One of the big draws to the Nintendo Switch’s quality library is its great support for indie titles. Playing side scrollers and other genres usually developed by a smaller team seems much more fitted to playing on-the-go. While I will be playing DOOM Eternal on my consoles for that cinematic effect and smooth performance, the Switch will be the machine I play most of my indies on. They’re often short games that don’t require a massive amount of power, and are designed to be played in short bursts. Games like Shovel Knight, Stardew Valley, Rocket League and Celeste have clearly shown this. In fact, in less than two years the Switch has managed to build up most of the essentials indie classics. However, there are some that still have yet to make the dive into the indie piggy bank. Let’s take a look at the must-haves.
Guacamelee was one of the first indie games I played, and I have since bought it on every platform it released on. Blending excellent platforming and metroidvania level design with a Mexican wrestling theme and an instantly charming personality, Guacamelee is one of the greatest games in its genre. Given its influences, it is strange the game isn’t on Nintendo’s system yet, particularly due to the fact it was released on the Wii U. Developer DrinkBox Studio’s underrated dungeon crawler Severed is available on the Switch eShop as well (which I also recommend), so why not bring the smashed avo luchador on board as well? . Furthermore, Guacamelee’s sequel just released on PlayStation 4 and Steam and received universal acclaim, so fingers crossed that it’ll get a Switch port in the near future. With the recent success of other metroidvanias like Hollow Knight, Dead Cells, Chasm and Axiom Verge, the heavy-weight champion needs to claim its rightful spot on the eShop.
Metroidvanias are the perfect home for the Switch. Except it doesn’t have one of the best
Another game that popped my indie cherry was the acid trip bloodfest that is Hotline Miami. Players go through a surreal journey wading through the filth of the Miami’s underbelly in the 80s, butchering enemies with mechanical precision for fun and profit. Placing the camera in a top-down view, the game looks like the original Grand Theft Auto while allowing you to orchestrate exhilarating combos using any weapon at your disposal. It’s very novel, yet it’s a nostalgia-inducing game that blends some familiar things you love with outrageous things that you didn’t know you would love. I originally played the game on the PlayStation Vita and now I swear by playing the game on a portable device. It’s brutal, it’s violent, it’s hypnotising and it’s brilliant. A great game for a Nintendo console.
A family-friendly game for a family-friendly console
Supergiant Games is an exceptional studio. They have only released three games and each one of them is an incredible and emotional journey with memorable characters, striking presentation, unforgettable soundtracks and intuitive combat systems. Each of them stands uniquely on their own while carrying that distinctive Supergiant flavour. The good news is Bastion and Transistor has just been recently confirmed to come to the Nintendo Switch on the 13th September and 1 November respectively. Both titles are already available on tablets, which work perfectly with the game’s design. The bad news is their latest title Pyre (currently only console exclusive to PlayStation 4), will not be joining the line-up… at least for now. This is due to the custom engine the developer had to use to create it. The game still retains Supergiant’s signature art-style, novel soundtrack and isometric view, but also adopts some influences from sports and adventure novel titles. It is truly a unique and engaging experience and would be a perfect match for the Switch’s portable nature
Supergiant Games just announced Bastion and Transistor for the Switch. One more to go!
Housemarque are the master of shoot-em-up arcade style games. Their Superstardust and Resogun games in particular are something special. Unfortunately, those IPs are owned by Sony Interactive Entertainment, but Housemarque did publish their own title in June 2017. Released on PlayStation 4 and Steam, Nex Machina could possibly be the Finnish studio’s best title to date. Eugene Jarvis served as creative director on this game, who is responsible for some of the best arcade games in history (Defender and Robotron: 2084 being two famous examples from the 80s). The game was a blast and is especially fun to play co-op. It’s a long shot that the game will come to Switch though and Housemarque has openly expressed their intentions to move on from the genre. Can’t hurt to dream though.
Nex Machina is one of Housemarque’s greatest titles
What Remains of Edith Finch
Story-driven walking simulators can be hit-or-miss. Some can be spectacular while others are literally walking simulators, with all the boredom of a pointless stroll intact. It is encouraging to see some of the best get confirmed already for the Switch. Gone Home and Firewatch are just some of the classics the genre has produced and we can look forward to playing them soon. One key title Nintendo is lacking is the critically acclaimed What Remains of Edith Finch. Developed by Giant Sparrow, the game places you in the shoes of Edith who returns to her ancestral home to uncover the secrets of the past. It’s a very emotional ride with some clever gameplay elements sprinkled throughout. Our own Kieran Stockton gave the game a whopping 10/10 last year, so its addition could only make the Switch library look even more appetising.
An emotional journey on-the-go
The Switch is rapidly gaining steam as a force to be reckoned with. The portable/home console hybrid has proven to be no mere gimmick, and a rapidly expanding library that draws on the classics has unsurprisingly proven to be a hit. Keep the good times rolling with these indie classics, Nintendo.