The top 10 indie games you need in your Nintendo Switch library
© Team Cherry
Looking for something new to play that won’t break the bank? We’ve made a list of our favourite indie games for the Nintendo Switch.
The Nintendo Switch is unique in its ability to allow gamers to play great titles on the go in handheld mode and on their TVs in docked mode. They can play on their lunch breaks, during commutes, or while waiting for any number of appointments they couldn’t put off any longer.
As a result, this style of gaming has attracted a lot of indie developers to the console. The Nintendo eShop has accumulated hundreds of indies since the console’s release over three years ago. But what are the best indie games to play? We looked at which Nindies stand out above the rest, making the best use of the portability of the Nintendo Switch.
1. SteamWorld Heist: Ultimate Edition
In this title, you play as Captain Piper Faraday, a feisty robot space pirate that recruits an unlikely crew of robots to loot and shoot their way through enemy spaceships. Heist is a turn-based strategy game with a twist. Players can aim their three-robot teams’ guns for extra ricochet hits, which can make or break a stage. It’s great in handheld mode, as the touch screen capabilities allow for more precision when making those tricky shots. Players can upgrade their pirates with unique abilities, weapons, and of course cool hats. All the SteamWorld games are great, so you'll be happy picking up any of them.
A young boy, known as “the Kid”, ventures out in search of the truth behind the Calamity, a surreal disaster that has left the world in pieces. This action role-playing game is unique with its approach to storytelling. What stands out is the narrator, who sounds like they came straight out of a western movie, reacting in time with every move you make. It’s like if Sam Elliott was sitting next to you giving a play by play of your progress. The game will reward you for using your weapons and abilities with finesse and accuracy, so there is a great challenge to be offered to players. For those who just want to experience the story, there’s a No-Sweat Mode to take some of the pressure off.
3. Nuclear Throne
The world, as we know it, is gone and all that’s left are mutants that spend their days battling it out to be the number one freak in the post-apocalyptic world. This action rogue-like game offers up to a dozen different mutants to play as, each with their own unique passive and active abilities. Mutants can collect and carry two weapons at a time, either melee or ranged, and absorb radiation from enemies and canisters throughout stages to level up and acquire new abilities. The game is incredibly difficult, and players start from the beginning every time they die, with nothing gained but the experience from the game before. Local co-op lets you take on the world with a friend. Just try not to fight over the ammo and weapon drops.
4. Stardew Valley
When your grandfather passes, leaving you his farm, you’re left with a multitude of new ways to spend your days. To make money, farmers in this indie game can grow crops, tend to animals, mine, build, forage and so much more. There are a lot of areas to explore and different characters that live around the farm for you to develop relationships with, including romantic ones (maybe you’ll even find the one). This life simulator is incredibly addicting since it's so easy to pick up and resume at any time. There are so many secrets to discover and items to collect that it's hard to put down. With the addition of online multiplayer, players can run their farm with up to three friends and work together to build an agricultural empire.
5. Dead Cells
A failed alchemic experiment is brought back to life by mysterious and magical means to explore and fight their way through a seemingly inescapable island. The Dead Cells gameplay experience can be described as Roguevania, a hybrid of classic Castlevania with a side of permadeath. The layout of the island changes after each death and there’s a variety of gear to collect, giving players a new experience every time they pick up the game. The gear is a combination of weapons, skills, and amulets as well as some permanent upgrades. The game is also very flexible with level design. If players get tired of a certain area, they can take another path and try out different enemies elsewhere.
Cuphead gambles a little more than he can afford to at the Devil’s Casino and is forced to work as a debt collector for the Devil himself. Joined by his brother Mugman, in an optional two player co-op mode, this run and gun game has a heavy focus on boss battles. Bosses are tough right from the start and there are a lot of them. Players will have to hone their skills, picking the right weapons and super moves, if they want to stand a chance. The biggest plus to this game is the animation, which is beautifully inspired by cartoons of the 1930s.The developers even used a lot of the same techniques as they did in that era, with hand drawn cells and watercolour backgrounds. The music is fantastic too, with all original jazz recordings.
7. Hollow Knight
A silent insect knight explores and fights his way through Hallownest, a bug filled kingdom, to put together the pieces of his mysterious destiny. Hollow Knight is a gorgeous action adventure game that spans over a massive interconnected world. This is one of the few games where you’ll feel like you haven’t paid enough money to play it. The main story is huge and there’s so much to explore, battle and collect. But that’s not all, Team Cherry, the team behind the game, also threw in additional content packs for free. That’s a handful of extra campaigns at no extra cost to play after the main story is complete, all for under 20 bucks.
A young woman named Madeline with a desire to climb Celeste Mountain, must brave a multitude of obstacles to reach the top, the biggest one being herself. This colourful pixel adventure has simple controls, just jump, air-dash and climb. Don’t be fooled by the outward simplicity of Celeste, this tough as nails platformer is incredibly rewarding if you stick with it long enough to get good. There are even added challenges players can complete for extra bragging rights. The story is very touching and many players will relate to Madeline’s struggle to face the worst side of herself in order to reach her aspirations.
In this Greek mythology inspired title, you play as Zagreus, the son of Hades, who dreams of meeting his family in Olympus but is forced to stay in the Underworld by his father. Zagreus decides that he’s had enough and does whatever the grown-up god version of running away from home is. Using weapons, trinkets, and blessings from his extended family, he hacks and slashes through the Underworld in this roguelike dungeon crawler and learns more about himself with each attempt to escape. All the gods, spirits and creatures in this game are fully realized with gorgeous animations and full voice acting. Hades was developed by Supergiant Games, which also made Bastion.
10. The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+
A frightened, crying toddler named Isaac runs and hides in his basement to escape his murderous mother. Within said basement, Isaac finds an enormous labyrinth of rooms filled with monsters and uses nothing but his projectile tears to defend himself. This dark humoured dungeon-crawling shoot-'em-up is one of a kind and plays wonderfully on the Nintendo Switch. Each run is randomly generated and unique with over 11,000 different rooms to explore. Not only do the rooms change but so does Isaac himself, who can collect over 600 items to alter his abilities, making no two runs the same. Local co-op is available, where friends can pose as your flying baby sidekicks and their attacks are just as powerful as Isaac’s.