Game of the Year 2022 – Best Nintendo Switch Game

Game of the Year 2022 Best Switch Header

Here’s an award that could have had any number of potential winners. As the Nintendo Switch moves into its sixth year the Japanese company has kept its library brimming with quality, with no signs that it’s going to slow down. From the saucy witch-based antics of Bayonetta 3 to the awesome paint-infused multiplayer of Splatoon 3, Switch owners could barely keep up with the number of must-buys. Still, someone has to win it, and we had a hard time narrowing it down to just one of these awesome games. We’ve gone for another three-quel, this one cementing its series as one of the greatest JRPG franchises in history.

Game of the Year 2022 Best Switch winner

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is a revelation in the JRPG space. It looked at the winning aspects of its much-lauded predecessors while eradicating most of the needless fan service it acquired in number 2. It’s a more thoughtful and considered narrative, focused on the fleeting nature of life, and the never-ending struggle for survival, and it’s handled with genuine understanding and empathy. If that all sounds a bit much, it’s still an awesome open-world RPG, with one of the best combat systems out there, a batch of thoroughly likeable characters and a level of customisation that will keep you tinkering in the menus for hours.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 also manages to wring every ounce of performance out of the Switch, and while games like Bayonetta 3 and Pokémon Violet have raised questions as to how much life is left in the hybrid handheld, Monolith Soft’s latest release has stood as a clear sign that some teams just need to work a little smarter. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is the deserved winner of our Best Nintendo Switch Game 2022.

Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope – Runner Up

Sparks of Hope could very easily had followed the exact same formula as the original Mario + Rabbids, a fun, fast and easy to understand XCOM-like, but Ubisoft Milan had other, much more ambitious ideas. Gone was the movement grid and with that change came much more tactical freedom and direct control over each character’s actions. With the ability providing Sparks in tow, there’s just so much more flexibility to what you can do in combat.

The adventure takes you from planet to planet across the cosmos, on the tail of Cursa’s corrupting influence, and sees unlikely alliances with Bowser, Rabbids Rosalina, and brand new character Edge. However, it can feel a tad disjointed in the storytelling, and a lack of enemy variety that holds this off from the top spot.

– Stefan L

Pokémon Legends Arceus – Runner Up

It’s easy to forget that Pokémon Scarlet and Violet wasn’t the only game released this year, but Pokémon Legends Arceus was a transformative spin off at the start of 2022 (and with fare fewer graphics and performance issues). Arceus takes the admittedly tired formula seen since the 90s and flips it, throwing you 1000 years into the past to research and cast the very first Pokédex.

This means a whole bunch of things, but mostly it means sneaking around in the tall grass, throwing wooden Pokéballs like some sort of ninja. You also have to craft those Pokéballs from scavenging, catch multiples of Pokémon or observe their signature moves to fill out entries and more. This, my friends, is everything I dreamed of playing Pokémon as a kid.

There’s a lot more to the game than just this, but this, at its core, is a reinvention of the franchise and it was instantly loved by fans worldwide. Were there things that could be improved? Of course. Is it a sign of things to come for the franchise? We certainly hope so.

– Nic B

Honourable Mentions (in alphabetical order)

Written by
TSA's Reviews Editor - a hoarder of headsets who regularly argues that the Sega Saturn was the best console ever released.