Although it certainly had its other challenges, 2020 was an excellent year for switch owners.
From the social phenomenon that was Animal Crossing to the return of a favorite Mario cult series and an exceptional independent action, these are our nominations for the best Nintendo exclusive console * of 2020.
The best Nintendo exclusives of 2020
Click on the gallery above or scroll down for the full list!
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Not only was it exactly the kind of game everyone needed for an isolating pandemic, Animal Crossing: New Horizons took the relaxed, comfortable urban construction simulator to the next level, with a different level of customization than before. . New Horizons has allowed players to shape their island getaway to the last square inch, whether you want a lively city with handmade parks, or a relaxed island paradise full of waterfalls and bamboo forests.
77 Brilliant Details in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
The new craft and personalization system allows players not only to decorate their dream home, but also to welcome the new friends of the villagers in perfectly located houses, with a yard as dazzling as you could dream. And, while time at the airport will never be an issue, New Horizons’ ability to host groups of players, made for the perfect showcase of your hard work to make the island community perfect.
For more, check out our full Animal Crossing review here!
The Supergiant games competed with Hades, a roguelike with so much depth, heart and incredible fights that we haven’t been able to stop since the game came on Switch. The studio’s first foray into the genre, Supergiant has managed to find clever ways to make every move through the Underworld issue, while players take on the role of Hades’ son, Zagreus, hoping to escape Hell.
The overall cast, written and interpreted expertly, adds a lot of personality to the world, offering new and extensive quests and personal developments that players can take at their own pace. Sure, progress is being made in unlocking new weapons, discovering new powers, and, yes, escaping Hell, but Hades is making new personality tips, evolving relationships, and even chances of improving Zagreus’ house feel just as significant. It’s a brilliant combination of Supergiant’s storytelling skills, the talent for quick combat, lots of customizable depth and beautiful art in the look, sound and feel of each new world, with the studio’s best game so far.
For more, check out our full Hades review here!
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
The musuo genre has always been somewhat of a niche, but the latest Nintendo entries from Koei Tecmo have improved. Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity could be the first game in the Warriors series that really attracts mainstream – especially due to its obvious link Breath of the Wild. What initially seemed to be an obstacle for avid fans until Breath of the Wild 2 turned out to be a fantastic game in its own right, while celebrating the game that came before it (or technically after it, in tradition).
Serving as a prequel to Breath of the Wild allowed us to experience more of Hyrule before the calamity. The list contains many iconic characters, including the four Champions: Zora, Daruk, Urbosa and Revali. Each played character has a unique set of abilities that feel really different from each other, allowing a lot of playback in dozens of missions. While the gameplay is primarily the usual hacking-and-slashing for which the genre is known, it is infused so perfectly with parts of Breath of the Wild, such as Sheikah Slate and Cooking, that it really feels like a adequate input, rather than a spinoff.
For more, see our full review of Hyrule Warriors AoC here!
Paper Mario: The King of Origami
As longtime fans of the Paper Mario franchise, it’s easy to cancel any sequel to The Thousand-Year Door as a betrayal of what made the first two entries of the series so great. And, yes, The King of Origami is not the final return to the training that franchise fans would have wanted, but it is a well-deserved journey, with surprisingly exciting character moments, hilarious writing, an inventive fighting system and a value of the Legend of Zelda fun puzzles to complete. In fact, this release from Paper Mario owes much of its success to the clear inspiration it draws from that other Nintendo stalwart series – The Zelda Fuck of the World is used to create a truly challenging and fun dungeon design. . And he always finds clever uses for the many characters Mario encounters along the way – we don’t think we’d ever say that before a Bob-omb made us cry, but here we are. That doesn’t even mention the unique fighting system, which turns row-based battles into geometric puzzles to solve as you compete against the clock. It’s fresh, unique and even if it’s not the Paper Mario we were hoping for before playing, it’s absolutely one we’re glad we played.
For more, check out our full Origami King review here!
Pikmin 3 Deluxe
The original Pikmin 3 may have debuted on the Wii U, but it really has a chance to always shine with the Pikmin 3 Deluxe. Because most missions are relatively short, the ability to play in bed or on the move makes this the final version of Pikmin so far. The different areas you will explore on the planet PNF-404 are rich and detailed and full of life.
The basic mechanic of managing several Pikmin teams to solve puzzles before nightfall, to some extent sets the perfect line between relaxation and stress. Nintendo has added a short prequel story and new side quests to this Deluxe version, as well as the introduction of a Badge system that offers specific challenges to the player to tackle, giving you much more to do even after the end of the main campaign.
For more, check out our full Pikmin 3 Deluxe review here!
These are our picks for the best Nintendo exclusive of 2020 – tell us in the comments what’s on your list that didn’t make it ours and make sure you throw it away vote here for the People’s Choice Award for the Game of the Year 2020! You can also vote for your favorite PC, the best PlayStation, Switch and Xbox consoles, as well as the best movies, TV series and comics of the year!
There are plenty of other prizes beyond the best Switch games! See all of our platform, genre and design nominations – and of course our choices for this year’s GotY – below!
IGN’s 2020 game
The best games by platform
The best games of its kind
Awards for the development of games and crafts
Be sure to check out all the other Game of the Year nominees, as well as our options for the best movies, TV shows, comics and anime of 2020!
* keep in mind that this category is our choice for the best games exclusively on each console platform – while Hades is also available on PC, it is an exclusive Switch console.