It’s December, which means the holidays are well underway! To those of you looking for video games to give as gifts, we have a great list of them compiled right here! Do note that this list is mostly geared towards casual gamers, though there are a few exceptions here. We also won’t be using any affiliate links — we’re writing our honest suggestions and nothing more! With all of that out of the way, let’s get right into it.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
You could consider Animal Crossing: New Horizons the quintessential pastime for millions of players during the pandemic. To those unaware, this is a life simulation game of sorts that lets you design and customize an island paradise. Though its content was rather light at first, it was recently updated with tons of new things to do. New Horizons is great both for casual first-time gamers and fans of the Animal Crossing series as a whole. It also supports local multiplayer and online multiplayer.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is currently the best-selling game on Nintendo Switch. It’s easy to see why, too: this game is fun. You can race across tons of detailed courses with a large cast of characters. It’s multiplayer, too! This game supports up to four players on a single screen and up to eight if two Switch consoles that have the game are connected. Given that this game has sold so well, it’s highly likely that the average Switch player already has it. As a result, it’s best gifted to people who are just now getting a Nintendo Switch for the first time. If you’re on the fence, you can check out our review right here.
Mario Party Superstars
This is the most recently-released game on the list. Mario Party Superstars is the latest entry in the beloved Mario Party series, and is considered something of a return to form. Four players can compete in a colorful and fast-paced board game with minigames in between each turn. Great for family game nights, and there’s even online multiplayer! Which means you can link up with friends over the internet for a fun time.
Let it be known that Metroid Dread most definitely is not for casual gamers. This game is tough, but it’s perfect for core gamers who like a challenge. You’ll sometimes find yourself lost in this game’s huge world, and when that happens, remember to shoot all the walls! Metroid Dread is rather short if you know what you’re doing, but it’s a fantastic game we’d recommend to anyone who enjoys the Metroidvania genre. You can read our full review here!
If you’re looking to buy a game for a younger player, Minecraft is a no-brainer. In this game, you can play either Survival mode or Creative mode. In either of these modes, you can craft, gather materials, and build a base. These days, there’s almost nobody who doesn’t know about Minecraft. The Switch version is cross-compatible with every other version of the game, so its multiplayer experience is a flexible one.
Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl
Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl are remakes of the original Pokémon Diamond & Pearl games released on the Nintendo DS. Aside from the updated graphics and some quality-of-life changes, these games are nearly identical to their original versions. The originals were released in 2006, so people who played them as kids are probably in their early twenties (or somewhere around there) at the moment. We’ve also got tons of guides available for Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl plus a review, so be sure to check those out too!
Ring Fit Adventure
This is a rare example of a video game that combines both exercise and… video games! Ring Fit Adventure is a bit more expensive than other games (and no digital copies exist), and for good reason. It comes bundled with an accessory called the Ring-Con and a leg strap. You’ll need to attach a Joy-Con controller to both of these accessories in order to use them. But once you get that working, this game is quite the workout!
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury
Long titles aside, this game is an enhanced port of the original Super Mario 3D World that was released on the Wii U. The main story features many helpful changes, including faster run speed and online multiplayer with up to three friends. Bowser’s Fury, on the other hand, is a brand-new standalone experience that supports up to two players. Make no mistake — though Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury is a port, it’s one of the best Switch games of the year.
The latest version of Tetris is here, and it’s called Tetris Effect. This is – somehow – one of the most breathtaking games on the Switch. The core gameplay of Tetris is there, but this game elevates it to a whole new level using its rich and unique atmospheres. It’s also much cheaper than the other games listed here, so make sure this game is on your radar.
WarioWare: Get It Together!
This was one of 2021’s surprise hits, and it’s perfect for players with a short attention span. In this game, you work your way through over 200 microgames – which only last a few seconds each – in an attempt to get a high score. There are also a wide variety of multiplayer modes that involve these microgames. WarioWare is also priced $10 lower than a full-price game, so keep that in mind going forward. We have a full review right here.
And that’s everything! These are some of our favorite Switch games so far, and we’re sure that others will enjoy them too. If you’re looking for even more game ideas, we do have quite a few reviews up on the site that you can read. We encourage you to do so! You’re also welcome to join our Discord community if you would like even more detailed suggestions. Either way, we hope you find what you’re looking for and have a great holiday season!
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