Best Nintendo Switch Games of 2020

2020 has been a crazy year filled with unprecedented experiences. But while we were all stuck inside for the majority of it, we got to spend more times playing this year's awesome Nintendo Switch games. The iMore gaming team took a look at all of the Nintendo games and accessories that have come out this year to determine which were the best of the best.

These are our picks for the best Nintendo Switch games and products of 2020.

Game of the Year 2020

Best Overall

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing hit store shelves just when the world needed it most. Millions of people use the game to keep in touch, celebrate holidays, and even go on dates during the pandemic. In that way, it isn't just a fantasy life sim, but also kind of a simulation of what our lives are like during brighter days. It's laid back playstyle offers the perfect stress reliever and all of those seasonal updates every few months make it something that continues to hold our interest all year round. For many of us, Animal Crossing wasn't just a game that released in 2020 — it was how we socialized in 2020. And that's what makes it the best Nintendo Switch game of 2020.

1st Runner-up

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity

This hack and slash adventure helps satiate our thirst for the Breath of the Wild sequel as we learn more about what took place in Hyrule 100 years prior to Calamity Ganon's takeover. Each of the playable characters offer thier own strengths and special attacks to make things more interesting.

2nd Runner-up

Paper Mario: The Origami King

The latest entry in the Paper Mario series brought us that same hilarious charm we've come to expect from Intelligent Systems. The battle system met with mixed responses, but the story, locales, and characters you meet along the way truly make this a worthwhile adventure that even manages to pull at your heart.

Best multiplayer 2020

Best Overall

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

We might have been stuck inside and unable to see eachother face to face this year, but Animal Crossing still allowed us to celebrate our special moments virtually. Friends held in-game birthday parties and wedding receptions for each other. Families got together to watch fireworks burst over their islands in July or went trick or treating on each other's islands in October. People even came up with their own games like hide and seek, or obstacles races to pass the time. Animal Crossing wasn't just a game we played in 2020, it was the thing that allowed us to interact with each other in 2020.

Runner-up

Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics

The game offers several four-player games, a few two-player games, and some solo games, so you can keep yourself entertained in a number of scenarios. The online component also makes solo play more enjoyable since you're competing against an actual human being, whether you're playing a familiar or new game.

Most innovative game 2020

Best Overall

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit

Nintendo partnered with Velan Studios to create a Mario Kart experience like we've never seen before. For once, players can create their own track and then race RC cars with cameras attached to them around their home. The AR software overlays virtual elements over the course on the Switch screen providing you with items, opponents, and obstacles while you race. What really makes this game impressive is that the physical kart reacts to things within the game, stopping when hit by a shell or spinning out of control temporarily after hitting a banana. It is by far the most innovative game on Nintendo Switch this year.

Best Expansion / DLC 2020

Best Overall

Pokémon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass

This DLC gave us two new locations to explore with the base Pokémon Sword and Shield games. The Crown Tundra in particular quickly became a fan-favorite location as players have the chance to band together to fight and capture Legendary Pokémon from previous games.

Runner-up

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC

We were all super surprised when Masahiro Sakurai announced that more DLC Fighters were going to be created for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Watching every few months as another character gets announced has filled the community with speculation and excitement making it one of the best DLC released in 2020.

Best Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC Fighter 2020

Best Overall

Steve & Alex

For years now, Minecraft, a vastly underrated gem, has not been properly represented in the video game world. After years of patiently waiting for someone to recognise Minecraft's greatness, this blocky game's stoic fans finally have their consolation: Steve and Alex, Minecraft's default characters, have come to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Not only were they lovingly recreated in Nintendo's supremely popular fighting mash-up of dozens of popular characters, but their unique abilities and fighting styles make them a joy to use. For this, and for successfully bringing Minecraft into the mainstream gaze, Steve and Alex deserve the reward for Best Overall Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC fighters.

Runner-up

Byleth

This year, Byleth became the eigth Fire Emblem character to get added to the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate roster. This isn't too surprising consdering that Fire Emblem: Three Houses released on Switch last year and has since become the best-selling strategy RPG of all time. Whether you're playing with male or female Byleth, they have the moves to hurt opponents both at close range and from afar.

Best Indie Game 2020

Best Overall

Hades

Hades didn't come out of nowhere. The latest from Supergiant Games (Bastion, Transistor) was already gaining traction in early access on the Epic Games Store starting in 2018. However, once the roguelike hit its full release, there was no stopping it. The game has everything: great characters, a Supergiant-level soundtrack, a surprisingly engaging story that weaves in the best and worst of the Greek mythos, and, of course, tight, addictive combat. This is a game for everyone — those who like roguelikes and those who don't. Plus everybody is hot. It's a total package.

Runner-up

Spiritfarer

Spiritfarer found its way into our hearts with its gorgeous artstyle and compassionate focus. This wholesome game has you serving as a ferry master for wandering spirits who need to find peace before they can move on to the afterlife. This might include feeding them their favorite foods when they're hungry, giving them a hug when they're feeling down, or helping them sort out their past. Spiritfarer's uplifting way of exploring difficult emotions, death, and compassion make it one of the best games to have released in a long time.

Best free game 2020

Best Overall

Fortnite — Chapter 2 Season 4

Fortnite continues to go strong during Epic Games' lawsuit against Apple. The latest season focused on the Marvel universe and allowed players to acquire super powers. Those with the Battle Pass could also acquire fan-favorite characters like Wolverine, Thor, Iron Man, and more. Since it's a cross-platform game, it's continued to allow friends to play together even while we've been stuck inside.

Runner-up

Spellbreak

Spellbreak debuted this summer and brought a battle royale experience that focused on elemental powers rather than the typical gun fare. What makes it so interesting is that players can have a different elemental guantlet on each arm and when combined, certain elements can create reactions like explosions or making wet areas able to conduct electricity. When played effectively, teams of three can use elements to their advantage to create destructive combinations.

Best Port / Remaster 2020

Best Overall

Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition

Xenoblade Chronicles, the critical success that kicked off a series of sci-fi fantasy JRPGs, originally released in 2010 on the Wii. Now, a decade later, it has been remastered and continued with Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition. More of a remaster than a port, Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition lets players relive Shulk's epic adventure in the worlds of Bionis and Mechonis, as he and his friends seek to unravel the mysteries of the time powered Monado blade. With gorgeous new graphics, remixed and remastered music, and an entirely new epilogue, this game delivers nearly 80 hours of gameplay, all while retaining the beautiful story of the original game.

Runner-up

Bioshock: The Collection

The original BioShock is something of a watershed moment for storytelling in first-person games. The infamous twist of this immersive sim-lite cemented it in gaming memory, aided by the incredible atmosphere of underwater paradise-in-shambles, Rapture. It also helped spawned a whole discussion around "ludonarrative dissonance." With the addition of BioShock 2 and BioShock Infinite, the latter of which has proved to be even more divisive in its tones of persecution and the persecuted, it's easily of the most iconic trilogies in gaming. Best of all, you can nowplay it on Switch at a solid framerate and a clean 1080p resolution when docked, or 720 on the go. If you've never experienced this trilogy or simply find yourself wondering how it holds up, BioShock: The Collection is one to add to your library.

Most anticipated game 2020

Best Overall

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel

Breath of the Wild completely shook up the Zelda series to provide an open-world experience like no other. Three years later and people are still discovering the game's secrets. When Nintendo announced a direct sequel during E3 2019, the internet just about lost its mind. From what we've seen in the teaser, we've got lots of questions. Is Zelda a playable character? Is the undead man Ganon? What is that glowing green stuff? We can't wait to get our hands on the game and see what Nintendo has in store for us. If you haven't yet, you should definitely play Breath of the Wild to get ready for this upcoming title.

Runner-up

Monster Hunter Rise

We're really looking forward to Monster Hunter Rise on the Nintendo Switch next year. That's because this next installment of the Monster Hunter franchise takes the best parts of Monster Hunter World and puts it into a portable version, while retaining the amazing armor and weapon designs from older Monster Hunter games. This is the perfect combination, and having it available on a portable console means we can enjoy hunts anytime, anywhere. Plus, the new gameplay mechanics with the Wirebug open up a ton of new possibilities when it comes to stylish attacks with the game's 14 different weapon types, and the Palamute is a cool companion addition. Finally, we have dogs in Monster Hunter, along with cats! I mean, what more could we ask for?

Best Nintendo Switch controller 2020

Best Overall

Pro Controller

Since its initial release, the Pro Controller has continued to hold its place as the best Nintendo Switch gamepad. It offers a more traditional grip from the Joy-Cons and is a better fit for playing intense adventures like Action RPGs and competitive titles. The D-pad is a necessity for getting perfect control during platformers while the included rumble, motion controls, and amiibo functionality make it the very best of the best for any playing experience.

Runner-up

8Bitdo SN30 Pro

The 8Bitdo SN30 Pro is a beautiful marriage of modern and retro design. Taking the more ergonic form factor of Nintendo's own Pro Controller and combining it with the classic SNES controller, the SN30 Pro delivers a must-have accessory for your Nintendo Switch. Whether your playing iconic titles on NES/SNES Online or diving in to some new hits, this controller consistently looks and feels great. And unlike many other 3rd party Nintendo Switch controllers, you aren't losing key features like rumble or motion controls with the SN30 Pro.

Best Nintendo Switch gaming headset 2020

Best Overall

SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless Headset

Since the Nintendo Switch doesn't have any Bluetooth capabilities, you typically need to purchase an adapter in order to use wireless headphones with it. However, the problem with that is not every headset is guaranteed to work with a dongle. That's what makes the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless Headset the best - it comes with its own adapter and works excellently with the Switch. The included microphone is also detachable so you can remove it if you don't plan on using it during your sessions.

Runner-up

HyperX Cloud Alpha

As far as sound quality and noise cancelling go, you can't get much better than the HyperX Cloud Alpha. The cushioned earphones feel great without exerting a lot of pressure and the microphone is detachable for when you don't need it. If that wasn't enough, it just looks cool too. If you don't mind having a wired headset, this is the one to go with.

Best traveling case 2020

Best Overall

Funlab Leather Animal Crossing Carrying Case

Funlab's gorgeous Animal Crossing-themed clutch case doesn't just look good, it also has a protective inner lining to prevent the Switch from getting scratched. The design on the front is super cute and mimics the look of the Animal Crossing Nintendo Switch.

Runner-up

PowerA Pokémon Expressions Case for Nintendo Switch Lite

Of all of the Nintendo Switch cases out there, this one has some of the best storage space as it can hold nine cartridges and has a zippered storage compartment for small accessories like earbuds or extra Joy-Cons. The inner lining is soft to the touch to keep your console and the display safe from scratches. Plus, that handle makes it very easy to travel with.

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