Hades
Screengrab via YouTube

The 10 best indie games on Nintendo Switch

Seeking some new indie games to add to your Switch arsenal? Look no further than this list.

When it comes to indie ports, it can be hard to know if you’re going to get a game that operates well on a different system. Most indie titles are made for Steam, so their controls can get lost in translation when changing consoles. Combine that with the somewhat confusing nature of the Nintendo Eshop, and you will have a guaranteed headache. We’ve done the hard work for you and found some of the best Indie ports available for the Nintendo Switch.

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Hades

A roguelike based on Greek mythology, Hades delivers one hell of an experience. You play as Zagreus — Hades’ rebellious sex-kitten of a son — as he tries to escape his father’s realm. The roguish Zag is aided by his many extended family members far away on Olympus, who bequeath various skills to him every time he dies. And die you do, but that’s the point.

Every time you come back around you get a new chance to chit-chat with all of the people you left behind. The characters are one of the things that makes Hades so fun. You may like Zag for himself, but the relationship between Zag and everybody else is where it’s at. It’s almost like a dating sim, with denizens of Olympus and Hades alike remembering and expanding on aspects of your interactions. Even the bosses that you encounter will adapt and change with you, making each rematch feel like a nemesis smackdown rather than a repeat. With lively and varied gameplay, more abilities than you can count, and a cast of memorable companions, Hades is well worth the $24.99 asking price.

Carrion

Carrion is an experience like no other. Players assume control of a slimy, multi-mouthed nightmare trapped deep below the surface in a secret lab. The writhing tentacled beastie is incredibly easy to control as you crash your way through the narrow halls, munching on scientists and ripping security guards into tiny pieces. Carrion does an excellent job of letting players live the monster life, but it’s not just some slugfest, later enemies require more thoughtful approaches with mechs and armed humans easily able to reduce your beast-self to a pile of slimy flesh. Carrion is a little short, but the pure joys of ravaging a human population and the outside-of-the-norm experience is well worth a try. You can get your copy of Carrion for $19.99

Neon Abyss

This procedurally generated roguelike run-n-gun side scroller is perfect for an afternoon cool down.  Released in 2020 by Team17, this Greek-inspired indie title centers on a neon underground dominated by gods and monsters. The old Greek pantheon has been replaced by a new set of deities ushered in by the modern age and mankind’s obsession with technology. There isn’t very much story outside of that, but Neon Abyss isn’t here to try and change the shape of video game narratives.

It’s here to laden you with silly costumes imbued with more special abilities than you can shake a stick at, and a gaggle of adorable little minions that are equipped with some impressive — and some downright awful — abilities for you to exploit. There is no limit to the number of abilities you can stack, so the more you explore, the more overpowered you arrive at the final boss. This colorful title isn’t one to pick up if you’re looking for a challenge, but if you’re here for some explosive light-hearted fun, make sure to grab this one for $19.99.

Owlboy

I know I talk about art, but D-Pad Studio’s Owlboy takes the pixel cake. It’s got some of the best pixel art I’ve ever seen in a game. It’s meticulously realized and worth a play just for the sheer delight of watching its lively animations and the pleasure of seeing the world unfold. But Owlboy is so much more than a pretty game. This dungeon-diving platformer stars Otus, an owl boy who — though he is talented in the art of flying — has very little else going for him. Instead, Otus relies on a variety of recruitable allies who supplement his ability to traverse with attacks, so instead of swapping out weapons, you swap out friends. The gameplay is lively, and each boss varied. But Owlboy is the full package, so the story is just as interesting as the gameplay is fun. It feels very much like a classic Zelda title, and veterans of the genre will recognize the influence of several classic NES titles. You can get your copy of Owlboy for $14.99.

Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley is one of those games that literally anyone can play. While it may look like a simple farming simulation on the surface, Stardew Valley is an indie masterpiece all made by a single person — but you’d never guess that when playing it. Players manage their resources and turn their late grandfather’s neglected farm into a thriving business, unlocking dozens of crafting recipes and buildings along the way.

But that’s just one small part of this sprawling little world. You can get married, become an integral part of the Valley, explore caves, and fight monsters! There are an endless number of tasks to complete and countless days to complete them. There is a reason Stardew Valley is on almost every list of recommended games, and at only $14.99, there’s no reason not to pick it up.

Undertale

Undertale has the kind of story you just have to experience for yourself. Another one-man labor of love, Undertale is incredibly well-written, frequently laugh-out-loud funny, and surprisingly dark when it wants to be. It takes everything good about RPGs and somehow makes them better by playing to our expectations as gamers.  High-level monsters have distinct personalities and players experience these odd-ball characters by choosing whether they want to fight, talk, or flirt their way through the underground world.  

The art is pretty trash, but the visual limitations are forgivable when balanced against everything the game gets overwhelmingly right. The animations are great, and the music shows a surprising range considering it is chiptune and not orchestral. Undertale can be a short ride, it’s between 5 and 10 hours depending on how intensely you pursue the story, but the replayability of this game is high, and with multiple endings available to unlock, it’s well worth the $14.99 asking price.

Spiritfarer

Spiritfarer is so much more than it appears at first glance. Most players are familiar with resource management in games, but this one shakes up the monotony of tending to your crops through careful storytelling. Players take on the role of Stella – a recently deceased girl who takes over for the god of death. As she ferries souls from the land of the living to the shores of the dead, Stella must complete quests for each of her otherworldly denizens in order for them to find peace. This is where Spiritfarer shines. You’ll spend time learning about each one of your passengers until — after you’ve solved all of their problems — they are finally ready to move on. The loss is surprisingly difficult, each one of these fleshed-out characters are loveable in their own way, and a few of them are genuinely hard to let go of. But that’s the beauty of this game. It forms meaningful connections in very little time. Throw in some decent platforming, gorgeous art, and a soothing soundtrack and you have hours of fun. Spiritfarer is available for $29.99 but a free demo is available if you aren’t ready to pull the trigger.

Slay the Spire

It took me forever to pick this one up. I mean I heard arguments from everyone for why I should play this game. Colleagues, mentors, and strangers talked to me ad nauseam about Slay the Spire. And you know what – I wish I had played it. This roguelike/deck-building/RPG hybrid may not have much of a story going for it, but it has plenty else. A deck-building dungeon crawler, players must choose from 3 different heroes with very different base abilities, which are supplemented by cards. The card combinations can be ridiculous, overpowered, and sometimes ridiculously overpowered. The best — and the worst — part is that you may never encounter some of the bizarre mashups again.

There is no timer, so you can sit there and over-analyze every possibility, or you can throw out your first instinct card. It only takes about an hour to beat a round, but you’ll learn how to strategize better with every win, and more so from every failure. And that’s where Slay the Spire gets you. With each round being so short, it’s easy to convince yourself to “just do one more,” so you fix whatever mistake set you back to the start last time. Slay the Spire is well worth the $24.99 asking price.

Gris

It’s easy to see all of the influences that made Gris into the masterwork that it is. Journey and Limbo were clear inspirations for Gris’s gorgeous landscapes and thematic styling. A puzzle platformer, Gris is a compelling journey that surpasses the need for dialogue by using visual representations for its copious emotional undertones. There isn’t a single wasted moment in Gris, which stands as a testament to excellent game design. It doesn’t indulge itself unless it needs to, and those jaw-dropping moments are outside of the typical gaming experience. This game delivers so many “wow” moments, it doesn’t seem fair.  It’s too hard to explain what makes Gris such an incredible experience, but do yourself a favor if you like artistic games and scoop it up for $16.99.

Hollow Knight

What can I say, I like my games pretty for the most part. Hollow Knight scratches that artistic itch with some of the cutest traditional animation on the market. The Metroidvania-style game surpasses the legions of similar titles available on the Switch with its tight controls and even-tighter visuals. Don’t let the aesthetic fool you, Hollow Knight is referred to as a Souls-like game for a reason. It’s challenging and can be unforgiving at times, but it’s well worth the potential frustration. The sound design is incredible, and you’ll be amazed at how three-dimensional the 2D world comes across. The world seems much larger than it is, and with multiple DLC’s you’ll have plenty of reasons to return to the world of Hollow Knight again and again. You can grab a copy for $15.00.

Celeste

Celeste is one of those games that I want to recommend to everyone. It’s a perfect blend of narrative and gameplay and has some of the best platforming controls of all time. The story centers on Madeline, a young woman struggling with her confidence and self-esteem who decides to climb Celeste Mountain. The difficult climb serves as a metaphor for her mental struggles, and while that sounds incredibly heavy-handed, the execution is in a league of its own. The characters and struggles are well-written and believable, coming together in a wonderfully emotional experience.

The gravity of situations is often mirrored by the boss’s difficulty levels, and it really feels like Celeste wields the challenge it presents in a meaningful way. Celeste doesn’t want to leave players out of its experience, however.  If the levels are too hard, there is an assisted mode. Feel like the challenge isn’t there? You can unlock higher levels of difficulty. No matter what level of gamer you are, Celeste has a version for you. With its fantastic soundtrack, stylized art, and excellent storytelling, Celeste is a testament to the power of video games as a medium. You can get your own copy for $19.99.


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Author
Ash Martinez
Ash has been obsessed with Star Wars and video games since she was old enough to hold a lightsaber. It’s with great delight that she now utilizes this deep lore professionally as a Freelance Writer for We Got This Covered. Leaning on her Game Design degree from Bradley University, she brings a technical edge to her articles on the latest video games. When not writing, she can be found aggressively populating virtual worlds with trees.