It's been another great year for video game lovers, and Nintendo players especially had a plethora of great titles to pick from. As there are still shortages of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S leaving many gamers without the current-gen console, Nintendo released its new OLED model to moderate success, providing an enhanced gaming experience without leaving previous-gen players behind with new-console exclusives.
Of all of the titles released in 2021 for the Switch, there were a handful that really stood out, providing great experiences for players across the board, regardless of your gaming expertise. Here are some of our favorite games available for the Nintendo Switch we saw this year.
'Mario Party Superstars'
The newest addition in the Mario Party franchise, Superstars brings in favorite minigames and boards from the first three titles, offering a taste of nostalgia for longtime players and a unique experience for new ones. This title removes some of the features that made it harder for older audiences to play, like the motion controls, but that arguably makes it a better game for the whole family.
This surprise announcement in the Metroid franchise was easily one of the best games for the Switch this year, releasing the same day as the OLED model. As the first 2D platformer in the storyline in almost two decades, Metroid Dread had a lot to live up to — and it succeeded.
'New Pokémon Snap'
2021 seemed to be the year of remakes, starting with New Pokémon Snap. Based on the original game released for the N64, this game featured even more Pokémon to photograph than the original with stunning graphics and amazing environments to explore.
'Monster Hunter Rise'
One of two Monster Hunter games released for the Switch this year, Monster Hunter Rise built on the foundation laid in Monster Hunter: World, offering players the opportunity to hunt and battle monsters as they work toward a face-off against a new beast threatening the land. The game's multiplayer option makes this a title that'll let you connect with your friends while you work through it.
What would a roundup be without at least one cozy puzzler on it? Unpacking has you quite literally unpacking moving boxes and placing the items in a new environment, challenging players to organize the items as they go while creating a serene and cozy space. Pick up clues about the residents of the house as you unpack, though without timers or immediate goals to meet, this title is truly about creating a zen experience for the player.
'NEO: The World Ends With You'
Another action RPG from Square Enix, Neo: The World Ends With You follows Rindo as he's forced to compete in the Reapers' Game. In this sequel to the 2007 title The World Ends With You, follow an entirely new cast of characters as they take the streets of Shibuya.
'Little Nightmares II'
While this prequel was originally released at the end of 2020, Little Nightmares II finally made its way to the Nintendo Switch in early 2021, bringing horrifyingly serene graphics to your console. Partner with Six as you navigate through Pale City as Mono in this platformer that is bound to satisfy horror fans.
While maybe not everyone's favorite pick, this free-to-play MOBA-style title is a great way for Pokémon fans to keep up with the franchise without breaking the bank. Battle with Pokémon in a new play style you won't need a Nintendo Online subscription to play.
'Animal Crossing: New Horizons'
OK, we know that New Horizons was technically released in 2020, but with the 2.0 update, the title feels almost like an entirely new game — which is why we included it this year as well. With the addition of 16 new villagers, 9,000 new items, the ability to cook and farm, and a DLC, New Horizons received a huge makeover this year that deserves at least a nod.