Eight great Switch indies
From retro gaming to innovative modern takes
As a cheap, portable console with universal appeal, the Switch is a perfect home for indie games, and it’s no surprise the scene has thrived on Nintendo’s latest device. Here, I present eight of my favourite games from smaller development teams.
Matt Makes Games Inc. / £17.99
Celeste is a punishing platformer that makes the most of a simple moveset: jumping, dashing, and wall climbing. It’s presented in a gorgeous pixel-art retro style and controls immaculately. But that’s only one half of the story: Celeste’s plot takes in mental health issues and introduces characters you will genuinely care about.
Team Cherry / £10.99
Hollow Knight takes place in the dark — and enormous — world of Hallownest. It’s a metroidvania which tasks the hero with an epic journey of exploration, combat, and platforming. This one’s difficult, and will take tens and tens of hours for full completion, but it’s a rewarding challenge, one which is immensely satisfying to master. Ridiculously good value.
Baba Is You
Hempuli / £11.29
Quite unlike any other game on this list, Baba Is You is a true original. A series of puzzles simply ask you to reach the flag each time — for the most part. But that involves not only avoiding obstacles and manipulating the environment, but altering the very rules of the game itself by rearranging the words within. It’s very meta, and the basic setup creates endless, brain-stretching variety.
Thunder Lotus Games / £23.79
Released just one month ago, Spiritfarer is the newest game on this list and the most expensive. It’s a relaxing, peaceful game with an emphasis on the people behind the spirits you’re escorting to the afterlife. There are platforming, management, and simple puzzle elements, all rendered in a gorgeous hand-drawn style. Be warned: it can be deeply affecting.
Sidebar Games / £13.49
Golf Story is a Switch exclusive, an intriguing combination of arcade golf and RPG. The story is told with a dollop of dry humour, but it’s the classic 8-bit styling and smooth gameplay which will keep you battling across its diverse courses. Several mini-games and additional challenges add to the action.
SteamWorld Dig 2
Image & Form Games / £14.99
SteamWorld Dig 2 builds on its predecessor’s digging mechanic, wrapping it in an engaging metroidvania which is highly accessible in terms of length and difficulty. It’s a perfect introduction to the genre and looks the part, with a nicely pitched steampunk aesthetic. There are secrets and optional extras, but they’re pleasingly attainable.
Children of Morta
11 bit studios / £19.79
I went into Children of Morta with no expectations, other than wanting to see more and more of its beautiful pixel-art. It’s a combat-driven roguelike which introduces a family of characters, each with their own skills and backstory. The fighting can be tricky and repetitive at times, but the game keeps things fresh by interweaving its story with the action and crafting compelling levels.
Yoku’s Island Express
Team 17 & Villa Gorilla / £15.99
One more metroidvania (can you tell I’m a fan of this genre?), Yoku’s Island Express mixes things up by combining the standard exploration and power-up fare with pinball mechanics. It sounds like it shouldn’t work, but this is another highly accessible game which is a great counterpart to SteamWorld Dig 2. Lovable characters and delightful, joyful moments await.