Pixelkin 2019 Holiday Gift Guide: Nintendo Switch

Posted by | November 24, 2019 | Feature, Switch | No Comments
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For family-friendly gaming it doesn’t get any better than the Nintendo Switch.

Nintendo’s unique home-handheld hybrid found continued success in 2019, bolstered by excellent exclusive titles like Super Mario Maker 2, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and Pokémon Sword and Shield.

Indie games once again found a welcome home on the Switch, with some indies choosing to launch exclusively on Nintendo’s console and skipping the others entirely.

This year also saw the release of the Nintendo Switch Lite, a cheaper, slightly smaller, handheld-only version. The Switch Lite would make the perfect gift for a kid or teen who prefer mobile gaming.

See below for all our Switch game recommendations from 2019.

 

Younger Kids

Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King

Two classic platformers from the 90s, Aladdin and The Lion King, have been updated and packaged together as Disney Classic Games. As these games predate many of the modern conveniences we’ve enjoyed in the years and decades since their launch, players can now enjoy a rewind feature and easily activated cheat codes, which should come in handy for the notoriously difficult The Lion King.

Also available on: PC (Steam), PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Disney Tsum Tsum Festival

Fans of multiplayer Mario Party-like mini-games will delight at the neon-drenched, music-blaring arcade games of Disney Tsum Tsum Festival, starring everyone’s favorite chubby little toys.

Also available on: N/A

Doraemon: Story of Seasons

Story of Seasons, which used to be called Harvest Moon, is the original farming-RPG series that inspired the likes of Stardew Valley. Doraemon: Story of Seasons combines the beloved farming gameplay with the classic Japanese anime series Doraemon, featuring all the primary characters, including the titular time-traveling cat and his gadgets.

Also available on: PC (Steam)

Dragon Quest Builders 2

Dragon Quest Builders 2 continues the brilliant mashup of the colorful, kid-friendly Dragon Quest RPG series with Minecraft-like building and crafting. The sequel features a new retro fast travel system, the ability to fly and swim to reach new areas, and online cooperative multiplayer.

Also available on: PlayStation 4, PC (Steam – Dec. 10)

Luigi’s Mansion 3

Who ya gonna call when your friends and family run afoul of ghosts in a haunted hotel? Luigi grabs his trusty Poltergust vacuum, including a new feature to create a slimy copy called Gooigi. Luigi’s Mansion 3 also features cooperative and competitive multiplayer.

Also available on: N/A

Pokémon Sword and Shield

The Pokémon series needs no introduction, but Sword and Shield are particularly noteworthy for ushering in a new era of the main series breaking free of its handheld-only bonds. Sword and Shield take place in the UK-inspired Galar Region, and include many fun new features from last year’s Pokémon Let’s Go remakes.

Also available on: N/A

Super Mario Maker 2

The Super Mario Maker series features all the enemies, blocks, and tools to build your own 2D Mario levels, resulting in an astonishing amount of creativity and replayabilty. The Switch sequel adds even more tools and themes, a full campaign mode, and co-op and competitive multiplayer.

Also available on: N/A

Team Sonic Racing

Mario and friends aren’t the only ones who like to settle their differences on the race track. Team Sonic Racing features 15 racers spread over three distinct classes, and 21 different tracks, including favorites from previous Sonic racing games. Up to four players can race together locally, or up to 12 players online.

Also available on: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Untitled Goose Game

The goose is loose in Untitled Goose Game, where you play as a real jerk of a goose. It’s a light-hearted puzzle-adventure where you steal shoes, hide in boxes, scare children, and generally be a hilarious nuisance.

Also available on: PC (Epic Games Store)

Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair

The first Yooka-Laylee was crafted as a spiritual successor to the wave of 3D platformers of the late 90s/early 2000s, but was met with mixed results. The sequel, Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair,  takes a far different approach, utilizing successful 2D level designs. It’s both a solid throwback to classic game design, and a refreshing modern update.

Also available on: PC (Steam), PlayStation 4, Xbox One

 

Older Kids & Teens

Astral Chain

After stumbling with the Star Fox on the Wii U, PlatinumGames has begun churning out frenetic action hits with 2017’s Nier: Automata and now Astral Chain, where futuristic cops use mystical chains to summon powerful creatures called Legion to repel an alien invasion.

Also available on: N/A

Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition

If you were patient enough to hold off on getting one of the best RPGs of last year, you’ll be rewarded with an even better version of Dragon Quest 11 on the Nintendo Switch. Dragon Quest 11 S includes an optional 16-bit graphic mode and original Japanese voice acting, as well as expanded story elements.

Also available on: PlayStation 4, PC (Steam)

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

After a long stint on handhelds the Fire Emblem series returns to the home console with Three Houses. The tactical strategy series features three distinct paths as you choose your house and train your students for the wars to come.

Also available on: N/A

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order

The Marvel Ultimate Alliance series pits everyone’s favorite Marvel heroes in top-down beat-em-up, co-operative battles. Build a team of four from over 35 heroes and combine their abilities to unleash powerful synergy attacks. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 supports both local and online cooperative multiplayer.

Also available on: N/A

Slay the Spire

What Slay the Spire lacks in graphics and animation it makes up for in depth of gameplay. The roguelike card game is well-balanced and tactically demanding as you ascend through dungeon rooms and challenges, playing cards, making choices, and building your deck. Three distinct classes offer multiple playstyles and a huge list of cards to find and unlock.

Also available on: PC (Steam), PlayStation 4

SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech

Indie studio Image & Form Games have been making colorful, well-written SteamWorld games for years, in several different genres. SteamWorld Quest is a tactical turn-based card game set within a fun fantasy world. The heroes are earnest and funny, and the meaty combat demands careful deck management and smart card timing.

Also available on: N/A

Wargroove

Wargroove asks one simple question: Do you like Advance Wars? The beloved handheld tactical strategy series has been given an excellent spiritual successor, transforming the pseudo-modern Advance Wars into a fantasy series with a lengthy story campaign as well as skirmish, puzzle, and map editing modes.

Also available on: PC (Steam), PlayStation 4, Xbox One

 

Mature Teens

Divinity: Original Sin 2 – Definitive Edition

Divinity: Original Sin 2 is one of the best tactical RPGs ever made, and now you can play it on the Switch. Join forces with cannibal elves, pirate dwarves, and royal lizards, or make your own heroes (and anti-heroes) across a humongous campaign that supports up to four player co-op.

Also available on: PC (Steam), PlayStation 4, Xbox One

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Complete Edition

Developers are bending over backwards to get their games on the fast-selling Switch, even gigantic RPGs like 2015’s The Witcher 3. The Switch version necessitates a downgrade in graphics, but being able to continue your adventures with Geralt on the go might give you a chance of actually completing this massive RPG.

Also available on: PC (Steam), PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Eric Watson

About Eric Watson

Eric is a freelance writer who enjoys talking about video games, movies, books and Dallas-based sports teams. Every week he watches a random film from his collection of several hundred DVDs and live tweets about it @RogueWatson. He also makes a mean tuna quesadilla. He lives near Fort Worth, Texas with his wife and daughter, two dogs, two cats, two fish tanks, some hermit crabs and a bookshelf full of Transformers.