A lot has happened in 2023 for games across platforms, and while many consider this the best year since 2017 for all the big and awesome games, there are also many that went under the radar. I’ve covered most of them before, but let this list serve as a reminder if you already own any of these games. For the rest of you, hopefully you discover something you end up liking because I love these games and hope more folks give them a shot. As usual, this list is in no particular order.
The best hidden gems on Nintendo Switch in 2023 – essential Switch games you might have missed
Meg’s Monster is a fantastic narrative experience that I still think about today after playing it on Switch and Steam Deck. It is one of those games that delivers competent RPG gameplay, but that isn’t the draw of the experience. You’re playing this for the story, characters, presentation, and more. Just don’t let the little girl cry because the whole world will die.
Ib is equal parts unsettling, creepy, and incredible. The music, art, and narrative carry this experience, and it remains an essential for every horror adventure fan on Nintendo Switch. I know it hit PC before, but I adored playing Ib on Switch this year. The less you know about it, the better. Just take a journey into the museum and enjoy the art.
Having already seen the genius of Astlibra Revision on Steam, I loved revisiting it on Switch recently through its amazing release. This really is an outstanding game through its long runtime that never lets go. If you like action-RPGs, this one is worth your time and money. I don’t think we will see anything that comes close to how crazy Astlibra gets in every aspect for a long time.
Jack Jeanne is easily the best otome game you can play right now, if you’re ok with rhythm gameplay. I love rhythm games and good quality otome games, so Jack Jeanne feels tailor made for me. If you enjoy rhythm games but haven’t been able to get into the otome sub genre yet, this is for you. It might be one of Aksys Games’ best releases in a while, and I hope we see more like this.
This Way Madness Lies
If you enjoy magical girls, JRPGs, and Shakespeare and want a game that doesn’t waste your time, This Way Madness Lies is an easy recommendation on Switch. Its low asking price definitely helps, and I think it does a few things better than Cosmic Star Heroine from Zeboyd Games, though that remains my favorite release from the developer.
Saltsea Chronicles surprised me constantly through its gorgeous visuals, excellent Switch port, and narrative. It is a game I see myself returning to often, and I hope it gets a physical release in the future. I liked Mutazione quite a bit from developer Die Gute Fabrik, but Saltsea Chronicles is just superb in every way.
Frog Detective: The Entire Mystery
Frog Detective: The Entire Mystery is the perfect game to unwind with this season thanks to its amazing writing, charm, and great soundtrack. It isn’t too long, but is absolutely worth the asking price on Switch for the memorable experience it will give you. This might not be for everyone, but I’m glad the set of games arrived on consoles with such a fantastic release.
The Case of the Golden Idol
The Case of the Golden Idol is an incredible experience that not only respects the player’s intelligence, but also one of the most rewarding games you will play. Combined with The Spider of Lanka DLC, The Case of the Golden Idol is absolutely essential, and it is a joy to play on Switch with touch controls.
In a lot of ways, Silent Hope feels like a long-lost 3DS game resurrected for modern platforms with its aesthetic, music, charm, and core gameplay loop that come together perfectly. It isn’t going to be for everyone, but I’d recommend trying out the demo if you are remotely interested. I like having this installed on my Switch to just play as a break from other games.
The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails
Despite its age, The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails on Switch is a fantastic action RPG that is a reminder of Falcom’s earlier games. There’s a lot to say about where it fits in the Trails series, but I recommend just playing it if you enjoy action RPGs with great music. Falcom fans should definitely not miss this one.
So those are our picks for the best hidden games for the Nintendo Switch in 2023, but how about yours? Do you have a game you want us to play that we missed out on covering? Please comment below so we can all get in on that. Hopefully this list helped you find something you end up liking. Thanks for reading!