Three Indie Games to Play on Nintendo Switch in 2024 During the Ninten-Drought

Milano Games Week 2023
Milano Games Week 2023 / Emanuele Cremaschi/GettyImages

There is a considerable group of video game enthusiasts who have become fatigued by the industry’s push towards games with hundred-million-dollar budgets causing rising retail prices from AAA developers. With these costs continually rising and no slowdown in sight, many players have begun to turn to independent games and developers that, in the past, would have been overlooked. 

These smaller, sometimes single-person teams have done a remarkable job of balancing costs with the quality of their titles. Take Stardew Valley, for example, Eric Barone, known online as ConcernedApe, created this fantastic farming simulator by himself and his game has surpassed thirty million copies sold as of February 2024 (Statista) as well as garnering a cult following that anxiously awaits every update, all while keeping the price of the game between $20-40 USD across all platforms. To make the deal even more sweet, all of the updates released for Stardew Valley have been free. There is no season pass, no downloadable content (DLC), no gimmicks, just pure farming simulator fun, and that is what has drawn so many gamers to this title and other indie games as well.

In a world full of greedy game publishers constantly chasing a profit, Nintendo stands out as the lesser of the evils. While they are most certainly guilty of buying into the DLC and season pass business model, they typically produce games that can justify the expanding price points such as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and its booster course pass. However, 2024 is shaping up to be particularly lacking in first-party titles from Nintendo. The only known releases from them for the rest of this year are Endless Ocean Luminous, Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD, and Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, the latter two being remakes of previously released titles. That begs the question, what games are coming to the Nintendo Switch this year? In short, the answer is indie games!

Earlier this month (4/17/2024), Nintendo shared their new Indie World Showcase which highlighted a little under twenty titles from independent developers that are coming to the Switch throughout this year. The majority of the games shown captured my interest, and as much as I would love to discuss all of them, I will instead focus on the three that I intend to pick up on day one.

Refined Self: The Personality Test Game, developed by Playism, was the third game announced during the showcase and was the first one that caused me to lean forward in my seat to pay closer attention. The 16-bit art style with textboxes abounding immediately brought back memories of my time playing Undertale, my favorite dungeon crawler that I have played to date. In Refined Self, you play as an android traveling the world in search of answers about your creator, the Doctor, and the world that he envisioned before his death. But, there’s a twist. As you go through the game, your choices will impact what you learn and how you learn it, akin to the “your choices matter” mechanics of games such as Life is Strange and Batman: The Telltale Series. Uncover the personalities of everyone you meet either today on Steam/iOS or when the game launches on Nintendo Switch this summer.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Splintered Fate was the next game that had me wishing I had made myself a bowl of popcorn before sitting down for this Nintendo event. This rogue-like adventure through New York City promises to combine my favorite aspects of the genre with a captivating story. I am joyously imagining the addicting gameplay loop of Slay the Spire meeting my favorite crime-fighting, pizza-loving superheroes. The developer, Super Evil Megacorp, provides a phenomenal synopsis of the game on their website saying:

Splinter is missing. The Foot Clan are on the attack. New York City is in chaos! Repeat the portal loop of Splintered Fate and set things straight. When Splinter is kidnapped by Shredder, mysterious portals simultaneously appear across NYC. With April and Metalhead analyzing recovered artifacts for clues, the Turtles batter to recover their father from the clutches of the Foot Clan. However, as the gang gets ever closer to Splinter’s otherworldly location, an even greater threat lingers in the shadows…

If you have not heard about Another Crab’s Treasure yet, then you are in for an absolute treat. A souls-like underwater adventure sounds absurd at first, however, I cannot think of a better evolution of the genre in 2024. We have seen a tremendous number of souls-like games over the past decade thanks to the success of Dark Souls, its sequels, and, most recently, Elden Ring. Each of these entries takes advantage of the general popularity and appeal of fantasy realms, which is not an issue in and of itself but has led me to feel a sense of fatigue regarding this particular setting for world-building. The change of pace that is expected from Another Crab’s Treasure, along with the developer Aggro Crab’s strong community interaction on social media, prompted me to preorder the game on Nintendo Switch, and I cannot wait to live out my crustaceous dreams.

Which of these games, if any of them, will you be picking up? How do you feel about the Indie-heavy year that 2024 is shaping up to be? Let me know and, as always, game on friends!