Nintendo consoles are built on the backs of flagship titles like Mario and Zelda, and that's not much different on the Nintendo Switch. But over the last few years, Nintendo has embraced indie gaming in a big way. Some of the best Nintendo Switch games aren't big blockbuster titles. Instead, they're made by smaller indie developers. These developers can explore themes outside of gaming norms, experiment with gameplay tropes, and tell stories that haven't been told before. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games from indie developers on the Nintendo Switch.
Supergiant's rogue-like Hades combines tense, frenetic action with a deeply-woven story. Zagreus is attempting to break out of his father's domain, which means battling armies of soldiers and monsters while gaining powers from the Olympian gods. Even if you're not normally a fan of rogue-likes, give it a try, as it's quite forgiving while still featuring a surprisingly deep story.
Fight your way out of the Underworld
Hades for Nintendo Switch
Hades is the latest rogue-like to steal the hearts of gamers all over. As Hades' son, Zagreus, you must fight your way out of the Underworld and through tons of procedurally generated dungeons while learning more about the Greek pantheon of gods, demons, and heroes.
Video games can sometimes be hectic, difficult, and time-consuming, so why not take a trip to Stardew Valley? Build your farm and meet the locals, all while playing at your pace. The farming game has continued to grow with consistent updates from its developer and is now better than ever. You can woo some of your neighbors, grow crops, and just breathe in the stress-free nature of this super-chill game.
Another rogue-like bursting with hours upon hours of gameplay, Dead Cells is a difficult 2D platformer that's perfect for quick, action-packed sessions. Every time you die, you're back at the beginning, but hopefully armed with new knowledge. Learn from your mistakes and try, try again. It's also well worth mentioning that Dead Cells looks and runs great on the Nintendo Switch.
Everyone knows Among Us — the multiplayer game received a huge resurgence in popularity recently, climbing from only dozens of players to thousands upon thousands in a matter of months. The viral hit made the jump to the Nintendo Switch and includes cross-play, so you can play with your friends on other platforms as well.
Streets of Rage 4
Looking for a new game that's a throwback to the old arcade beat em' ups, while combining it with modern polish? Look no further than Streets of Rage 4.
Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition
Ready for something that's just plain weird, but in a great way? Then you need to check out Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition. This Southern Gothic adventure takes you through a story with multiple characters in a surreal world that's divided into five chapters.
A slightly different reality
Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition for Nintendo Switch
A magical realist adventure game told in five acts, Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition is an experimental game that draws inspiration from theater, film, and electronic art; as well as the history of video games. An art-house treat for the Nintendo Switch.
Spirtfarer is a cozy management game about dying. While on the surface that may seem dark, Spirtfarer is anything but. You play as Stella, ferry master to the deceased, as you build a boat and befriend and care for spirits, all before releasing them into the afterlife. Spend time with your new friends, create memories, and learn how to say goodbye to your loved ones.
Enter the Gungeon
Enter the Gungeon has enjoyed massive success on the Nintendo Switch and can be credited for bringing many rogue-likes to the system. Combining dungeon crawling with twin-stick shooter gameplay, Enter the Gungeon will keep you shooting for a long time.
Sea of Solitude: The Director's Cut
Sea of Solitude: The Director's Cut is the updated version of the 2019 Games for Impact nominee. You play as Kay, a girl so hopeless that she turns into a monster. Featuring a new cast of voice actors, updated cut scenes and animations, plus a rewritten script, there's no better way to experience this emotional journey than on the Nintendo Switch.
Hollow Knight provides a dark, haunting, melancholic Metroidvania with a focus on environmental storytelling. It's the first game from the developers at Team Cherry, with tight combat and a mountain of secrets to uncover.
Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer
Crypt of the NecroDancer was a unique spin on the adventure genre, combining typical dungeon crawling with a rhythm game. The last thing we expected from the sequel would be a crossover with Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda series, but that's exactly what we got. Jump and slash to the beat in familiar Zelda locales — you can even control Princess Zelda and Link!
If you're looking for a challenging platforming title that'll also provide some solid accessibility options, Celeste is a game to look at. As you scale the mountain, you'll learn more about the protagonist's challenges, touching on topics of mental illness and anxiety in a way that translates into the gameplay.
Conquer your demons
Celeste - Nintendo Switch
Celeste is a deeply moving platformer that deals with the difficulties of crippling anxiety and self-doubt. The challenges of these illnesses are coupled with an impressive platformer. You'll feel relief along with main character, Madeline, as you conquer each challenge and climb to the top of Celeste Mountain.
Untitled Goose Game
Honk, honk, honk! If you've ever met a goose, you know how troublesome they can be. It's time to unleash your inner troublemaker and steal things from around town while startling the locals.
Undertale is one of the most popular indie games available. The unique structure encourages thinking outside the box when dealing with threats, and as a game that thrives on surprises, the less you know going in the better. It's a role-playing title, but be careful. Very little is as it first appears and every situation has a different angle to explore.
Slay the Spire
Rogue-likes and card games are all the rage in the indie scene, so what would happen if you combined them? You get Slay the Spire, a unique and addictive card-battling rogue-like. Craft a unique deck, battle bizarre and grotesque monsters, and climb the spire.
If you've ever found yourself pining over Nintendo's long-dormant Advance Wars series, then Wargroove is for you. This strategy game is colorful, and most importantly, very fun. The high-fantasy setting of Aurania brings numerous campaigns, with different commanders to choose from. Overall, it's a deeply replayable tactics game with lots of content to sift through.
Sayonara Wild Hearts
The wildest game on our list (pun intended): Sayonara Wild Hearts is an arcade game that emphasizes stylish visuals and a strong soundtrack as you battle your way through broken hearts.
Rain on your Parade
Tired of everything being so sunny and cheerful? Then it's time to rain on some parades. Literally. Playing as a storm cloud, ruin countless scenarios and bring out the waterworks on anyone you see.
What's your favorite?
As indie games continue to flood the Nintendo eShop, we'll make sure we update this list with our favorites. Just make sure you have an SD card for your Nintendo Switch with enough storage space to download these indie gems. If you're looking for the cream of the crop, look no further than Hades. It's a rogue-like that's fun and fluid, but it's the art, voice acting, and storytelling that will keep you going back for more every time you die — and you will die a lot. If you enjoy Hades, you'll also find lots to love with Dead Cells.
For those looking for a more laid-back experience, Stardew Valley is the perfect match for you. With no goal except to build up your farm, Stardew Valley has hours of content to enjoy at your own pace. Fans of Stardew Valley will also be into Spiritfarer: a cozy, feel-good game that deals with heavy themes.
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.