The holidays are upon us. Though the pandemic remains a consideration, many will be back on their holiday travel plans this year. That means long flights back home are on the cards, and that means filling your Nintendo Switch console with games to pass the travel time.
This list will focus solely on single-player games that are perfect for playing while in the air. If you’d prefer multiplayer titles, we have a separate list of recommendations for you right over here.
Into The Breach
For those who love hard tactics, few games will keep you as enthralled as Into The Breach. Brave platoons of mech warriors face off against an alien invasion that threatens their world. Each of the game’s maps, factions, and foes work in unison to create a game of tense, exciting, ten-moves ahead chess logic. The trouble with installing this one is that you’re not going to want to stop playing once you land. Keep it handy for when you’re out by the pool.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
For those who crave the exploration of a Metroidvania without the dark atmosphere and oppressive isolation. Ori and the Will of the Wisps is the sequel to Ori and the Blind Forest, a beautiful game about exploration and finding one’s place in the world. Between its gentle vibe, moving story, and gorgeous visuals, people in other seats will be craning their necks to see what you’re playing.
Do you just want to go into a trance for a few hours and emerge having landed at your destination? Try Loop Hero, a simple, low-fi game about a hero that wanders a looping track. Somewhere between an action RPG and an idle game, Loop Hero ratchets the drama by having you place obstacles in your hero’s way. The more they overcome, and the more loops they complete, they more powerful they become. Prepare to become obsessed.
Spiritfarer is a cozy game about ferrying the souls of the dead into the afterlife. It sits somewhere between a sandbox RPG and a management sim, your character Stella slowly constructs a mighty, multifaceted ferry to help souls cross over. The spirits live aboard Stella’s ferry, and she takes it upon herself to help them fulfil their final wishes. Despite her friendship with them, the spirits must eventually pass through the Everdoor, and on to the afterlife. Gorgeous, life-affirming, and full of heart.
The Metroidvania for people who do want a dark atmosphere and a sense of oppressive isolation. Not only is Metroid Dread one of the best games of 2021, it’s also a top tier entry in the Metroid series. The sense of progression, adventure, mystery and, yes, dread, will be enough to pull you through to the end of the flight, no matter how long it is.
New Pokemon Snap
The perfect game to play when you just need to turn your brain off for a few hours. New Pokemon Snap is a game about taking photos of Pokemon. The better the photo, the higher you score. You the greater your score, the more you’ll unlock. This is a game that rewards repetition, tackling each level over and over to look for those golden photo opportunities. Perfect for the player with a methodical mindset. You’ll be touching down before you know it.
Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
If you’re still looking for something strategic, but perhaps not as hardcore as Into The Breach, consider Mario +Rabbids: Kingdom Battle. A squad-based strategy game similar to XCOM, Mario + Rabbids is fun and accessible turn-based strategy, but still offers a challenge. Positioning is everything, as you guide Mario and the squad across a Rabbid-infested Mushroom Kingdom. Watch your flanks, and always try to take the high ground first. One of the Switch’s best kept secrets, and it’s getting a sequel next year!
Alright, I’m putting a serious addiction warning on this one. Mini Metro by New Zealand’s Dinosaur Polo Club is a game about constructing inner-city train networks. Visually, the game resembles the colour-coded line maps used by public transport bodies all over the world. What begins as a simple series of rail lines rapidly becomes a sprawling web of interconnected stations. If you like positive stressors and organisation, you won’t feel like your flight is long enough.
Grow: Song of the Evertree
Grow: Song of the Evertree is a brand new cozy game from Brisbane studio Prideful Sloth. It’s a gorgeous 3D world crafter, with exploration and life-management mechanics. It’s also a strident argument against environmental vandalism, urging the player to think about their place in the ecosystem. It’s gorgeous work and a feather in the studio’s cap. If you’ve wholesome, non-violent games, this will leave you with a lot to enjoy.
A game that took the world by storm on release, Celeste is what I would consider the perfect Switch game for travel. Challenging without being frustrating, repetitive but in a way that rewards memory and self-taught skill, Celeste is the perfect game to have on hand for a two or three hour flight. You can pick it up and put it down as you need to, and failure is never punished. Beautiful, smart, addictive design with a great story to boot.
And there you have it, the Switch games we’d most recommend for holiday travel. Were there any you think we missed? Sound off in the comments below.
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