As much as we love Nintendo’s first-party Switch games, it’s the indie selection that really drew us to the console. Here’s our pick of the best Nintendo Switch indie games for the Switch right now.
Steamworld Dig series
Occasionally a game comes along that grabs you by the naughty bits and won’t let go. A title so addictive that you simply can’t stop playing. Where every ‘quick go’ turns into a full-on, night-long session. On the Nintendo Switch, the Steamworld Dig games definitely fit into this category.
The original Steamworld Dig made it big on Nintendo’s 3DS and has just hit the Switch, while the sequel has been out for the console for some time. Both titles involve a fun blend of exploration and action, with an RPG vibe. Gameplay basically involves carving your way deeper and deeper into the hillside, seeking out treasures and secrets while battling any creatures you stumble across. However, with abilities to upgrade and a story to follow, there’s much more to Steamworld than simply digging.
Stay tuned for our full review of the Steamworld Dig games.
The Long Reach
Games such as Lone Survivor and Neverending Nightmares have already shown that horror is just as effective in 2D as 3D – and despite the low-res visuals, The Long Reach can certainly chill you when played alone in the dark.
Ill-advised scientific experimentation is at the root of this game’s plot. What appears to be a stunning breakthrough in the evolution of human learning turns out to be a living nightmare for the unfortunate test subjects. To say any more would involve spoilers, but the simple narrative had us hooked from the very start.
Rather than seeing the horror unfold from a single perspective, you’ll take control of several different characters. The objective is often survival, which involves solving puzzles and running like buggery from any psychopathic victims who want to wear your kidneys as cuff links. Hiding is often your best bet, although occasionally you can set up clever traps to stop these mentalists in their tracks. Either way, we’re gonna need several spare changes of pants, please.
Check out our full The Long Reach review.
The Final Station
Another horror title, and another well-deserved entry in our list of best indie games for the Switch.
In a spoiler-free nutshell, your task here is to guide a train across a post-apocalyptic world, overrun by crazy people. Each short segment on board the train involves lots of careful time management. The engine itself needs constant attention and you’ll also need to keep tabs on your passengers. They’re a pretty dumb bunch, so they’ll keel over and die if you don’t feed them or apply medical aid when needed.
Along the way you’ll find yourself stopping in each town to pick up more passengers and scavenge for supplies. However, unlike The Long Reach, you quickly pick up a stash of guns to fend off any unwanted attention. Don’t go all Metal Slug as soon as you snaffle that shotgun, though; ammunition is really scarce, so you have to make every bullet count. The result is some truly intense gameplay, helped along by the shadowy visuals and minimalist soundtrack.
Check out our full The Final Station review.
Old Man’s Journey
If you’ve had enough of these scary horror games and pulse-pounding action blasters, we have just the antidote – open wide and suck down a spoonful of Old Man’s Journey, which is just as calming as the name suggests.
Gameplay simply involves moving the aged protagonist across the gorgeously animated landscapes, to reach his final destination. Your mission is accomplished by directly manipulating the scenes themselves. Reshaping hills and slopes with a quick drag of your finger will form a path for the old man to follow, while occasionally you’ll need to solve a very simple puzzle to progress.
From those lush hand-drawn visuals and soothing soundtrack to the simple yet effectively-told story, the game’s presentation is top notch throughout. Personally, we found Old Man’s Journey was best played in short bursts, whenever we needed a break from the hectic pace of everyday existence. However, you could certainly smash through the entire game in a single sitting, which takes just two to three hours overall.
Have a gander at our Old Man’s Journey review.
This supernatural story is one of the more atmospheric titles on the Switch store. We love the unfurling narrative, which follows a group of friends as they discover dark and sinister shenanigans in their hometown. The whole vibe is very Stranger Things, which only made us love it even more.
If you want a slow-paced but thoughtful title to occupy you on a long journey, Oxenfree is one of the better options on the Switch store.
Nintendo consoles seems like a natural fit for farming sims, following the likes of Harvest Moon and Story of Seasons. Stardew Valley is another great example, available now on Switch.
Like those other titles, this game boasts a relaxed pace and addictive gameplay. The RPG-style elements will keep you coming back for more, to level up those stats and expand your farm beyond its humble beginnings.
The Darkside Detective
Point and click fans will get a kick out of The Darkside Detective. Like Oxenfree, this is an adventure game with a focus on supernatural hi-jinx. However, this time the approach is very much tongue-in-cheek, with plenty of cheeky movie references and snort-worthy gags scattered throughout.
The ‘minisode’ structure means Darkside Detective is suited to short commutes, while the retro-style presentation is perfectly charming. Check out our Darkside Detective review for our full impressions.
The Fall Part 2: Unbound
We really enjoyed the original The Fall and now its sequel is available for Nintendo Switch. Unbound kicks off exactly where the first game left off, with ARID (the troubled AI protagonist) fighting for her very survival. To do so, she’ll need to force herself into the unwilling bodies of other mechanical entities. What follows is a mixture of tense combat sequences and thoughtful puzzles.
Have a gander at our full The Fall Part 2 review.
Bulb Boy is one of those utterly surreal titles which is hard to explain, yet utterly absorbing when you’re playing. It takes the form of a Machinarium-style adventure, with you solving environmental puzzles to progress. We really love the horror-themed presentation; those green and red-tinted visuals are as memorable as they are startling.
You can also find Bulb Boy on your humble smartphone. Check out our guide to the best mobile horror games for lots more of our favourite scary titles.
Human Resource Machine
While programming isn’t quite our idea of a fun activity, Human Resource Machine makes coding fun. The reason being that you’re actually programming your drone-like employees to solve various tasks, which are as varied as they are random.
The makers of Little Inferno have certainly brought that bizarre sense of humour to HRM, complete with that fun cartoon aesthetic. Don’t worry if you’re not a coder, as the game’s puzzles start off nice and gentle. However, the game gets pretty challenging as you progress, so you’ll really need to engage your brain.
We’re constantly updating this round-up of the best indie games for Switch. Stay tuned for more of our favourites.