Huge AAA titles made by large teams of developers usually dominate the news cycle and get all the attention from fans, but indie games can easily deliver just as much entertainment. Just because games are put together by smaller teams doesn’t mean they’re going to be better or worse than releases from big studios. In fact, some of the best games released in recent years have been made by independent developers.
Because indie games generally rely more on word of mouth or positive reviews to generate sales, many of them can fly under the radar and may be overlooked by gamers who would otherwise love them. When it comes to the Nintendo Switch, there are tons of amazing indie games available for fans.
10/10 Stardew Valley – Not just a farming simulator
Stardew Valley is the epitome of why many people love indie games, as every detail of it feels like a labor of love. It’s a farming simulator with so much more to enjoy than just that, including relationship building, mining, and basic combat.
Stardew Valley has short days that give players regular breaks while encouraging them to continue just one more time. It’s a charming and fun experience with a lot of replay value, and Stardew Valley is one of the most iconic indie games for a good reason.
9/10 Celeste – A platformer with depth
Celeste is one of the few indie games that almost immediately became a huge success, and it’s no surprise since it’s a fantastic platformer. Celeste is full of fun but challenging levels, and it requires great reactions to make it all the way up the titular mountains.
The main character Madeline is very well written, showing growth as she climbs and overcomes her own problems. Between the story and the gameplay, there is not much like Celeste fails to do well, and it’s easily one of the best indie games available on the Nintendo Switch.
8/10 Slay The Spire – Every Card Matters
Slay The Spire is a fantastic rogue-like deck builder that feels like it was built with the Switch in mind. MegaCrit did a great job of developing a game that can be picked up and put down at any time, something the platform is known for.
A full run through all four acts can take a while, but many runs will end before act one is over, leaving players desperate for another attempt to climb the game’s tower. With four different characters that each have a few deck building options, the replay value is huge.
7/10 Hollow Knight – A big achievement on a small budget
Like most indie games, Hollow Knight was made on a paper-thin budget. Unlike most of its peers, Hollow Knight made an insane amount of money for the small team that managed it. Hollow Knight is a side-scrolling 2D Metroidvania game that takes place in the underground kingdom of Hallownest.
Although Hollow Knight has boss fights that can cause players a ridiculous amount of stress, it’s very rewarding for anyone who sticks with it. It’s a challenging game for anyone, but persistence quickly reveals one of the best Metroidvanias in recent memory.
6/10 Hades – Enjoys endless runs
Hades was one of the breakthrough games of 2020 and remains one of the best rogue-like games to this day. Supergiant Games really struck gold when they set Hades together, a hack-and-slash game that offers incredibly satisfying combat as players move from room to room in search of an escape from the underworld.
The story is solid and the amount of replay value it offers can keep players engaged for hours. Combine that with the ability to pick up and play races on the fly, and Hades is a fantastic choice for any Switch owner.
5/10 Understatement – choices with major consequences
Understatement is an attractive role-playing game that remains one of the few games that deconstructs the genre. Like many indie games, the graphics are relatively simple, but the gameplay is more than good enough to make up for it. The music is also fun, but the story is where Understatement really shines. It sees players take control of a young child lost in the Underworld, a subterranean realm full of monsters.
Choices made during the game radically change the plot and different endings take place depending on how a player handles battles.
4/10 Divinity: Original Sin 2 – An RPG Above Its Station
Divinity: Original Sin 2 is easily one of the best indie RPGs of recent years and is often regarded by fans as one of the best RPGs in general. As with any port to the Nintendo Switch, the ability to play on the go has only enhanced what was already a great game to begin with.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 allows players to make their way through the world alone or cooperatively, and the environments of Rivellon are incredibly well built, making for a completely immersive experience.
3/10 Wargroove – A love letter to a classic game
Wargroove is only the second game developed in-house by Chucklefish, the publisher of Stardew Valley. Although it may remind players Advance warrior series, Wargroove uses a fantasy setting for its turn-based tactical combat instead.
There are multiple bosses and a wide variety of powerful units available to choose from, combined with a solid story that players are likely to find engaging from start to finish. There’s also plenty to do outside of the single-player campaign, with online multiplayer, a puzzle mode and the ability to create your own matches.
2/10 Cuphead – Running and shooting in the 1930s
Cup head makes good use of the classic cartoon art style to show an interesting and unique story. While the artistic choices are what initially attracted many players, the fact that Cup head is one of the best modern run-and-gun games is what made them fall in love.
Players take control of Cuphead while another can use his brother Mugman to reclaim souls for the devil, using a variety of different abilities to do so. It’s a fun and challenging game that all fans of the run-and-gun genre will enjoy.
1/10 Shovel Knight – Retro Platforming Fun
Yacht Club Games managed to crowdfund Spade Knightand they delivered much more than their backers might have expected at the time. Spade Knight is a retro platformer that has spawned two different spin-off games, and a lot of that is down to its great level design, interesting characters, and surprisingly fun combat.
Don’t just do it Spade Knight has a great new game plus option that increases the difficulty dramatically, but it also has plenty of DLC available for players who haven’t had enough when the original game ends.
MORE: Best indie games on Xbox Game Pass