The Ultimate Indie Games List For Nintendo Switch

Seb's Nintendo Switch next to a vinyl player and a plant, showing one of his favourite Indie games

If you enjoy what you read and want to support an independent publication, you can join our Patreon to receive extra benefits and a physical welcome kit filled with official merchandise sent directly to your front door! View our premium benefits here. Thank you.

Get ready for some unique and artistically breathtaking adventures as we look at the best Indie games on Switch.

If you still believe that Indie games don’t deserve a look-in, then you need to change that view, stat.

These up-and-coming developers and production companies are creating some of the most fascinating games that we’ve ever played. Jam-packed full of innovative ideas and beautiful graphics, they make for a superb package that you’ll come back to time and time again.

So, without further ado, let’s jump right in and find out 20 of the best independent games on Switch, the titles that we can’t get enough of, and the ones that you simply have to add to your collection!

1. Hollow Knight (2017)

Hollow Knight on Theo's Nintendo Switch

It’s official; Hollow Knight is the greatest Indie game on Switch!

Of all the side-scrolling Indie games, Hollow Knight takes the crown every single time. Beautiful animations, amazing gameplay, bizarre storyline; it’s got everything I look for and a hell of a lot more.

Hell, this could be a lucid dream from Inception… it’s so weird!

Hollow Knight gameplay, showing Hollow Knight sitting on a bench in Hallownest

Take a trip down into Hallownest and interact with the weird and wonderful insects and creatures that call it home. Explore the mushroom jungle, sneak around a city of bone, and discover amazing powers that will help you on your quest.

Hollow Knight is another Metroidvania-style game with bosses that wouldn’t look out of place in Returnal. Just look at the size of the guy above!

So far, Hollow Knight has amassed over 3 million sales, making it not only one of the best Indie titles on the console but one of the best titles to ever appear on the Switch!

2. Dead Cells (2017)

Dead Cells game case for the Switch held by Rob in his studio

Dead Cells is today’s runner-up, possibly one of the most exciting roguelike games of recent times.

Hang on, what’s roguelike when it’s at home?

Roguelike games are basically RPGs that revolve around dungeon crawling and death, in the sense that the player character dies permanently while adventuring through an incredulous fantasy-based storyline.

Dead Cells is a Roguevania game, which means it’s also got elements of Castlevania and Metroid to it too – essentially a side-scrolling RPG… can I get on with telling you what it’s about now?

Dead Cells gameplay, with two characters surrounded by bats in a narrow corridor

Like Returnal, losing means death. Certain elements will stay with you, but you’ll need to stay on your toes.

With no checkpoints, you really have to keep your head in the game!

Players take control of a spectral creature housed in a decapitated corpse. Find weapons and tools that will help you through the game and slay undead cretins as you solve puzzles and fight to stay alive.

This game is HARD; you’ll lose all your currency and cells when you die… so just don’t die.

3. Raji: An Ancient Epic (2020)

Raji An Ancient Epic on Seb's Nintendo Switch OLED

Imagine a cross between Prince of Persia and a Zelda game. Now stop thinking about Beyond Oasis and think about Raji instead.

Immerse yourself in a war waging between demons and the gods. Demons have ransacked the world and humans are now paying the price. but a child chosen by the Gods will be the one to save them from their peril.

Raji An Ancient Epic gameplay, with Raji moving along a courtyard lined with large columns, bushes, and urns
Credit: Nintendo

Join Raji as she fights to take down the evil ruler of the demons, Mahabalasura. That’s if you can ever manage to progress through the levels after taking your eyes off the stunning scenery in this epic adventure.

All the artwork that makes this game so special is hand-drawn in the traditional Indian Pahari art style and then 3D rendered. I’ve said it loads throughout this article, but it just proves that Indie games go that extra mile and end up being a lot more visually impressive than some of the mainstream titles out there.

Use gifts from the gods in this story set in Ancient India, brimming with Indian culture and mythology. I’ve never played a game quite like it and urge you all to give it a try. It certainly leaves a lasting impression!

4. Spiritfarer (2020)

Spiritfarer game art on Seb's Switch

You’ll be hard-pressed to find an Indie game as beautiful as Spiritfarer, which is an odd thing to say about a game that is primarily about dying.

Players take control of a Spiritfarer, a carrier of spirits to the afterlife. Build a boat, find and look after lost spirits, and then when they’re ready, let them roam free into the next life.

All of the animations and art are made by hand, giving this game a truly unique feel that radiates calm and love. I know I sound a bit like Bob Ross there (which is never a bad thing), but there’s a real relaxing vibe about this game that makes it a pleasure to play.

Spiritfarer gameplay, with a man fishing off the edge of a boat. A cat is sitting next to him

Improve your boat Windbound-style as you progress through the game. You’ll need to mine for materials and hunt for food to stay alive, all while exploring some of the most tranquil levels of any computer game you’ve ever played.

It’s also a bit of an emotional rollercoaster too; imagine the scene where your horse dies in Ghosts of Tsushima happening over and over again…

… maybe not one to play after a breakup…

5. Ghost Of A Tale (2016)

Seb holding his Nintendo Switch with Ghost of a Tale on the screen

Ghost of a Tale isn’t just one of the best Indie games on Switch; it’s one of my favourite games of all time.

To say that I bought this adventure on a whim thinking it looked good, I ended up not being able to put it down at all.

If you love side quests, collecting, sneaking, and rescuing mice in danger, then this is the game for you. It looks stunning and plays very much like a Zelda title.

Ghost of a Tale gameplay - Tilo the mouse wearing armour and holding a lantern with blue flame.

Play as Till the minstrel on a quest to save his beloved wife. Disguise yourself as a guard, uncover the mysteries of Dwindling Heights, make allegiances, and use your noggin to stay alive.

The story is crammed with collectibles, different armour to find, and lots of puzzles to uncover. Oh, and tonnes of memorable mouse characters that will leave you in awe (or frightened to go into your cellar).

Tilo isn’t an aggressive mouse, but he can throw bottles and use sneaky tricks to his advantage. Plus, any singing mouse is a winner in my book… unless it’s Mickey, he can do one.

6. Untitled Goose Game (2019)

Untitled Goose Game art on Seb's white Switch OLED

I bet all of you were wondering when the House House classic Untitled Goose Game would be appearing on our list, right?

This game is absolute carnage. Imagine Animal Farm with a rogue goose calling the shots, and you’ve got the idea.

You see, players have to work their way through a quiet little village, and they play as a very angry, mischievous goose.

Untitled Goose Game gameplay, showing a goose next to a yellow van. It's back doors are open, and a woman is looking surprised.

Comedy is the key to this game; it’s a slapstick adventure where havoc is the main aim.

If anyone is having a nice time or feeling relaxed, then it’s up to you to ruin their day completely in whatever way you can, all without opposable thumbs.

Make pranks, sneak into gardens and honk at people; just be a general nuisance and the scourge of the village.

Would it surprise you if I said that this was 100% a game that I connect with?

7. Shovel Knight (2014)

Shovel Knight game screen Nintendo Switch

Shovel Knight has gone from being an Indie newcomer to a global sensation, even turning up in other games such as Yooka-Layla as a supporting character.

Listen, don’t be fooled into thinking that a dude with a shovel for a weapon isn’t badass. You don’t get horns that big on your helmet if you’re not the real deal.

Shovel Knight once had an ally, Shield Knight, though he has sadly passed on after a duel in the Tower of Fate…

… let’s just spare a moment to remember Signor Shovel’s best mate.

Shovel Knight gameplay, with Shovel Knight moving away from a broken wall. There is an enemy at the top of the screen.

Shovel Knight is back protecting the land from enemies, solo this time. The gameplay itself looks and feels very much like a cross between Rayman and Monster Hunter IV, which is probably why it’s such a massive hit.

And, as you’ve probably already guessed from a hero who wields a shovel, digging is the key to getting ahead in this game.

Find gold and other exciting items hidden in the ground as you move through the side-scrolling levels. Buy upgrades to your armour and dish out spades and spades of vengeance as you defeat the evil roaming your land.

I wonder how good he is at making sandcastles… probably needs Bucket Knight to help out with that one…

8. Enter The Gungeon (2020)

Enter The Gungeon game art screen

Next up on our list of the best Indie games on Switch is Enter the Gungeon, which has autocorrected to ‘Dungeon’ so many times while trying to write this sentence that I’ve lost count.

A mind-blowingly manic game that sees bullets flying in every direction at any given time, players must fight for the world’s greatest treasure – a gun that has the power to obliterate the past.

I bet Nathan Drake would be all over this challenge!

Enter the Gungeon gameplay Nintendo Switch - A character facing two knights standing by blue flames. There are wooden boxes on the ground.

Now this is another game that definitely has a strong Probotector feel to it. Move your way through labyrinths while gathering collectables and secret loot. Purchase items to help you get the upper hand on the Gundead along the way.

That’s right; the Gundead. They know only one thing – how to wield a gun and use it to blow you into smithereens.

The heroes, the guns, and the levels themselves are all so exciting that you’ll find it increasingly harder to put down the further you get into it. Trust me, this is one you won’t want to miss out on.

9. A Short Hike (2019)

A Short Hike game art screen on Editor in Chief Seb's Nintendo Switch OLED edition

A Short Hike could be one of the cutest-looking games on the Nintendo Switch, bringing an Ōkami vibe to the table with gameplay that could have jumped straight out of a portable Zelda title.

This is a game that’s all about exploration. Players control a talking bird called Claire as she discovers the hidden secrets of Hawk Peak Provincial Park.

A Short hike Gameplay, showing a penguin flying over a forest neat a lighthouse

Claire is a pretty adventurous bird that loves to hike, climb, and fly through the luscious landscape inside the Park.

Like any true camper, Claire can get off the beaten track and delve into the heart of the backcountry, chatting with other adventurers and finding secret treasures on the way.

If you’re the kind of person that spends more time wandering around the wilderness in BOTW or Red Dead Redemption, then A Short Hike will be right up your street. It’s fun, it looks superb, and it’s an easy play that won’t tax you too much while still being enjoyable.

10. The Messenger (2018)

The Messenger game screen

The Messenger is up next, bringing some updated Ninja Gaiden-style vibes to your favourite hybrid handheld.

If you’re a fan of the mysterious storyline in games like Ghost of Tsushima, then this one is definitely for you. Play as a young ninja fighting for survival in a tormented world as he seeks the truth that will save his clan.

I’ve got goosebumps just thinking about it!

The Messenger gameplay - a character is moving past a large green enemy that looks like a rock

As opposed to having a LittleBigPlanet/Rayman-vibe like Spelunky 2 above, The Messenger more follows the traditional Metroidvania title with all of the subtle nuances that we’ve come to love and expect from the games in that series.

Expect dry humour and a game that slowly morphs from 8-bit to 16-bit with fantastic bosses and superb villains that will leave you smiling for hours after you’ve finished playing.

Don’t be fooled by the gameplay style though; this is one tough cookie to crack and proves a real challenge. We’re talking Probotector level of tough, and that’s saying something!

11. Spelunky 2 (2020)

Spelunky 2 game screen for the Nintendo Switch on Seb's personal Nintendo Switch console

Searching for treasure and family members that have gone AWOL on the moon; sounds like Spelunky 2 to me!

If you’ve played the original Spelunky, then you’ll already be a big fan of the completely random challenges and quirky adventures that this series has to offer.

Players can either go it alone or team up with friends both local and online in order to tackle the quests and missions, dodging traps and exploring exciting side-scrolling levels.

Spelunky 2 gameplay - a character in a yellow hat is jumping over a column of bones underground.
Credit: Nintendo

Just look at the level above! The attention to detail in Spelunky 2 is even more impressive than in the first title. And just like Rayman, the backgrounds are incredibly textured and offer lots of depth.

In short, after a while, you forget that it’s a 2D side-scroller and just concentrate on the fact that it’s an amazing platformer.

Playing online adds an exciting element to this Indie game; I know I’m a fan of the local co-op, but there’s something about solving classic mysteries online with friends that I enjoy much more than blasting the hell out of people.

Call me old fashioned… because I am.

12. Chicory: A Colorful Tale (2021)

A white Nintendo Switch showing game art for Chicory A Colorful Tale

2021 certainly was an incredible year for Indie games dropping onto the Switch, and Chicory is no exception. Feeling like a cross between ComixZone, Scribblenauts, and Ōkami, players move through a colouring book using the power of painting to change the world.

If only it were that simple in real life…

Chicory: A Colorful Tale gameplay - a dog holding a paintbrush and three other dogs on bikes in front of a blue building with a red door.
Credit: Nintendo

Players control a super fan who loves the artist Chicory. You’re taking up her mantle as you try to search for her after she disappears.

Unlock new paints and abilities, discover exciting characters, and solve puzzles with just your brain and a brush.

There’s even a local co-op mode, which should make up for the fact that there are only 10 hours of gameplay…

… despite that though, this is an exciting game and one that I’ve loved exploring since I grabbed a copy last year. Check it out; you won’t be disappointed.

13. Undertale (2015)

Undertale game screen

What’s the first game you think of when you see the still for Undertale below? It’s gotta be Earthbound (Mother), right?

Hey, I’m not here to judge; that can only ever be a good thing in my book!

Monsters and humans have been at each other’s throats for years, and now a child has fallen from the human world into the realm of the monsters.

The child, i.e you, is rescued by a nice monster and trained up. Once you leave your rescuer’s care, it’s up to you whether you fight your way through the underground realm or calmly diffuse conflicts that come up on your travels.

Long story short – do you kill everything in sight or take a diplomatic approach?

Gameplay for Undertale - a character talking Flowey the Flower

This RPG comes with all the features that we expect; puzzles, NPC interaction, and tactical battles.

Once a battle ensues, you can decide whether to shed blood or not, changing the shape of the game with every choice as you advance.

If you want NPCs to like you, keep that sword sheathed unless absolutely necessary… it’s time to find out just how much of a monster you have inside you!

14. The Long Dark (2014)

Game art for the The Long Dark, displayed on Switch

The Switch was a little late in the game with regards to The Long Dark, but boy am I glad we got a version of it in the end.

So, we’re dealing with a survival FPS. Imagine MYST with the need to fight for your life at every moment.

Yeah, there’s no real story, just the constant struggle with death around every corner… so a relaxing play then?

The Long Dark gameplay - the player is looking at a snowy scene with barns in the ditance
Credit: Nintendo

Don’t let that put you off though; there are five exciting map areas to explore while playing the Long Dark, and it’s so well put together that you won’t have any problems playing it again and again.

Like WindBound, there are more factors than just enemies taking a chunk out of you to consider while playing. Hunger, the temperature of your surroundings, tiredness, and not having proper shelter will all kill you…

… as will the dangerous animals.

Craft tools, survive through the night, make medicines, and trap game for food. If any game is going to prepare you properly for the end of the world, it’ll be this one!

15. Risk of Rain 2 (2020)

Seb's hand with a Nintendo switch. The screen shows Risk of Rain 2 game logo

I’m always worried about the risk of rain when I’m out walking the dog, though it usually means I get to come back and play Risk of Rain 2, so it’s not all bad!

So, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that this is the sequel to the original Risk of Rain, an incredibly successful title that left us all desperate for more.

Now with more action than John McClain in a Black Friday fistfight with Chuck Norris and complete random elements from the levels themselves to the bosses that inhabit them, Risk of Rain 2 supercharges the formula all the way to 11!

Risk of Rain 2 gameplay - a character fighting an enemy called 'Beetle Queen'
Credit: Nintendo

So how do you play?

Well, gamers can either go solo or team up with friends as they work their way through this addictive loot-shooter.

As I said above, every run is different thanks to the randomised elements, and with a mammoth 75 items lurking around for gamers to collect and more hidden secrets than Gringots Bank, there’s plenty for players to uncover.

Grab the beers and get gaming!

16. Hades (2018)

Hades game art

Let’s step away from Life Sims and get back into dungeon-crawling territory with the fantastic Hades, a game where players have to defy the god of death himself while escaping the depths of the underworld.

Seriously, if you loved Stephen Fry’ Mythos, then you’ll be all over this!

So what’s the deal? Who’s escaping Hades’ wrath?

Players control a dude called Zagreus who just so happens to be Hades’ son. He wants to head to Mount Olympus to be with the other gods, all of whom are helping him in his quest.

Hades gameplay - Zagreus battling an enemy in a chamber lit by green torches

We’re taking an old-school Final Fantasy-style isometric view for Hades, with players looking top-down as they move Zagreus through various stages of the underworld.

Gifts and collectibles disappear when Zagreus loses his health points, but collect enough coins and permanent upgrades can be bought that stay with him no matter what.

It’s a hack-and-slash dungeon crawler akin to games like Gauntlet: Dark Legacy, which makes it one of the best Indie games on Switch for blowing off some steam after a long day in the office!

17. Stardew Valley (2016)

Stardew Valley game logo displayed by Seb

Stardew Valley is a game that’s heavily inspired by everyone’s favourite farming Life Sim, Harvest Moon.

Heck, this title has dropped on pretty much every platform going including mobile. It’s super addictive and jam-packed with original RPG goodness.

Ok, so when I say it’s inspired by Harvest Moon, it’s pretty much a direct copy. Get hold of a run-down dark and bring it back to life through hard work.

Stardew Valley gameplay - a farmer tending the land. There is a scarecrow next to a pond

Over the course of the game, you’ll clean the place up by moving logs and carting stones around, planting trees, and generally sprucing up the area.

Here’s where things get more interesting though…

Players can also discover new hidden areas and have to tackle monsters lurking throughout Stardew Valley too. So suddenly Harvest Moon has become crossed with The Witcher…

Romance NPCs, build smallholdings, and get lost in epic side quests that should keep you occupied for hours on end.

18. Cozy Grove (2021)

Cozy Grove on the Nintendo Switch game screen

Cozy Grove takes the 18th spot in our list, carrying on the exciting trend of Life Sim genre titles made popular through the Animal Crossing series.

So, Cozy Grove; is it as quaint and cozy as it first appears?

Well, it’s filled to the brim with ghosts… so I guess not…

Gameplay for Cozy Grove - various items and a reindeer are positioned next to a wooden tower
Credit: Nintendo

Players take charge of a Spirit Scout charged with soothing the otherworldly residents of this haunted island. You’ll make items, explore the island, and revel in the ever-changing nature of this weird and wonderful place.

The aim of the game – make Cozy Grove cozy again!

All of the levels, characters, and features in this game have been hand-drawn by incredibly talented artists. Delve into each spirit’s backstory and enjoy the subtle nuances of this game for months on end as you continue to uncover secret after secret.

19. Into The Breach (2018)

Into the Breach game loading screen

Into the Breach has some heavy Iron Giant vibes to it from the get-go with regards to the cover art.

We’re still in the future for this one, and things haven’t got any better since Eastward above.

This time, monsters have ransacked the Earth (why is something always ransacking in the future?) and humanity’s only hope is for giant Mechs to save us.

Oh yeah, you know it’s gonna be a great game when Mechs are involved.

Into the Breach gameplay - a gridded playing field showing items that the player can interact with
Credit: Nintendo

Ok, so it’s hardly Shin Megami Tensei, more like Plants Vs Zombies crossed with Risk.

Still, that sounds like a cracking combination to me!

Into the Breach boasts turn-based combat where players must push monsters into hazards to destroy them.

Play tactically to avoid damage to your Mechs, pick up items, and fulfill certain criteria to unlock extra content. It’s a nifty little game and one that’s certainly worth a shot if you like your games to come with a serious brain workout.

20. Eastward (2021)

Eastward game logo and art

Eastward, like so many of the Indie titles in our list, feels like a lovingly crafted mixture of classic retro vs modern gameplay techniques. The result is a stunning game that feels like you’ve stepped inside a novel.

Can you tell it’s one of my favourites… and we’ve only just begun!

Eastward gameplay showing a character moving down some stairs in a busy city environment.
Credit: Nintendo

So what’s the premise here?

Well, it’s the future and the world is about to go to sh… I mean, things aren’t looking very good.

What’s more, a pesky toxin is killing everything in its wake. People have fled underground, but one girl dreams of a life back on the surface.

This game isn’t one for kids; it’s got some adult content that makes it more one for mature gamers. A beautifully made game that makes exploring by train seem like the coolest thing ever!


This article may contain affiliate links. If you use these links to purchase an item we may earn a commission.

retro dodo team 2024

Like our content?

Join our Patreon Community.