If you’re getting a new video-game console for yourself or a loved one this holiday, you might be wondering where to start with the second part of the equation — all the games. There are so many. What’s the hot new thing? Which ones are really worth your time? Here, then, are my top 10 gift recs for the best Nintendo Switch games in December 2020.
You’ve almost certainly heard about Animal Crossing; it’s the game that’s come to define Nintendo in 2020. It’s peaceful and meditative, and many end up pouring hundreds of hours of playtime into it. If you’re looking for that one perfect game that’ll help you unwind after a stressful day, New Horizons is your answer.
Pokémon Sword and Shield are now available in a special complete-edition bundle that includes a pair of major expansions. This is the best Pokémon has been in years, and it’s more fun than ever to link up and battle with a friend. The Crown Tundra DLC even introduced a steller multiplayer co-op raid that lets you grind for legendaries.
Three of your favorites are back, and they’re pretty much the games you remember. Super Mario 64 still feels like the masterpiece that introduced me to the world of 3D decades ago, and Sunshine and Galaxy fans get to relive their fondest Mario memories, too. These are stone-cold classics, and it’s great to have them on Switch.
This Hyrule Warriors sequel is more accurately described as a Breath of the Wild prequel, and it’s got the art style and music to prove it. Play as Princess Zelda and her allies a hundred years before Breath and take on Calamity Ganon at the height of the demon king’s powers.
The 2D Legend of Zelda game has become something of a genre all its own, and this one happens to be a loving reimagining of Link’s Awakening — first released in pixelated monochrome on the Game Boy in ’93. It’s a weird, unique entry in the series, but an acclaimed fan favorite nonetheless. And this remake is certainly among the prettiest games on Switch.
Speaking of gorgeous games, Hades is another one you’ve probably been hearing about in 2020. Greek myth gods and goddesses populate this stunning roguelike from Supergiant Games, and its writing is sure to charm you. Roguelikes have earned a reputation for being tough or inaccessible, but this one’s got an “easy mode.” Better yet, failure’s actually a key part of the story.
The Origami King is a Mario game with an enormous sense of humor. More of an RPG than a platformer, it finds Princess Peach replaced with an unnerving origami double. Naturally, it’s up to you to stop King Olly and return the Mushroom Kingdom to its rightful state — at least until the next Paper Mario, anyway.
Ultimate Alliance 3 is a fun, colorful journey through the Marvel cosmos. Play as all your favorite characters, squad up with friends, and stop Thanos’s sinister Black Order before they use the Infinity Stones to plunge the universe into darkness. If you’re a Marvel fan looking for something to play with a friend, Ultimate Alliance 3 is the Switch game you’re after.
You won’t believe how well Skyrim’s been adapted for the Switch. It runs as smoothly as ever, it works great in handheld mode (or on a Lite), and it’s every bit as fun as it was on the 360 nine years ago. This one’s practically a must-own.
This 2019 sequel to Mario Maker for the Wii U takes everything great about the original and manages to make it even better the second time. Don’t worry if you missed out on the original; it’s never too late to discover one of Nintendo’s finest achievements. Please make your own levels, share them online, and take on endless challenges in Course World.