Yvonne’s Top Handheld Games of 2019

Another good gaming year under our belt! 2019 was a successful year for the Switch, which in turn made it a good year for us Switch gamers. Managing a website and playing games myself doesn’t always go together well as you can imagine. Its a constant balancing act, especially considering all the other real life obligations. I didn’t get to spend enough time with all the games I wanted, but the ones I played were great. So what made this year a good one for me?

Farm Together

For quite some time I’d been lamenting that the Switch library really needed some good simulation games. And in February an important one landed, quite unexpected too: Farm Together. It brought players to the Switch that hadn’t bothered before, especially with the new Animal Crossing being delayed.

Farm Together reminds me of HayDay, the mobile game that I sunk many, many hours into over the past years. It’s a pity the game clearly has the feel of a freemium game, but that being said, Farm Together has the same addictive vibe. HayDay but better, without the need for micro transactions and a much, much more vast playing field. It surely gripped me, taking over my waking hours for a while. Even when I didn’t have time to play, I found myself thinking out how to design my lands and what crops to sow.

My Time at Portia

My first ever Kickstarter funded game was the next one that had me exhilarated: My Time at Portia was released mid April. Even though the game first suffered from bugs, I still have nothing but praise for it. An indie developed game with Kickstarter funds that set the bar high.

Often, in a simulation game that combines many elements, there’s one or two sides to the game that have been fleshed out well with the other elements added as an afterthought. Portia combines a lot, and succeeded in doing a great job.

Crafting, foraging, farming, cooking, socializing, mining, fighting and exploration. It’s all there wrapped in a storyline too. This makes the game a veritable timesink, and with DLC and updates bring even more content.

The Stillness of the Wind

A game that stayed with me for very different reasons is The Stillness of the Wind. If you look at intro pictures of the game, you may see a vegetable patch. But don’t expect to play a farm management game, that not the gaming experience you’ll get. The game is about the story, the feeling and makes you ponder. You see, my mother is 86 and isn’t very mobile anymore. She cannot go out on her own, depending on us to take her anywhere she needs to go. But she can still manage by herself in her little apartment, using a walker to get about. Things go slowly. Every chore she does takes a long time. Doing what little laundry she has, setting the table, making her bed. And even though my brother and I are there for her as much of we can, she is still alone. Has been, since my father died 7 years ago. And she never got used to losing him.

The Stillness of the Wind brings that realisation home to you: you are all alone. And you can’t rush. You just have to do what you can, and try to be content with it. Even though the loneliness is weighing on you and every building and item you touch conjures up memories. I’m sure it’s not a game for everyone, but it made a huge impression on me.

Dragon Quest Builders 2

Both Paula and Paige have mentioned Dragon Quest Builders 2 as well in their overview of the year. What a mammoth of a game. I do know the AAA titles aren’t cheap to buy, and as I included the DLC I paid a hefty price. But the game is worth every penny of it. It takes the elements of building and fighting that I already loved in the first game, and expanded upon it. Not only that, but I feel there are more simulation elements too.

Sunny Sands DQB2 LadiesGamers

You can spend hours and hours in the game, without even scratching the creative surface of creating your own building or part of an island. Wonderful game and very fond memories playing it.

Ni no Kuni: the Wrath of the White Witch

An old school action based RPG. And old school is about fitting for this 10 year old game. Still, I was chuffed that it came to the Switch, after trying the Japanese version on the DS years ago I couldn’t wait to understand the story better in English.

Ni no Kuni LadiesGamers.com

The game is a form of great storytelling, lovely soundtrack and great visuals. And the fighting is not too easy, though if it were me I would have preferred it to be turn based. Lot of hours of gameplay along the lines of RPG of old, though I did feel the price for the EU version was a bit steep for a 10 year old game.

Stranded Sails

And another good simulation game coming to Switch: Stranded Sails. I had the pleasure of reviewing the game and found that it offers a good package of the things we love in simulation games: farming, fishing, exploring, questing and fighting, all wrapped up in a good story.

Stranded Sails LadiesGamers.com

Stranded Sails isn’t a clone of one of the big gaming franchises, it takes on new ideas which sometimes made me feel like I was missing a mechanic I was used to in other sim games. But the sense of exploration is there, the tasks you have to do never feel empty. The crew members turn into your quirky team-mates that you have to protect. And who can resist the mystery that you have to discover? I certainly couldn’t.


This puzzle game that looked so cute and adorable really got me. Had me worried too: I gave it a Two Thumbs Up while on the internet I saw reviewers describe as a kids game. Excuse me? I still must be a child at heart then, as there were some puzzles that really had me flabbergasted.

Woven Guide LadiesGamers.com

Made by a small Dutch studio, I felt this game had the right combination of cute, colorful puzzles, and a great in depth story all told by a soothing voice on rhyme. Main characters that instantly make you feel protective. A long enough adventure with the right price tag. I really feel there should be more games like these on the Switch!

Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout

I have been a fan of the Atelier series ever since I discovered Atelier Rorona on my PS Vita, quite by accident. The Atelier games are pleasant looking RPG with crafting elements and a storyline that’s usually about teenagers coming of age. The synthesis is what this series is well known for, and the battle system isn’t to be sneezed at either.

So when the games made their entrance for the first time on Switch with Atelier Lydie & Suelle is was so disappointed. The portrayed twins really annoyed me greatly, and the story didn’t speak to me at all. This wasn’t what newcomers to the series should see first!

Atelier Ryza Battle Guide LadiesGamers.com

I’m glad to report they remedied that with Atelier Ryza: such a magnificent game with a new synthesis and battle system. And even more importantly: characters to relate to!

So that was my gaming year. Nice to recap it like that and relive all those special moments! What was you very special game of 2019? And new and unexpected discoveries? Or did you eagerly await the big titles that were released?