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Nintendo Switch Games for Quarantine

Joey Nasser has been playing and discussing video games for about as long as he's existed. Recently enamored with Animal Crossing and Doom.

As a lifelong video game aficionado, I feel like I’ve been preparing my whole life for this. With the threat of the virus looming, millions have taken to shutting themselves in for weeks at a time.

While a novel experience to most, this is pretty much my default. As such, I have a few suggestions for staving off cabin fever, and expectedly, they come in the form of recommended games for your Nintendo Switch.

For You and Your Partner

Want something to keep you and your main squeeze busy? Look no further!

Luigi’s Mansion 3

This one’s a clever, charming adventure game that pretty quickly lets you play through the entire story with a second player. Even if your significant other doesn’t want to get in on the action, the slow pace, fun atmosphere, and deviously hidden secrets make it a great game to watch, too.

As a nice bonus, the game is adorable.

As a nice bonus, the game is adorable.

Overcooked! 2

If you really trust the foundation of your relationship, give it a test with Overcooked! 2. Levels see you and up to three other players scrambling around different kitchens, trying frantically to put together a halfway decent meal for the hungry customers. Expect lots of colorful language (from you, not the game).

This one gets frantic, FAST.

This one gets frantic, FAST.

I’m a Bit Strapped for Cash

I get it. Global pandemics can really put priorities into perspective. If you’re still looking for something to keep you occupied without breaking the bank, check these out!

Hollow Knight

This one could sell for three times its asking price of 15 bucks and nobody would complain. A sprawling hand-animated world chock full of old-school action and tricky bosses, Hollow Knight is one of the most critically acclaimed games in recent memory. So long as you’re up for a challenge, and especially if you like older titles like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and Super Metroid, you can’t go wrong with this one. It’s stuffed to the brim with content, and all of it is lovingly crafted by a small, dedicated team.

"Hollow Knight" has a distinct, striking style all its own.

"Hollow Knight" has a distinct, striking style all its own.

Stardew Valley

Picking this one up might see you staying holed up longer than you actually need to. If you’ve ever played Harvest Moon, imagine that, but even better. If you haven’t, it’s a game all about maintaining a healthy farm, cultivating produce, and bonding with the locals.

Each in-game day takes less than 15 real-world minutes to complete, and there’s always something new to do. Lovely music, a fifteen dollar price tag, and a constant sense of reward make this one a no-brainer.

The entire game was made by a single creator, from the artwork to the soundtrack.

The entire game was made by a single creator, from the artwork to the soundtrack.

For the Wee Ones

Looking for something to keep the tykes occupied during their first global emergency? Read on!

Super Mario U Deluxe

It’s Mario. You run from left to right, jumping on heads and collecting coins like it's 1985. This one lets up to four players jump around at once, which is good for those less inclined to sharing, and the difficulty starts off nice and easy. Really, this one’s a pretty sure bet for just about anyone.

Old-school bliss.

Old-school bliss.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Who doesn’t love Mario Kart? This one’s packing in even more tracks than usual, an updated battle mode, and some of the best graphics on the Switch. Features like steer assist, which gently nudge you if you try to drive off the track, and items that get better the worse you’re doing are perfect for making sure nobody’s left behind.

You're in the wrong part of town, bub.

You're in the wrong part of town, bub.

For Some Couch Competition

Maybe you’re looking for something to help decide who gets the last roll of toilet paper. If rock paper scissors won’t cut it, give these a look.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Smash Bros. is a video game for people who love video games. It’s got over 75 (!!!) fighters to choose from, and they represent all walks of gaming. Support for up to eight players at once, over a hundred different stages, and rules that are tweakable down to the finest minutia ensure this is one that you can play far beyond the collapse of modern civilization.

There's nothing like a good round of "Smash."

There's nothing like a good round of "Smash."

Towerfall

If you’re looking for something a bit easier to grasp than Smash Bros., Towerfall is an excellent choice. Up to four players all duke it out in single-screen arenas, utilizing their environment, a quiver full of three arrows, and their wits.

Matches are quick and exciting, and the simple controls and fluid gameplay make this one that’s easy to pick up, but no less tense and frenetic for it. As a nice bonus, there’s a full co-op campaign if you’d rather work with your friends than turn them into swiss cheese.

I guarantee everyone holding a controller here is screaming like a maniac.

I guarantee everyone holding a controller here is screaming like a maniac.

100 Hour Epics

Nobody knows how long this thing is gonna last. If you want something that’ll keep you busy for a long, long time, then I’ve got some suggestions.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Everyone’s favorite strategy game/dating sim, Fire Emblem can keep you busy for the long haul. A branching story that encourages multiple playthroughs, addictive gameplay, and a boatload of content help make this one of the strongest entries in the franchise, and one of the best ways to stave off boredom with your Switch.

It may not win any beauty contests, but "Fire Emblem" has got it where it counts.

It may not win any beauty contests, but "Fire Emblem" has got it where it counts.

Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age—Definitive Edition

This one’s almost as long as its name. Dragon Quest is an old-school Japanese RPG that sees you and your party of misfits going from adventure to adventure, exploring a massive world, and battling untold numbers of foes. You don’t get to the 11th entry in your series without doing something right, and Dragon Quest’s engaging locales, sweeping sense of adventure, and rewarding gameplay loop are a testament to that.

There's a lot of game to unpack here.

There's a lot of game to unpack here.

Infinitely Replayable

If you’re looking for just one or two games that can single-handedly last you through any quarantine without breaking a sweat, you might want to give these a look.

Into the Breach

A turn-based strategy game that’s different every time you play, Into the Breach has the kind of elegant design that makes most other games look clunky in comparison. Everything is simple to understand while being deviously difficult to conquer, and you always have enough information to make an informed move.

Add in some great presentation and moody music and you’ve got one of the best strategy games money can buy.

You'll learn to hate those bugs.

You'll learn to hate those bugs.

Slay the Spire

If you’re looking to watch the hours melt before you like a crayon on a hotplate, I cannot recommend Slay the Spire enough. Every fresh attempt to make it through the game’s many card-based battles is completely randomized, and upon death, you effectively start from scratch. While that may sound harsh, it means that each new run gives you new options, and demands new strategies as you see what you can make of what you’ve been given. You can never rely on a specific card or item to help you make it to the next floor, which makes each attempt fresh and exciting. Easy to learn, hard to master, and endlessly deep, this is one of the strongest recommendations on the list.

Cards have no right to be this exciting.

Cards have no right to be this exciting.

Cross-Country Camaraderie

If your friends happen to be in a different underground bunker, fret not! Through the magic of the internet, you can still spend time together with these.

Monster Hunter: Generations

Want to fight dozens of different monsters with a stupid array of giant weapons? Want to do it with a friend? Monster Hunter isn’t for everyone—it’s clunky, obtuse, and a massive time sink—but if you can get into it, it’s rewarding, addictive, and one of the best co-op experiences in all of gaming.

Working with a buddy (or two, or three) to take down a snarling beast with an unpronounceable name, all in the name of getting some slightly better shoulder-pads is a uniquely gratifying experience.

The world of "Monster Hunter" is captivatingly weird.

The world of "Monster Hunter" is captivatingly weird.

Rocket League

If you’re looking for something a bit more accessible, but no less addicting, look no further than Rocket League. To the uninitiated, it’s . . . car soccer. You drive around, bopping the ball in hopes of getting it into your opponent's goal.

Gameplay is fast and fun, and matches can get ridiculously competitive. Whether you’re teaming up with a friend or battling against them, Rocket League is good, clean fun.

Car. Soccer. This shouldn't be this much fun.

Car. Soccer. This shouldn't be this much fun.

Games That Haven't Come out Yet

(This Category Only Exists Because of Animal Crossing: New Horizons.)

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

I know it’s a bit silly to recommend a game that hasn’t even been released yet but hear me out: It’s Animal Crossing. This game was made for this. You’re a villager on a remote island, and you whittle the days away fishing, decorating your digs, and getting to know your neighbors. It all runs on a real-time clock, so if it’s midnight in the real world, it’ll be midnight in the game. This means that stores have closing times you have to keep in mind, restocks happen overnight, and each new day brings with it new possibilities. It’s the ultimate escapism, and the perfect way to weather the storm.

Games don't get much more relaxing than "Animal Crossing."

Games don't get much more relaxing than "Animal Crossing."

© 2020 Joey Nasser