It’s been a huge year for gaming, but while PlayStation and Xbox are duking it out for control of the new generation, Nintendo has been happily playing in its own sandpit, unfazed and perhaps even blissfully unaware of what’s going on around it. All the rumours suggested that a souped up Nintendo Switch was on the way in 2021, but when the Nintendo Switch OLED was eventually revealed, more power was not to be found inside the box.
This hasn’t stopped the console from selling at a blistering pace, supported by a steady stream of exclusive games that appeal to both the diehard Nintendo fans and the masses who just want something fun with Mario’s pliable face in it.
With Metroid fans have been hanging on for word of Metroid Prime 4 since its 2017 announcement, the release of Metroid Dread was a wonderful surprise to savour. A continuation of the classic 2D series that last appeared on Game Boy Advance in the form of Metroid Fusion, Metroid Dread does a great job in reviving the series.
In the hands of MercuryStream, the developers of the Metroid: Samus Returns remake, it’s a thoroughly modern feeling take on the Metroidvania formula. There’s the isolated feel of Samus’ adventures and sense of exploration, but the game also ramps up the tension with the way that the EMMI robots will relentlessly hunt you down when you step into their territory. It’s challenging at times, but a game that I absolutely relished throughout.
Metroid Prime 4 has even more to live up to…
– Stefan L
Monster Hunter Rise – Runner Up
In any other year, Monster Hunter Rise would probably be in that top spot, but it’s fitting that it’s been beaten by a game with another iconic suit of armour. Monster Hunter Rise is a wonderful entry in Capcom’s creature chasing concatanation, following up the exceptional Monster Hunter World with a game that’s more focussed and characterful, and somehow having it all run on the Nintendo Switch.
Arguably one of the most impressive showcases for the hybrid console, Monster Hunter Rise looks simply fantastic, and each of the iconic monsters is brought to life in fantastic fashion. The greatest addition here though is the inclusion of Wirebugs, in essence giving Hunters a whole new range of grappling-hook like moves without actually having to grapple onto anything. Where recent entries had allowed you to leap onto monsters in order to chop them up a bit more, Rise mixes in a spot of Monster Hunter Stories’s magic, with those Wirebugs letting you ride monsters in combat, using them to inflict serious damage on one another. Add in some lovely traditional Japanese vibes and you’re looking at not only another wonderful Monster hunter game, but one more essential Switch title.
– Dom L
Shin Megami Tensei V – Runner Up
The Shin Megami series probably feels a little hard done by. Utterly eclipsed by its own spin-off, Persona, and shuffled quietly away to purely handheld outings on the Nintendo 3DS, Shin Megami Tensei V was the series best chance to remind gamers where all those demonic delights originally came from. It’s safe to say that Atlus fully took advantage of the situation, crafting a highly enjoyable, classically-styled RPG, that puts strategic turn-based combat at its centre. This is definitely an apocaplyptic adventure worth checking out.
– Dom L
Honourable Mentions (in alphabetical order)
To catch up on the Game of the Year awards we’ve handed out so far, here’s a handy list!
- Best Ongoing Game
- Best Remake/Remaster
- Best Multiplayer Game
- Best Visual Design
- Best Original Soundtrack
- Best Independent Game
- Best Gameplay
- Best Narrative
- Best Single Player
- Best VR Game
- Best PC Game
What games have consumed your game time on Nintendo Switch this year? Let us know in the comments below.