Most of us know Hades, Disco Elysium, and Cuphead are on Switch. Great games. But what are the best indie games that aren’t on all the other ‘best indie games on Switch’ lists?
The best indie games on Switch you (maybe) haven’t played yet
Some of the best indie games on Switch you might not have played yet include my personal favorite, CrossCode, classic racers like Horizon Chase Turbo, and beautiful puzzlers such as The Gardens Between. Read about these games and plenty more below!
CrossCode is like a sci-fi reimagination of the early SNES Mana games. It’s one of my favorite 16-bit action RPGs and it got ported to Switch in 2020.
Combat in CrossCode is silky smooth and the extensive skill tree with more than 90 combat arts allows you to create builds that suit your play style.
It’s lucky that you can continue playing Switch while charging because this one will keep you occupied for at least 30 hours (and probably more), with seven unique areas to explore and more than 100 quests to complete.
Strange Brigade is an arcade-style romp through 1930s Egyptian tombs, terrain, and treasures. I think it’s one of the more convincing indie shooters on Switch.
You play as one of four adventurers shooting their way through hordes of undead foes to stop the Witch Queen, Seteki, from whatever evil she’s about to unleash.
The story isn’t that interesting but the shooting mechanics are excellent and the visuals are great.
Different mini-bosses require different tactics to defeat and some fun puzzle action keeps things interesting. Multiplayer options are also pretty solid.
The Wild at Heart
What a delightful little game The Wild at Heart is: Puzzling, resource collection, looting, and exploration are all brought together with unique charm by developers, Moonlight Kids.
The aim is to explore the world and collect little creatures to help you complete tasks that should hopefully overcome the problematic evil force, ‘The Never’.
Take top-down Legend of Zelda and mash it with Pikmin and Luigi’s Mansion and you’ll come close to The Wild at Heart.
Ruiner is a frantic cyberpunk twin-stick shooter that is not for the faint-hearted. It’s hard, it’s violent, and it’s oh so satisfying.
You play as a faceless protagonist whose mission is to rescue his kidnapped brother. Pretty standard revenge-y stuff, but Ruiner doesn’t need an engrossing narrative when the gameplay is as good as it is.
As you level up, you’ll gain access to new skills and abilities like shields and the ability to manipulate time. Trust me when I wielding these cool tools is worth the grind to acquire them.
You can cop Ruiner on the Nintendo Store or buy a Limited Run physical copy on Amazon:
Horizon Chase Turbo
Horizon Chase Turbo is a love letter to classic 90s arcade racing games, and it has me smitten. This is also probably my favorite game on this list for couch coop:
Up to four players can play locally in both campaign modes – where you race against each other and the AI but your scores are combined so you progress as a group – as well as Endurance and Tower modes.
Watch YouTuber Metal Jesus and his crew put the local multiplayer through its paces here:
The Senna Forever expansion will be right up your alley if you’re into F1, too.
Horizon Chase Turbo is available on other platforms, too, but it is best experienced (in my opinion) in handheld mode on the Switch – especially given that digital Switch games can also be played offline.
The ability to play such a big library of great indie games like this on the go is definitely one of the reasons why the Switch has sold so well.
I spend many an hour watching my brother play XIII on his GameCube back in the day. Void Bastards goes for a similar comic book art style but also draws inspiration from BioShock and Borderlands.
I would describe Void Bastards as a strategy FPS roguelike (no, not an RTS/FPS hybrid).
You play a criminal trying to scavenge stuff so you and your motley crew can escape to… somewhere else in space.
The strategy elements are challenging and the gameplay loop and risk-reward ratio are pretty much spot on. Tons of replay value here.
Musou games are hit-and-miss for me, especially on the Switch’s low-power hardware, but Fate/EXTELLA is definitely a hit and a big gameplay improvement on previous entries in the series.
Your objective is to capture sectors by defeating the strongest enemy in that sector and to defend the sectors you hold from enemies that are trying to capture them.
The combat is great and there are loads of different playable characters with different styles and different finishers.
The Gardens Between
If you only play one indie puzzle game on Switch, make sure it’s The Garden Between.
Developed by The Voxel Agents, this 2018 release features a clever time-travel mechanic wrapped in whimsical charm.
Follow the stories of best buddies Arina and Frendt and help them through the puzzles packed into each gorgeously rendered island level.
The Gardens Between deserves the big pile of awards it has received in the last few years.
Unsighted is a Metroidvania with a twist – you have a limited time available before your life force trickles away and you and your friends entropy into the ‘Unsighted’.
The highly detailed environments and a rich suite of weapons, enemies, and upgrades belie the fact that this game was made entirely by a team of just two at Brazil-based. Studio Pixel Punk
While the ticking timer is the key mechanic, a nice accessibility feature is the ability to stop the countdown completely so you can explore the city of Arcadia at your own pace.
Into the Breach
Into the Breach is a casual turn-based strategy game that won a slew of awards when it was first released on Windows in February 2018, before the Switch port won a few more accolades six months later.
In Into the Breach, players take charge of futuristic mechs to help save the world from an alien threat. Nothing too original about that, but the premise doesn’t have to be original when the gameplay is so good.
If you’re running out of memory on your console and you want a small Switch game that’ll keep you occupied for hours, Into the Breach is the one.
I love a good park management/tycoon game and I’m not sure I played one focusing on aqua fauna before picking up Megaquarium.
There are more than 100 fish species that can potentially live at your aquarium, but you’ll need to make compromises based on your finances, your experience level, and the type of staff you hire.
Megaquariam is good for hours of casual fun, not least in the sandbox mode which also features a random challenge generator.
I know I already included a classic arcade-style racer in this list but Hotshot Racing has to be here, too.
This game really captures the feeling of speed in both the classic racing format as well as fun arcade modes like ‘drive or explode’ and ‘cops and robbers’.
You can race against up to four players in split-screen and up to eight players online and the developers have also dropped a free update in the shape of the Big Boss Bundle.
Hotshot Racing does unfortunately come with a heavy Switch tax. However, unless you have a Steam Deck, the Switch is still definitely the best platform to play it on.
Along the Edge
Along the Edge is an interactive graphic novel in which the choices you make not only change the path of the story, but they also change the appearance of the main character, Daphné.
There are no fewer than 60 different endings possible in Along the Edge, and they’re not just slightly different either – the entire plot ending and Daphné’s ultimate destiny can change with each playthrough based on the decisions you make on the way.
This game was nominated for – and won – awards for art direction among other things, so don’t be surprised if you lose track of time after getting lost in the compelling story at the edge of the occult.
Behold the Kickmen
Soccer titles on Switch are generally better than the football Switch indie games, and Behold the Kickmen is a firmly tongue-in-cheek title that really goes all in on ripping the traditional soccer sim genre a new one.
The gameplay takes place on oval (rather than rectangular) soccer pitches and the further away from the goal you shoot from, the more points you get if you score.
There’s a ridiculous story mode to get stuck into where you can earn and spend money on upgrading your team and if that wasn’t enough, a full-on separate ‘Dystopian Future Bloodsport’ mode.
One big drawback is the lack of any multiplayer options (local or online) which is a shame, but this is still one of my favorite soccer games on Switch.
Through the Darkest of Times
Through the Darkest of Times is a narrative strategy game that takes players back to Germany in 1933, when Hitler became chancellor.
You lead a group of resistance fighters – with some simple character customization options available – in Berlin who are trying to fight against the Nazis’ rise to power.
There’s nothing particularly groundbreaking here from a gameplay perspective, but the story and the way that said story is presented through fantastic stylized visuals make it stand out.
Fighting game fans are spoiled for choice on the Nintendo Switch but, if you fall into this category, you shouldn’t sleep on BlazBlue Centralification.
It’s a classic 2D fighter set on the backdrop of a visual novel that stretches across the BlazBlue series, with a truly staggering amount of lore to soak in.
There’s an optional 30-minute plot recap at the start of the story mode so you don’t need to have played the others beforehand.
This is a high-octane fighter action with 35 characters who each bring a genuinely unique gameplay feel. It’s actually my go-to fighting game on Switch.
Katana Zero is a 2D action platformer full of stylish slashing and dashing through impressively atmospheric levels.
The story is charming and clever and the one-hit-kill mechanic is given some neat context through the main character’s ability to control time (the slow-mo effect is particularly awesome).
Katana Zero will take even the most experienced platformers at least 10 hours to clean up all of the objectives while more casual players (like me) can expect to get at least double that out of it.
No need to stress over whether you should archive or delete games from your Switch to make space for this one – it only takes up 359MB.
Furi is a boss rush bullet hell action game where you travel through worlds and defeat a variety of bosses to free yourself from captivity.
Responsive melee combat and dual-stick shooting take place on a super-stylish neon color pallete.
The narrative walking moments and cutscenes provide a welcome break between worlds and give you a chance to reset your heart rate before the next boss.
It was released back in 2018 and got a paid DLC, Onamusha, in 2022 which adds a new playable character with two unique fighting stances.
Note: Furi is great, but it’s really not worth buying the Limited Run Definitive Edition physical at over $100. Get the digital version and the DLC.
Super Animal Royale
With its bizarrely beguiling combination of cute characters and horrendous violence, Super Animal Royale is an excellent take on the battle royale genre. 64 players start each top-down 2D round and fight to the death against other super animals.
There’s nothing quite as painful as getting to the final two, only to be ambushed and filled with bullets by a cute little beaver wearing a bumble bee outfit.
The range of weapons is great, the different character customization options are great, the maps are great, and even the NPC chats are great. Oh, and it’s free!
(psssst: Super Animal Royale is free on Steam, too).
Old Man’s Journey
Old Man’s Journey is such a lovely little puzzler.
The environments and the ways in which the Old Man you control hops and bustles through them are positively heartwarming.
When journeying through the Old Man’s memories, I was thinking of the Portuguese word ‘saudade’: melancholy and nostalgic, longing for a buzz that you might never experience again. But, overall, glad that you have the memories to reflect on.
In this sense, Old Man’s Journey has a similar vibe to Spiritfarer – one of my favorite Switch adventure games without combat.
It’s not the longest game of all time – you can get through it in under two hours – but that makes it perfect for a long journey or a cozy sofa session.
Assault Android Cactus+
A weird title for a game for sure. The ‘+’ refers to the fact that the campaign mode on Assault Android Cactus+ is remixed and updated from the original 2015 PC release.
This twin-stick shooter is a bit more forgiving than the likes of Ruiner, leaning away from brutal difficulty toward arcade fun. Plus with local co-op supported in all game modes, it’s a perfect Switch game for couples.
Each level introduces different mechanics and ways to blast your enemies into oblivion. The levels only last a few minutes, too, so it’s too easy (in a good way) to ‘just play one more’.
Don’t forget to collect recharge items during levels to keep your battery level up!
Kao the Kangaroo
Kao the Kangaroo is a series that’s been around for a couple of decades and it’s been resurrected on Switch (and other platforms) in the form of a colorful 3D platformer.
Boxing gloves with alleged magical powers are your main assistance through the largely linear levels.
Combat is fun and not overly challenging and the combo slow-mo animation is satisfying to hit.
It’s no Mario Odyssey, but Kao the Kangaroo is a decent platformer and I’ve had a lot of fun messing around on it.
The 18 best indie games on Switch you might not know about – Summary
There are so many indie options on Switch but, to summarize a few of my favorites: CrossCode is a fantastic 2D indie action RPG on Switch, Horizon Chase Turbo is a tonic for fans of racers, Musou players will get a lot out of Fate/EXTELLA Link, and The Gardens Between is a must-buy indie puzzle adventure.