Game of the Year 2021 – Nintendo Life Staff Awards

Image: Nintendo’s Life

As 2021 draws to a close, there are plenty of games to think about. It has been a relatively busy year for Nintendo, as it has maintained its momentum for the Switch, which added the OLED model and continues to be one of the top sellers.

The year started off with Nintendo’s proprietary slate looking relatively quiet, but that was quickly fixed with a constant stream of large and small releases, with a few ports added to fill in the gaps. All in all, we’ve been busy and there have been some huge exits from the big N, while third parties have done their part as well. There were a few notable big ones from Capcom, SEGA and Atlus, as examples, while the eShop continued to serve a parcel of the best indie games.

But what were the absolute best games of 2021? You had your say through user reviews, and now Team Nintendo Life will share our picks for the best Switch games of 2021. It wasn’t easy – the shortlist we put together was certainly not very short! – but after each nomination of our top 10 personal with points awarded, we have reduced the following ten Switch games which cumulatively represent our absolute favorites of the year.

So let’s go, the 10 best Switch games of the year from our team.

New Pokémon Snap (Switch)New Pokémon Snap (Switch)

Editor: Nintendo / Developer: Bandai Namco

Release date: April 30, 2021 (United States) / April 30, 2021 (UK / EU)

If, like us, you’ve waited a good part of your life for a Pokémon Snap sequel, then you’re in luck; The new Pokémon Snap has almost everything that made the original special and stuffs it into a much more elaborate game. It’s something you can spend time in and while there are some minor frustrations and pacing issues in the story, playing freely at your own pace is pure bliss. The original may have gone down in history as Pokémon’s biggest spin-off, and it may have been dethroned.

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Famicom Detective Club: The Girl Standing Behind (Switch eShop)Famicom Detective Club: The Girl Standing Behind (Switch eShop)

Editor: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo

Release date: May 14, 2021 (United States) / May 14, 2021 (UK / EU)

The Girl Who Stands Behind is just as attractive and improved as The Missing Heir (which is part of the compulsory purchase in Europe, for example), and we really I can’t recommend one without the other, although you can play either one separately. The story of The Girl Behind is scarier and the characters are more likable, although they are also a bit more forgettable at the same time. You can’t go too far wrong with either, and we certainly suggest the Famicom Detective Club’s double bill of murder mysteries; these are must-haves for anyone who enjoys the genre.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons - Happy Home Paradise DLC (Switch eShop)Animal Crossing: New Horizons - Happy Home Paradise DLC (Switch eShop)

Editor: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo

Release date: November 5, 2021 (United States) / November 5, 2021 (UK / EU)

In November, Animal Crossing: New Horizons received a substantial (and long overdue) update, much of which was free. The free content was great, but the Happy Home Paradise paid DLC is well worth your investment if you’re already a fan of the base game. It fits perfectly with the base experience and you can spend many hours doing your “job” designing houses and buildings in paradise. It also has surprising depth and is too charming for words – simply an enjoyable game.

The Door of Death (Switch eShop)The Door of Death (Switch eShop)

Editor: Digital developer / Developer: Acid nerve

Release date: November 23, 2021 (United States) / November 23, 2021 (UK / EU)

Death’s Door is a modern classic, using old gameplay ideas in a new setting to create a short, enjoyable experience you won’t want to miss. The lively combat, rewarding exploration, and relaxing music will stay with you once you’re done, and while it may not have anything “new” to offer, Death’s Door offers a familiar format but with a real zest and a beautifully refined quality. Acid Nerve has designed an experience that is absolutely worth your time and money.

Axiom Verge 2 (Switch eShop)Axiom Verge 2 (Switch eShop)

Editor: Thomas Happ Games / Developer: Thomas Happ Games

Release date: August 11, 2021 (United States) / August 11, 2021 (UK / EU)

Axiom Verge is a remarkably difficult act to follow, but Thomas Happ has managed to do it again by producing a perfect, perfectly paced Metroidvania adventure. Axiom Verge 2 perfectly balances the familiar elements that made the original great, and tries out new ideas that give the sequel its own identity. fans of the genre will want to miss it. The mysterious atmosphere, thrilling pace, and fantasy world design combine to create a dignified follow-through that stands on its own.