And we are back! Another year ended and the dust settled, it was full of Switch games. It may have been lacking in the mainline Zelda or Mario, but Pokémon fans got a double bubble in 2022, with Pokémon Legends: Arceus and Pokémon Scarlet and Violet leading and trailing the year.
Between these powerful Pocket Monster packages, we got a generous portion of Kirby (plus a tasty side dish), a selection of sports (both Switch and Mario Strikers), and a trio of excellent games with a ‘3’ in the title (Xenoblade, Splatoon, and Bayonetta), both Koei Tecmo and Ubisoft are taking over the Nintendo IP with Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes and Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope respectively.
This is just first party stuff. Throw in all the high-quality third-party releases—Square Enix, in particular, was on fire this year with games like Triangle Strategy, Dragon Quest Treasures, and Crisis Core—and a flood of excellent indie games, including Citizen Sleeper, Neon White, Tunic, and Chained Echoes, a great collection of vintage compilations, a bunch of quality ports of games big and small, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to play everything we want.
Which brings us to your picks for the 50 best Switch games of 2022. As always, we asked Nintendo Life readers to rate games this year, and the list below—according to user ratings for each title in our gaming database—is the result. Ranking can and will change, even after publication, Subject to the vagaries of user ratings, which means it’s never too late to rate your collection (even those that pesky late December arrived) and influence the roster.
Can’t see your favourites? Head over to our library of Switch games and use the search bar to find what you’re looking for (or scroll to the top of this page to do the same). Noticeable. For a game to be eligible, it must have been rated by at least 30 users.
Enough waffle. Let’s scroll down and enjoy the 50 Best Games of the Year, 2022 Edition…
publisher: epic games / Developer: My voice
Fall Guys’ brand of chaotic fun is still great all these years later, and the free Switch version is no different, assuming you can ignore your opponents’ choppy frame rate. While there are some disappointing elements associated with cross-play progression, these ultimately won’t matter if this is your first time getting into Blunderdome. Aside from some moments of lag and frame rate quirks, the Switch version offers a solid way to play if you’re looking for some solid 60-grain battles, and the barrier to entry has never been lower.
publisher: SloClap / Developer: SloClap
Sifu was one of the best games of the year when it launched on other platforms, and now it’s no different on Switch. Its intense combat that pushes you to the limits of your skills, paired with its clever aging mechanic, makes for one of the most satisfying gaming experiences in the beat’em up genre. Although the Switch port is clearly reverted to a slightly earlier version of the PS5 version, it’s still a more than valid option for Nintendo-only gamers and those who want to experience kung-fu brawler on the go.
publisher: Electronic Arts / Developer: Hazel
If you are unaware of the gaming news at the end of 2021, you will be a little interested in this game. They’re full of fun, uniquely committed to cooperative games, play with power and distinction, and usually discard one great idea in favor of another before there’s time to get bored. Standard graphical compromises are now made for the Switch, and the typical advantage of hand-playing is questionable for an always-only split-screen co-op game. However, it keeps the tires moving well enough not to undermine the luster of the game of the year. It takes two and the good old key may not be a perfect marriage, but it’s worth holding on to.
publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo
Nintendo Switch Sports is a charming yet stripped-down offering. It’s by no means a bad game but it lacks a lot that could make a strong recommendation. Online play is the best option on offer with unlockable customizations and an expectedly wider selection of players, but its limited scope means you’ll be doing the same thing over and over again. Local play is hampered by the lack of any unlockables whatsoever, and with such limited options for changing how each sport is played, the solo play is a hassle. There’s fun to be had here, but it’s more in the context of the occasional 30-minute gaming sessions with friends than anything else that has much appeal in the long run. Nintendo Switch Sports is “good,” then, but a little more than that.
publisher: Ubisoft / Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection is a great compilation of some of the series’ most popular entries. Aside from some battles that lack depth and a convoluted story, the three games listed here are totally worth your time. It’s still a lot of fun if this is your first Assassin’s Creed experience, as the cities still manage to impress with their sense of scale and historical detail, but some old game elements and glitches might make other entries a better jump. Point. The Rebel Collection is a very good alternative if you want slightly more modern interpretations of the series, with a flair for sailing. However, if you’re already a fan and can stomach its shortcomings – old and new – this is a fun excursion into[the video game’s]history and an easy recommendation.
publisher: digital return / Developer: Huge monster
Cult of the Lamb proved to be a remarkably fresh take on the roguelite genre, not only in its gritty and creepy aesthetics, but in its clever blending of action and survival mechanics. The gameplay remains tense without ever feeling unfair, and a constant stream of unlockables and collectibles ensures your efforts are always rewarded. It’s a shame the performance isn’t quite right, at least at launch, because that’s the only major complaint we have here. We still make this heartfelt recommendation to anyone who thinks it might be right up their alley; It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Cult of the Lamb proves to be a great new addition to the Switch’s library.
publisher: Yacht club games / Developer: netrum
Shovel Knight Dig is another triumphant and entertaining entry in the growing legacy of the popular indie knight, offering exciting and challenging gameplay that will appeal to fans old and new. While it might be a bit on the short side, every minute of Shovel Knight Dig positively exudes quality, whether it’s the fast action or the fresh 16-bit animation style. We’d give this one a high recommendation to anyone who enjoyed the original platformers or anyone looking for a challenging (but not too hard) new roguelite. The Shovel Knight Dig has earned the right place and can stand tall alongside its noble ancestors.
publisher: Bandai Namco / Developer: Bandai Namco
For fans of Pac-Man and his historical lineage, Pac-Man Museum + is the best tour yet, spanning decades and showcasing the highlights of his titles. The arcade overworld is a nice touch, though the frame rate is a huge letdown and really needs to be sorted out. And while you may spend some time overhauling and designing your arcade space, the appeal of the gimmick is ultimately short-lived. Presentation shortcomings aside, one can’t really fault the comprehensiveness of the collection, nor the quality of the titles themselves (well, except for Back in Time). It’s a Pac Fest, and while it certainly has limited appeal, it offers endless hours of gaming fun and an interesting historical insight into the evolution of the Yellow Orb.
publisher: sega / Developer: sega
On the one hand, Sonic Origins is an almost definitive way to experience four stone-cold classics that represent some of the highest peaks of Sonic’s career. On the other hand, most of these games are already available and there are not many new features or additions to justify buying them again. The cutscenes, museum items, and missions are great fun but also the bare minimum you’d expect for a prestige and popular series.
For gamers ready to play these classics for the first time, Sonic Origins is the go-to way to experience Sonic’s 16-bit heyday. Die-hard 2D Sonic veterans may be less than impressed with the package and the small but noticeable differences between the classic modes offered here and the games in their true original configurations. Regardless, it’s definitely nice to have a Sonic CD available in a convenient format on even the most suitable console. Not perfect, then, but great comfort food toys.
publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Omega Force
Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is a thoroughly entertaining mix of Musou mayhem, strategy, and relationship-building aspects that should please more than one fan of both franchises involved here. It improves on its 2017 predecessor in a number of ways, most notably by offering a more engaging story featuring a narrative ready for multiple replays. With impressively solid performance on the Switch and an action-packed campaign that will see you slash your way through tens of thousands of enemies for a good 30 hours in a single game, this is right up there with the best game Omega Force has to offer this dimension.
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