December is here and that means time off work and school to relax, play video games and recuperate ready for 2019. If you’ve been holding off buying any new games recently because you’re waiting to see what you get during the festive period, now is the time to pick up something for cheap.
For all you Nintendo Switch players out there, there’s some fantastic games discounted to bargain prices that you can pick up to tide you over till Christmas Day. First party Nintendo titles don’t often decrease in price but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to play. The Switch is home to a plethora of great third-party titles, from indie games to AAA experiences, there’s something for everyone in this list of 10 essential Nintendo Switch games from the last year you can get for almost half price.
1. Rocket League
It’s available on every major platform since it released on Nintendo Switch late last year and it’s still just as fun as the day we first played. Billed as “soccer, but with rocket powered cars” by Psyonix (the developers), there’s really no other way to put it. It’s so easy to pick up but hard to put down and incredibly tough to master. They say the first time a boy is subjected to a sarcastic “What a save!” is the time they truly become a man.
2. Hollow Knight
Often compared to Dark Souls, Hollow Knight is a breathtakingly beautiful game where you explore a forgotten insect kingdom. In a completely 2D plane, you’ll go to places like The Hive and Kingdom’s Edge to Fog Canyon and Crystal Peak. You’ll often retread your steps as you discover the secrets of Hallownest, fighting bosses and unlocking new Charms, which act as passive abilities. There’s plenty to keep you busy for weeks in Hollow Knight.
3. L.A. Noire
While the original L.A Noire is over seven years old, it finally made its way to Switch late last year when it was remastered for the current generation of consoles. One of Rockstar’s most popular games that somehow didn’t get a sequel, L.A. Noire has you play as Cole Phelps, a detective for the L.AP.D. in 1947. It’s the same concept as most Rockstar games: third-person action, free roam driving, except you have to solve crimes and interrogate suspects. It’s just as great on Switch as it was when it first released, so it’s a great pickup for this price.
For something a little different, consider picking up Celeste: an indie game where you have to ascend a giant mountain through intense parkour, all while finding yourself and overcoming your fears and anxieties. There’s just a small cast of wonderfully written characters, and while there’s no combat, the mechanics change frequently and new concepts are added to keep the mountainous climb interesting. The controls are quite frankly perfect, and the story will have anyone emotional by the end.
5. Jackbox Party Pack 5
If the newly released Super Mario Party is a little out of your reach but you want something to play with family and friends this festive season, you can’t go wrong with Jackbox Party Pack 5. Anyone can join in the fun by using a smartphone as a controller, so if you haven’t forked out for extra Joy-Cons, it doesn’t matter! Featuring six minigames including a versus rap battle, pitching creative inventions, and conjuring up “What if?” scenarios, Jackbox Party Pack 5 is fun for all the family.
6. Starlink: Battle For Atlas
A brand new toys-to-life game in 2018? And it’s recommended?! That’s right: Starlink: Battle For Atlas is like a “distilled glass of No Man’s Sky with a twist of Destiny.” Much more accessible for kids than either of those two titles, it manages to maintain a difficulty level suitable for adults at the same time. The toys-to-life proposition can be “complicated to understand”, but the core gameplay means it was more than deserving of a four star rating when we covered it a couple of months ago. You’ll just have to stretch a tad higher than our self-imposed price limit.
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When you look at the dungeon crawling aspect of Moonlighter, it’s a solid experience that sees you fighting monsters and searching for loot through procedurally generated caves. But you only do that at night. During the day, you’re a shopkeeper, selling the items you’ve acquired on your dungeon dives to other adventurers preparing for their own journeys. If Stardew Valley is your jam, Moonlighter is that but with more combat. It “betters the gameplay loop Stardew excels at.”
8. Overcooked 2
Cooking a meal in real life with multiple people contributing is difficult at the best of times. If that will be the case with your Christmas dinner, perhaps you can get some practice in by playing Overcooked 2? Up to four players can work together to produce meals in a fast paced restaurant environment, in locations much more dangerous than your kitchen at Christmas. You’re under a strict time limit each time and some truly wacky things can occur in the hustle and bustle of Overcooked 2’s scorching scenarios.
Aesthetically, Minit may not catch your eye. It may not blow you away with the concept either. But let us assure you that this is the best game for under $10 you can get on the Switch. Every single life is limited to a single minute, or 60 seconds. You have to venture out into the world and solve puzzles, help others and defeat enemies to unlock more areas and complete the game. There’s a number of secrets inside this tiny game and to see everything, you’ll definitely need multiple playthroughs.
10. Dead Cells
Dead Cells takes the core concept of The Binding Of Isaac and other roguelike games, and delivers it in a gorgeous, atmospheric world filled with wonder. With plenty of paths to explore, enemies to slay and abilities to acquire, you’ll die repeatedly but you’ll learn so much as you adventure through Dead Cells. And each time you walk out of the starting area, you’ll be a better player, ready to take on whatever it throws at you.
Need multiple games to help you persevere through the cold winter? All of these Nintendo Switch games will set you back just under $200/£175. All of the content here could easily keep you occupied until next year, then who knows? Maybe some first-party Nintendo titles will be eligible for this list, if we’re lucky!
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