Best of 2020: Elena’s Top Games for Nintendo Switch

2020 is almost at an end…a year that most of us are very happy to say goodbye to. Still, there was some good gaming to be done. Let’s see which games made 2020 a good gaming year for our writers!

Elena’s Top Games 2020

At the start of 2020, I thought that caring for a baby would mean very little time for gaming. Much less for playing with others.

But as it turned out, I did have time. In fact, I was lucky enough to finish a few co-op games with my husband. Also ended up playing online with more friends than I could have imagined (guess which game!). Many wonderful titles made it to the Nintendo Switch in 2020, and here are my top 3 picks.

Curious Expedition

LadiesGamers 2020 Top Switch Curious Expedition

Genre: Turn-based strategy, roguelike. Developer: Maschinen-Mensch. Publisher: Thunderful Games.

Blurb: A roguelike that Indiana Jones would play.

First glance: Mash-up between board game and visual novel. Look past the “old game” feel—turn-based, text-heavy, pixel art, hexagonal map tiles—and you’ll find an engaging game of exploration and treasure-hunting.

What it’s about: Pick a famous 19th century personage and embark on a danger-filled expedition to uncharted lands. Your aim is to make it home with enough glorious artifacts and exploits to beat your rival explorers.

LadiesGamers 2020 Top Switch Curious Expedition

Why it’s awesome: The most addictive game I’ve played this year, this roguelike strikes a good balance between luck and player knowledge.

I died many times but each run was fresh and exciting, thanks to procedurally generated maps, a rich diversity of items and events, plus the amusing tragedies that befell my party. While challenging, it was never so difficult or random that I ever despaired of winning. And with so many playable characters—with unique strengths that will force you to play differently—there’s tons of replay value. I’m looking forward to the sequel, Curious Expedition 2, which is slated for the Switch in 2021.

LadiesGamers 2020 Top Switch Curious Expedition

Handheld rating: Utterly perfect for handheld play, especially lying on your tummy in bed. The original PC controls were remapped very well to the Switch. Since you can save at almost any time, Curious Expedition is the sort of game you can squeeze into spare minutes.

Read more: Here’s my full review and 10 tips for new players.

Streets of Rage 4

LadiesGamers 2020 Top Switch Streets of Rage 4

Genre: Beat ‘em up. Developer: DotEmu, Lizardcube, Guard Crush. Publisher: DotEmu.

Blurb: A brawler for beginners.

First glance: I don’t usually touch the beat ‘em up genre. But glowing reviews of Streets of Rage 4’s soundtrack and luscious comic-book art style drew me in.

What’s it about: Ex-cop Axel Stone and his buddies fight thugs and cops. Kick, kick. Punch, punch.

LadiesGamers 2020 Top Switch Streets of Rage 4

Why it’s awesome: Besides the art, the electronic/techno music, and the satisfying crunch of fist-on-jaw? My concerns about sucking at beat ‘em ups were laid to rest quickly. The moves are simple and few; there aren’t a bazillion combos to learn. SOR4 on Easy mode is truly manageable for beginners. When you die, you simply replay the current stage instead of starting from the very beginning.

Also, it’s a fun co-op game. I’ve enjoyed both online (2 players max) and local co-op (4 players max) with minimal technical issues on the PC. Story mode is a short campaign of 12 stages. You can beat it in about 3 hours, so it’s perfect for a sleepover party. For fans of the old series, keep playing and you’ll unlock old avatars from previous SOR games.

Lastly, it’s awesome because my baby approves of the soundtrack. The other day, she bobbed her head vigorously and rocked back and forth when I put on Olivier Deriviere’s “Chill or Don’t” and “Rising Up”.

LadiesGamers 2020 Top Switch Streets of Rage 4

Handheld rating: Haven’t tested it myself, but I’ve read that it plays well on the Switch’s handheld mode. Sounds like a candidate for your next family holiday! Also, the Switch version has HD rumble.

Read more: James has reviewed it and written a brief history of the Streets of Rage series.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

LadiesGamers 2020 Top Switch Animal Crossing NH

Genre: Social simulation. Developer/Publisher: Nintendo.

Blurb: That game everyone and their grandma is playing.

First glance: Live your best life on an island with talking animals? Looks relaxing at first, but then, like IRL (in real life), you end up working hard to earn money so you can spend it.

What it’s about: Develop and customize your dream house and the island it’s on. Befriend and give presents to animal villagers and real-life humans.

LadiesGamers 2020 Top Switch Animal Crossing NH

Why it’s awesome: In two words? Ironwood furniture.

Also, no other game has made me clock over 100 days in a row. The only thing that made me stop playing was lending my cartridge to a friend’s kid. Which ended up converting the whole family of five into AC players, including the mom who used to be a vocal hater of video games.

AC New Horizons made me a fan when AC New Leaf failed to. There’s now more to do, and you can do it sooner. Even the things I find tedious and a waste of time—fishing, snorkeling—I find myself doing compulsively. This game is one big slot machine.

With abundant options in crafting and visual customization, New Horizons has much to offer the solo player. But my experience was enhanced triple-fold when I began connecting with friends and visiting their islands. The very first friend I made—just two days after release date—was someone I didn’t know before. (She was a teacher of the above-mentioned kid. Thanks to fellow teachers, she had collected half the fruits already.) It’s cool how the game brings people together.

LadiesGamers 2020 Top Switch Animal Crossing NH

But seriously, I think what makes AC so compelling in the domestic engineering department is this: My own real house in a mess. There’s barely enough time to maintain it, much less improve it.

Here beckons an island that’s dirt-free (no dusting required). Now, it’s not chore-free but every chore contributes to building my dream home. And I don’t have to clean up after my husband’s IRL mess. In fact, his virtual home looks more splendid than mine.

Beautiful escapism. I know folks who bought a Switch or Switch Lite just for this game, and now I understand why.

LadiesGamers 2020 Top Switch Animal Crossing NH

LadiesGamers 2020 Top Switch Animal Crossing NH
Handheld rating:
11 over 10! But if you’re playing three hours straight without a toilet break (which some of you have done), you might want to play docked to avoid killing your neck and back.

Read more: Ash has shown her love for ACNH in our official review here.


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