2019 has been a fantastic year for Nintendo Switch owners so far, with a stellar lineup from the platform holder itself joined by a near-endless stream of brilliant third party games. Finding the time to play them all is by far the biggest problems facing anyone with a Switch or Switch Lite!
Nintendo's console got off to a rocketing start in 2017 with the heavy hitters of launch game The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey, and that continued into 2018 with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate while third parties and indie devs really took Switch to their hearts, too, releasing quality new games and ports aplenty.
2019 has gifted us several top-drawer Nintendo-made Switch titles in the form of Super Mario Maker 2, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening and recently the quirky Ring Fit Adventure, Luigi's Mansion 3 and the all-conquering Pokémon Sword and Shield, but every week has brought even more essential games to the eShop from other studios, huge and tiny alike. 2020 is going to have its work cut out to beat 2019 in the software stakes.
The following list of the 50 best games from 2019 (so far) is ranked according to the user ratings associated with Switch games on Nintendo Life's database. Therefore, this list can change according to your ratings. If you've previously rated your Switch games (the ones released in 2019, that is), just sit back and enjoy. If, however, you've yet to give your personal score for some (or all) of the games below, clicking on each game's rating to cast your vote and affect the list.
Can't see your favourite? Head to our library of Switch games for 2019 and input your own ratings. A game needs a minimum of just ten ratings to become eligible at the moment (we’ll bump this up as more ratings pour in), so it's entirely possible to influence the ranking and get your favourite games onto the list.
So, without further prevarication, let's take a look at the best Switch games from 2019!
We struggle to recall a dystopia quite as cheerful as the one found in Pikuniku. It’s a short game, but one packed with heart and imagination, with a great single-player component and excellent couch co-op that can genuinely be enjoyed by anyone. It makes us remember the fun we had cutting pieces from our friends in Snipperclips, but where we occasionally hit a brick wall with that game, Pikuniku sidesteps frustration in favour of a breezy and charming adventure; a perfect salve if you need a break from the backlog, but don’t dive in expecting endless hours of gameplay.
If you’re new to the series, Yoshi’s Crafted World has colour and charm to spare, even if its inventiveness is largely limited to its looks. For Yoshi fans, it does exactly what you expect it to, which is perhaps the worst thing we can say about it; it contains few genuine surprises. The game is delightfully presented, though, and makes for another very solid entry in Nintendo’s ever-growing pantheon of material-based platformers. If you’re looking to share a light-hearted platformer with the family, or simply relax in a big chair with a cup of something warm and a comfy pair of socks, be sure to have a spare pair ready – Yoshi's Crafted World will charm the ones you’re wearing right off.
This is an excellent port of a game that feels like it’s found a natural home on Switch thanks to a plethora of control options and the console’s natural facility with vertical orientation. Short of popping your 4K TV on its side, Switch offers the very best way to play Downwell. Its roguelike structure and twitch platforming might not be for everyone, but you should really give it a chance. For our money, it’s a modern classic that should be in everyone’s collection.
AI: The Somnium Files starts out slow but once you've traversed a few of its delightfully surreal Somnium dreamscapes and got to an ending or two, working your way back through your flowchart and striking out in different directions, it becomes an engaging and tense affair. Fans of the Zero Escape games will feel right at home here, and director Kotaro Uchikoshi’s talent for putting the player into increasingly unsettling circumstances ensures everything takes flight in a very satisfying way as you work your way through the many strands of the loopy central mystery towards its various different endings.
Untitled Goose Game boasts more inventiveness, creativity and charm than the vast majority of titles on the Switch eShop, and offers a believable game world that's a real pleasure to explore, investigate and – of course – cause merry havoc in. Superb physics, excellent controls, surprisingly robust AI and unique presentation all combine to make this a real highlight in the Switch's library – it's only the brevity of the experience that lets it down, but this really is a case of quality over quantity.
Enjoyment of Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered depends almost entirely on your affection for the movies – we love 'em, but if you don’t then knock at least one point off our review score (and perhaps take a long hard look in the mirror). For the rest of us, this is a wonderful form of time travel. It has no business calling itself a remaster and is best approached as a straight port of a ten-year-old game, but it’s a fine one. Mechanically-speaking, there's little you haven’t seen elsewhere, but it’s a good-looking, fun third-person romp dripping in slimy nostalgia, and the chance to spend time in the company of these old friends – some of them dearly departed – is too good to pass up if you've ever strapped on your school backpack and gone out to catch ghosts in the garden.
Mortal Kombat 11 is the best Mortal Kombat since MK2, a bold and bombastic entry that boasts a fighting model that finally matches the slapstick theatrics of gory Fatalities. It's further proof that MK, much like Street Fighter, has just as much relevance today as it did in the '90s thanks to the way its evolved while retaining its core identity. On Switch, it's a performance-first experience that nails 60fps, and boasts every mode and mechanic from other versions, only with a noticeable downgrade in the aesthetics department. The heavy-handed application of microtransactions aside, MK11 could be a contender for the best fighter on Nintendo Switch.
Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Complete Edition is a content-packed RPG with plenty to see and do. Its evolution system feels wholly unique when compared to another monster-breeding game series you might find on Nintendo hardware, and while the grind may be too much for some, it’s comfortably one of the best creature-catchers on the Switch – although Pokémon still holds the crown, of course.
Virtua Racing is by far the most impressive Sega Ages release to date, offering an incredible remaster that doesn’t just replicate the arcade game but actively improves its resolution and frame rate. Newcomers should be aware that it still only offers three tracks and one car, but those willing to accept this fairly meagre offering will find that the new 20-lap Grand Prix mode and the online leaderboards give it a much-needed boost of longevity. Not for everyone, then, but those who ‘get’ it will adore it.