The Best Games on Nintendo Switch in 2022
Five years since it made its grand debut, the Nintendo Switch arguably had one of its best years ever in 2022. This year, Nintendo’s hybrid wonder saw inventive first-party titles, excellent remakes, updates to existing favorites, long-awaited third-party ports, and more indies than you could ever handle all make an appearance on the platform. Every year, Goomba Stomp gathers its staff to decide our site’s own game of the year, including console-specific picks. From Neon White and Tunic to Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope and Persona 5 Royal, this is the Goomba Stomp team’s list of the best Nintendo Switch games of 2022!
Editor’s Note: While we do not include ports in our list for Game of the Year, we do include games that have come to a platform for the first time on our individual best console games lists. For that reason, games that have made the jump to a Nintendo platform for the first time ever this year are included on this list.
22. Pokémon Scarlet & Violet
For as problematic as their technical performance may be, Pokémon Scarlet & Violet are exceptional evolutions of the Pokémon formula. While Pokémon Legends: Arceus took the global phenomenon leaps forward, Scarlet & Violet deliver on truly bringing the classic experience to the present as the Paldea region offers a huge open world to explore with hundreds of roaming Pokémon to collect, an elite four to conquer, and plenty of bosses to battle. Divided into three adventures, Game Freak’s latest game invites players to create their own Pokémon journey by deciding where they will go and what they will tackle first after exiting the school grounds of the Naranja and Uva Academy. (Marc Kaliroff)
21. Triangle Strategy
Triangle Strategy from Square Enix is many things: a triumphant return to form for an infrequently-updated subset, a dazzling showcase of new ideas and new technology, and a satisfyingly deep plot full of twists, turns, and political machinations. While slow to start, once Triangle Strategy sinks its hooks into the player, it is nearly impossible to put down. For a new intellectual property, it hits all the right notes. It is an RPG both wide and deep, with something for nearly everyone. The Nintendo Switch has long been an ideal home for strategy games and RPGs in general, and Triangle Strategy is another triumphant addition to an already impressive library. (Cameron Daxon)
Despite some expected technical shortcomings, Bugsnax is a delightful experience in both the Nintendo Switch’s docked and handheld modes–perhaps more so the latter, but what else would you expect from a port of a PlayStation 4 and 5 game? Bugsnax has always been a treat, and Nintendo fans are not getting cheated out of the full buffet Young Horse has to offer with their beloved creature-collecting picture-taking expedition from 2020. It’s a grumpus plight done right for the hybrid console, featuring the Bigsnax DLC and all the original content in tact. Every Switch owner should be talkin’ ’bout Bugsnax.
For anyone who hasn’t already put their investigative caps on and ventured to Snaktooth Island–or perhaps just wants to double-dip on a portable experience, Bugsnax will only provide players with the taste of satisfaction on Nintendo Switch. (Marc Kaliroff)
19. Kirby’s Dream Buffet
Kirby’s Dream Buffet is a delicious dessert to help celebrate 30 years of the pink puff after the Forgotten Land took the franchise in an incredible new direction. Like its delicious and sparkly-lit strawberry cake landscape that players explore, Dream Buffet is dripping with love, delight, and joy at every corner as HAL Laboratory succeeds in baking an entertaining four-player battle for its mascot. Kirby’s Dream Buffet is a multiplayer treat Kirby fans and competitive Nintendo Switch users will not want to miss out on. In Kirby terms: it’s a gourmet great that deserves a mouthful of praise! (Marc Kaliroff)
18. Live a Live
Gaming saw its fair share of surprises in 2022, but perhaps none greater than the release of the HD-2D remake of Live a Live. For decades, Live a Live has languished in Western obscurity—lauded in Japan as one of the greatest classics of the JRPG Golden Age of the 90s, while relegated to obscurity in the rest of the world due to a lack of any official localization from Square. Now, this remake gives Live a Live the global audience it always deserved.
Originally released in 1994, Live a Live boasts an extraordinarily inventive structure: instead of one overarching fantasy campaign, the game features seven standalone stories spanning settings like the Wild West, the Distant Future, and the prehistoric world of cavemen. Not only is each story unique, but the game’s unique isometric turn-based combat system adds strategic gameplay aspects to every combat encounter.
This remake celebrates the brilliant game that Live a Live has been for nearly 30 years, but it improves it with genuinely stunning HD-2D graphics. Square Enix’s previous HD-2D ventures, Octopath Traveler and Triangle Strategy, were already gorgeous titles, but Live a Live perfects the visual style with lush character portraits, expansive pixelated environments, and breathtaking lighting, water, and other environmental effects. JRPG fanatics owe it to themselves to experience this piece of genre history (Campbell Gill).
17. Cult of the Lamb
There’s just something so delightfully madcap about a game like Cult of the Lamb. For all intents and purposes, cults shouldn’t be cute or funny. However, that’s exactly what makes this game such a total joy to experience. Everything can be adorable when framed through the lens of cuddly forest animals, and the juxtaposition in this particular situation is just all the more amusing. Of course, that wouldn’t be worth a damn if Cult of the Lamb wasn’t also a really fun rogue-lite dungeon crawler and farming/town sim. Couple the addictive gameplay loop that this indie gem sets you on with all of its lovable charm and wit, and you’ve got yourself an absolute winner in just about every category and one of the best games of the year as a result. (Mike Worby)
16. OlliOlli World
Don’t let the charming cartoon aesthetic and lo-fi soundtrack of OlliOlli World fool you—this is a deviously difficult skateboarding game. Many of the later levels require extreme precision from your jumps and grinds, and optional challenges often necessitate mastery of the game’s trick system. But try not to let that scare you off—OlliOlli World does an exceptional job at slowly introducing its myriad mechanics to the player, to the point where optional challenges never ask you to perform techniques that the game did not explicitly teach up to that point.
This combined with the campaign’s carefully designed difficulty curve ensures that players never feel underequipped to tackle any given level or objective. And players will definitely want to complete them, as the quality on display in OlliOlli World’s levels is staggering. Grind rails, walls, and other stage elements are deliberately placed to allow for that perfect flow state, which always feels great to achieve partially due to the game’s exaggerated sense of momentum. And because the trick system is so deep, even seemingly flawless runs will always have room for improvement, which is perfect for a game that places so much emphasis on player expression.
Content-rich, mechanically complex games like OlliOlli World do not come around often, and that makes it feel all the more special. (Daniel Pinheiro)
15. Shovel Knight Dig
Soon it will be easier to say what genres the Shovel Knight series hasn’t explored than the ones it has. After dabbling in platformers, puzzle games, and fighting games, Shovel Knight Dig takes Yacht Club’s flagship indie icon into the world of the roguelike—and the results are just about as glorious as one would expect from the series by now. Following the shovel-wielding hero on a journey down a mysterious well, Dig features the same mechanics that made the original Shovel Knight games so brilliant, repurposed in a fast-paced roguelike gameplay loop.
Developed with British indie team Nitrome, masters of the classic flash game, Shovel Knight 2 triumphs so many other roguelikes fail: memorable level design. Where many roguelike levels can feel like the soulless products of algorithms, each and every section of Shovel Knight Dig feels genuinely memorable and intentionally designed–without even sacrificing variety. The game boasts thousands of uniquely designed rooms, which are then strung together and modified in subtly different arrangements in each and every run. This balance between intentional design and constant variety, along with the game’s luscious 16-bit graphics and excellent soundtrack from musical guru Jake Kaufman, makes it easy to get sucked into Shovel Knigbt Dig for hours on end. Who knows where Shovel Knight will go next, but with spinoffs and side games like Dig, a shining future surely awaits. (Campbell Gill)
14. 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim
There has never been a better place to experience the magnificently convoluted sci-fi epic of 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim than on Nintendo Switch. It is in many ways the ideal port, combining a smooth performance with game mechanics that feel right at home on handheld platforms to deliver a half-visual novel, half-tactical shooter experience unlike any of its genre. Its story is delivered through the eyes of thirteen unique protagonists, each with their own arcs that slowly build up over time and eventually coalesce into a narrative greater than the sum of its parts. The nonlinearity of choosing whose perspective to enjoy at any given time is nothing short of masterful, and the fact that such a narrative structure works at all is miraculous.
Moreover, the real-time mech combat in 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim provides a consistently entertaining rest from the onslaught of story sequences. The ability to freely switch between story mode and combat mode makes for a highly customizable story experience, and this level of freedom adds to the depth of 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim as it lets players take a break from the densely packed sci-fi story filled with twists and tropes to instead mow down hordes of enemies in a top-down strategy view. Piecing together the events of this epic non-linear tale can be quite the task at times, but the result is one of the most remarkably rewarding narratives on Nintendo Switch right now.
13. Weird West
Raphaël Colantonio, founder of Arkane Studios (Arx Fatalis, Dishonored, and Prey) started Wolf Eye Studios along with Executive Producer, Julien Roby. Their first outing is a trip to the old west, steeped in fantasy and the occult, where gunslingers cross paths with old magic and ghoulish, stygian nightmares. All in an immersive-sim package. Weird West’s story follows five unique characters in a world that reacts and adapts to every choice. The difficult task of writing a satisfying narrative that adjusts to a player’s every whim is handled with deft expertise and written in a tongue that is familiar yet weird.
Fans of the genre will revel in the freedom of this macabre, sandbox wasteland. Banks and shops can be scouted and lifted of keys in the day to be robbed at night, while a more noble drifter can take bounties dead or alive. Settlements can be massacred and turned to ghost towns. Enemy hideouts can be stealthily infiltrated, slinging ropes down chimneys and abusing flaws in security perimeters, or assaulted head-on with hired help. Trifling with gangs will lead to vendettas and ambushes while journeying across the land. This is all backed by a haunting and visceral score that sounds like music birthed from the land itself. It’s a rare title with love infused into every corner and should not be missed. If this is just the start of this team’s efforts then the future of Wolf Eye Studios looks like a bright one that won’t just set in the west. (Geordi Ferguson)
12. Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope
Back in 2017, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle surprised Nintendo and turn-based tactics fans with a ludicrous and charming concept. The world-famous plumber teaming up with Ubisoft’s gang of goofballs, while wielding blaster cannons and bazookas? Both Mario and the Rabbids had already ventured into many different genres, but Kingdom Battle had a distinct identity; it was seemingly as crazy as the two could get. Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope successfully ups that ante as the sequel surpasses the original game’s gameplay formula by introducing a whole galaxy of new possibilities. As the title implies, Sparks of Hope is the original Mario + Rabbids on a cosmic scale. (Marc Kaliroff)
An absolutely incredible survival horror experience reinvigorating the genre, Signalis crafts an emotional cosmic journey through a future where humanity seems to have uncovered something great, dark, and terrible. You take control of a technician android known as a ‘Replika’ named Elster, waking up on your ship and attempting to piece together exactly what has happened. There are swarms of terrifying creatures finding unique ground somewhere between Lovecraft and Masahiro Ito, along with a host of friendly characters you briefly run into, but this feeling of loneliness and dread hangs over every interaction.
Signalis utilizes real numbers stations alongside mind-bending cryptic imagery, the experience itself feels so full and exciting whilst keeping up this heavy atmosphere all the way through. Coupled with clever classic survival horror gameplay and a collection of fresh and varied puzzles, Signalis is a joy to play. When the perspective shifts, and we get segments in a 3D first-person environment, the spooks get taken up another notch. Elster’s journey, searching for her lost partner through her ship, a government facility, and the grotesque depths of the underground, got its hooks into me instantly and never let up until the last minute. Signalis is truly a special game, reinvigorating the genre and putting together this addictive mystery that the player unravels with the character. (Shane Dover)
10. Citizen Sleeper
For as popular as RPGs are today, there aren’t many titles that take the “role-playing” aspect as seriously as Citizen Sleeper does. As a human consciousness inside a decaying artificial body, players start Citizen Sleeper in dire straits. Suddenly everything is about survival, be it making friends on the space station or working to afford life-saving drugs. A hastily-taken action can have dire consequences for you, those around you, and even the outside entities pulling the strings behind the scenes. Developer Jump Over the Age isn’t shy about cutting secondary routes off early to make players commit to their decisions, further adding weight to each of the eight endings and increasing replay value.
The real stars of Citizen Sleeper, however, are the characters and their stories. Each person inhabiting the abandoned space station known as Erlin’s Eye are fully fleshed out with realistic motivations and heartbreaking backstories, and you have total control over who you get to know and who you align yourself with. Despite the dice and clock systems that introduce elements of luck into an otherwise methodical TTRPG-like experience, Citizen Sleeper hits all the right notes of intrigue, desperation, and empathy to make it one of the best-written games of the year. (Brent Middleton)
9. The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe
This is the story of a game called The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe.
The Stanley Parable was an independent adventure title created only for computers all the way back in 2013. From the mainstream outlets like Destructoid and IGN to the big YouTubers and Steam player base, The Stanley Parable was an acclaimed hit paraded for being a self-aware masterpiece like no other. Last month, as the game approached its ten-year anniversary, publisher Crows Crows Crows decided to shadow-drop an announcement: a brand new version of the game, The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe, would be coming to consoles and Steam. Everyone at Goomba Stomp jumped for joy… and so should every Nintendo Switch player!
It’s been almost a decade since The Stanley Parable first hit the digital marketplace, and the game has not aged a day–Davey Wreden and William Pugh’s moral commentary is arguably more relevant now than it was during 2013. The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe is no dishonorable excuse to keep a classic’s legacy alive for another generation via a simple port to modern hardware; it legitimately justifies its existence by meticulously cramming a small sequel inside of itself. Whether you are a player looking for laughs or someone searching for a serious interactive analysis of a subject, there are so few reasons why anyone should not experience The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe. (Marc Kaliroff)
8. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge
For decades, the beat ‘em up was, at best, a relic of a bygone era of gaming: a stalwart of coin-hungry arcade galleries, the simple high-score-driven gameplay loop of the beat ‘em up genre was left by the wayside as home console gaming became more ambitious and more prominent. Yet over the past few years, the genre has enjoyed a veritable renaissance, with titles like River City Girls, Young Souls, and Streets of Rage IV bringing it back to the forefront. With Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge, DotEmu and Tribute Games have delivered what might be the genre’s best showing this generation.
Shredder’s Revenge carries on the TMNT franchise’s legacy of excellent action games with an old-school-style adventure. Whether you’re playing solo or with a group of up to four players in local or online co-op, Shredder’s Revenge recaptures the addictive magic that made the series’ entries back on the Super Nintendo so compelling. It’s unabashedly simple—each level boils down to “walk to the right, punch anything that moves”—but it’s the moment-to-moment gameplay, the satisfying mechanics, the expressive character animations, and boisterous personality that make the game so hard to put down. With a varied roster of playable characters and fearsome foes drawn from the series’ golden era in the 80s and 90s, Shredder’s Revenge is like a playable episode of the cartoon in all the best ways. Whether you grew up with the classics or hopped on board with the series’ latest iterations, there’s plenty to love about Shredder’s Revenge. (Campbell Gill)
7. Splatoon 3
Nintendo’s ink-warfare series has come a long way since its Wii U origins. When directly pit against its predecessors, Splatoon 3 can initially come off as a simple upgrade to Splatoon 2 and the Octo Expansion DLC, but those who submerge themselves in the game’s new content and streamlined changes will quickly come to realize just how much more is being offered under its familiar surface. Splatoon 3 is in every way the pinnacle of the Splatoon series as Nintendo continues to paint yet another promising future for the franchise’s direction both in terms of single-player and multiplayer content.
With a brand new story mode, a better online, the addition of a meticulous card game, more weapons, more maps, more accessibility options, and more of everything players already loved, Splatoon 3 improves and surprises as it continues to patch up its turf wars foundation to meet its maximum potential. With free maps on the way, plenty of upcoming Splatfests to partake in, and more modes being promised by Nintendo’s developers, Splatoon 3 has already established a bright future for itself as it is sailing high above the tide of online multiplayer Switch titles worth playing well beyond launch day. (Marc Kaliroff)
6. Xenoblade Chronicles 3
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is a magnificent JRPG and a monumental step forward for Monolith Soft as a game developer. Whether you are a fan of Shulk and Rex’s adventures or a newcomer to this universe yearning for a better tomorrow, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 showcases a deep love for its franchise in one brilliantly executed package. Without a doubt, this is a Nintendo Switch JRPG essential that system owners who are deeply attached to the genre cannot miss–especially if they are looking for a narrative-driven adventure that will put their heart on a rollercoaster ride of cheers and fears.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 balances strong characters and a mysterious story with a world that will make players want to explore every inch of its territory. Like many of the developer’s previous projects, after the credits of Monolith Soft’s latest title rolls and players are left feeling bittersweet over its conclusion, they will only wonder how the developer will manage to top itself again. Our memories of Noah, Mio, and the rest of the party will never fade away. (Marc Kaliroff)
5. Kirby and the Forgotten Land
For the longest time, Kirby has been seen by many as one of Nintendo’s “B-tier” franchises. Commonly seen as a kid-friendly option alongside Yoshi, there haven’t been many mainline Kirby games that are deemed “must-plays” on a Nintendo console. All of that changes with Kirby and the Forgotten Land, a Super Mario Odyssey-inspired adventure that’s packed with joy and creativity.
Though the platforming itself is less satisfying than something like Odyssey due to Kirby’s inherently floaty nature, this is more than made up for with a litany of genuinely fun power-ups that are all worth upgrading and experimenting with. The inclusion of bonus stages centered around most of these really show off how versatile each power-up can be. Similarly, the ways the new Mouthful Mode transformations are integrated into each level are seamless and additive rather than something that feels shoehorned in to make use of the mechanic.
In fact, there’s not a lot of bloat in Forgotten Land; it’s a carefully-designed package that offers a compelling main campaign and plenty of side objectives for completionists to enjoy. Seeing Waddle Dee Town naturally populate and build up over time into a hub with useful shops and fun activities is a joy, and gave the hunt to find every last Waddle Dee that much more purpose. Kirby and the Forgotten Land has solidified itself as one of the Nintendo Switch’s very best experiences and continues the Switch’s streak of reinventing some of Nintendo’s best franchises for the better. (Brent Middleton)
4. Neon White
Neon White is a glorious gift from Donut County creator Ben Esposito and his one-time get-together development team, Angel Matrix. Once a player steps into this unholy iteration of heaven and pulls their first trigger, they will be locked tightly into the game’s premise of exterminating every demon inside its stylistic octane bloodbath. While Neon White may not be revolutionary in terms of providing new ideas to its genre, the way the game has refined and combined its runner, first-person, and role-playing elements together is absolutely gratifying. There is an addicting replay value to Neon White that not many other games in its genre can share.
Between the time challenges, discoverable gifts, standard missions, and side conversations to explore, more than enough content has been elegantly stuffed into Neon White to keep players engaged right up until they see the game’s two credits roll. Even if mission levels are supposed to take less than a minute to complete, it is so easy for players to find themselves replaying each a dozen times before moving on. Ben Esposito may have been aiming to please a niche audience with Neon White, but there is no doubt that this absolute knockout will likely find an audience far beyond the cult following target Angel Matrix was going for. Neon White will keep players running until they reach the finish line of White’s story. (Marc Kaliroff)
Sometimes a novel hook is its own reward. Tunic thrives on this principle by dropping you into a world where you don’t know what’s going on and forcing you to experiment to learn what’s even possible for you to do in the game. In essence, it’s just a Zelda clone with some souls-like energy grafted onto it, but the ripped-out pages of the manual that you find throughout change so much of how you experience the game that it becomes this odd little mystery box where it feels like anything can happen.
Games like Tunic are just as tough on your mind as they are on your reflexes, and with its hundreds of hidden little secrets, tricks, and messages, the game is something so special at the same time as it is just so obtuse. Still, that’s Tunic‘s charm in the end, that you will feel compelled to push past all of the confusion and frustration just to spend more time in its incredible little world. (Mike Worby)
2. Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course
Cuphead was already a remarkably impressive work of art back when it was first released in 2017, but the release of The Delicious Last Course DLC expansion managed to make it that much better. This is not to say that The Delicious Last Course serves as some grand innovation of the Cuphead formula; at its core, this expansion simply adds a few extra bosses and a new playable character for veterans wanting a bit more meat to the base game. Fortunately, Studio MDHR more than delivered with this extra content, proving that Cuphead has not lost an ounce of its allure after nearly five years.
The developers went all out with the new bosses here, producing some spectacular encounters that are immensely enjoyable to replay again and again. All of them boast challenging, intricately designed attack patterns that constantly keep players on the move, and despite how overwhelming they can be, they rarely, if ever, feel unfair. Although none of these bosses fundamentally change the core gameplay, the developers were not afraid to have them push Cuphead’s mechanics in interesting, creative ways. The base game was already known for being a visual marvel, but the new bosses still manage to raise the bar in terms of animation quality. In particular, the final boss has what are probably some of the most mind-blowing pieces of animation to ever grace a video game.
The cherry on top of this immaculate sundae is the addition of Ms. Chalice, a character that offers an engaging, more forgiving new playstyle that never outright nullifies the challenge that Cuphead is known for. The Delicious Last Course may not be a big meal, but every bite is worth savoring. (Daniel Pinheiro)
1. Persona 5 Royal
Persona 5 Royal finally joins the pantheon of Atlus titles on handheld platforms, and it fits so well that one begins to wonder how it could possibly have been out for this long without being available on Nintendo Switch in the first place. It’s an imperfect game, but in modern Atlus history it’s about as close as things have gotten, and its highlights not only outweigh the low points but utterly dwarf them. The small sacrifices necessary to allow Persona 5 Royal to run so smoothly on Nintendo Switch are absolutely worth it. The heavily stylized aesthetic makes up for a dip in graphical fidelity, and the performance is nothing short of excellent.
With a story that holds up remarkably well since its original release in 2017, and bundled with the third semester arc that shatters expectations, the result is an experience like no other.
It is a triumph of well-balanced game design that merges the complexity of daily life with the incredible fantasy of delving into unknown worlds and fighting for a cause worth caring about. Joker’s adventure into the Metaverse to change the hearts of criminals and reform society is one that won’t be forgotten anytime soon, and each of the Phantom Thieves is so overwhelmingly charming that the lengthy runtime of this colossal JRPG quickly flies by.
Persona 5 Royal is a game that not only changed my heart but has done so for countless others around the world and is now available to a larger audience than ever before. That is something worth celebrating.