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Here are all the best-reviewed games to grace Nintendo's hybrid console over the past 12 months.
2020 is finally coming to a close, wrapping up what was certainly an unprecedented year for the video game industry. While Sony and Microsoft both ushered in next-generation consoles, the Nintendo Switch marched into its fourth year on the market with some great releases that helped sustain its impressive sales momentum.
Although 2020 turned out to be fairly light in terms of Nintendo's first-party output, that certainly didn't mean that there wasn't anything to play on the system. A huge assortment of stellar third-party titles graced the hybrid console this year, including a variety of critically acclaimed indie gems like Hades and Spiritfarer. Nintendo also put out some great titles this year, from an original Switch entry in the Paper Mario series to the record-smashing Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
Below, we've rounded up all the best-reviewed games to hit the Switch in 2020. This list covers every title that has scored an 8 or higher on GameSpot. For more of our end-of-year coverage, be sure to check out our Best Games of 2020 and GameSpot's top 10 nominees. And for a look ahead at what the future has in store for the hybrid system, check out our roundup of the biggest Switch games to play in 2021 and beyond.
If you're looking to see what scored best on other platforms or in general, or even what stood atop as the best in particular genres this year, be sure to check out the features below. Otherwise, read on for all the best new Switch games in 2020 by score.
"Many games often aspire to deliver more, sometimes bartering in dizzying excesses--be it in high-octane action or through big, sweeping narratives that thrust you into a heroic position. But it's the diminutive tales and everyday experiences of A Short Hike that give the game its comforting, even pastoral allure. It's about seeking quiet communion with nature even as you make your umpteenth hike towards the peak, or finding contentment in stumbling upon tinier, quaint scenes. It proposes that even the smallest and most mundane of vignettes can be as enthralling as grandiose universes and narratives of more ambitious games. As I embark on yet another leisurely trek after ascending the summit of Hawk Peak, I can't help but heartily agree." -- Khee Hoon Chan, Freelance Reviewer
"New Horizons has a slower pace even than other Animal Crossing games, and at times, that can feel unnecessarily restrictive. But there's still plenty to do, and each of those activities feeds into the next brilliantly for a rewarding and relentlessly cheerful experience. New Horizons certainly came at the right time, and its strengths are particularly comforting right now. I'm as excited to see what random events await me each morning as I am glad to have it during hard times, and that's sure to keep me coming back for the foreseeable future." -- Kallie Plagge, Reviews Editor
"[L]ike so many challenging score chases, Bloodroots is still incredibly satisfying when you're eventually successful. At its highest heights, you'll find your way around, bouncing from weapon to weapon, kill to kill, to string together a perfect run. Better yet, there are so many ways to approach each area that, no matter how well you do, you can always do it better, faster, crazier. Even when playing Bloodroots is painful--like throw your controller so hard it bounces off the ground, hits you in the head, then breaks your TV painful--there's always a wildly fun run within reach." -- Mike Epstein, Freelance Reviewer
"The first thing you should know about Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 is that it features a playable corgi named Hachi who pilots an enchanted mecha-tank. The second thing you should know is that the classic Castlevania homage is in every way a marked improvement over the first Curse of the Moon. In fact, silly and meme-able as it is, the corgi represents a more playful spirit in this sequel that makes the whole experience richer." -- Steve Watts, Associate Editor
"[Y]ou never really 'win' Disc Room. You just survive it adequately enough to move onto the next thing. The light, mysterious plot has a weird but worthwhile end, but the real reward that Disc Room gives you is learning how to appreciate your own small achievements. The game is fraught with dangers and failure, but it frames the handful of seconds you are able to hang on as something exciting, something to be proud of. Disc Room helps you feed on those tiny bursts of success, in addition to providing success in failure, to keep you moving and pushing through all its trials. Maybe we could all learn something from these... rooms full of discs. Like all great twitch-action games, Disc Room is at once exciting and stressful, challenging and fulfilling, and its spinning saw blades can seep into your everyday thoughts." -- Edmond Tran, Editor
"Evergate surprised me. It looked at first to be slightly derivative of Ori and the Blind Forest, and I became interested in it because of those similarities, not in spite of them. In actuality, its common traits with Ori are superficial, and its strong focus on the puzzle part of the puzzle-platformer genre makes for a rich and wholly distinct experience." -- Steve Watts, Associate Editor
"Like in the Greek myths Hades takes inspiration from, endings aren't tidy, and they're almost never final. They're protracted, often unsatisfying, and are hard to find real closure in, and the fact that Hades understands this is its greatest strength. I'm sure there's a point where, after running through hell enough times, I'll have seen all Hades has to offer, both in its clever and endless fights and its many alluring characters, intimate moments, and rewarding quests. The story does end. But what matters so much more are all the moments between the start and end of a story, and the people who help us see those climactic moments but also stick with us between them. They're the reason we keep trying, and the reason we keep coming back." -- Suriel Vazquez, Associate Editor
"Minor shortcomings aside, Project DIVA MegaMix is a wonderful representation of why so many of us cherish Vocaloid-based music and, by extension, these rhythm games starring Hatsune Miku and friends. Sure, there might be a silly aspect to personifying virtualized characters like pop idols, but the music behind it is very real. Vocaloid has given a voice to the voiceless, letting incredible multi-instrumentalists create songs with actual lyrics even if they themselves don't have the ability to sing. And those of us who don't have their level of talent can at least take part in playing some of their best songs through the Project DIVA rhythm game series, which now lives on Switch in excellent form." -- Michael Higham, Associate Editor
"As you trek toward the conclusion, Kasio's mental health is tested in a swirl of panic. But ever since the start, what she's really been yearning for is acceptance and empathy, which might just be what saves us from denying ourselves happiness, and possibly even our own lives. And when we find both, only then are we able to take full control and begin writing our story for ourselves. That's not the sole takeaway from If Found, but it's one that's powerfully contextualized throughout its affecting, humanizing story." -- Michael Higham, Associate Editor
"Kentucky Route Zero is ultimately a story about America's ghosts, literal and metaphorical. It's a story about entire ways of life coming to one singular place to die quietly, hopefully with dignity. In all of its oddity, it never backs down from the fact that all that is now dead will stay dead, and for those who have settled in along the Zero, that includes the American dream." -- Justin Clark, Freelance Reviewer
"[W]hen The Last Campfire captivates--which it does so often--it's difficult not to sink into its breezy pacing and satisfying puzzle-solving. It never overstays its welcome or stretches puzzle ideas beyond their limits, letting each one leave an impression despite their brevity. The Last Campfire's narrative contextualizes each of these with small anecdotes, letting your imagination fill in the blanks of its world between worlds to the backdrop of its colorful imagery. It's a consistently relaxing and pleasant experience." -- Alessandro Barbosa, Freelance Reviewer
"Despite being almost 25 years old, Moon remains a thoughtful, beautiful experience that has a lot to say about the static nature of video games, how the way stories are presented affects our perceptions of reality, the rewarding nature of kindness and stewardship, and how simply being a part of the world makes us important and valuable. I don't think I'll forget my experience in Moon World anytime soon, and should you embark on this journey and see it through to its conclusion, I doubt you will, either." -- Heidi Kemps, Freelance Reviewer
"Mr. Driller Drill Land is the kind of game you can play for 10 minutes on a lunch break or for an entire afternoon. It's the sort of game where you'll be in a groove… only to screw up a section catastrophically and ruin a run. But you'll only be bitter about it for a minute before eagerly diving back in to try again. If you've never played Mr. Driller--or if it's been a while since you and Susumu went excavating together--Mr. Driller Drill Land is one relic that deserves a spot in your gaming museum." -- Heidi Kemps, Freelance Reviewer
"Ori and the Blind Forest was a delight in 2015--a tough-as-nails combination of a metroidvania structure and Meat Boy-like demands with a surprising amount of heartfelt heft. Five years later, Moon Studios' followup, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, is every bit as graceful and lovely as its predecessor, even if some of the emotional beats and exploration feel a little less novel the second time around." -- Steve Watts, Associate Editor
"The variety of classes and abilities make for a wide range of strategies, but no matter your team composition, the Daughters work together beautifully to take down their enemies. Boss fights are by far the most memorable and really showcase the reaction and combo system, but they also feed into the game's unique and engrossing story. While Othercide's maps and missions leave something to be desired, it's still a blast to cut your way through hordes of Others and pull off deadly combos that look cool as hell. With an exceptional story, atmospheric horror visuals, and tense, rewarding combat, Othercide offers a challenge you'll want to rise to, again and again." -- Jenae Sitzes, Commerce Editor
"Making a good retro-style game is hard--balancing old-fashioned play mechanics with newer advancements in game design is a tough tightrope to walk. But Panzer Paladin manages that balancing act with few slip-ups, delivering solid platforming action, fierce weapon duels, epic boss fights, and a cool weapon-sacrifice mechanic, all dressed up in an immensely charming classic-robot-anime wrapping. While it might have its brief moments of annoyance, the amazing globe-trotting, alien-smashing adventure of Flame and Grit proves to be a delight from beginning to end." -- Heidi Kemps, Freelance Reviewer
"With a newfound combat system that steals the show and offers a novel take on turn-based combat, its winking, nodding, and adventuring shine all the brighter. Its world and characters might not be the series' best, but it's still able to consistently throw left turns, good gags, and smart surprises at you. Each piece of The Origami King elegantly fits into its whole, taking its irreverent flair to new heights. The Paper Mario series has recently shown that being clever and being smart are two different things, but thankfully, it's once again managed to be both." -- Suriel Vazquez, Associate Editor
"Paradise Killer is a singular, exemplary experience. It's a detective game that feels like real detective work in a way few games do, and it makes its extremely complex worldbuilding feel effortless. I put off the final trial for as long as I can not only because I wanted all the evidence I could find, but because I did not want to leave the island or the game. Paradise might have been killed, but when you're deep into untangling the game's conspiracies, it feels very much alive." -- James O'Connor, Freelance Reviewer
"PGA Tour 2K21 improves on the mostly stellar foundation of The Golf Club series, offering the most realistic and pure golf experience in a game to date. There are still some minor annoyances that can temporarily take you out of the experience, but it offers a closer approximation of the actual PGA Tour schedule and a relaxing, streamlined approach to MyPlayer. For the most part, PGA Tour 2K21 admirably captures the peculiar magic of the game of golf." --Steven Petite, Associate Commerce Editor
"Although Pikmin 3 Deluxe may not offer much in the way of substantial new content, the game still holds up wonderfully thanks to its unique gameplay and carefully constructed levels, and the tweaks and additions that have been implemented here help smooth over the whole package for newer players. Even three installments in, there is no other series quite like Pikmin, which helps Pikmin 3 still feel fresh seven years after its original release." -- Kevin Knezevic, Associate Editor
"Whether or not you're an old-school Mystery Dungeon aficionado or a total newcomer to the long-derelict spin-off series doesn't necessarily matter: Mystery Dungeon on Switch improves upon the originals with some valuable quality-of-life tweaks, making it a worthwhile play regardless of your familiarity with the series. It features a distinct combat system that provides an intriguing alternative to the mainline Pokemon formula with tile-based strategizing, humanizes the Pokemon you've fallen in love with over the years, tells a riveting and emotional story that will make you view the franchise in a totally different light, and does so with a stylish suite of visuals and music." -- Cian Maher, Freelance Reviewer
"Ring of Pain is interesting and enjoyable in ways that can keep you enthralled despite doing almost the exact same thing for hours. The quick runs are really nice for just jumping in and having a few goes rather than oversaturating yourself with this world. It nails the creepy aesthetic from the art and sound design right down to the way it plays. It can make you feel a bit unsettled no matter what stage of the game you're at and how confident you're feeling. Ring of Pain swings between frustration and satisfaction but thankfully leans heavily to the latter most of the time. It's a delightfully disturbing mix of roguelike and card game genres that's worth stumbling in the darkness to discover." -- Hope Corrigan, Freelance Reviewer
"Risk of Rain 2 is lo-fi beats to relax to with the bass boosted until the subwoofers catch fire. And explode. And bleed? What begins as a chill loot-shooty time quickly escalates to a frantic fight for your life where everything is burning and there's a big red target on your back. The lack of any strategic layer between the action did leave me feeling burned out. But the additive nature of the game's builds give Risk of Rain 2 the feeling of a pebble skittering along a rocky cliff. When the avalanche begins, enemies would be well advised to get out of your way." -- Andrew King, Freelance Reviewer
"Spiritfarer is somehow a game with no risk but all reward. There's no death, no pain, no rush on any task, and yet I don't think I've ever felt this complete. You're allowed to totally take your time, play on your own terms, and even though your tasks are easy, they are incredibly fulfilling. If the game had kept giving me quests, I feel as if I would have kept doing them for eternity, just because I wanted to. All of Spiritfarer's novel mechanical variations kept potentially repetitive actions from ever growing old. Its gleeful little islands got more exciting to explore as new platforming abilities were unlocked. The characters, even small ones with funny little quips of dialogue that you encounter, were friends that I cherished. I absolutely adored existing in Spiritfarer's beautifully animated, compassionate world so much that it genuinely came to feel like home." -- Hope Corrigan, Freelance Reviewer
"No matter how many hours I spent in Star Renegades, every run, every battle, every turn felt like a new captivating puzzle to solve. In my experience, roguelites lose their luster when the runs start to feel the same no matter how you change things up. Even after playing for dozens of hours and having seen the vast majority of what there is to see, I never lost interest in picking apart each battle to dismantle an opponent for a turn, then another one, and another until the battle is finished. The satisfying feeling of living in the moment and conquering it never gets old." -- Mike Epstein, Freelance Reviewer
"Streets of Rage 4 is an admirable comeback for this long-dormant series. It looks great, sounds great, and plays very well. Even if the experience is relatively short, it's the sort of game you and your buddies can easily enjoy playing and re-playing. If you're craving some classic brawling action with a modern edge, these rage-filled streets are calling your name." -- Heidi Kemps, Freelance Reviewer
"Taken all together, Mario 3D All-Stars is a worthwhile collection, featuring the best versions of Mario 64, Sunshine, and Galaxy to appear on a Nintendo system. Although the individual games have been sparingly touched up and there's little in the way of ancillary material to pore over, the titles themselves hold up well and are a delight to revisit. Despite their age, the games are still rife with inventive ideas and surprises, which more than makes up for the collection's presentational shortcomings." -- Kevin Knezevic, Associate Editor
"Superliminal is a great puzzle experience, full of smart ideas that are richly realized. The game's playful use of the first-person camera and clever perspective manipulation puzzles take video game tropes and mechanics most players will be familiar with and wring something truly fresh out of them. Superliminal achieves its clear central aim--it offers up some genuinely fresh perspectives on what first-person puzzle games can do." -- James O'Connor, Freelance Reviewer
"Treachery in Beatdown City uses humor skillfully as a tool to deal with contemporary issues with the gig economy, insidious tech company ploys, and obnoxious bigots. It has some lulls and a bit of an abrupt conclusion, but that’s overshadowed by how especially fun the conversations and combat are. The mechanics stand out and push against the standards of the brawler genre, injecting a strong tactics twist that lets you make some freestyle combos in the blink of an eye. In the end it was a short, satisfying playthrough that maintained its action movie aura the entire time. Treachery in Beatdown City is all about fighting, but it shines because at its core it’s about fighting back." -- Funké Joseph, Freelance Reviewer
"What the Golf was already excellent on PC and mobile, but the Switch version is the definitive one, especially if you have another player handy. It's still wildly funny, weird, and lots of fun, and if it was just the campaign again, it would still be the best version of the game thanks to the ability to switch between touch and stick controls--but the addition of Party Mode really elevates the whole package. In my original review I said, "Like all great jokes, you'll want to share it," and now that's easier than ever." -- James O'Connor, Freelance Reviewer
"Although not every aspect of Xenoblade Chronicles has aged as well as others, Definitive Edition proves that Xenoblade Chronicles is still a fantastic JRPG with an immense amount of strategic depth that's still impressive in 2020. Its bevy of improvements and additions, as well as its fantastic epilogue, make this an adventure worth embarking on a decade later." -- Jake Dekker, Video Producer