The Nintendo Switch has emerged as the eminent platforms for indie games. The portable HD screen is bigger and has more comfortable buttons than the Vita, and the mobility of the Switch allows the games to be played anywhere unlike the PlayStation 4 or Steam. Because of these benefits and a swath of recent announcements, many developers clearly prefer putting their games on the Switch.
On my plate now, I've got Hollow Knight to wrap up before tackling Hyper Light Drifter and Dead Cells… and then possibly taking on both The Messenger and Minit. Who has the time for full releases, anymore?! Indie gaming sucks up all of my time!
But what about old favorites? The indie movement is already a decade old, and there are plenty of mainstay favorites that have not yet found their way to Nintendo's platform. Today, we're looking at these indie games which always turn up whenever a new console comes out. The Bastions, Limbos, and Super Meat Boys of the world.
True, Steam and iOS have plenty of games we'd love to see on the Switch as well, like FTL: Faster than Light, but if a game remains solely on non-traditional console platforms, we're not going to mention it today.
These are the games that have made the rounds and are loved no matter where they turn up.
(UPDATE: Since writing this article, Downwell has been confirmed for a Nintendo Switch release. We'll just go ahead and leave it as a reassurance that you should buy this excellent game.)
Roguelike platformer extraordinaire, we love Downfall in these parts. Few platforming games ever feel so good when you're drilling through them with knife-like efficiency, and those perfect retro graphics and jumping physics only make it more enjoyable.
Downwell is best enjoyed as a portable game played in brief bouts on the Vita, making it perfect for a Switch release.
Will this appear on the Switch?: It's certainly possible. Designer Ojiro Fumoto actually scored a job at Nintendo after this game became a hit, and Devolver Digital took over publication rights once the game came to limelight. The connections there could make this a possibility.
Polytron's rotating indie classic. Fez combines classic 2D platforming with a brilliant mechanic that rotates 2D stages around a vertical axis, creating new platforms and revealing puzzles that couldn't been seen before. Confusing as it sounds, Fez works on all fronts. It feels good, looks beautiful, has plenty of hidden secrets and Easter Eggs worth digging up, and fits nicely with the other indie gems that populate many Switches.
Will this appear on the Switch?: Developer Phil Fish is pretty unpredictable with his decisions. After announcing Fez 2, he cancelled it abruptly after getting into an online squabble with Twitter hecklers, and my guess is that he wants to be done with Fez.
However, the game did finally come to iOS just last year, hinting that Fez's ports have not entirely dried up just yet.
Hotline Miami/Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number
Ultra violent, drug-hazed, pixelated shooter that put Devolver Digital on the map. Hotline Miami and its sequel play perfectly as a handheld title on the Vita with one caveat, the games really need a proper analog stick to shine. The Vita's works well-enough but ultimately comes up a little short, and that's where the superior buttons of the Switch come into play.
The bigger screen also helps transport players to this nightmare of a video game, and they'll get the most out of the senseless violence playing it anywhere they go. Just hope that grandma isn't looking over your shoulder while you play.
Hotline Miami 2 also comes with a level editor, which the Switch's touchscreen could make much more accessible.
Will this appear on the Switch?: Nintendo has become pretty liberal when it comes to the indie content it allows on its digital marketplace. I'm not sure if any games push the envelope as far as Hotline Miami has, but it would stand in as a true marker for how far Nintendo has come.
Devolver Digital also confirmed in July that it has twelve games lined up for Nintendo's console. These two could possibly be in that pool.
Now that Dead Cells is a true fire hit on the Nintendo Switch, Rogue Legacy can easily step in as a way to fill in the gaps for those who need similar outlets. This is the game that created the hybrid between Metroidvania exploration and roguelike progression, a killer combination that allows for infinite replay and a never ending feeling that you're getting somewhere.
Rogue Legacy is an indie title I go back to almost every time it gets re-released, and it's an addiction I can't escape. Unlike Dead Cells, the game has very simple controls that feel responsive and never get in the way of combat. Swinging that massive sword when your heir is decked out with power upgrades and has inherited gigantism feels so perfect.
Will this appear on the Switch?: Developer CellarDoorGames stated back in January that chances of this game being ported are "pretty good if everything goes well." That being said, the studio's follow-up game, Full Metal Furies, needed a host of patches to bring it up to the standards they were looking for.
We're not sure how much work that soaks up on their part or if they are even involved in a Switch port, but hopefully things continue to go well for the studio. We want this game on the Switch.
One of the original indie mega-hits and still a very viable rouglike platformer, Spelunky has always been with us no matter what console we buy. With a release on the Switch, it can genuinely come with us no matter where we go, and we can forever practice those perfect runs on the way to a world record…
… no, we're never going to get there, but we can dream, can't we?
Will this appear on the Switch?: Well, it's sequel is! And designer Derek Yu has acknowledged the number of requests he's gotten for this game. It might lead to something down the road.
I often site LA-MULANA as one of the best and most intricately designed video games of all time. A playthrough this past summer hasn't lead me to think otherwise, and the Switch is the best way for players to finally catch up on this indie must-play.
LA-MULANA began life as a free-to-play game that mimed old MSX games from Konami. The project scored enough praise that developer NIGORO sought out funding for a remake which wound up on Wii and Steam before getting a port on PS Vita called LA-MULANA Ex.
For those who have never dived into the treacherous tomb of LA-MULANA… imagine the hardest, most grueling, most intricate Metroidvania on the planet, load it with secret puzzles and hints that purposefully point you in the wrong direction, and then simply pray you see the light of day again.
I hold nothing against people who require a guide for this game. LA-MULANA is not a game to be taken lightly.
Will this appear on the Switch?: Well, again, it's sequel is! I have no idea how much interest NIGORO has putting the remake on the Nintendo Switch, especially since the sequel requires a little bit of tweaking before the console release in 2019.
Rising Star Games handled the PS Vita port, which creates a few minor tweaks for a better gaming experience. They are the ones you'd probably have to ask for this port to appear on the Switch.