2020 is all but over (good riddance!) and it’s time to look back and survey the gaming battleground. Despite this year being a particularly ugly one for practically all of us, we’ve been lucky enough to enjoy some incredible games throughout the year which have helped to restore our spirits in our down time, enforced or otherwise.
Below you’ll find the Top 50 Switch games of 2020 as ranked by readers of Nintendo Life. The order is governed by the User Ratings associated with every Switch game released in 2020 on our games database. As with several of our reader-ranked Best Games round-ups, the ranking is totally fluid even after publication, which means it’s never too late to rate your collection and influence the list.
If you’ve yet to score your favourites, simply click your chosen games’ ratings below and score as you see fit. Can’t see your favourite? Head to our library of Switch games (click the Games tab at the top of the page) to find what you’re looking for. A game needs to have been rated by a minimum of thirty users to become eligible, so it’s entirely possible to influence this best Switch games of 2020 ranking and get your favourites on the list.
The best Switch games of 2017, 2018 or 2019 are available if you want to look back even further, but for now let’s dive into this selection of the best Switch games of 2020…
Publisher: Gearbox Publishing / Developer: 3D Realms
Release Date: 23rd Jun 2020 (Duke Nukem 3D is done proud by this Switch conversion. It looks and runs briliantly, the online options are a welcome inclusion and it’s not compromised in any way from its earlier console release. It’s a shame that a handful of previously-available expansion packs are missing, but given the low price of World Tour Edition, it feels churlish to complain. In the words of the Duke himself, come get some.
Release Date: 23rd Jul 2020 (Crysis Remastered on Switch is a port that’s more impressive than anyone could have realistically expected. Performance for the most part is slick and smooth – albeit with a few dips and stutters here and there – while new lighting and global illumination techniques make this a fine-looking version of the game. The addition of gyro controls is just the cherry on top of an excellent job on the part of Saber Interactive. The gameplay here has aged surprisingly well, too, and rampaging across the sandbox of Lingshan taking out human and alien foes with your nano suit technology is just as much fun now as it was way back in 2007.
Publisher: Devolver Digital / Developer: Phobia Game Studio
Release Date: 23rd Jul 2020 (Carrion is a special thing in many ways–a game which puts you in the shoes (or slithering eldritchtentacles) of the game’s ‘boss’–but its actual meat and potatoes structure is as formulaic as the genre gets. Thankfully, its core gameplay of tearing room after room of people into wet chunks of corpse never, ever gets old, and sustains the experience throughout. It looks superb, sounds great and is plenty of fun to play, despite some minor issues which just hold Carrion back from the absolute upper echelons of the Switch library. Still, if you’re after a Metroidvania with a twist, this one is digustingly intriguing.
Publisher: Private Division / Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Release Date: 5th Jun 2020 (The Outer Worlds is a hugely entertaining “Fallout-in-space”-style RPG adventure filled with wonderfully vibrant locations, excellent companions, zippy and hilariously brutal combat and a ton of well-written characters to meet as you attempt to save the colony of Halcyon. Virtuos has made the expected tweaks to graphics in order to keep things as smooth as possible with this Switch port and, although things can look and feel a little rough in docked mode, in handheld this is a supremely enjoyable experience that’s entertained us just as much this time around as when we played it at launch, and comes highly recommended to fans of the genre.
Release Date: 14th Jul 2020 (Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town offers up a perfectly satisfying and simple take on the farm sim genre. Heartwarming character interactions, easy to grasp farming mechanics, and a nice variety of side activities prove to make this release a potent and worthwhile entry in this long-running series. Though its roots as a handheld game occasionally resurface and there’s not a ton of new content added for this remake, Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town more than stands enough on its own as a quality game that deserves a spot in your Switch library. If you’re looking for something to fill that post-Animal Crossing hole in your life, or are just simply a fan of the farm sim genre in general, don’t miss out on this one.
Release Date: 27th Mar 2020 (Saints Row IV: Re-Elected fares far better than its predecessor on Switch, with better performance, minimal input lag and a refreshingly solid output in handheld mode. Its gunplay is always going to be messy and its unashamed sense of humour will undoubtedly offend some, but having such an activity-rich experience running so well on your handheld console isn’t to be sniffed at. And with so much extra content available in the Re-Elected package, Switch players have another long-term investment on their hands.
Release Date: 29th May 2020 ( on Switch is the full-fat XCOM 2 and XCOM 2: War of the Chosen experience. Virtuous has had to knock the graphics right down to the lowest setting, there are plenty of framerate issues and bugs that we’ve already encountered on other platforms and the not-insignificant – but hopefully patchable – problem with the game’s character creation pool, but this is still a highly playable version of the game. If you can make peace with some stuttering and long loading times and aren’t too offended by pretty ugly textures here and there, you’ll be rewarded with one of the very best turn-based tactical titles currently available. XCOM 2 is nothing short of a masterpiece and now you can play it on the go, which we reckon is well worth any sacrifices made here.
Release Date: 1st Oct 2020 (Super Mario Bros. 35 gives Nintendo’s most iconic game a jolt of life and it’s massively welcome. Its matches could do with being a little shorter and it’s difficult to see whether it’s actually going to have changed much a few months down the line, but it says a lot about the quality of the experience that the biggest problem we have with it is that come April 2021 it won’t exist anymore.
Publisher: Electronic Arts / Developer: Criterion Games
Release Date: 13th Nov 2020 (Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered teleports players back to more innocent times a decade ago, when simply taking on a series of races was considered enough to keep players entertained. Many would argue its simplicity is a strength, however, and the reality is that despite the lack of depth it’s still a hugely entertaining time whether you’re playing as a racer or a cop. If you struggle to stay afloat with all the faffing around in modern games, this old-school dose of straightforward racing goodness is your life jacket.
Release Date: 23rd Sep 2020 (Kirby Fighters 2 is a surprisingly brilliant Smash Bros.-style spin-off that simplifies its big brother’s control system but still offers a healthy amount of depth with its 22-character roster. Its Story mode, in particular, is a clever and compelling way to make each battle feel important, and that mode alone lasts long enough to make it a worthwhile purchase for solo and co-op gamers.