games / Columns

Top 8 Exclusive Nintendo Switch Games: Mario Odyssey, Super Smash Bros Ultimate, More

January 28, 2020 | Posted by Marc Morrison
Super Mario Odyssey

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball! This week I’m here to talk about Switch games, specifically Switch-exclusive games. I’ve had my Switch for over 2 years and have played a fair amount of games for it but there aren’t a lot of actual exclusive games for the system. There are only about 50 games to really draw from. The two games I’ll mention here, that I haven’t played yet, are Astral Chain and Xenoblade Chronicles 2. If I ever play those, I’m sure I’ll like them, but that hasn’t happened yet. Let’s go:

#8: Super Smash Bros Ultimate

Don’t get me wrong, Smash Bros Ultimate is a pretty great game. It has a metric-ton of characters, the board game thing is interesting, and even has a pretty varied single-player fighting campaign with unique bosses for characters. The reason it’s low on this list is that it is an extremely iterative game. There are other sequels on this list, to be sure, but aside from graphical upgrades (and slight roster tweaks), I can’t honestly tell Brawl, Wii U and Ultimate apart. Still, it’s a fantastic package, and is a solid little fighting game on the Switch.

#7: Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

Now, Kingdom Battle isn’t perfect. There are some really annoying strategy quirks that can crop up, and a few technical issues. But on the whole, it was a really neat twist on the XCOM archetype. You had team of your guys, either Mario or Rabbids characters wearing Mario costumes, going through various levels to try and put the world back together. Mario packing a piece is always funny. It’s kind of surprising they haven’t made a sequel of this game, since it did reasonably well, sales-wise, and they could at least make another go of it.

#6: Luigi’s Mansion 3

This is actually my first Luigi’s Mansion game, so this may be coloring my views on it, but I really dig this game. The ghost capturing mechanic is fun (and better than almost all Ghostbusters games), it looks great from a graphical perspective, and I appreciate how a lot of the hotel floors are very diverse. The first few floors are very typical hotel-like floors, but then it gets weird, like a jungle floor, a castle floor, and so on. You know, like what all good hotels actually have. Also, the game has some really hilarious jokes made about the Virtual Boy and that is great.

#5: Tetris 99

Tetris 99 is really the only Battle Royal game that actually matters. While Tetris Effect had style and new gameplay systems, Tetris 99 keeps it relatively simple. You are there to try and survive for as long as possible while also eliminating others and getting a bigger power bonus. In my time playing the game I’ve only ever gotten a number one finish, once, but it was such a great feeling to finally win. Also, I enjoy the occasional weekend challenges that give you different gameplay skins. The only thing I don’t like is how it prioritizes that stupid T-Spin garbage over actual Tetris completes. The game is called “Tetris 99” NOT “T-Spin 99”, but I digress.

#4: Cadence of Hyrule

It’s actually kind of nuts that there has been 3 different Zelda games for the Switch. I don’t think that has ever happened before (where the games are all new), aside from like the CD-i. The biggest thing about Cadence of Hyrule is the music, which is done by Danny B. It is sublime, and the fact there isn’t an official soundtrack you can easily buy (instead of Youtube stuff), is a real crime. I even got a modded ROM file of Zelda: A Link to the Past that has the Hyrule soundtrack in it, and it sounds great. The art style is also great, it has shades of the Necromancer stuff but is obviously more detailed and cartoony. Plus, I just like how the game controls. If you really want to just power your way through it, you can (with some options), but actually getting in time with the beat just makes it more tactile and fun.

#3: The Touryst

The Touryst is a pretty hidden gem (with a bad title), but I love it. You play as a guy who makes his way to an island and are given the task of activating four different monuments on surrounding islands to power up something hidden in a cave. It’s kind of a mix between a Legend of Zelda game and almost like Stardew Valley (without the farming stuff). You only ever get three upgrades: the ability to sprint, double jump and to hang off ledges. From there, you have to solve dozens of puzzles, both environmental and from other characters. You may have to win a surfing competition, or collect jewels as you descend down a mineshaft with ropes, or beat someone’s arcade game scores. The look of the Touryst is also just gorgeous, from close-up or pulled back, it is a unique thing to behold.

#2: Mario Odyssey

Like with Smash Bros, Mario Odyssey is somewhat of an iterative game but it does a lot more with its mechanics. The big thing here is obviously Cappy, and it unlocks a lot of new, fresh mechanics for a Mario game. Now you can actually control a Bullet Bill, or a Chargin’ Chuck, or dozens of other enemies and objects as you make your way through the various levels. New Donk City is really cool, but almost every level, aside from certain standard ones like “Desert” or “Underwater” have some unique mechanics to them. I still may prefer Mario 64 overall, likely due to nostalgia, but Odyssey is a great game to lose your time to.

#1: Fire Emblem: Three Houses

God, I really love this game. If I think about the total number of hours played for a single game in 2019, I think Three Houses would be at the top of the list. I did two playthroughs of the game, back to back, and got pretty involved in a third, before I had to start playing other stuff. I LOVE almost all the characters in this game. A few characters (Leonie, for one) maybe not great, but almost all are unique and have a lot of personality to them. The Persona-like school environment is good, I did every side-quest I could and talked with everyone. That’s not even getting into the actual strategy game part, which I think is superb. It’s fun, varied and challenging without being too brutal. But yeah, this is a game that everyone needs to own on the Switch.

For comments, list which Switch-exclusive games you like and why.

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Top 8 Crossover Games