Many games have simply gotten lost in the shuffle amidst this vast lineup or may have been overshadowed by mascots wielding Master Swords and sporting mustaches. Perhaps their appeal is more limited or requires deeper playthroughs to appreciate. Whatever the reason, there's no shortage of underrated games on Nintendo Switch—as well as some that don't quite live up to their hype. This list will cover five of the most prominent examples of each.
Updated April 2, 2022, by Stephen LaGioia: As the Switch's library continues to rapidly grow, more titles have inevitably fallen under the radar for many fans. This is especially the case with the growing hype of impending games like Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 and Switch Sports drawing much of the attention. In fact, since the publication of this piece, there have also been more releases that may have gotten a bit too much attention relative to their quality.
The Big N has received its share of criticism from fans for its slew of polished remasters and rehashes of older games; even when it comes to the beloved Link. Still, some couldn't help but ask if this Wii reboot of this Zelda adventure needed to exist, especially compared to the prettier, more dynamic Breath of the Wild.
Even with its exhilarating flight mechanics and nuanced motion controls, Skyward Sword HD feels like "more of the same" for many; a small step rather than an evolutionary leap. The game still delights with its atmospheric locales and classic 3D Zelda gameplay. But being a rather tepid remaster, it didn't warrant being a flagship release for many fans.
Flashy visuals, fluid combat, and a colorful, quasi-Cyberpunk theme can all descrbie this distinct action-thriller from PlatinumGames. Taking the role of task force fighters, players will find it tough to put down their Joy-Cons as they slice and dice through hordes of interdimensional creatures.
With its fast hack-and-slash gameplay, as well as a deep system of combos and upgrades, Astral Chain balances nuance with arcade action. Being heavily stylized and complex at times, this 2019 game was often overlooked and underappreciated—despite being a standout title from that year.
While perhaps a controversial choice, it's hard to deny that this 2.5D shooter didn't quite live up to the huge hype; inflated by pent-up Metroid withdrawal. While cinematically thrilling and mechanically satisfying, Dread errs on the side of sluggishness and "sameness".
Its more passive, forgiving gameplay is a far cry from the intense, grind-it-out sessions that comprised the older games. It's far from poor, but in an age rife with great Metroidvanias from major studios and indies alike, it's tough to care that much—especially with Metroid Prime 4 looming.
Despite its seemingly simple (albeit charming) pixel art visuals, Aegis Defenders is brimming with detail and innovative elements. Developer Guts Department fuses concepts and mechanics that draw from 2D tower defense romps as well as co-op platformers like Lost Vikings.
Side-scrolling bouts prove creative and interesting, as players cycle through distinct characters while solving puzzles and nabbing resources. This leads to some highly addictive survival portions, which amps up the intensity and enjoyment.
The idea of controlling a sandwich-eating minigame with one's mouth, or milking a cow with nuanced motion controls may have been a cool novelty during the Switch's launch. And indeed, it does make for a good demonstration of the sharp gyro controls and HD rumble.
But at the end of the day, that's really what 1-2 Switch is - a demonstration with simple, bite-sized romps rather than a fully-realized game. The software relies on its intuitive interface and amusing local multiplayer for the crux of its enjoyment. Yet, even when stressing these traits, it fails to really hold up in the long run.
It's odd how unknown this musical romp is, given that it can arguably be considered one of the best rhythm games for Nintendo's hybrid console. In fairness, this indie game's appeal isn't the broadest, being centered around rhythmic gameplay to the tune of obscure techno tunes.
Still, those who appreciate a good Guitar Hero-style music game are likely to enjoy this entrancing ride. Not only is it a rare example of a Switch game that uses the touchscreen well, but it's loaded with content. This is thanks to its various difficulty tiers and huge playlist spanning several genres.
It's easy to be dazzled by an original Square Enix RPG on Switch, especially one that's so uniquely charming in its retro art style and rich soundtrack. Ultimately though, many have found it tough to get into this lengthy journey, with its turn-based battle grinding and random encounters.
Octopath Traveler's distinct twist is its slew of diverse characters, each of whom has their own backstory and abilities. This is interesting to a degree, though it also forces the player to go through each of the eight figures narrative beats in segmented chapters; a slow-paced affair that just won't be for everyone.
It's easy to see why this slipped under the radar; being based on a 3D platformer that's viewed as a flawed homage to Banjo-Kazooie. Yet, this 2D offshoot actually adheres more to the style of classic Donkey Kong Country games, while bringing its own fun twists. It's not too surprising since studio Playtonic is comprised of many creators of that renowned franchise.
Aside from a somewhat cumbersome overworld, there's much to love about Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair. From the majestic settings to the solid mechanics and satisfying abilities, this is a delightful 2D platformer that's criminally overlooked.
Getting past the hype that comes with the Mario branding and GameCube nostalgia of Luigi's Mansion, this Switch sequel tends to feel more lukewarm than it lets on. Luigi's Mansion 3 does look pretty, and the range of new multiplayer options is a welcome addition.
Yet, aside from a new vacuum-slamming mechanic and co-op, the core gameplay doesn't venture far beyond its "suck up ghosts" format after two decades. Even if Luigi does his ghost-hunting in a larger, more lavish setting this time, the tedium plundering countless rooms still tends to crop up.
The first SteamWorld Dig was, in part, condemned to obscurity - and through no fault of its own. Being a 3DS romp Largely considered "Terraria-lite", one can see how the sequel to this exploration game would get buried in terms of hype.
But Image & Form's SteamWorld Dig 2 is worth giving a look, especially for those who like to plunder and craft Minecraft style or enjoy a good Metroidvania journey. Though it's a fairly short game, this sequel adds depth (figuratively and literally), as the underground odyssey greatly eclipses the first game. The steampunk theme proves charming and fun, as gamers play with gadgets like large drills and water-powered jetpacks.
Mama mia! Just how can one of the most fun, robust kart racers ever be considered "overrated?" Well, as they say, context can be everything—and in the scheme of things, this latest version of Mario Kart is little more than a remaster (with included DLC from the Wii U original).
As is typical for Mario Kart, much of the fun stems from its multiplayer options, including its solid online mode. Still, it would have been nice to see a true solo campaign, along with additional new elements rather than a retreading of already-explored terrain.
While the chaotic BR game Tetris 99 has hogged much of the spotlight in terms of classic puzzlers, this Sonic Team bundle offers arguably one of the best puzzle experiences on Switch. The addictive qualities and replay value are off the charts here, thanks to the offerings of two puzzle classics—both of which grant thrilling gameplay and fun challenges to mix things up.
Gamers also get seamless online functionality and a surprisingly in-depth story mode. This campaign allows players to experience Puyo Puyo and Tetris in unique ways, strung together by an amusing storyline.
Since its release in November 2019, this latest rendition of Pokemon has received some scorn; not so much from the critics, but a large swath of fans.
Though it does offer more of that familiar Pokemon RPG gameplay, it's been knocked for being perhaps a bit too familiar and safe. The tepid experience, average visuals, and slow-paced gameplay don't exactly ring as stellar as the critics' Metacritic score of "80" would suggest.
It doesn't help that the game still feels a bit hindered by its linearity, some absent monsters, and other restrictions that some of its predecessors didn't even have. Given the hype and potential surrounding the first home console Pokemon experience, Sword & Shield feels lukewarm and "unevolved."
Sure, Ubisoft's shrieking Rabbids can have something of a repellent nature to them. And a nuanced tactical strategy game doesn't exactly scream "mainstream." But those who take the 20 or 30 minutes to learn the ropes with this Mario crossover will find a surprisingly deep, addictive romp.
Despite its Mario-meets-Rabbids premise, this game diverts from the formula of both franchises. Instead, it's more akin to a light-hearted, colorful offshoot of XCOM. It similarly has an isometric layout, precision-based shooting, and satisfying moves to delete the opposition. This is certainly one of the stronger third-party efforts on Switch; one that deserves a look.