Exploring Hidden Gems: Underrated Games for Nintendo Consoles

Key Points

  • Indie games are fun and cheap to play.

  • The Nintendo Switch offers many underrated games that you may not know about.

  • Several hidden games offer stories and characters for a unique gaming experience.

The launch of the Nintendo Switch in 2017 expanded the gaming world with hundreds of colorful, action-packed games. Household-name video games such as Mario Odyssey and Animal Crossing topped sales charts over games in top leading competitor consoles. Gaming doesn't always mean playing the popular titles you see in stores. Plenty of underrated games in the online Nintendo eShop offer beautiful, engaging content.

Are you looking to expand your library? Mainstream video games are not your only options. Discover the hundreds of underrated games for Nintendo.

More Than Just Mario

Indie platformer games are creative, beautiful, and fun! Tired of the same stories and familiar characters? Many games by smaller companies offer players new worlds to explore and things to do. Some of the most popular games today, such as Minecraft, are indie games. So many hidden gems in the indie games category are waiting for you to discover them.

Check out these awesome titles to experience the best underrated games for your Nintendo Switch.


Celeste is a pixelated 2D platformer that follows a woman named Madeline as she attempts to climb a mountain. This game has a strong emotional narrative as you watch Madeline struggle through depression and search for a sense of self.

Game journalist Jase Smith from Into Games says, "[I]ts main message is to embrace the things about yourself that bring you down, or that you don't quite understand." This game gives you a sense of comfort within a fantasy world.

The mechanics of this game are simple to learn. The individual levels give you challenging combat and a beautiful, emotional narrative story that engages both teens and adults alike. If you want a game that speaks to your inner child, Celeste is both a hopeful and a healing story as you travel through self-discovery.

Celeste for Nintendo Switch

Photo source: Amazon.com

Hollow Knight

Venture down into the dark yet beautiful ruined world of Hollow Knight, a thrilling metroidvania game. This underground exploration game follows the mysterious character Hollow Knight as they explore the bug-infested 2D world. It offers just as many puzzles and problem-solving quests as challenging combat mechanics. Fall in love with the spooky characters, twisting caverns, and complicated underground map.

Whether you enjoy skill-based combat or exploration-based game progression, this metroidvania game has something for everyone. Hollow Knight's choice-driven story is a favorite in many homes and continues to "wow" new gamers with its modern design style and adorable yet dark aesthetic.

Hollow Night for Nintendo Switch

Photo source: Amazon.com

Golf Story

Golf Story is a charming and creative golf-themed RPG that follows a down-on-his-luck golfer as he attempts to reclaim his love for the sport. In this adorable indie platformer game, you play through minigames and explore side-quests to level up and buy new equipment — elements make this golf-themed RPG much more than just virtual golf.

Unlike many sports video games, Golf Story provides an in-depth storyline that lets you progress through the game as your skill level increases. Along with traditional golf simulation, Golf Story includes mini-golf, disc golf, a driving range, and bowling.

After its release, the game was nominated for Best Debut Indie Game at The Game Awards 2017 and continues to be a fan-favorite sports RPG.

Gold Story for Nintendo Switch

Photo source: Amazon.com

The Messenger

Ninja 2D combat game meets visually appealing time-travel mechanics in the retro-inspired action game The Messenger. Players control a ninja-appointed "messenger" to take a scroll to the mountain to defeat the Demon King.

This linear level-based adventure game splits into past and present eras by thoughtfully engaging time-travel mechanics. Switching between 8-bit and 16-bit graphics represents past and present. The Messenger is visually stunning and exceptionally fun.

Although the game initially seems simple, time travel becomes vital to completing missions as you progress. It switches from linear story mode to a metroidvania game as you travel back through time to replay old missions, find key items, and unlock new areas on the map.

The Messenger beautifully combines challenging combat mechanics with problem-solving exploration through time travel. There is so much to do in this game!

The Messenger for Nintendo Switch Photo source: Amazon.com

A Hat in Time

Inspired by classic retro games such as Super Mario 64, A Hat In Time is a colorful 3D platformer that follows an alien girl as she collects "Time Pieces" to get back home.

This indie platformer game was massively successful in bringing back the popularity of platforming games made possible on the N64. The mechanics and the graphic design feel very similar to retro games with all the bells and whistles of modern-day gaming.

With many DLC (downloadable content) expansion packs available for this colorful 3D platformer, it has a plethora of different game modes, custom levels, and multiplayer options to explore for countless hours of play. A Hat in Time is a perfect game to introduce young players to video game mechanics and give retro gamers a sense of nostalgia through familiar yet refreshing aesthetics and controls.

A Hat in Time for Nintendo Switch

Photo source: Amazon.com

SteamWorld Dig 2

SteamWorld Dig 2 is a charming single-player metroidvania action-adventure game that lets you dig through and explore a vast underground world.

Players control a robot named Dorothy as she searches for her friend Rusty, the previous game's protagonist, who mysteriously disappeared. Upgrade health, weapons, and abilities as you dig through the vast mine of this underground exploration game to complete quests and kill enemies.

The animation style for SteamWorld Dig 2 is dark, spooky, and wonderfully weird, creating a gaming experience unlike any other. Glowing mushrooms and fiery torches light your way through the map as you meet unique characters and unlock essential items to advance you through the story. If you're looking for an excellent 2D series to play through, the Steamworld collection is perfect for you.


Tired of the Nintendo "cozy games" trend? Oxenfree offers players a supernatural thriller game that teeters the line between action and horror. Designed to resemble a modern-day graphic novel, this 2.5D game follows Alex and his friends as they accidentally release a paranormal being on a mysterious, fog-covered island.

This gorgeous yet terrifying supernatural thriller is a choice-driven story that has multiple endings depending on how you respond to various situations, making it enjoyable to play through many times. The emotional narrative focuses on character development as the "walk and talk" mechanics of the game lets you choose what the characters say — or to say nothing at all.

Oxenfree is filled with puzzles and emphasizes the importance of communicating with supernatural beings throughout the game. With no "game over" loss conditions, it's up to you to decide how the story ends and if your characters have a happy ending.

Nintendo Switch console

Expand Your Gaming Library

The world of video games is enormous. Many novice gamers limit themselves to household names and classic stories, growing tired of their consoles before getting their money's worth.

Before letting your Nintendo Switch sit unused on the shelf, spark new excitement for gaming through underrated games created by indie game developers. Whether you want challenging boss battles or an emotional storyline, hundreds of underrated Nintendo games are available in stores and on the eShop to explore.

Good games aren't always the ones making headlines! Indie developers put years of work and passion into creating unique and visually appealing video games that are just as fun as games released by large publishers. By expanding your gaming library to include games that aren't as popular, you may find your new favorite hidden gem.

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