Previous generations of Nintendo consoles have not been kind to third-party titles. The Wii did a better job than the Wii U, but the Nintendo Switch has blown both of the past two consoles out of the water. The Switch supports third-party titles unlike ever before. Games ranging from AAA titles like SKYRIM and L.A. NOIRE to small indie titles like ABZÛ and FIREWATCH have made the Switch a must-have console.

However, the third party AAA titles do not perform at full capacity on the Switch. The graphics from AAA titles can cause the system to lag, the Switch’s memory to be devoured, and depleted battery power. By contrast, indie titles are perfect for the Switch. The Nintendo Switch is actually the best platform to play indie games for several reasons.

Indie Games are Some of the Best Games

The Nintendo Switch has a huge library of games to pick from. Its two years of life have seen a growth in all sorts of titles. Many of those titles are indie games and there are more inbound. Nintendo is constantly adding great games to the portable console. At the Game Developer Conference in March, Nintendo revealed the ten best selling indie games on the platform. DEAD CELLS, HOLLOW KNIGHT, OVERCOOKED, and STARDEW VALLEY were among those.

Stardew Valley is a must-have indie game.
STARDEW VALLEY — Image courtesy of Chucklefish

These four titles and the rest of the list have received exceptional reviews across the board. These games are amazing, having both a good story and good mechanics. The ten on the list are not the only great indie titles available to play on the Switch. Aforementioned FIREWATCH and ABZÛ are two other titles with great track records. These games outnumber first party titles so there is no reason for you to not check them out.

The Nintendo Switches Form Factor and Specs

The consoles form factor (design) is begging you to play indie titles. The way Nintendo has constructed the Switch has made it the perfect console to play indie titles. Players are able to take their console out of the dock and continue to play. Gaming on the go was not as common before the revolutionary console. The 3DSs and PSPs were the only ways to game while on the go and even then those consoles were lacking. Those systems did not have the best indie support on their platforms, which makes the Switch the best opportunity.

The Switch is able to play indie games very well. Small games such as indie titles make the small console a perfect fit. It can struggle with AAA titles at times, so sticking to less demanding games gives the console room to breath. All of the indie games I have played on my own console have run perfectly well. The colors are crisp, the frames-per-second are adequate, and I have experienced zero crashes. Furthermore, indie games take up less space. They are smaller experiences so you can fit more on the console’s low amount of storage.

Traverse the indie game Firewatch map.
FIREWATCH — Courtesy of Campo Santo

One other thing to consider about the Switch is its battery life. Running a game like BREATH OF THE WILD will drain your battery faster than an indie game would. The required specifications are higher leading to shorter play time. Depending on the game, you could play an indie title for hours upon hours before that battery life notification comes up.

Lastly, many indie games like the recently released CUPHEAD and the OVERCOOKED series are better with other people. The Switch makes it simpler than ever to allow for a person to jump right into the game. Slip off one of those Joy Cons and begin playing.

The Indie Experience

Indie games are also personal. They tell stories in a way that are different than AAA titles. For example, FIREWATCH has exceptional storytelling through voice acting. The story unfolds as you explore the forest around you, but by the process of the two main voice actors. The themes of the story can make a connection to the player at a more personal level than a blanket theme can of a AAA game. The reason for this is due to the teams behind indie games.

Indie developers have neither the support nor the resources of AAA developers. This leads to indie creators shifting their focus and working towards a personal experience for the player. They need to be unique and thoughtful with their decisions in the creative process because it may be their only chance at creating a game. This is what gives indie games the push to become popular among other top-selling games.

The gorgeous world of ABZÛ. ABZÛ is a stellar indie game for the Switch.
ABZÛ — Courtesy of Giant Squid Studios

The Nintendo Switch encapsulates the indie experience by feeling like an indie console. It is so different from the Xbox and the PS4 that it doesn’t feel as if the Switch belongs next to these other consoles. That feeling heightens the emotional connection you get when playing indie games on the Switch. It hyper-focuses on the player by evoking emotions of heart, audacity, and uniqueness. PCs and other consoles are unable to do this because of the many distractions these systems can possess. Those other platforms have less of a focus on this area of gaming where the Switch has completely adopted it. For that reason, I have repurchased indie games on the Switch to experience them in a new and better way.

Recommendations

If you are looking for indie games on the Switch, then please check out the ones I have listed below. All of these games have an exceptional story, art, or gameplay mechanic making them perfect for the Switch. Most of these are already released while a couple will be releasing within the next month.

  • ABZÛ
  • CUPHEAD
  • DARKWOOD – May 2019
  • DEAD CELLS
  • DUCK GAME – May 13, 2019
  • FIREWATCH
  • FROST
  • INSIDE
  • LIMBO
  • LITTLE NIGHTMARES
  • PERCEPTION
  • STARDEW VALLEY

Give Indie Games a Chance

For some, indie games are not worth their time. I had originally thought that before I played LIMBO. The game changed the way I looked at games. It taught me that games could be significantly different from the mainstream AAA title while also being really freaking good. From there I looked at games with different kinds of art styles, ways of storytelling, and unique gameplay mechanics. It is usually indie titles to implement something new to impress gamers. Indie games may be smaller experiences than RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2 or GOD OF WAR, but they carry just as much heart and soul.

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