WHAT a time to be alive. Who’d have thought that a Nintendo platform could ever outsell the Goliath of console gaming, the Playstation 4 (in Japan, at least)?

With more AAA titles and even two additional versions of the Nintendo Switch on the way (one a miniature version and another a more powerful variant), we’d like to draw your attention to the budget gems already available through the console’s online shop. They cost anywhere from a quarter to a third of the big-boy titles, and have close to zero budget for marketing. But they punch way above their supposed weight class. Spread the word.

#7: Battle Chef Brigade

Genre: Puzzle/Cooking/Combat

What happens when you toss Overcooked, Monster Hunter and Bejewelled in a frying pan with a dash of anime art style? That’s right, this delicious mish-mash of genres is going to scratch all four itches for a song. First you smack monsters silly and carve what you need out of their carcasses, then swap ingredient blocks around to “flavour” your dish according to the customers’ demands.

And then comes the bitter taste of crushing defeat as the game tells you you’re not fast or smart enough. You repeat the stage and finally nail it twenty minutes later. Rinse and repeat.

Available online at $15.

#6: Human Resource Challenge

Genre: Puzzle/Sim

If you’re somehow not tuckered out enough by your daytime job, put your brain through this meatgrinder of a Switch puzzle game. It (ironically places) you in charge of programming little office goons to be more productive and “intelligent” about how they do things. No, we’re serious, you literally program them with logic of your own making. And we’re told it gets devilishly difficult for the uninitiated. Don’t do it. Don’t download this game.

Available online at US$10.

#5: Mari- I mean. Beach Buggy Racing

Genre: Racing (with weapons)

This game is totally not Mario Kart. Sure, the gameplay is similar, some of the artwork looks similar, and the premise is EXACTLY THE SAME: Race around a track, pick up weapons and powerups as you go, and do your worst to play foul and knock your opponents into last place.

But it really isn’t Mario Kart, for one simple reason: you pay just ten U.S. quid instead of US$60 for MK8. That’s basically freeing you up to buy four more Switch games on this list. Donezo.

Available online at US$10.


#4: Tetris 99

Genre: Puzzle

Ahh, oldschool Tetris. But with 98 other players. Clear your lines fast, or be flooded with bricks as other players clear theirs. Last man standing wins. It’s free. Enough said.

Available online at US$0.

#3: Stardew Valley

Genre: Sim / Management

If Farmville even mildly intrigued you back in the day, this game’s going to own your soul. If you ever remotely loved Harvest Moon, welcome back. The creators of this game took the old farm formula and polished it till the cows couldn’t resist coming home.  Every little action or interaction you take or engage with matters in this one-man management show.

You will obsess over perfection, you will reap the rewards and satisfaction deriving from your hard work. And you’ll do it for a paltry US$15.

Available online at $15.

#2: Rocket League

Genre: Sport, racing

Decked out cars, and soccer matches. What else could a dude ask for? Well, Rocket League’s stolen revenue from actual sports games franchises for years now by simply combining the two: letting you play soccer WITH cars. Get behind the wheel of your rocket powered car and jostle with other real players and teammates to get to the giant soccer ball. All glory to the driver who can handle his ride well enough to slam the goal home. If it all sounds silly, just watch the video.

Available online at $12.

#1: Hollow Knight

Genre: Platformer, Combat

It’s a little ridiculous that one of the most affordable titles for the Switch is also among the most well-crafted. Hollow Knight is a combat-heavy platformer that every competent gamer will fall in love with, simply because it will hand you your beaten ass on a platter, time and time again, with little to no handholding provided. Your stubbornness, crossed with the game’s haunting music and compelling storyline, will keep you hooked.

You’ll then rise to the challenge and put in the work, till you finish the campaign in perhaps some 40 hours (if you go in blind). Only to realise that there are (spoiler) multiple endings and tons of optional, free content ahead. This puts it ahead of the console’s many platformers, and on the top of our list.

Available online for $15.


written by.

Xiangjun Liao

XJ is the associate digital editor and works the F&B, tech, watch and motoring beats. Correspondingly, he's an alcoholic carnivore with a boyish fascination for all things mechanical. No prizes for guessing which Jaguar he wishes to commandeer.
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