10 great games from 2020 for your new Nintendo Switch


10 great games from 2020 for your new Nintendo Switch

We’re now at a point where you can comfortably describe the Nintendo Switch as “mature.” It’s no longer a new device, but one several years into its life, with a robust and varied line-up of games available. There’s a good chance you picked up a Switch to play one of Nintendo’s tentpole franchises — whether that’s Super Mario, Animal Crossing, or Pokémon — but there are a lot of different kinds of experiences available on the tablet. That includes big social titles, classic games, and inventive indie releases. Heck, one of my favorite experiences this year has been relearning chess on the Switch.

If you’re new to the Switch ecosystem, here are 10 great games to get you started.

We’ve rounded up our favorite and most-used games, apps, and entertainment. Check out our app picks for iPhones, Android phones, Windows PCs, and M1-equipped Macs; our favorite mobile games from Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass; and our top choices for gaming PCs, the PS5, Xbox One and Series X / S, Nintendo Switch, and VR. We’ve also listed our favorite streaming shows on Disney Plus, Hulu, ESPN Plus, and Netflix; some great sci-fi books; and exciting new podcasts. (Note: pricing was accurate at the time of publishing but may change.)

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

animal crossing: new horizons

With New Horizons, Animal Crossing went from a quaint and charming life sim to one of Nintendo’s most important franchises, up there with Mario and Zelda. It’s still a game about carving out a humble, cozy life on an island full of animals, but the addition of online play, more robust customization tools, and the fact that virtually everyone in the world was stuck at home this year, turned it into an important cultural touchstone. New Horizons brought people together, caused family drama, and touched on communities ranging from Twitch streamers to streetwear enthusiasts. And it’s still going strong, with (free!) seasonal updates that add more depth and texture to its pleasant world.

Clubhouse Games

clubhouse games

Sometimes you just need something familiar, and Clubhouse Games fills that niche perfectly. It’s an incredibly simple concept: a collection of more than 50 physical games, from chess to darts to bowling, that you can play on your Switch. The package was clearly put together with lots of love and a level of care and attention to detail that makes this more than just a simple collection. Each game has a pleasantly tactile feel, despite being a digital recreation. Clubhouse Games is full of familiar favorites but will likely also introduce you to new games from all over the world. It’s the perfect thing to pick up and play in between other, more complex experiences.

Coffee Talk

coffee talk

The name Coffee Talk couldn’t be more apt: this is a game about both talking and coffee. You take the role of a barista at a late-night cafe in an alternate version of Seattle, one full of magical creatures, all of whom bring their own personal problems with them when they enter the shop. From behind the counter you’ll hear all of the drama, occasionally chiming in with some advice, all while making sure to serve the perfect latte or hot chocolate. It’s warm and comforting, and it’s a great way to spend a cozy evening.



Ever since its debut with Bastion, developer Supergiant Games has released a steady stream of hits, from the cyberpunk Transistor to the magical Pyre. All of the studio’s work features incredible 2D visuals, deep and engaging worlds, and a gameplay hook that makes it hard to step away. Hades feels like a culmination of the team’s past efforts. In your efforts to escape the underworld you’ll die a lot, but each failure is a chance to explore new techniques and learn more about the incredible cast of characters. Get ready to lose some sleep.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

the legend of zelda: breath of the wild

No Switch collection is complete without The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Nintendo’s first true open-world game upended the genre, with an experience that feels vast and deep, yet leaves much of the exploration and discovery up to players. In a world full of games with copious signposts and mini-maps packed with points of interest, Breath of the Wild lets you move and learn at your own pace. It could be both thrilling and quiet, overwhelming and subtle, all at the same time. I’m still learning new things about the game more than three years after launch. Even better: now you can dig further into the story with the spinoff Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity.

Murder By Numbers

murder by numbers

Sometimes two things go together so well you have to wonder why no one tried it before. Such is the case with Murder By Numbers. It’s a silly-yet-touching crime drama that plays out like a visual novel, one that’s packed with lovable characters and surprising plot twists. But it’s also a puzzle game, one where you complete sudoku-like challenges in order to find clues and solve crimes. It may not make a lot of sense on the surface, but in practice these two halves fit together just about perfectly.

Pokémon Sword and Shield

pokemon sword and shield

There are few things that match better than Pokémon games and Nintendo handhelds, but Sword and Shield go an extra step by also being great console experiences thanks to the Switch’s hybrid nature. The base game that launched last year remains one of the best roleplaying games available on the Switch, and it’s since been made even bigger thanks to two significant expansions that add new storylines to dissect, locations to explore, and — most importantly — pocket monsters to collect.

Ring Fit Adventure

ring fit adventure

Ring Fit Adventure isn’t just a great game, it’s also one of a few ways to get a decent workout, thanks to COVID-related restrictions. It also does something very rare: makes the tedium of a workout fun. Ring Fit is structured like a fantasy roleplaying game, one where you travel to distant worlds fighting all kinds of magical creatures. But in order to attack, you’ll need to do yoga poses, squats, and a whole lot of planks. It’s exhausting in the best possible way, and Nintendo has also released an update that turns Ring Fit into a rhythm game complete with classic Super Mario tunes.

Streets of Rage 4

streets of rage 4

Sometimes you just want to hit things. Streets of Rage 4 is here to oblige. The newest entry in the classic beat ‘em up series doesn’t change the formula: you still play as one of a handful of heroes, exploring side-scrolling levels while pummeling every street punk in sight. This time, though, the 2D visuals look incredible, and the gameplay has been streamlined so that it feels a bit more modern. Surprisingly, the best part might just be the music, with an incredible soundtrack that includes new tunes from famed composer Yuzo Koshiro.

Super Mario 3D All-Stars

super mario 3d all-stars

This collection brings together three of Mario’s most influential 3D adventures: Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy. Not every element stands up in 2020, so you might find yourself frustrated with 64’s relic of a camera, or the awkward controls of Sunshine’s water pack. But for the most part, each game in Super Mario 3D All-Stars remains fun, and playing through them today is a great way to see how Nintendo’s design philosophy has changed over the years. You’ll never look at Super Mario Odyssey the same way again.

Published at Sat, 26 Dec 2020 15:00:00 +0000

10 great games from 2020 for your new gaming PC

Whether you’ve just gotten a new Windows-based gaming laptop or desktop, or you just want some new game ideas, we have ten suggestions to make your gaming experience fun. Not all of them are new or the most graphically demanding, but they should provide you with hours of enjoyment.

Unlike gaming on a console, there are several ways for PC gamers to get their fix, from Steam and the Epic Game Store to GOG and Xbox Game Pass. It’s important to know that not all platforms offer the same games due to exclusivity rights. But in most cases, you can (and should) shop around — you might find a better price at one storefront versus the other.

We’ve rounded up our favorite and most-used games, apps, and entertainment. Check out our app picks for iPhones, Android phones, Windows PCs, and M1-equipped Macs; our favorite mobile games from Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass; and our top choices for gaming PCs, the PS5, Xbox One and Series X / S, Nintendo Switch, and VR. We’ve also listed our favorite streaming shows on Disney Plus, Hulu, ESPN Plus, and Netflix; some great sci-fi books; and exciting new podcasts. (Note: pricing was accurate at the time of publishing but may change.)



Hades is the latest game from Supergiant, the developer of Bastion, Transistor, and Pyre. Fresh out of early access this summer, Hades offers tons of depth, the writing is excellent (and often funny), and the controls are responsive. It doesn’t seem at first like there’s much depth, but I’ve had 60 runs and counting with no end in sight. If you want an idea of just how deep Hades’ rabbit hole goes, check out my colleague Nick Statt’s piece on how the game continues to unravel its secrets even after you’ve “beaten” it.

Cyberpunk 2077

Jackie, your partner in Cyberpunk 2077, in front of a table dancer at a nightclub.

Cyberpunk 2077, the latest open-world RPG from CD Projekt Red, was released just a few weeks ago. While buggy in its early days, it seems like a worthwhile adventure to take if you’re into the idea of strolling through a neon-lit cyberpunk universe filled with unusual quests and upgrades. It’s a stunning game, too, built to take advantage of the latest Nvidia graphics cards with ray-tracing effects.

Star Wars: Squadrons

Star Wars: Squadrons

EA built the definitive Star Wars-themed dogfighting simulator in Star Wars: Squadrons. Whether you’re playing on a traditional monitor or through an Oculus or SteamVR virtual reality headset, you’ll likely get plenty of excitement both from the single-player campaign and the multiplayer. One thing, though: it’s not a simple game to play.

Amnesia: Rebirth

The latest game in the Amnesia series is the direct successor to Dark Descent, the first-person horror game that put the series on the map. While the stories are somewhat linked, Verge reviewer Adi Robertson says that Rebirth “tweaks the original game’s design and themes in compelling ways.” Its setting is more awe-inspiring, taking place in a variety of locales that Dark Descent doesn’t. Though it still retains its ability of making you question what awaits you in the darkness.

Among Us

Among Us

Among Us is perhaps the most popular game of 2020, judged on buzz alone. It’s so popular that even politicians like AOC stream it on Twitch, and the premise of the game makes it easy to see why. You join a group of other workers tasked to maintain a spaceship — except one of you is an imposter. Your role as the imposter is to blend in and not let anyone find out who you are. The fun lies in making everyone else betray each other in their efforts to figure out who is playing the imposter. It’s a simple, yet nuanced Clue-like game that costs only $5. Get some friends, buy the game, and have fun.

Persona 4: Golden

Persona 4: Golden

Why is a game from 2012 on this list? Well, it’s because Persona 4: Golden, a JRPG masterpiece from Atlus, only made its way to the PC in 2020. It’s nothing new content-wise for folks who have already played the game on the PlayStation Vita, but it has enhanced graphical options for the PC. And really, it’s special to see some memorable characters on the big screen looking sharper than ever, with the earworm beats backing the experience.



Fortnite is Epic’s ever-evolving battle royale game that deserves a spot on most gamers’ hard drives. It’s free to play, so there’s your main reason to at least give it a shot. Epic Games brings new content and cosmetic updates (including God of War’s Kratos, along with many other branded character skins) to the game on a frequent basis, so if you have friends who play, there will likely be something new to enjoy together each time you play.

Microsoft Flight Simulator

Microsoft Flight Simulator

In a year when traveling was something most of us couldn’t do, Microsoft’s new Flight Simulator felt especially timely. It’s a super-detailed flight sim where you simply pilot airplanes. There are challenges to complete, but really, it’s about relaxing, enjoying the view, and appreciating the globe from a birds-eye view. It’s also a very intensive game, so you can really stress test your new components (or consider upgrading if you really want to max out the graphical settings).

This game is available for purchase through Microsoft or Steam, and it’s playable with a subscription from Game Pass for PC (which costs $1 for the first three months for new subscribers, $14.99 per month otherwise).

Horizon: Zero Dawn

Horizon: Zero Dawn

If you’re a PC gamer who’s been wanting to play the PS4-exclusive Horizon: Zero Dawn open-world game, you got lucky this year. The game has come to digital storefronts with all of the graphical options you might dream of. While it had stability issues at launch, most of the kinks seem to have been ironed out, so now is a good time to enjoy Alloy’s debut adventure before Horizon: Forbidden West hits the PS5 (and hopefully the PC) in 2021.



League of Legends developer Riot Games launched competitive first-person shooter Valorant this year, and it quickly took hold as an esports staple. While it’s class-based like Overwatch, with each character having their own unique abilities, it’s more reliant on twitch-based skills and tactical gameplay a la Counter Strike. It’s a free-to-play game, downloadable only through Riot’s own launcher, and you can pay cash for costumes and weapon skins if you want to customize the look of your characters.

Published at Sat, 26 Dec 2020 13:36:36 +0000



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