Hello gentle readers, and welcome to yet another very special edition of the SwitchArcade. It’s the end of another year, and we’ve got our list of the ten best Nintendo Switch releases of 2021. While Mikhail had a little input, these are by and large my personal selections. If you have different games on your list or have them arranged in a different order, that would be a very normal thing. Ultimately, lists like these are a way to share our good experiences with others, and help each other find cool new games to play. As such, if you have some games you want to stand up for, I encourage you to drop them in the comments. I know I can always use some suggestions. With that said, let’s see how the year went!
10. No More Heroes III ($59.99)
No More Heroes III is, like the previous games, not really for everyone. It’s silly. It’s meta. It’s crass. It’s clunky. It’s cool. It’s an open world game with a world that’s almost a chore. Melee combat is a huge part of the gameplay, but it’s not as slick or smooth as the Bayonettas and Devil May Crys of the world. Somehow this mess comes together into a unique, over-the-top, roller coaster of cheese and pure rad.
9. Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury ($59.99)
There sure are a lot of great Mario games on the Nintendo Switch, aren’t there? But Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury gives us two Mario experiences that are unlike just about any others. A multiplayer 3D Mario that feels like 2D Mario at times and a 3D Mario at others. One you may have played on the Wii U, but probably didn’t. And then there’s Bowser’s Fury, a whole new adventure that brings 3D Mario to a relatively large open world for the first time. It’s over after just a couple of hours, but as bonus add-ons to a remaster go? It’s stunning, and an intriguing signpost for Mario’s future.
8. The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles ($39.99)
Sometimes to go forward, you have to go back. The Ace Attorney series makes its return with this collection of the two Great Ace Attorney games that were previously released on the Nintendo 3DS in Japan only. The courtroom antics go back to the late 19th century, where an ancestor of Phoenix Wright travels to England and meets an eccentric detective named Herlock Sholmes. The usual shenanigans happen, and you’ll have to solve several cases through sleuthing and logical deduction. Both of the included games are great, and the top-notch localization really helps the setting shine.
7. Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin ($59.99)
An unlikely sequel, but certainly a welcome one. Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin gives an alternate viewpoint on the world of Monster Hunter, one where some of the Monsties can be decidedly cuter and cuddlier. The adventure is fun, the battles are interesting enough, and the presentation is exceptional. There are a lot of great 2021 RPGs you can dig into, but make sure you don’t skip on this one. It feels unlikely we’ll see a third.
6. Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy ($59.99)
The original Atelier Ryza was a pleasant surprise for me, offering a fluffy RPG that hit the sweet spot in terms of complexity. The cast of characters was immensely likeable, and I was pretty sure we’d get to see them again someday. So it was less surprising when Atelier Ryza 2 turned out to be just as good as the first game, if not a little better. Some improvements have been made, but by and large this is another huge helping of Atelier comfort food. I don’t know about all of you, but I need that kind of thing now and then these days.
5. Metroid Dread ($59.99)
Metroid Dread was introduced as Metroid 5, and that alone made it worth getting excited about. Developer MercurySteam had done great work with its remake of Metroid II: Return of Samus, but there was no telling if it would be able to create a brand new original game with the same level of quality. It turns out any fears were unfounded, as Metroid Dread lived up to the name and reputation of the series quite well. It carefully fans the spark of fear that the SA-X in Metroid Fusion generated into a full-blown raging fire, and some of its set pieces have to be seen to be believed. On top of that, it seems to have found a solid audience. With any luck, that means we won’t have to wait twenty years for Metroid 6.
4. The House in Fata Morgana: Dreams of the Revenants Edition ($39.99)
If you’re into visual novels, you absolutely need to play The House in Fata Morgana, no doubt about it. It offers a wild ride through an amazingly well-written story with more twists, turns, and mysteries than you can shake a spirit at. You need to recover your memories with the help of an enigmatic maid, traveling through time to various eras of the mansion’s past in order to piece together your past. A top-shelf localization delivers the story with aplomb, and the art and music are up to the task of standing up to the narrative.
3. Shin Megami Tensei V ($59.99)
While we didn’t wait quite as long for Shin Megami Tensei V as we did for Metroid Dread, the game was announced at the unveiling of the Nintendo Switch itself before going quiet for a long while. It finally popped its head back up in July of 2020, but just barely. Indeed, much of the game remained unknown until this year. When the full measure of the game was finally revealed, it was quite an eye-opener. Shin Megami Tensei V is easily the most ambitious game in the series yet, presenting a massive world to explore with demons roaming around in full sight. Imaginative, challenging, and full of fascinating systems to explore, this is an RPG that fans of the genre will not want to miss.
2. Tetris Effect: Connected ($39.99)
Enhance Games knows how to tease the senses, and when that aesthetic style is applied to an all-time classic like Tetris? Wow. And indeed, Tetris Effect: Connected is the sort of thing that makes your mouth hang open like some old cartoon character. It looks amazing. It sounds spectacular. It feels sensational. With its variety of modes, options, and multiplayer features, this is a game that will keep you entranced for hours on end. It simply must be experienced to believe.
1. Monster Hunter Rise ($59.99)
It’s always nice to see what a top-shelf name like Capcom can do when it really pushes a piece of hardware, and Monster Hunter Rise shows off the developer’s talents in fine form. But it’s not just a pretty face. It draws on elements of Monster Hunter World and mashes them up with a more classic framework, while tossing in a few new ideas for good measure. It finds an excellent balance between accessibility and the crunchier aspects of the series, and is a great game to play whether you’re a veteran or a newcomer. With an impressive-looking expansion on the way next year, there’s no better time to get into Monster Hunter Rise. You should have just enough time to catch up.
And that’s my list, friends. Now, as I said up above, I would absolutely love to see your personal favorites. Please post them in the comments so we can all see your favorite Switch games of this rather unpleasant year. Have a happy New Year everyone, and forever and always, thanks for reading!