch)The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors (Switch)
Publisher: ININ Games / Developer: ININ Games
Release Date: 15th Oct 2019 (USA) / 30th Aug 2019 (UK/EU)

They say you can never really go back – the game might still be there, but nostalgia mixes with memories and creates something more intoxicating in the mind than it really was. Go back to the SNES Ninja Warriors now and it’s still fun, but it’s stuck in the square box of a 4:3 screen, the animation doesn’t stand out like it did and one-player-only looks weak alongside the other Final Fight tribute acts of the day. But when you see The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors, it’s somehow exactly what you remember: huge, lush backdrops, silky animation, and tight, mob-levelling ninja moves. It makes you feel like being a kid again and, as such, this game stands as yet another essential Switch release you really should own.

Blazing Chrome (Switch eShop)

Blazing Chrome (Switch eShop)Blazing Chrome (Switch eShop)
Publisher: The Arcade Crew / Developer: JoyMasher
Release Date: 11th Jul 2019 (USA) / 11th Jul 2019 (UK/EU)

For those longing for a time when side-scrolling shooters ruled the roost, Blazing Chrome is exactly what you're looking for. Perfect for short sessions, its slick gameplay and old-school art direction make for an astonishingly fun game full of explosions, epic set pieces and spectacular boss battles. Its brutal difficulty may not be for everyone, but if you're up for the challenge, then get ready for one of the most accomplished 2D action titles in years.

Just Shapes & Beats (Switch eShop)

Just Shapes & Beats (Switch eShop)Just Shapes & Beats (Switch eShop)
Publisher: Berzerk Studio / Developer: Berzerk Studio
Release Date: 31st May 2018 (USA) / 21st Jun 2018 (UK/EU)

The energy and verve of Just Shapes & Beats is utterly infectious. True to its name, the elements are simple, but Berzerk Studio explores and executes on its modest premise with an exceptional level of polish in this self-described ‘musical bullet hell’. Bullets are the least of your worries – objects to evade range from simple Euclidean shapes to laser beams, spinning saws, spiralling tentacles and ocean waves made from EQ bars. It injects pure joy into the oppressive, pulsing panic of Terry Cavanagh’s mobile hit Super Hexagon and creates a celebratory explosion of the audio-visual in video games, showcasing chiptunes in their natural habitat. Grab some decent headphones or, better still, some friends and hook your Switch up to the hi-fi. The neighbours will love you.

All of the games above scored a 9 on Nintendo Life, but there are also a wealth of great games that didn't quite reach those lofty heights that are still worth checking out. Here are just a few of the 8/10s bubbling under that warrant another look and an honourable mention:

So, how many of these games did you manage to play when they first released? Anything here that catches your eye? Let us know your unsung Switch heroes 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, Local Wireless Multiplayer Games, Shmups, Visual Novels, Fighting Games, Hidden Gems, 2D Platformers, 3D Platformers, Run and Gun Games, Sports Games, Beat 'Em Ups, Chill Games, Family Games, Retro-Inspired Games, Short Games, Card Games and Deck-builders, Flight Sim and Space Combat, Point and Click Adventure Games, and the Best Switch Exclusives, as well as Every Arcade Archives Game, Every ACA Neo Geo Game, Every SEGA AGES Game On Switch., and the Best Switch Collections And Compilations.

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, 2019, and 2020. 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, Best SNES Games, Best N64 Games, Best GameCube Games, and Best Wii Games, as well as Every Nintendo Switch Online NES Game and Every Nintendo Switch Online SNES Game.