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.
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).
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
© 2020 Joey Nasser