The Best Hidden Gems on Nintendo Switch in 2022 – SwitchArcade Special

Ah, the end of the year. A time for musings of the year that has passed, and speculation as to what the new year will bring. And also a time for lists! This one covers the hidden gems that hit the Nintendo Switch this year, and we really do our best to make sure they’re deep cuts. A couple of years ago, I handled this list. Last year, our pal Mikhail took the reins. This time, we’ve teamed up. I’ve selected a tasty dozen titles, and Mikhail threw in a few of his own. If you’re looking for some good games that are off the beaten path, read on!

Sophstar ($12.99)

I was really surprised at how good Sophstar turned out to be, especially given the reasonable price. It’s a very fun vertical shooter that is easy to learn but with enough depth to please veterans, and includes enough modes, options, and extras to keep you playing for a long time. I wish the soundtrack had a little more kick to it and I suppose it doesn’t really do anything dramatically novel, but otherwise I am hard-pressed to find much fault in this game. A virtual must-have for shoot-em-up fans and one of the finer choices in a year of great games in this genre. -Shaun Musgrave

Arcade Paradise ($19.99)

There’s a lot of joy in the routine, and Arcade Paradise taps into that perfectly. You inherit a run-down laundromat from your father and through your hard work will eventually turn it into a massive arcade full of cool games. The best part is that you can play those games, and many of them are a lot of fun on their own. Oh no, the customers’ laundry is ready to go into the dryer but I’m in the middle of a game! I guess it doesn’t matter if they have to wait a little, right? A great premise pulled off superbly. -Shaun Musgrave

Beacon Pines ($19.99)

If you like adventure games or just want to enjoy an interesting, well-written story with a pleasingly dark vibe, Beacon Pines will serve you well. It’s a thoroughly engrossing tale that pulls you in further the more you play it. Perhaps a little too substantial to explore in a single session, but you’ll likely find yourself wanting to see it all the way through in one go. Add in a superb presentation with gorgeous visuals and excellent narration, and you’ve got a winner. Publisher Fellow Traveler had a stellar year all around, and this is yet another one of the jewels of its line-up. -Shaun Musgrave

The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story ($49.99)

The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story released at a bad time for me thanks to a family emergency, but I’ve been slowly making my way through it over the months. As someone who got into FMV games through Her Story, I never managed to find anything that impressed me as much as that until The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story. The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story is the best FMV game I’ve ever played, and a fantastic introduction to the genre. You tackle multiple murders taking place over the span of a century. The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story often felt like I was watching a big budget drama from Japan on Netflix. It is just sublime, and I’m currently replaying it on PS5 after experiencing it on Switch. -Mikhail Madnani

OneShot: World Machine Edition ($14.99)

I won’t talk much about the specific qualities of OneShot because this is indeed one of Those Games, but I think just about anyone who enjoys the adventure game genre will fall for its charms. It’s a clever, immensely likeable game that is metatextual without being obnoxious about it. You’ll almost certainly want to replay it immediately after you finish it, and that’s the mark of a pretty awesome story and game in my books. It has made the transition to Switch as well as it can to any non-computer platform, and if this is where you happen to play it, I think you’ll have a fine time. If you haven’t played it before, here’s your excuse to do it. –Shaun Musgrave

Chained Echoes ($24.99)

I haven’t posted my review of this excellent JRPG-style game yet, because I really wanted to take my time with it. The work of a single developer who toiled away for years, Chained Echoes shares a similar origin to a lot of games that had big promise but didn’t quite land the execution. This game, however, not only met my expectations but wildly exceeded them. If you have any fondness for 16-bit JRPGs, you’ll have a great time with Chained Echoes. A true love letter to the genre that isn’t content to only be a love letter. -Shaun Musgrave

TinyKin ($24.99)

I had no expectations at all going into this 3D platformer, but as soon as I started playing TinyKin, I was sucked completely into its world. The area designs are fantastic, encouraging you to root out and collect everything while presenting you with enough options that you never need to bang your head against any one thing. It also has a very charming presentation. The choice of using 2D sprites for the characters takes a little adjustment, but once you do? This is one of the better games in this genre you can find on the Switch, and its recent update added even more things to love. –Shaun Musgrave

Kamiwaza: Way of the Thief ($29.99)

While I’m always grateful when publishers bring back popular games from a few console generations ago to make them accessible to players, I love it when we get ports or remasters of games that either are lesser known, or ones that have never released outside Japan before. I didn’t know what Kamiwaza: Way of the Thief was until NIS America confirmed a localization for consoles and PC. With its budget price, I hope more people check this one out, because of its freedom. It feels like a perfect blend of remaining within its budget constraints while giving you enough freedom to make you want to play the stealth game more and more. -Mikhail Madnani

Raging Blasters ($14.70)

Raging Blasters isn’t out there breaking any shoot-em-up molds, but it pulls together a lot of well-loved ideas into a sensible, enjoyable whole. More casual players will appreciate the somewhat gentle nature of the default arcade mode, while those who enjoy a solid score attack game will certainly find plenty to keep them coming back. The emphasis on making sure the Caravan-style timed scoring runs as enjoyable as possible really pays off in this vertical shooter. Another excellent piece of work from shoot-em-up one-man-developer Terarin, who continues to impress with each new release. -Shaun Musgrave

Little Noah: Scion of Paradise ($14.99)

Little Noah: Scion of Paradise is a surprisingly fun take on the side-scrolling roguelite genre, with plenty of personality courtesy of its charming character designs and solid gameplay mechanics that are perhaps a little easier to come to grips with than those found in similar games. While I wouldn’t consider it among the very best in its category, it’s an extremely well-made game that is worth playing if you’ve enjoyed games like Dead Cells or Rogue Legacy. In fact, I think I had a better time with this than I did with Rogue Legacy 2, and that’s no slight on that game. A fantastic return for a set of characters and setting that I frankly never expected to see again. -Shaun Musgrave

Super Mega Zero ($9.99)

Super Mega Zero manages the difficult job of finding new depths to plumb in a sub-genre that has seen a lot of love over the years. Every time I thought I had it all figured out, another stage would come along and force me to come at things completely differently. The changing number gimmick combines with some truly inspired puzzle and platforming challenges to create a thoroughly enjoyable, incredibly tricky action game. Throw in the extra collectible Pi items and speed runs, and you’ve got a game that will last you for a long while. –Shaun Musgrave

Shin chan: Me and the Professor on Summer Vacation The Endless Seven-Day Journey ($39.99)

Shin chan: Me and the Professor on Summer Vacation The Endless Seven-Day Journey is one of those games I never thought would be released outside Japan. It is a relaxing game that blends in some fantastical elements, but mostly is about soaking in the countryside atmosphere and just playing a cozy game. Even if you aren’t very familiar with Shin-chan, this is an experience you need to have. I also love how it feels like you’re playing an interactive anime episode with the gorgeous artwork and animations. I can’t wait for this one to get a physical release in 2023. -Mikhail Madnani

Infernax ($19.99)

Infernax just feels good to play. The mechanics are solid, and the fundamentals are done properly. You don’t have a massive array of moves and attacks to choose from, but what you have in your toolbox works well for handling the enemies you’ll be facing. Exploring the countryside took me back to my younger years wandering the mysterious world of Simon’s Quest, especially with the day-night element in play here. Those who enjoy exploratory 2D platformers and aren’t afraid of taking on one with a little bite should definitely play Infernax as soon as possible. -Shaun Musgrave

Eschatos ($26.99)

Eschatos is a fantastic shoot-em-up experience all on its own but when you throw in extra games Judgement Silversword, Cardinal Sins, and the various extra modes and features included in this package, you end up with an incredibly easy game to recommend. Should you choose to fully indulge in all it has to offer, Eschatos will keep you busy for hours on end. Not that there was much doubt, but this Switch version of the game runs like a dream. Another superb addition to the system’s shoot-em-up library, and one that even genre newcomers may find digestible. -Shaun Musgrave

Gotta Protectors: Cart of Darkness ($14.99)

I enjoyed Gotta Protectors: Cart of Darkness just as much as the previous game, which is no mean feat to repeat. The only knock I can give on it is that it can get a little repetitive if you try to jam too much of it at once, but even that is almost completely alleviated by bringing a buddy or three with you. It’s an enjoyable, tense game with an outstanding presentation in all respects, and a game well-worth adding to your Nintendo Switch collection. Base defense doesn’t get much better than this. -Shaun Musgrave

So those are our picks for the best hidden games for the Nintendo Switch in 2022, but how about yours? Have you got a game you want to champion? If so, please comment below so we can all get in on that. And on behalf of myself and Mikhail, I hope you all can find some games to get in on with our list. Thanks for reading!