Wccftech’s Best Nintendo Switch Games of 2017 – Hybrid Smash Hit
2017 was undoubtedly the year of the Nintendo Switch. Sure, it wasn’t quite the year’s best-selling console, that was still the PS4, but the Switch grabbed the headlines, shook up the industry, and brought Nintendo back from the brink. The system was also home to some very good games. Super Mario Odyssey, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and fresh oddities like ARMS made the Switch impossible to ignore. Whether on the couch or on the go, these are the best Nintendo Switch games of 2017 (don't forget to check our most anticipated ones due in 2018, by the way).
Note: For console-specific Best-of lists, we’ll be focusing on exclusives (or, at least, console exclusives).
This year Nintendo brought the Zelda and Mario big guns, but they also delivered a handful of interesting new IPs. The best of these was ARMS, a motion-controlled fighting game in which you pummel opponents with a wacky array of springy-limbed weirdos. Yes, ARMS is basically just a modernized version of Punch-Out, but hey, who doesn’t love Punch-Out? Nintendo also did an admirable job of supporting the game post-launch, releasing a hearty batch of free characters, stages, and modes. If you thought ARMS seemed a bit flimsy at a launch, you might want to check it out now.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle (7.8)
Mario and pals meet Ubisoft’s Rabbids characters in an XCOM-inspired strategy game? Well, that sounds like an awful idea! And yet, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle works. Sure, the game is silly as heck, but it looks great, is easy to get into, and isn’t afraid to kick your ass. Don’t let the cartoony visuals or streamlined mechanics fool you, this is a serious strategy game you won’t be able to bluff your way through. Mario + Rabbids is a great example of what third parties need to bring to Switch – deep experiences custom-designed around the system’s strengths and weaknesses (the fart and butt jokes are optional).
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (8.8)
The first two Xenoblade Chronicles games pushed the moribund JPRG genre in bold, interesting directions, but perhaps overlooked some fundamentals in the process. Thankfully, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 focuses on the basics, combining the weird, wonderful worlds and innovative mechanics the series is known for with better writing, character designs, and battle mechanics. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a well-rounded, satisfying RPG that deserves your attention, even if past entries in the series left you flat.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (9.8)
From Wccftech’s Best Action-Adventure Games of 2017 list, by yours truly:
Fans weren’t quite sure what to think about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild before release. Would Nintendo’s first real attempt at a modern open-world game be a success, or was Zelda hopelessly stuck in the past? Thankfully, Breath of the Wild not only measured up to best open-world games on the market, it surpassed them in many ways. Every inch of Breath of the Wild’s is bursting with life and loving detail. Exploring Hyrule feels like a real adventure you can tackle your way, rather than a series of dry fetch quests. All the classic Zelda level and puzzle design are accounted for, too. Sure, most Zelda games are great, but Breath of the Wild has that extra little pinch of magic we haven’t seen in a while.
Super Mario Odyssey (9.7)
From Wccftech’s Best Platformers of 2017 list, by Francesco De Meo:
Super Mario 3D Land and Super Mario 3D World disappointed some fans with their tighter design and lack of freedom. Thankfully, Nintendo didn’t forget about the more open experience of the glorious Super Mario 64, choosing to wait for the right time to deliver the definitive Super Mario 3D experience. With excellent level design, surprises behind every corner, wonderful presentation and more, Super Mario Odyssey deserves praise as the best platform game of the year, best 3D Super Mario game and one of the best Nintendo Switch exclusives of 2017.
Year in Review and Honorable Mentions
The Nintendo Switch’s first year was really a case of quality over quantity. The games listed above are all great, but once you get past them, things thin out a bit. That said, new Nintendo-published games like Splatoon 2 and Snipperclips are definitely worth your time, and those who didn’t own a Wii U (in other words, almost everybody) need to check out Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Pokkén Tournament DX. The system is also home to a sprinkling of solid indie exclusives, including Golf Story and Fast RMX. Hopefully, third parties can start to pick up the slack so that we may see a slightly broader slate of Nintendo Switch games in 2018.
There you go, the nicest Nintendo games of the year. Did we miss anything? Don’t agree with our picks? Hit the comments and tell us what you’d switch up.