Nintendo Switch owners had an uneven 2021. To the system’s credit, the highs were very high when it came to new games. Metroid Dread proved to be one of the year’s best games, and games like New Pokémon Snap and Monster Hunter Rise gave players plenty of reasons to log in. On the other hand, Mario Golf: Super Rush and WarioWare: Get It Together! were underwhelming franchise revivals that left players wanting more.
For those who wanted more reasons to boot up their Switch this year, look no further than 2022. The console is set to have its best year since launch thanks to some high-profile releases. Just the prospect of a sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild makes this a year to watch — and that’s only scratching the surface.
Here’s what Switch owners can expect to play in 2022 — well, as long as delays don’t push these games to 2023, that is.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus (January 28)
Switch owners will kick off 2022 in a big way thanks to Pokémon Legends: Arceus. The action-RPG is a total reimagining of the regular Pokémon formula, taking cues from the Monster Hunter series instead. Players will explore more open areas and try to study as many monsters as possible. It’s a complete wild card, but that’s what makes it exciting. The Pokémon series rarely gets radically reinvented like this, so this could be a turning point … or a disaster. In either case, it’s a game to watch.
Neon White (winter 2022)
Neon White has a fascinating premise. It’s a lightning-fast action game where players use cards to attack and move. Those two ideas seem opposed to one another when it comes to game speed, but early looks at the game are extremely promising. A gameplay trailer shows a character zipping around small areas collecting cards and carefully deploying them on the fly. It’s the kind of creative indie action game that’s bound to gain a cult following in the speedrunning scene.
Triangle Strategy (March 4)
Triangle Strategy may win the award for “funniest title” of 2022 when all’s said and done, but the game itself isn’t a joke. Created by the team behind hit Switch RPG Octopath Traveler, Triangle Strategy is an intriguing tactics game sporting excellent pixel art graphics. For Fire Emblem fans craving a new Switch strategy game, this should be the next best thing.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land (spring 2022)
The news that the Kirby series would be returning to 3D for the first time in decades was exciting enough on its own. But the actual reveal trailer for Kirby and the Forgotten Land was really what got fans talking. The mysterious clip shows off what appears to be a postapocalyptic open-world game where Kirby explores dilapidated shopping malls like he’s in The Last of Us. It’s a bizarre pitch for such a cute and cuddly series, so color us intrigued.
Advance Wars 1+2: Re-boot Camp (spring 2022)
It’s been a long time since we’ve seen the Advance Wars series, but that’ll finally change in 2022. Advance Wars 1+2: Re-boot Camp will bring the classic handheld strategy series to Switch via a remake two-pack. Updated visuals and mechanics should modernize the beloved series, giving an influential series some much-needed shine. Fingers crossed that this leads to a proper sequel down the line.
The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild sequel (TBA)
It may not have an official title, but the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is on every gamer’s lips regardless. Scheduled for a 2022 release, the game has the herculean task of following up arguably the best video game of the past five years. Judging by its E3 2021 trailer, it looks like Nintendo is up for the task. The clip showed off some impressive new features, such as an entire sky world reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. We’d be shocked if lightning didn’t strike twice here.
Splatoon 3 (TBA)
Splatoon is one of the most creative shooters around, so a sequel is always welcome. Splatoon 3 will once again pit player versus player in a battle of ink warfare. What’s particularly exciting this time, though, is that the latest installment is going even deeper into fleshing out the world of Splatoon. Trailers have promised a more lore-heavy adventure that should make this appealing to people who want more single-player potential from the series. Those who want traditional PVP will still get it, though, and they’ll have plenty of new ink-shooting weapons to try out when it launches.
Sonic Frontiers (TBA)
The Sonic series has been full of disappointment over the past few decades, but I can’t help but get excited about Sonic Frontiers. The “open zone” game draws some clear inspiration from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which has proven to be a winning formula for games like Genshin Impact. Will Sonic’s speedy gameplay really match up with that idea? Maybe not, but the franchise is in desperate need for reinvention and this is as good an experiment as any.
Bayonetta 3 (TBA)
Bayonetta 3 has been a long time coming. The sequel was first announced in one of Nintendo’s first Switch Directs in 2017. Fans wouldn’t get another glimpse of it until 2021, when it finally got a 2022 release window. So far, the gameplay glimpses have lived up to the hype. PlatinumGames’ signature action looks as fast and weird as ever, which is exactly what fans crave with Bayonetta. Strap in for a fun, weird time.
Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope (TBA)
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle was the biggest surprise of the Switch’s maiden year, so my hopes for its sequel are high. Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope will double down on everything that made the original tactics game work, while adding in some new mechanics and characters. The new “sparks” system looks like it’ll add even more options to battles, amplifying an already excellent strategy game. Plus, how can you not be excited about the prospect of Rabbid Rosalina?