2020 is all but over (good riddance!) and it’s time to look back and survey the gaming battleground. Despite this year being a particularly ugly one for practically all of us, we’ve been lucky enough to enjoy some incredible games throughout the year which have helped to restore our spirits in our down time, enforced or otherwise.
Below you’ll find the Top 50 Switch games of 2020 as ranked by readers of Nintendo Life. The order is governed by the User Ratings associated with every Switch game released in 2020 on our games database. As with several of our reader-ranked Best Games round-ups, the ranking is totally fluid even after publication, which means it’s never too late to rate your collection and influence the list.
If you’ve yet to score your favourites, simply click your chosen games’ ratings below and score as you see fit. Can’t see your favourite? Head to our library of Switch games (click the Games tab at the top of the page) to find what you’re looking for. A game needs to have been rated by a minimum of thirty users to become eligible, so it’s entirely possible to influence this best Switch games of 2020 ranking and get your favourites on the list.
Publisher: Gearbox Publishing / Developer: 3D Realms
A masterpiece to this day, Duke Nukem 3D is done proud by this Switch conversion. It looks and runs briliantly, the online options are a welcome inclusion and it’s not compromised in any way from its earlier console release. It’s a shame that a handful of previously-available expansion packs are missing, but given the low price of World Tour Edition, it feels churlish to complain. In the words of the Duke himself, come get some.
Publisher: Devolver Digital / Developer: Phobia Game Studio
Carrion is a special thing in many ways–a game which puts you in the shoes (or slithering eldritchtentacles) of the game’s ‘boss’–but its actual meat and potatoes structure is as formulaic as the genre gets. Thankfully, its core gameplay of tearing room after room of people into wet chunks of corpse never, ever gets old, and sustains the experience throughout. It looks superb, sounds great and is plenty of fun to play, despite some minor issues which just hold Carrion back from the absolute upper echelons of the Switch library. Still, if you’re after a Metroidvania with a twist, this one is digustingly intriguing.
Publisher: Marvelous (XSEED) / Developer: Marvelous (XSEED)
Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town offers up a perfectly satisfying and simple take on the farm sim genre. Heartwarming character interactions, easy to grasp farming mechanics, and a nice variety of side activities prove to make this release a potent and worthwhile entry in this long-running series. Though its roots as a handheld game occasionally resurface and there’s not a ton of new content added for this remake, Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town more than stands enough on its own as a quality game that deserves a spot in your Switch library. If you’re looking for something to fill that post-Animal Crossing hole in your life, or are just simply a fan of the farm sim genre in general, don’t miss out on this one.
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Paladin Studios
Good Job! Is a wonderful surprise that everyone should try out. Thanks to its hilarious physics, seemingly menial tasks have the potential to descend into utter carnage – whether intentional or not – and its grading system means there are plenty of opportunities to replay. Slight technical hiccups aside, Good Job! is absolutely guaranteed to have you in fits of laughter.
Catherine: Full Body is a fantastic revamp of a bonafide cult classic. With an excellent new character and several new endings slickly inserted into an already highly entertaining narrative – not to mention a slew of fun new modes – this is the definitive version of an outstanding game. If you’ve never played Catherine before then you’re in for an absolute treat, and if you have, we’d say there’s enough new content here to make it worth diving in all over again.
Publisher: Koch Media / Developer: Volition
Saints Row IV: Re-Elected fares far better than its predecessor on Switch, with better performance, minimal input lag and a refreshingly solid output in handheld mode. Its gunplay is always going to be messy and its unashamed sense of humour will undoubtedly offend some, but having such an activity-rich experience running so well on your handheld console isn’t to be sniffed at. And with so much extra content available in the Re-Elected package, Switch players have another long-term investment on their hands.
Super Mario Bros. 35 gives Nintendo’s most iconic game a jolt of life and it’s massively welcome. Its matches could do with being a little shorter and it’s difficult to see whether it’s actually going to have changed much a few months down the line, but it says a lot about the quality of the experience that the biggest problem we have with it is that come April 2021 it won’t exist anymore.
XCOM 2 Collection on Switch is the full-fat XCOM 2 and XCOM 2: War of the Chosen experience. Virtuous has had to knock the graphics right down to the lowest setting, there are plenty of framerate issues and bugs that we’ve already encountered on other platforms and the not-insignificant – but hopefully patchable – problem with the game’s character creation pool, but this is still a highly playable version of the game. If you can make peace with some stuttering and long loading times and aren’t too offended by pretty ugly textures here and there, you’ll be rewarded with one of the very best turn-based tactical titles currently available. XCOM 2 is nothing short of a masterpiece and now you can play it on the go, which we reckon is well worth any sacrifices made here.
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: HAL Laboratory
Given that it arrived with practically zero fanfare, Kirby Fighters 2 is a surprisingly brilliant Smash Bros.-style spin-off that simplifies its big brother’s control system but still offers a healthy amount of depth with its 22-character roster. Its Story mode, in particular, is a clever and compelling way to make each battle feel important, and that mode alone lasts long enough to make it a worthwhile purchase for solo and co-op gamers.
Compilation games like Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics always have a variety of hits and misses depending on your own personal taste, but there’s a wide enough variety of board, card and action games here that you’re sure to find a number that will appeal to you. Everything’s presented with charm and warmth (terribly-written cutscenes aside) and there’s an enormous amount of content on offer, whether you plan on playing solo or with others. The perfect game for if you’re stuck indoors with the family? Quite possibly.