2020 is now but a distant, if persistent, memory and we can now look back and survey the gaming battleground it left behind. Despite the year being a particularly ugly one for practically everyone, we were lucky enough to enjoy some incredible games that year, several of which helped restore spirits in our down time, enforced or otherwise.
Below you’ll find the Top 50 Switch games of 2020 as ranked by readers of Nintendo Life. The order is governed by the User Ratings associated with every Switch game released in 2020 on our games database. As with several of our reader-ranked Best Games round-ups, the ranking is totally fluid even after publication, which means it’s never too late to rate your collection and influence the list.
If you’ve yet to score your favourites, simply click your chosen games’ ratings below and score as you see fit. Can’t see your favourite? Head to our library of Switch games (click the Games tab at the top of the page) to find what you’re looking for. A game needs to have been rated by a minimum of 50 users to become eligible, so it’s entirely possible to influence this best Switch games of 2020 ranking and get your favourites on the list.
Publisher: Curve Digital / Developer: Lucky Mountain Games
If the look of Hotshot Racing appeals to you and you can appreciate the aesthetic delights of something that looks deliberately low-fi and polygonal, the action it offers on the track does an excellent job of backing up the game’s style with substance. It may have its quirks and it may turn you into a paranoid conspiracy theorist ready to tell tales of rubber-banding to anyone who’ll listen to you, but hey: that just adds to the authenticity of the era it’s based on. This is a fine racing title that truly nails its driving mechanics and delivers an exhilarating experience that will captivate newcomers and veterans alike.
Publisher: Private Division / Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
The Outer Worlds is a hugely entertaining “Fallout-in-space”-style RPG adventure filled with wonderfully vibrant locations, excellent companions, zippy and hilariously brutal combat and a ton of well-written characters to meet as you attempt to save the colony of Halcyon. Virtuos has made the expected tweaks to graphics in order to keep things as smooth as possible with this Switch port and, although things can look and feel a little rough in docked mode, in handheld this is a supremely enjoyable experience that’s entertained us just as much this time around as when we played it at launch, and comes highly recommended to fans of the genre.
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Velan Studios
Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit is a startlingly authentic “mixed reality” recreation of Nintendo’s most popular racing series which encourages you to be inventive with your course designs and does an excellent job of combining your real-world surroundings with the fantasy environments of the Mushroom Kingdom; add in a second player (or three, or four) and it becomes even more compelling. The tech side of things is undeniably impressive and it’s impossible to not raise a smile the first time you play; the question is how long that magic will last, especially if your home limits your track designs and you’ve only got the budget to cover the cost of a single car.
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Paladin Studios
Good Job! was a wonderful surprise that everyone should try out. Thanks to its hilarious physics, seemingly menial tasks have the potential to descend into utter carnage – whether intentional or not – and its grading system means there are plenty of opportunities to replay. Slight technical hiccups aside, Good Job! is absolutely guaranteed to have you in fits of laughter.
Publisher: Devolver Digital / Developer: Phobia Game Studio
Carrion is a special thing in many ways–a game which puts you in the shoes (or slithering eldritchtentacles) of the game’s ‘boss’–but its actual meat and potatoes structure is as formulaic as the genre gets. Thankfully, its core gameplay of tearing room after room of people into wet chunks of corpse never, ever gets old, and sustains the experience throughout. It looks superb, sounds great and is plenty of fun to play, despite some minor issues which just hold Carrion back from the absolute upper echelons of the Switch library. Still, if you’re after a Metroidvania with a twist, this one is disgustingly intriguing.
Publisher: Electronic Arts / Developer: Criterion Games
Elements of Burnout Paradise are starting to show their age now, but nobody can argue with the quality of its actual racing action. If you can put up with its various niggles and quirks and don’t mind the high price tag (relative to other systems), it’s easily one of the most entertaining – and certainly one of the fastest – racing games on the Switch.
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Intelligent Systems
Paper Mario: The Origami King tries to do something different with its combat system and, to be honest, we aren’t really feeling it. That doesn’t mean the rest of the game isn’t thoroughly entertaining, however, and while the puzzle-based battles aren’t quite what a new Paper Mario game needed, they aren’t so awful that everything else shouldn’t be experienced as a result. It still isn’t the new Thousand-Year Door fans will have been hoping for, but it’s still one of the funniest games in the series and it’s got a truly likeable companion character, and while the combat is far from ideal the fact that we still thoroughly recommend the game regardless should speak volumes.
Publisher: SEGA / Developer: Two Point Studios
The highest praise we can give Two Point Hospital is that it feels impossible not to have fun with it. It’s zanier than an episode of Scrubs and shot through with some of the most satisfying sim gameplay of any title this generation. It may be heavily inspired by games that came before, but in truth, it feels like a natural evolution of Bullfrog’s title, surpassing it in so many ways and is an endlessly enjoyable addition to the Switch’s third-party library. It’s also arguably the best version of the game so far, given its visual similarity to other versions, and being able to carry the experience around with you makes it even more appealing and addictive.
Publisher: PlatinumGames / Developer: PlatinumGames
Marrying astonishing spectacle and overwrought drama, The Wonderful 101: Remastered is one of the most memorable action games you’ll ever play. Its delirious excesses come with a price, and it’s one that’s at little harder to forgive this time, with the original’s flaws remaining untouched, and a few compromises made to accommodate the Wii U version’s dual-screen set-pieces. But for all its minor frustrations, it’s a game that rewards patience and perseverance. Grit your teeth through its control quirks and camera foibles and relish the giddy spectacle of a game that doesn’t know when to stop.
Publisher: Gearbox Publishing / Developer: 3D Realms
A masterpiece to this day, Duke Nukem 3D is done proud by this Switch conversion. It looks and runs briliantly, the online options are a welcome inclusion and it’s not compromised in any way from its earlier console release. It’s a shame that a handful of previously-available expansion packs are missing, but given the low price of World Tour Edition, it feels churlish to complain. In the words of the Duke himself, come get some.