The Nintendo Switch has continued to be a fantastic console for new games in 2022, with multiple Nintendo-led first-party exclusives, as well as great multi-platform indie games.
Among our selection of the best Switch games in 2022 is Kirby and the Forgotten Land, an absolutely delightful and breezy romp that sees Kirby in his first real 3D adventure, which features ridiculous ‘mouthful mode’ forms, as well as some mildly disturbing lore.
This year, we also saw a dramatic shift in the Pokemon formula with Pokemon Legends: Arceus, which let us catch those pocket monsters in real-time and in an open world – a trend we hope continues. Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes also captured our attention as one of the most engaging Switch games of 2022, as did Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak – quite possibly one of the best Monster Hunter releases ever.
Here are the best Nintendo Switch games released in 2022 so far:
- Kirby and the Forgotten Land
- Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes
- Pokemon Legends: Arceus
- Nintendo Switch Sports
- OlliOlli World
- Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak
- The Stanely Parable: Ultra Deluxe
- Opus: Echo of Starsong
- Chinatown Detective Agency
- Submerged: Hidden Depths
- Nobody Saves the World
For more on the best games in 2022 so far, be sure to check out the rest of our mid-year best-of series:
- The Best Games of 2022 (So Far)
- The Best PlayStation Games of 2022 (So Far)
- The Best Xbox Games of 2022 (So Far)
- The Best PC Games of 2022 (So Far)
Kirby and the Forgotten Land
It’s a real mystery why there’s never been a 3D Kirby game before Kirby and the Forgotten Land – a mystery that’s amplified by the excellence on show in this game. As the titular Kirby travels through stunning post-apocalyptic worlds, swallowing enemies and solving puzzles, it’s easy to think developer HAL Laboratory had already mastered the 3D platforming genre prior to the game’s release.
While that’s not the case, this game is as polished and dazzling as they come, thanks to excellent world design and Kirby’s noble mission to stomp through enemies and rescue cute Waddle Dees from danger. As a collect-a-thon, it’s a fairly standard homage to classic platformers, but it’s brimming with enough charm that its lack of innovation scarcely matters. Every trip through the game’s world brings new surprises, from haunted amusement parks to time-based challenges.
There are cutesy dream lands and terrifying hell scapes, all wrapped up in one adorable journey. It’s not always easy – the final stages of the game are particularly grating, and include a number of genuinely terrifying bosses, as is Kirby tradition – but for the most part, Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a delightful trip and one of the best Switch games of 2022. With just a hint of eldritch horror waiting in the wings, this game is an enchanting piece of Kirby pie. – Leah J. Williams
Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes
If you’re looking for dynamic gameplay and high-speed combat and a captivating storyline, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is the game for you. Omega Force has reimagined a much-loved instalment in the Fire Emblem franchise and breathed new life into it. A familiar roster of characters is revisited in a whole new light, and the game is all the better for it.
If the alternate reality of Fódlan wasn’t enough of a draw card, mowing down waves upon waves of enemies in combat alongside your allies might be. The team have taken the tried and tested Musou playstyle and turned it up a notch – every combat encounter feels like one for the history books with the stakes getting higher as each new enemy enters the fray.
For the button masher enthusiasts among us, as well as those who prefer to take a more strategic approach in battle, the hack-and-slash adventure delivers hours of enjoyable gameplay that manages to surprise and intrigue at every turn.
Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes has something for even the staunchest of turn-based combat fans (myself included), a feat I never thought possible. For a masterclass in taking a well-established world and story and bringing something entirely different and refreshing to the table, look no further. This is one of the best Switch games in 2022. – Emily Spindler
Pokemon Legends: Arceus
Pokemon: Legends Arceus was something entirely new – a Pokemon game that adopts a semi-open world model and allows you to seamlessly jump into Pokemon battles and captures as active participants, rather than simply observers. While there’s great risk in trying something new, Game Freak succeeded with Arceus, effectively creating a new niche for the Pokemon franchise. By breaking away from the modern mainline formula, the company found new ways to explore glimmering lands, and to better connect you with your Pokemon teams.
This game should rightfully get a sequel – whether in spirit, or as a fully-fledged spin-off. It deserves that much for its innovation, and for how it made the entire Pokemon universe seem more engaging, and bigger than ever. While some worlds were lacklustre (the final snow-themed world is particularly boring), for huge swathes, this game is eye-opening, gorgeous, and a perfect translation of what makes Pokemon so endearing. More of this one, please. – Leah J. Williams
Nintendo Switch Sports
A return to motion sports makes for one of the best Switch games released in 2022. From our Nintendo Switch Sports review: ‘When it comes to one-on-one competitive multiplayer games, the most exhilarating part is feeling like you’re going toe-to-toe with someone who is your exact equal – the same level of skill, the same abilities, a completely level playing field. A match between comparable opponents typically ceases to become a battle of ability, instead becoming one all about wits. It’s usually an experience reserved for people competing at the highest tiers of competition. For certain types of games or sports, reaching that skill ceiling can take years. But when you play Nintendo Switch Sports online, you can get that experience very quickly, and in thrilling fashion.’
‘Where Wii Sports began to lose its grip on you the moment no-one was available to share the joy with, the online and enthusiast-focussed nature of Nintendo Switch Sports is a very good incentive to keep coming back. Even after earning all of the cosmetic offerings on offer for the week, Nintendo Switch Sports continues to be an enticing outlet any time I feel like experiencing the highs of close, edge-of-your-seat competition against another human being.’ – Edmond Tran
OlliOlli World is a perfect slice of chill vibes, wrapped up in pastel, cartoonish artwork and a plot that involves skateboarding, semi-omnipotent gods, and plenty of buzzing bees. The premise is a little bit zany – you’re a skateboarder looking to become the next Skate God by pulling off high-speed ollies and other tricks – but that just adds to the game’s charm. Pair this loose story with wickedly sharp gameplay, courses that take you into colourful and surreal worlds, and a cast of chilled-out characters, and you’ve got one gnarly package.
There’s an extreme joy to be had in perfecting every quirk of this adventure, and nailing your best landing. You’ll fall and stumble your way through tougher courses, but when you finally get what OlliOlli World has to teach, you’ll reach a real point of inner satisfaction. The game can be deceptively complex – tougher moves will take significant time to learn and master – but with endless replayability and no real consequences for failure, you’ll find every challenge in this game more exciting than the last. OlliOlli World is pure and wholesome, and there’s no other game out there that gives you quite the same buzz. – Leah J. Williams
Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak
From our Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak Review: ‘Sunbreak follows a consistent pattern in Monster Hunter series releases; it’s the ‘Master Rank’ expansion that doubles down on, and refines the systems, introduced in the base game. The frenetic Wirebug-powered combat of Rise has been perfected in Rise, with new Switch Skills that expand (and in some cases transform) the potential of every weapon, as well as a Skill Swap system that lets you adapt to new challenges by mixing in different Switch Skills in the middle of any hunt.’
‘Mastery through iteration – a refinement of gameplay and design that has been built over 18 years of the franchise – has ensured that Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak is phenomenal. The unique ideas that worked in Monster Hunter Rise have been finely honed, and the end-game now has the content it was sorely lacking. With a rock-solid foundation and a roadmap of promising post-launch additions on the horizon, Sunbreak is quite simply an excellent Monster Hunter expansion.’ – Percy Ranson
The Stanely Parable: Ultra Deluxe
‘From our review of The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe: Ultra Deluxe adds to a beloved, somewhat niche classic in ways that only a game like this can revisit. The Stanley Parable was already a brilliant case study on choice in video games, fed through a main dish of philosophical debate on determinism, with a side of death-of-the-author musings, rounded out with a nice glass of disarming humour.’
‘The 2022 release adds an Ultra Deluxe desert to the menu, elevating the night out from a lovely dinner to an indulgent feast. It’s a dining experience worth returning to for fans who already count The Stanley Parable among their favourite meals, balanced with providing the perfect place for new players to take a chance on something different. Regardless of which door you enter, the philosophical taste is likely to linger long after you’re finished.’ – Chris Lawn
Opus: Echo of Starsong
‘From our Opus: Echo of Starsong review: ‘Opus: Echo of Starsong is a story obsessed with memories and how they drive us. Its narrative is characterised almost entirely by its nesting use of flashbacks, like some kind of retrospective, regretful babushka doll. The beats which make up the opening hours of the game are thick with internal monologues, reflections and grey-toned flashes from the past. Characters often ruminate on the disappointments and pain that led them to the sector of space they now traverse, an area known as Thousand Peaks.’
‘Echo of Starsong too, is a slow, thoughtful rumination of memory and remembrance. Beyond the games fairly simplistic expressions of management and exploration gameplay, it’s the story that is the true draw. The narrative pace here is one of a slow burn – Echo of Starsong has genuine care for its characters and setting, and sets its moments of hope and heartbreak against a gorgeous score of strings and choirs.’
‘Even moments spent floating quietly outside each uniquely designed station, tomb, or cave can be beautiful, as the starscape shifts in the nether and violins swoon softly through your headphones. Opus: Echo of Starsong is a very particular kind of game, but when you give your time to it fully, it’s a rewarding and wonderful experience.’ – Nicholas Kennedy
Chinatown Detective Agency
From our Chinatown Detective Agency review: ‘It’s rare to see a video game that actively and frequently requires you to leave it entirely in order to progress. But that’s the big hook of Chinatown Detective Agency, an adventure game where you absolutely must use resources outside of the game to solve virtually every one of its puzzles.’
‘Taking clear design inspiration from the edutainment series Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, Chinatown Detective Agency requires you to take about a dozen extra steps beyond the basic geography knowledge required for Carmen. Often, the information you receive is only a seed to get you started on a string of deductions you’ll need to make, where you’ll often end up several unknowing leaps from where you started.’
‘Chinatown Detective Agency does some interesting and noteworthy things with its take on the point-and-click adventure game, between its reliance on external tools and your own deductive research ability, some solid story and character work, and a strong commitment to encapsulating a country and culture that is unique to video games by default. It’s a strong mixture of elements, and Chinatown Detective Agency will hopefully spark more adventures like it in our own unavoidably dystopian future.’ – Edmond Tran
Submerged: Hidden Depths
From our Submerged: Hidden Depths review: ‘Submerged: Hidden Depths is a self-dubbed ‘relaxploration’ adventure. After being released exclusively for the Google Stadia in 2020, it finally has a full release for consoles and PC. It’s the sequel to the 2015 adventure Submerged, though you don’t need any prior knowledge going into this one.’
‘It’s a combat-free, open world adventure game about an orphaned brother and sister, Taku and Miku, who are on a quest to find a new home. It’s set in a post-apocalyptic sunken city where the pernicious roots of the Black Plant have sprung forth from the earth and destroyed everything in their wake. Miku has been cursed, but the curse grants her a unique power: she can heal the roots. Using your boat, Hidden Depths asks you to explore the game’s unique map and restore the balance of nature.’
‘Submerged: Hidden Depths succeeds in being a relaxing exploration game. With a gorgeous world, good puzzles, and an ample amount of collectables to uncover, it wouldn’t be surprising if it started appearing on those ‘top ten cosy games’ compilations on TikTok.’ – Christie McQualter
Nobody Saves the World
From our Nobody Saves the World review: ‘Drinkbox Studios has a penchant for making skill-based experiences that successfully mix video game genres – like the Metroid-like brawler Guacamelee, and first-person swordplay game, Severed. Their latest is no different, and no less successful. Nobody Saves the World is a top-down action adventure reminiscent of classic Legend of Zelda games, combined with a customisable class system inspired by Final Fantasy Tactics. ‘
‘Nobody Saves the World blends recognisable aspects from disparate works to create a wholly unique experience. Its systems will challenge you and make you think, and it’s easy to stay engaged while juggling the number of forms and abilities available to the player, while accounting for the variety in world, dungeon, and quest design throughout the adventure. The game enthusiastically discards well-trodden concepts shortly after they’re introduced, and rewards you for doing the same.’ – Pedro Cooray
Are there any Switch games you think we’ve missed out on in this list of the best Switch games in 2022? Let us know on Twitter: @GamesHubDotCom.