Since launching in 2017, the Nintendo Switch has sold more than 52 million units, surpassing even the Super Nintendo that went on sale in North America in 1991. With rumors that Nintendo might release an updated “Switch Pro” unit in the near future, the console feels even more popular.
Beyond its success, Nintendo has released a jaw-dropping slate of incredibly fun, addicting games, like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Pokémon Sword and Shield, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Here are 13 of the most exciting and essential Nintendo Switch video games that will be released in 2020. We've put this list in chronological order, by date of release.
Release Date — February 13, 2020
When the story of 25-year-old Florence Yeoh’s first love with a cellist named Kirsh launched in 2018 for Android and iOS, it gained universal acclaim for the wordless narrative, beautiful score, and use of compelling puzzle-based mini-games. The title earned a spot in Time magazine’s "Top 10 games of 2018" list and multiple "Best Mobile Game" awards. Now for the first time ever, the game has been freed from its smartphone shackles and making its way to the Switch. The award-winning experience can be purchased for a meager $5.99 when it launches.
2. Mega Man Zero / ZX Legacy Collection
Release Date — February 25, 2020
Between a TV show, Mega Man 11, and various collections, the Mega Man franchise is having quite a resurgence. Topping it all off, Capcom has collected the cult favorite Megaman Zero and ZX games on a single cartridge. If you like side scrollers such as Shovel Knight, the collection has six classic titles for you to enjoy featuring everyone's favorite blue cyborg. There have also been numerous changes made to improve user experience like HD filters, additional save points, and remixed tracks. These are some of the best side-scrollers in Mega Man history and the Switch is the optimal way to experience them.
3. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX
Release Date — March 6, 2020
Have you ever wondered what Pokémon you’d be were you to suddenly transform into one? Well, the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team series makes you take a 20 question quiz to determine whether or not you'll be a Pikachu or something weird like a Skitty. Once you're transformed from a human to a Pokémon, you embark on a series of missions for clients, things like escorting or rescuing other Pokémon while exploring randomly generated dungeons.
In previous titles, you’d have to accept whatever Pokémon you're transformed into but with this remake, you can just choose an entirely different Pokémon. These small quality-of-life changes make this remake worthwhile. The game also received a complete graphical overhaul and added things from the Pokémon canon, like Mega Evolutions, that have appeared in the years since it was released. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX will be a fun ride that should be on your radar. If you'd like a head-start, there's currently a demo available in the Nintendo eShop. All progress made in the demo will be transferred to the full game.
Release Date — March 20, 2020
Despite the beastly motif, Animal Crossing is perhaps the most humane franchise in gaming. In a world full of anthropomorphized animals, you play as a human just sort of living their life. In this casual, vacation-based exploration game, you're constantly indebted to somebody and often have to make big life choices that won’t pay off for a long time.
In New Horizons, you don’t have to stare down your debt alone: you can share those troubles with up to eight friends with the multiplayer mode! If friends aren’t your jam, the new Animal Crossing title has polished their famed outdoorsy single-player activities. Animal Crossing: New Horizons might be the most chill game of 2020.
5. Doom 64
Release Date — March 20, 2020
Once an infamous mark on the Doom franchise, Doom 64 has become a relished memory for a certain set of fans. It can even act as an easy primer for the upcoming Doom Eternal, which comes out later in 2020 for Switch players. What have you got to lose? Doom 64 will only set you back $5.99.
6. Trials of Mana
Release Date — April 24, 2020
The last attempt at remaking a Mana series title with Secret of Mana was disappointing, but Nintendo has gone all-in on the Trials of Mana remake, rebuilding the action role-playing game from the ground up with dazzling graphics.
The entire game has been redone, and the new 3D combat looks incredible. For anyone who wants a compelling and flashy RPG experience in the first half of 2020, Trials of Mana should be the best title to fulfill those cravings.
Release Date — The "first half" of 2020
If you’ve ever even seen the words “Beat-em Up” on a sheet of paper, there’s no doubt you’ve heard of the Streets of Rage franchise, which delivers some of the best side-scroller beat-em-up action. Twenty-six years after the last entry in the franchise, the boys are finally back to rid a city of the ruthless crime syndicate controlling it.
We haven’t seen much of what the game plans to offer, but it’s surely going to be a memorable co-op experience for anyone who misses their glory days playing games in legitimate arcades. I, for one, have been craving a new arcade beat-em-up to break out with my pals, and Streets of Rage 4 seems like it will fill that void — or at least become a memorable part of history as it helps gamers realize the Switch is the best place for arcade-inspired gaming.
8. Doom Eternal
Release Date — 2020
Doom Eternal will be out on Xbox and PlayStation 4 on March 20, 2020 with the Switch release date due out sometime after, following the announcement of a delay in October 2019.
From our experience demoing the game, we can tell you Doom Eternal is shaping up to be a must-buy on at least one platform. The Doom franchise has become like Mission: Impossible films in that by all appearances, they should be terrible, but once you’ve dipped your toes into the experience, they quickly become some of the most gripping and action-packed pieces imaginable. Soon enough, you’re humming the heavy metal songs in your sleep. Hum with us and try out Doom Eternal, but consider waiting for the Switch edition so it can be played on your morning commute.
Release Date — 2020
After toying with our hearts last year via Travis Strikes Again and a second time with this title’s initial trailer, a new No More Heroes game is finally releasing a decade after the second entry. This time around Travis is even evolving past his anime-esque lightsaber, switching to something closer to an Iron Man mech. Honestly, Travis can use anything he wants. I know he’ll always remind me why I’m a Switch owner. When will I not want first dibs on his latest escapades?
Release Date — 2020
No matter your stance on the Star Wars Prequels, we can all agree the LEGO Star Wars franchise made them 100 percent better. Then LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy was nothing short of perfection. Now, the wise powers behind the LEGO games have decided to package both those games together with the added bonus of the sequel trilogy in LEGO form. Cover my mouth or I’ll scream. The game looks like a joyous time to be had with yourself and any living person in your vicinity. There’s no way they won’t love it.
11. Bravely Default II
Release Date — 2020
The oddly named "Bravely" series of classical JRPGs resembles old-school Final Fantasy games in ways that'll trigger nostalgic feelings of joy for many fans of the genre. Technically the third game in the franchise after Bravely Second: End Layer, the new Bravely Default II is the latest game by the creators of Octopath Traveler, one of the most popular 2018 releases on the Switch.
The engaging adventure features a complex, turn-based battle system that also incorporates jobs for its characters. In Bravely Default II, some new Heroes of Light band together to save the world from utter disaster, capitalizing on the same straightforward premise that transformed Final Fantasy from a last-ditch effort into a lasting RPG franchise more than 30 years ago.
12. Gods & Monsters
Release Date — Fall 2020
We all loved Breath of the Wild. Surely, everyone who loved Breath of the Wild is waiting for the sequel. While we wait, however, Ubisoft has made what's essentially the company's own take on the game with a sprawling, cel-shaded world, and the Olympian motif they taught us to love with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. We don’t know much about the game beyond an E3 cinematic, but Ubisoft’s reputation should give us all hope that Gods & Monsters will be one of 2020's biggest titles on any console.
13. Axiom Verge 2
Release Date — Late 2020
At a time when I began to despise the seemingly never-ending stream of Metroidvania titles, the first Axiom Verge reminded me why I fell in love with the subgenre in the first place. You play as a scientist who wakes up in a technologically advanced world in what's either some kind of magical dream or a nightmare.
From the brief trailer provided by Nintendo in December 2019 (featured above), Axiom Verge 2 seemingly promises the same honeymoon-esque experience with inspired platforming and intriguing powers and abilities for the character. Anyone who has enjoyed the Castlevania and Metroid games will surely adore Axiom Verge 2. Just don't expect it until the very end of the year.