The 10 Best Nintendo Switch Games of 2023 – SwitchArcade Special – TouchArcade

Hello once again, friends. Welcome to the final SwitchArcade Special Edition for the year of 2023. Yes, it’s time. Time to list out our ten favorite Nintendo Switch games for the year. It was a very tough one this time, as there were a lot of really awesome games released on the platform. In the past I’ve tried to limit these selections to things not covered in some of our other articles, but this year I’m just going to go for it. These are the ten 2023 Nintendo Switch releases I liked the most. This guy, Shaun. If you have a different list or have things in a different order, I would say that is very normal. I’d be more surprised if yours was exactly the same. So if you have some favorites you want to share, head on down to the comments and tell the world about them. Let’s get to my selections!

10. DRAINUS ($19.99)

While to the layperson all shoot-em-ups might all seem rather similar to one another, I would say with some conviction that each one has a character all of its own. DRAINUS is an incredibly polished example of the genre that is more beginner-friendly than the average entry. You have a lot of tools to keep yourself alive, and the longer you play the more powerful you’ll become. The shooting action itself is snappy and fun, and the boss battles are suitably epic. It’s a shooter I would recommend even to someone who doesn’t usually get into games from this genre, and that’s a rarer thing than you might expect. Another outstanding title on a platform that is swimming in great choices for the genre.

9. Meg’s Monster ($14.99)

You’ve probably noticed this game is appearing frequently in all of these year-end lists around here. That’s because I think it’s a really great game that everyone should try, but it’s also because not many others are going to mention it. This is the sad thing about how many games come out these days. Meg’s Monster is a powerful experience, one that hit me in my heart like a sock full of Canadian nickels. I will never forget this little story about a monster named Roy and the little girl he stumbles across one day. But somehow, even special games like this can be swept away by the relentless tides of new games. Don’t let Meg’s Monster be carried away from your shores.

8. The Making of Karateka ($19.99)

Building on the extremely well-executed Atari 50‘s foundations, this is an incredibly deep dive into a single game and everything that went into its creation. There are a handful of versions of the game in question that can be played here along with a few other bits and bobs, and they’re enjoyable enough in their own right. But having such rich context provided for each of them makes it even more compelling to dig into these historical artifacts. It doesn’t matter if you like Karateka or not – this interactive documentary is equally fascinating for any student of gaming’s past. I’m excited to play the next Gold Master Series game, and I hope to one day have a digital shelf full of these superb pieces of art.

7. Metroid Prime Remastered ($39.99)

I can still clearly remember the first time I laid my eyes on Metroid Prime. I thought it was going to be an absolute disaster. Turning my beloved Metroid into a first-person shooter? No sir, I don’t like it. Then I played it, and I shut my stupid mouth in a hurry. This is a genuine first-person, 3D take on the Metroid formula. The “remaster” here in particular really went above and beyond in updating the game, and it somehow manages to be one of the best-looking games on a platform three generations past its origin. If you’ve never played Metroid Prime before, this is an excellent way to do so. If you have played it before, there’s a good chance you’re about due for a replay.

6. Astlibra Revision ($24.99)

I really had no idea what I was in for with this game when I first started it, but I had heard a great deal of praise from others when it hit other platforms. And yes, this is indeed quite the specimen. It’s an action-RPG that goes on for a frankly absurd amount of hours, but the time just flies thanks to the solid mechanics and compelling character progression. If you’re looking for a game that will keep you busy for a very long time without boring you, Astlibra Revision is an excellent pick. I really couldn’t put it down.

5. Pikmin 4 ($59.99)

After the surprising success of the Switch version of Pikmin 3, it seemed pretty much inevitable we would finally see the promised fourth entry. And hey, it came. It looks amazing, it’s easier to get into than ever, and it remains one of the most charming real-time strategy games you could imagine. Along with the surprise release of ports of the first two games in the series, the Switch is now the ultimate home of Pikmin games and I couldn’t be happier about it. It’s a great series because each of the games has enough differences to make it feel like its own thing. I’m not sure if Pikmin 4 is the best of the bunch, but I know I had a great time with it.

4. PowerWash Simulator ($24.99)

It’s hard to believe, but I ended up pouring just about as many hours into PowerWash Simulator as I did Tears of the Kingdom this year. This is a great game to chill with, cleaning the many interesting settings the game throws at you with your power washer and a few handy nozzles. Every little thing you clean flashes and gives you a little “ding!”, and you will soon learn to live for the “ding!”. The free DLC is also incredibly generous, greatly extending the already robust main campaign. You get to wash Tifa’s bar! Lara Croft’s mansion! I don’t know why this works as well as it does, but it’s an utter vampire of time. I’d start playing before bed, look up at the clock, and realize I had to get up for work in a couple hours. Wild. Love it.

3. Suika Game ($2.99)

While this has been out for a couple of years in Japan, it suddenly went viral this year and that got us a North American release in the year 2023. It’s tough to describe all of the ways this game pulls you in, but I believe it’s a fine combination of a charming presentation, predictable physics that can still sometimes surprise you, and just the right amount of randomness to force you to adjust your plans on the fly. Going for a watermelon is always a solid challenge, and even once you’ve accomplished that you can always aim for a higher score. I don’t know if I’ll still be playing Suika Game in 2025, but we’re about to head into 2024 and I’m not tired of it yet.

2. Super Mario Bros. Wonder ($59.99)

The last time Mario and Link went head to head for a Game of the Year title, I wasn’t in the position of having to make the call for our site. If I had been, I probably would have picked Super Mario Odyssey over Breath of the Wild, but only by a whisker. This time I do have to make the call, and after a lot of thinking and hand-wringing, I’ve decided on the opposite, but again by the thinnest of whiskers. Super Mario Bros. Wonder delivers exactly what is in its title: wonder. When a Mario game clicks with me, I feel like I’m seven years old again, clutching an NES controller in my hands and dazzled by all the things that Super Mario Bros. and its sequels brought to the genre.

Super Mario Bros. Wonder has it. The feels-good playability of the first Super Mario Bros. game. The surreal design sense of Super Mario Bros. 2. All the wild energy of Super Mario Bros. 3. The interesting secrets of Super Mario World. The sheer creativity of the level set-ups in Yoshi’s Island. I like the New Super Mario Bros. games more than most people, but even I have to admit that this one makes it look like our plumber hero was on vacation from the 2D platformer space for the last thirty years. It’s fun like the way a video game should be. A truly magnificent game, and another jewel in the Switch’s absurdly heavy crown.

1. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom ($69.99)

And so here we are, with the obvious pick. Sometimes that happens. Honestly, I thought The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom had it fully in the bag, no contest, back when it came out. It’s one of those games where you almost immediately feel that it’s on a level of its own. Then Mario had to roll in and make this an actual fight. Here I will note that I have selected Tears of the Kingdom over the insistent protests of our pal Mikhail, who would have preferred to see Super Mario Bros. Wonder up here. So why The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom?

Ultimately, I feel the new mechanics did some very heavy lifting in terms of making this world we’ve already seen feel fresh. The Ultrahand in particular totally changes the interactivity of the world, allowing us to have entirely new situations and “conversations” with familiar elements. So much of the fun in Breath of Wild was in how you started as a small speck in a big world and gradually became a force to be reckoned with. Tears of the Kingdom ups the ante on this progression, and you almost feel like a god of some sort by the end. Fortunately, it also throws an appropriate counter force against you so that you have a reason to push yourself further.

It’s not a perfect game, but that’s not really what any of this is about. It is, however, a tremendously fun game that shapes itself to the player’s imagination and creative whims, all while maintaining a nice balance of exploration, puzzle-solving, combat, and even a little story as a treat. I don’t know how the Zelda team is going to one-up this, and I don’t know if a return trip to this specific version of Hyrule would work again. But it certainly worked this time, and I’m just sitting here flabbergasted we got two Zelda games of this level of quality in a single generation of hardware.

And that’s the list for this year, friends. I really want to hear about some of your picks and favorites from 2023. Go ahead and drop them in the comments so I can give them a read. That wraps it up for me for this year, either here or in the regular SwitchArcade article. If it happens to be here, I will say thanks for sticking with TouchArcade and me for another year. We really appreciate every reader. I hope you’ve all had great years, and I wish you all the best for the coming year. Have a Happy New Year, and see you in 2024!

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