It’s been a fantastic year for the Nintendo Switch. We got new Super Mario games, some great remasters, ports of a few games that previously blew up on PC, and, of course, an absolutely massive sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Even though the Nintendo Switch’s successor is likely just around the corner, there’s no shortage of great games to play on the Switch you might already own. Nintendo can take all the time it needs to launch its next console; whenever that comes out, I’ll probably still be working through quests in Tears of the Kingdom.
Here are some of the best Nintendo Switch games from 2023.
Advance Wars 1 + 2 Re-Boot Camp packages up the original Game Boy Advance games and spruces them up with some modern-day improvements. The maps have significantly updated graphics that make them look like tabletop board games, and Nintendo added things like a map designer and the ability to play online multiplayer to make two long games even longer. If you need a good strategy game on Switch, well, Re-Boot Camp has two.
Dave the Diver shouldn’t work — but it absolutely does. Much of the game features roguelike spearfishing exploration where you have to hunt fish and search for treasures underwater. That’s a lot of fun on its own, but pretty much everything you find can then be used to bolster a sushi restaurant, which you operate like a Diner Dash time management game. It creates a loop that’s incredibly fun to dive into — and the charming graphics, art, and characters make it all the more fun to play.
Metroid Prime Remastered is a fantastic version of an already fantastic game. Everything great about Retro Studios’ brilliant GameCube title is present in this Nintendo Switch update, but it also has upgraded graphics and a dual-stick control scheme. We’re still waiting for any substantial news about Metroid Prime 4 following that game’s development reboot in 2019. In the meantime, Metroid Prime Remastered is great for people who never played the original and for veterans who have already explored every nook and cranny of Tallon IV.
I had lofty expectations for Tears of the Kingdom, a sequel to the incredible Breath of the Wild, but the game exceeded them. Even though Tears takes place in the same Hyrule as Breath of the Wild, Nintendo made it feel fresh by packing it with interesting new shrines, quests, characters, and enemies. I loved exploring both the new Sky Islands and underground Depths. And Link’s new powers, including the ability to build almost anything you can imagine with Ultrahand, let me break the game in ways that made me feel like an absolute genius.
I’ve already poured dozens and dozens of hours into Tears of the Kingdom, and I know I’m going to keep playing for a lot more.
Pikmin 4 is both chill and intense. A lot of times, you’re going through the motions of the soothing Pikmin formula: growing pikmin, finding treasures, bringing them back to your base, growing more pikmin, finding treasures… you get it. But in Pikmin 4, you’ll also spend a lot of time in spooky underground caverns and facing off against fearsome monsters at night. The fast-paced Dandori challenges that force you to be at your organizational best can be stressful, too.
The varied activities keep the game fresh and interesting — especially since you have the adorable dog-like companion Oatchi by your side throughout — making Pikmin 4 my favorite game in the series to date.
I’m going to take the easy pun: Super Mario Bros. Wonder is wonderful. The new 2D Super Mario platformer is stuffed with creative and whimsical levels that are nearly all an absolute blast to explore. I loved seeking out Wonder Seeds to see the genuinely surprising ways they would change things up. And the online multiplayer made me actually feel like I was playing with other people even when I was alone on the couch. Now that I’m done with the game, my mind has been wondering how Nintendo will follow up on Wonder.
In a year full of great remakes, Super Mario RPG stands out as one of the best. This Switch adaptation of Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars updates the graphics and music from the Super NES classic but retains a lot of the original game’s charm; Mario still looks a little odd, you’ll still take down baddies with well-timed button presses, and you still get to meet some of Nintendo’s weirdest characters. The updated music rocks, too.
The indie action roguelike Vampire Survivors was one of the biggest surprises of 2022 (even though it technically came out in 2021), and now it’s available to play on Nintendo Switch — and with multiplayer. Everything from the PC version of the game, including the huge number of characters and two paid expansions, made it over to the Switch version, and the multiplayer is a lot of fun. And with developer Poncle working on ways to make the game even more replayable, Vampire Survivors gets you a lot of monster-slaying bang for your buck.