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Question Block: NVC's Essential Switch Games

It's time for another Question Block edition of the weekly NVC column. This week, we're answering what seems like an easy one, but it turns out it's NOT easy. Shane Dowley wrote us at nvc@ign.com and asked the following question:

"For new Switch buyers, what would be your top 5 essential games that you would tell them to buy?"

First off, we answered this during this week's episode of NVC, but we're getting a little more formal with the answers. Much as Wheel of Fortune automatically gives players in the final round a free R,S,T,L,N and E, we answered this question with the most common games as give-ins: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Super Mario Odyssey. The remaining picks are below.

Reb Valentine

Assuming you have some other device to play multi-platform games that are nonetheless superb on the Switch already (like Hollow Knight or Celeste), then obviously you need a trove of Switch exclusives. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is an essential cornerstone of the Switch library for its ability to suck you in for hundreds of hours alone as well as incorporate joyful, social play. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle introduces a genre many Nintendo enthusiasts might be less familiar with by painting it with a familiar and family-friendly veneer (and it is, I argue, better than Sparks of Hope!). Luigi's Mansion 3, easily one of the best games on the system, deserves a spot on sheer charm. And there's literally nothing in the world like Ring Fit Adventure, one of the most unique RPGs I've ever played and with absolutely no peer on any other system anywhere. For my fifth pick, obviously you'll need the NSO Expansion Pass for all the games it comes with (yes, even though I regularly quip that no one actually plays them), but more importantly for the Mario Kart and Animal Crossing DLC.

Peer Schneider

I usually start my recommendations with SteamWorld Dig, but I’m gonna mix it up this time! Switch has a strong lineup of wonderful co-op multiplayer games – some ported from other platforms like Diablo III, New Super Mario Bros. or Donkey Country: Tropical Freeze, but many are unique to the system. My number one Switch Essential pick – and a co-op delight – is Luigi’s Mansion 3. Seriously, it’s fantastic. Next up, it’s Splatoon 3. It’s just a ridiculously good competitive shooter. You can lose hundreds of hours to this game in competitive and co-op modes, or just have fun for a weekend with the campaign mode. For my final three picks, I’m going with a trio of top-tier remakes/remasters: the charming handheld classic The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, multi-scenario Square JRPG Live A Live, and most-likely prettiest game on Switch forever Metroid Prime Remastered.

Seth Macy

This is a tough one, and so I'm going to cheat right off the bat by recommending the Nintendo Switch Online expansion pass. It costs as much as a game – granted, a game you have to buy every year – but it has so many great games included with the service it's totally worth it now. After that, I have the controversial pick of Minecraft for Nintendo Switch. Yes, you can play Minecraft on a TI-89 calculator at this point, but it works so great on Switch and there's something extra special about playing it handheld. After that, things get trickier for me. I'm going to say Bayonetta 2, even though it's originally a Wii U game. It's better than its sequel and just feels so damn good to play. Metroid Prime Remastered is also another absolute must-play, and while you probably can't get it as a physical cart anymore, it's on the eShop (and cheaper that route, too). Finally, and this is just me being weird, I'm going to say if you have a Switch, you should also have Axiom Verge 2. You don't need to have played the first to enjoy the second, and it's probably my favorite Metroidvania of the last decade. It's super good!

So what are your picks for the five essential Nintendo Switch games (that aren't Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe or Super Mario Odyssey)? Start the arguments in the comments!

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