A look at the seven best Nintendo Switch games of 2019 which include the likes of Fire Emblem Three Houses and Pokémon Sword and Shield.
The Game Awards have finished and December is quickly coming to an end meaning we can anticipate the new year and the assortment of excellent games it is going to bring especially in the busy months of March and April. However, before we do just that, we should first reflect on the seven best Nintendo Switch games of 2019 so we can gush about some truly amazing titles such as Fire Emblem Three Houses and Pokémon Sword and Shield.
Both Sony and Microsoft have had decent enough years with the releases of exclusives such as Death Stranding and Gears 5, but the Nintendo Switch has arguably had the strongest year especially in regard to exclusives. Pokémon Sword and Shield has been the best-selling exclusive of the year despite all the hubbub prior to its launch, and Luigi’s Mansion 3 has been a welcome throwback. Not only that, but the console has also received a couple of incredible JRPGs that previously haven’t been available for Nintendo loyalists.
Prior to gushing about our best Nintendo Switch games of 2019, we’d like to first cite Link’s Awakening as an honourable mention alongside Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The remake of Link’s Awakening is a faithful remaster with arguably the prettiest visuals of the year, meanwhile Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has had an excellent 12-months by adding incredible members to its roster such as Joker from the upcoming Persona 5 Royal.
Now that we’ve named our two honourable mentions above, we can now proceed to sharing our seven best Nintendo Switch games of 2019. There’s no ranking in order to avoid stirring up further rage and conflict, but we will state which is our ultimate game of the year as it is one of the below titles.
Dragon Quest XI S
Some of these seven candidates are included in our ultimate games of the year list, so in that case we won’t waffle on too much about why they are a part of our best Nintendo Switch titles of 2019. This applies particularly to Dragon Quest XI S as we have also gone to great extremes in the past to explain why it is the greatest JRPG of the decade.
To quickly summarise why Dragon Quest XI S is one of the best Nintendo Switch games of 2019, it’s because the party members are all incredibly likeable as well as because the narrative is a never-ending epic better than most fantasy novels and anime television series. Not only that, but the visuals are also wonderful and the gameplay is true to the JRPG genre rather than an attempted middle-ground designed to appease western gamers.
It’s more of the Square Enix marvel that was only available on PlayStation 4 and PC back in 2017, but the Nintendo Switch is truly where it feels most comfortable and best experienced.
Pokémon Sword and Shield
There’s a lot of people who are unhappy with Pokémon Sword and Shield thanks to its reduced Pokedex, but to us that hardly matters as the latest Game Freak instalment is still a thrilling and addictive experience thanks to its classic Pokémon formula that is near impossible to f**k up.
This is the second to last game also listed in our best games of 2019, so again we won’t waste your time by dawdling too much about why Pokémon Sword and Shield is a fantastic experience that pretty much anyone can fall head over heels in love with.
In order to now be as blunt and straightforward as humanly possible, Pokémon Sword and Shield is an experience that is both better and worse than its ancestors. We obviously miss some of the Pokémon that have been cut as well as other elements, but then there is the Wild Area and open-world that we truly adore.
Max Raid battles are also a fun multiplayer feature even for those who don’t typically enjoy playing with others. And, although it’s not really a testament to the game’s quality, it’d be impossible not to include Pokémon Sword and Shield in this list as it’s improved the Nintendo Switch’s sales in the UK, and it’s been the best-selling exclusive of the year.
Luigi’s Mansion 3
Some have taken issue with Luigi’s Mansion 3 for not being innovative enough as well as for being in a hotel rather than a mansion. While the lack of innovation is a fair criticism, we instead appreciate the familiarity as we simply regard it as a warm and comfortable blanket of nostalgia.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 isn’t a title that will wow you or be spoken about for years to come as it’s designed to be as inoffensive and child-friendly as humanly possible. With that being said, it’s still incredibly charming and funny, as well as creative and outlandish with its aesthetics and portrayals of zany ghosts.
There’s enough variety in the themed hotel floors to keep you ghostbusting with your vacuum, and the addition of Gooigi makes for some fun and unique puzzles. Again, none of it is revolutionary or anything to write home about as it’s all just simply entertaining and amusing.
However, this is all Luigi’s Mansion 3 needed to be and it succeeds with a grade A.
© Bandai Namco Entertainment
Ni No Kuni: Wrath Of The White Witch
Much like Dragon Quest XI S, Ni No Kuni Wrath Of The White Witch is a JRPG title that was already out before 2019. However, it previously wasn’t available on the Nintendo Switch, which is why we’ve included it in our list as it’s one of the best JRPGs of all-time, let alone just one of the best games to land on the Nintendo Switch this year.
Playing as a wonderfully wholesome boy who pretty much embodies the second coming of Jesus Christ, the story of Ni No Kuni is an emotional rollercoaster that is aided by the stunning animation you’d expect from Studio Ghibli.
Its gameplay is admittedly a tad jarring thanks to its combat being a middle-ground between turn-based and action-oriented (an appeasement we’ve been critical of in the past), but for Ni No Kuni it largely works thanks to all the memorable and adorable Familiars you can catch and command about.
For those who love JRPGs as well as anime, Ni No Kuni Wrath Of The White Witch is essentially a playable Studio Ghibli film. And while this may sound like a gimmick, know that its story is equal to some of the studio’s best movies such as Spirited Away.
Super Mario Maker 2
Super Mario Maker 2 is an extension of the dream Nintendo game that became a reality with the original back on the Wii U. Only this time it’s actually playable on a good Nintendo console.
We’ve never been too much into making levels ourselves due to being lazy imbeciles, but there is an ungodly amount of options available for you, your mates or anyone else to make as complex, simple, infuriatingly hard or easy a level.
This means that you essentially get to become a Mario developer by creating your own levels. Meanwhile, for the likes of us who aren’t interested in work or construction, we simply get to play an unlimited amount of charming levels that range from being short and a breeze to epic and impossibly hard.
Super Mario Maker 2 does include a story mode that we must credit by mentioning, but the appeal is obviously creating and playing user-made levels. And this is why Super Mario Maker 2 is one of the best Nintendo Switch games of 2019 as it’s endlessly replayable thanks to its nature.
Ring Fit Adventure
We know not everyone will agree with the inclusion of Ring Fit Adventure, but we just had to name it in our list as it’s a title we truly respect. Not because any of us are gym enthusiast posers who do nothing but run on a treadmill for five-minutes and drink protein, but rather because it’s a fitness-based game that actually encompasses RPG elements with other video game traditions.
There’s been fitness focused titles in the past such as the Wii Fit, but that was solely a helpful exercise tutorial rather than a full-functioning video game. Ring Fit Adventure, however, embodies the best aspects of both fitness and video game worlds to bring them together.
It has a lengthy campaign, it wonderfully combines simple RPG mechanics with specific exercises such as squats, and its world is a colourful delight that – while empty – will push you to keep on jogging. Its battle system also becomes more complex the further you progress by giving you harder exercises to execute.
None of the exercises are too difficult to pull-off unless you’re ridiculously unfit, so the game acts a decent enough workout that will cause you to somewhat sweat while enjoying your hobby of playing video games. And what’s not to love about that?
Fire Emblem Three Houses
Fire Emblem Three Houses is our game of the year for 2019 and it’s a title we strongly believe has been massively overlooked by many other outlets as well as the industry in general. It’s certainly a lot better than just being the dream Harry Potter game too many people have dubbed it.
As a new professor tasked with the duty of teaching one of three houses, you become responsible for the lives of your many students by commanding them into battle. These battles have a cinematic presentation that make them incredibly immersive and intense, and this is ramped up even further by playing on Classic rather than Casual.
Its monastery is obviously inspired by Hogwarts, but the game’s narrative is so much better than its inspiration thanks to its dark themes and political intrigue. Not only that, but you also get more story by playing with the other houses, which is a great incentive to play through all three to experience over 100-hours of stellar character and relationship building combined with thrilling turn-based gameplay.
Yes, turn-based combat can be off-putting for some, but Fire Emblem Three Houses is still a must-play for anyone who boasts a Nintendo Switch.