The Nintendo Switch had a fantastic 2021, and a huge part of that is thanks to the wide variety of titles on offer. There are numerous games that managed to capture the attention of audiences in unique ways and showcase what the console is fully capable of.
Metacritic has reviewed all of these video game experiences throughout 2021 and has brought together the best titles based on their overall reviews. These games have managed to achieve impressive sales, and while there are major franchises amongst them, there are also lesser-known games that have swept through the Nintendo community.
UPDATE: 2022/08/31 13:48 EST BY GEORGE CHRYSOSTOMOU
2022 has already been such a great year for releases on the Nintendo Switch, but how do they compare to the previous year? The fact is, so many brilliant titles dominated 2021, and it’s important to revisit a few more to see how the industry continues to evolve. Which were the best of the best for the entire 2021 year, at least according to Metacritic?
15 Bustafellows – 86
While it’s also available on Steam, Bustafellows by NIPPON CULTURAL BROADCASTING EXTEND INC. and PQube, has been a real hit on the Nintendo Switch. Boasting brilliant storytelling and gorgeous visuals, this is a hidden gem within the Store for those who are a fan of the romance genre.
With the lead able to jot down clues, players will explore a number of relationships, interacting with a wide range of characters as the plot develops. Digitally Downloaded said, “Bustafellows is part crime caper and part otome romance, and those are common enough things, but it’s the quality of the writing and the strong thematic core that helps to set this one apart.”
14 The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles – 86
Players will embark on the adventures of Ryunosuke Naruhodo, the talented lawyer who operates throughout Victorian-era Britain and Japan, charismatically cracking complex cases. Developed and produced by Capcom, it’s arguable that the Switch is the best platform to experience this story on.
With thrilling mystery and stunning animation, Nintendojo noted that “The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles isn’t just a reminder of why the series as a whole is beloved, but also a reaffirmation that video games can be capable of so much more as an entertainment medium.”
13 Overboard! – 86
While far from a traditional platformer, the adventurous game set from a birdseye point of view, Overboard! is steeped in fun gameplay opportunities, as the player tries to get away with the crime of the century: murder. Incredible software which promotes thinking and evolving characters that truly feel alive is what powers this intriguing title.
Created by Inkle and Psygnosis, visually this is also a standout. In their review, Pure Nintendo said, “Overboard is a charming and darkly funny game, with incredibly well-written characters and a great atmosphere of intrigue, secrecy and 1930s style.”
12 There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension – 87
Created by Draw Me A Pixel, while it is also available on other platforms, there’s something about the retro quality of There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension that makes it really feel at home on the Nintendo Switch. The quality of the puzzle gameplay is such that it meshes wonderfully with the JoyCons.
The point-and-click adventure is steeped in comedy and is quite meta in its design. In their review, Nintendo Enthusiast said that the game “is a fun, clever little experience that anyone will enjoy. Aside from a moment at the end, the puzzles are smart without being too difficult. The writing is spot-on and well-balanced, and everything can be wrapped up in a single sitting, making it a great title for livestreaming or a long travel day.”
11 Quake Remastered – 87
Originally, Quake was released in 1996 on classic consoles like the Nintendo 64. However, in 2021 Nintendo managed to reboot the project from publishers GT Interactive and Bethesda Softworks, as well as developers id Software and Nightdive Studios. The result was the well-received shooter Quake Remastered.
It plays just like the original title much to its strength and boasts updated graphics that are sure to leave previous fans feeling nostalgic. Nintendo Life said that the team made it a success by “adding lots of optional bells and whistles, packing in a ton of content, and delivering the definitive way to play this 25-year-old masterpiece in the process.“
10 Overcooked! All You Can Eat – 87
The Overcooked! titles are excellent party games for the whole family to enjoy. All You Can Eat collected the original game and the sequel from Ghost Town Games and Team17 into one cohesive product, with all the bonuses and DLC from over the years.
The Switch as a platform works perfectly with the fast-paced gameplay style and the cartoonish graphics. As Nintendo Life noted, “The wacky visuals and chaotic gameplay make it an ideal game for local co-op.” The updated rendering has also been popular amongst audiences.
9 Metroid Dread – 88
Metroid Dread was easily one of the most anticipated games of the year on the Switch platform as it was a return to a classic and beloved series. The title didn’t disappoint with gorgeous visuals, memorably challenging Samus levels, and plenty of intriguing narrative beats.
Developed by Mercury Steam and Nintendo, the game managed to recapture the spirit of what made the originals so popular. Starbit said via Metacritic that “This exquisite work brings the Metroid formula up to our day, yet it doesn’t compromise on what made Metroid such a colossal name.“
8 Monster Hunter Rise – 88
Monster Hunter Rise from RE Engine and Capcom continues the franchise in a stellar way, with some of the best conceptual designs ever seen from the series. Boosted by the visual capabilities of the Switch, the gameplay is also vastly improved with impressive combos and striking options.
The RPG franchise may never get better than this stunning story, which is celebrated just as much for its narrative as it is for its core mechanics even throughout some of Monster Hunt Rise‘s toughest levels. Switch Brasil said, “With an abundance of elements that make it uniquely related to the other games of the franchise, it also brings back the best in each entry, both in gameplay and in the roster of monsters.“
7 Fez – 88
The indie game from Phil Fish, Polytron Corporation, and Blitworks got an update for Nintendo Switch in 2021 after its previous release on other platforms in 2012. It has aged perfectly, combining retro platformer mechanics with a fun, artistic style.
It is simple and elegant in its design, with a quick expansion that suddenly reveals how big this cinematic world really is. Vandal said that Fez “is unique and irreplaceable. A masterpiece that still is as relevant as nine years ago.” Its subtle story choices help to catapult it forward.
6 Dusk – 88
The indie game Dusk was originally released in 2017 by New Blood Interactive and David Szymanski and performed incredibly well. While its visuals were deliberately aged in their concept, the gameplay mechanics of the shooter and creepy beats helped to create an immersive experience.
The version put to the Nintendo Switch brings audiences even more into the story. The game looks incredibly well rendered on the HD display. NintendoWorldReport said “that the creator took his time sanding down and sharpening every little corner of DUSK for its Switch debut,” allowing it to fit well on the console.
5 Death’s Door – 89
Death’s Door from Acid Nerve and published by Devolver Digital alongside Special Reserve Games might be one of the most surprising titles of the year. To start with, its graphic design is truly memorable, with a number of iconic characters being created thanks to the simplicity of its visual style.
The action-adventure roleplaying title is packed full of incredible content, but the gameplay is the star here, which meshes well with the Switch’s setup. Pure Nintendo suggested that it’s “a fun and unique action-adventure game with appealing scenery and music. You can pick it up and play on the go, and although the controls require skill, it’s easy to master.“
4 Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury – 89
While the Mario games have had many frustrating cliches and tropes in the past, the Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury combo title manages to avoid them tremendously, creating a satisfying set of gameplay that re-runs some classic moments.
Both titles are really their respective heights of the genre, with the genius combination of the two allowing fans to have all this content in one place despite the variation in gameplay. The Gamer said that “Ultimately, Super Mario 3D World, in this package, is the best that game has ever been, with the increased speed and ease of multiplayer access making it far more enticing than ever before.“
3 Chicory: A Colorful Tale – 90
A late addition considering it was released towards the end of 2021 on Nintendo Switch, Chicory: A Colorful Tale, is an adventure game from Greg Lobanov and Finji. It truly is one of the most vibrant titles out there, with the lead dog using his paintbrush to add color to the world.
Nintendo Life said, “As an adventure game, Chicory is quite sincerely up there with the very best of the genre… The characters and their travails are rich and likeable, the game’s sense of humour is generally inspired, and it’s all very sweet without being sugary-twee and talking down to the player.”
2 Tetris Effect: Connected – 94
Is there a more iconic puzzle game than Tetris? Featuring some of the hardest levels on any Tetris title to date but also bringing back the feeling the original had, Effect steps things up a notch with its vibrant rehash of a storied classic. The game was created by Resonair, Monstars, Stage Games, Sony, and Enhance.
This isn’t just typical Tetris either, as it brings with it a number of new options based on the dreaded timer as well as fun co-op levels. Nintendo Insider said that the game “is an incredible experience top to bottom whether playing alone or with others in the newly added competitive modes. Its effortless blending of stunning visuals and euphoric music make this so much more than just a mere puzzle game.“
1 The House In Fata Morgana: Dreams Of The Revenants Edition – 96
Developer Novectacle and publishers Limited Run Games, MangaGamer, Mighty Rabbit Studios, Gengosha Inc. and FuRyu, created Metacritic’s Switch game of the year. The novel style of storytelling is truly unique and works best on Nintendo Switch.
It fits perfectly into the console’s catalog of games and is beautifully drawn with visuals that help to expertly tell the narrative. The Mako Reactor said that “The House In Fata Morgana on Nintendo Switch is the best way to experience a true masterpiece of storytelling.” It is sure to have the audience in tears.