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Pocket Tactics Awards 2022 – Switch games of the year

From The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe to Xenoblade Chronicles 3, here are our top picks for the best Switch games of the year 2022

2022 is finally drawing to a close, so you know what that means? Game of the year lists aplenty from all of your favourite publications. Here on Pocket Tactics, we couldn’t pick just one game each, so we’ve chosen our top two Switch games of the year for 2022 and provided you with a little reasoning as to why they’re just so good.

Maybe this list will give you a little inspiration on what to play over the holiday season, or maybe you’ll even find a hidden gem to add to your collection, who knows? Read on to find out.

Persona 5 Royal – Tilly

Persona 5 needs no real introduction. It’s been one of my favourite games for a long time, and many of us at PT feel the same. So it’s an absolute joy to see such a beautiful port of the game on Switch in all of its Royal glory. This iconic, highly stylised RPG perfectly balances dungeon crawling, intricate narratives, life sim, and social sim elements into a masterful entry in the popular series, and now you can play it anywhere, any time.

Whether you’re completely new to the series or are hoping to dive back in with the flexibility and portability of the Switch, this version is honestly worth every penny in my opinion. Check out our Persona 5 Switch review to find out more.

Digimon Survive – Ruby

Digimon Survive was a bold move for Bandai Namco, but I must say, it really paid off. A super dark story where the choices you make can mean life or death for your friends, some amazingly fun tactics combat, and a roster of adorable Digimon that you can into battle with you all make Survive a unique experience for fans of the series and newbies alike. I really hope we see a sequel in the future.

For even more of my digital ramblings, take a look at my Digimon Survive Switch review.

Bayonetta 3 – Nathan

What is there to be said about the return of the Umbra Witch? PlatinumGames very rarely drop the ball, and the third entry in this slick action franchise somehow manages to turn the already chaotic action up to 11, and deliver a tone and story that exceeded my wildest imagination.

Bayonetta has never been so… Bayonetta, and the addition of the Demon Slave techniques and new character Viola only help to round out what was already a very solid return to form. Here’s hoping we don’t wait a decade for Bayonetta 4. Take a look at our Bayonetta 3 review for more.

Disney Dreamlight Valley – Kayleigh

Get outta the way Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing, Disney Dreamlight Valley is here to fill that life simulation hole in my heart. Honestly, this is such a chill and wholesome game that I can get lost in it for hours, even harvesting a ludicrous amount of pumpkins is fun. The fact that you get to rebuild a decrepit village and fill it with your favourite Disney and Pixar characters is a dream come true. It gives me the bear necessities to get through the day.

To discover even more about this great game, check out our Disney Dreamlight Valley review.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land – Connor

We had high hopes for Kirby’s debut 3D adventure on Switch, and the star surfers’ sojourn into the Forgotten Land did not let us down. With welcoming gameplay for all ages, a ton of things to do outside of the platforming sections, and some of the most imaginative Kirby worldbuilding we’ve seen in a long time, it’s no wonder this pick made our list.

From abandoned amusement parks to sci-fi blockbuster-worthy laboratories, Kirby’s adventure far from home feels like a reinvigoration for the series, managing to perfectly balance Kirby’s childlike sensibilities with a world of wonder that everyone can enjoy. Add on top of this a bursting roster of potential power-ups, and you’ve got a Kirby adventure for the ages. Head on over to our Kirby and the Forgotten Land review for more.

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim – Ben

When I wrote my 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim review, I had not seen Neon Genesis Evangelion. I didn’t even know the premise. So, I lauded it honestly, with no mention of its influences. And I think the review is better for it. Of course, if I wrote the review now, having watched the anime, I would have made bad jokes about the similarities.

The game takes you to a high school where everyone is destined to fly these massive mechs called sentinels, then proceeds to tell a time-hopping story that intertwines effortlessly with different bottlenecks and wide open narrative loops that never disorientate enough to push you away. Oh, and there’s also a lovely RTS mode. It’s just so great.

Harvestella – Tilly

Harvestella is a beautiful RPG with life-sim and farming-sim elements. Its unique world, intriguing cast of characters, emotive narrative, and ambitious range of mechanics offer plenty to explore, and I find myself returning to it again and again. It’s slow to start but, with a bit of patience, blossoms into something truly memorable. Head over to our full Harvestella review to find more of our thoughts.

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion – Ruby

I love Final Fantasy more than anything else on this planet, so Crisis Core is a no-brainer as one of my Switch GOTY picks. Gorgeous graphics? Check. Much-needed quality of life improvements? Check. No buck wild changes to the story? Massive check.

As I mention in my Crisis Core review, the Switch version maybe isn’t for all the graphics purists out there, but if you favour portability and expect this to be the remaster it is, definitely pick it up on the Nintendo console.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus – Nathan

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet might be hogging the limelight at the moment, and if I look at my playtime I’m already creeping towards an embarrassing amount of hours… But if I had to pick my favourite Pokémon title in recent memory, it’s going to be Pokémon Legends: Arceus. A wildly refreshing take on the franchise that focuses on fluidity over tradition, every single gameplay aspect was reexamined and changed to suit this new take.

Exploring Hisui is a joy, and while the roster of new ‘mons isn’t quite as exciting as Scarlet and Violet, I struggle to go back to some of the slower mechanics in the launch of generation nine. Actually sneaking up on Pokémon, throwing Pokéballs with gyro aiming, ducking out of the way of a charging angry monster, it all helps to make Pokémon feel more alive than ever and I can’t go back. I’m a sucker, I’ll play any Pokémon game that comes out, but after a taste of what this franchise can really be, I’ll be first in line for the next Pokémon Legends game. Ancient Johto anyone? We’ve also got a Pokémon legends: Arceus review if you want to read more of our thoughts.

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet – Kayleigh

Okay, so generation nine may have had a bumpy start courtesy of some performance issues, but I can’t deny how incredible the Paldea region is. Not only is the luscious Spanish-influenced environment easy on the eye, but the innovation on display through the new ‘mon is fantastic, as is the way in which three campaigns are woven into the world in a manner that allows you to shape your own story.

Check out our Pokémon Scarlet and Violet review to discover even more about these games.

The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe – Connor

Sometimes, you see a special edition version of a game and think “how could they possibly make this any better?”. For me, The Stanley Parable was one of those games, or at least it was until the Ultra Deluxe version came along and blew my mind while shattering the fourth wall into a million irreconcilable pieces.

The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe delivers on its promise and then some, adding even more depth to the meta majesty of the original narrative. Better still, the experience feels perfect for Switch, with the ability to take this bundle of existential crisis-inducing material just about anywhere you feel. There’s nothing like a good meltdown on the train. We’ve got a The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe review you should probably check out.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 – Ben

When I reviewed Xenoblade Chronicles 3, I wrote that “Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is the most loudly surefooted statement in the series’ history, being what it is without a hint of doubt throughout its hundred hours […] it takes everything that makes the series special, turns it up louder, down darker.” In part jokingly, I chose to describe XC3 as nebulously as possible. I basically didn’t say anything.

Now, looking back on my time with the game, it is a shining splinter at the centre of my year. A wild escape into a sincere world. A glorious piece of videogame nonsense that goes on forever and has people with cat ears and people with horns and I love it. With refined combat, excellent voice acting, and gorgeous, wide worlds to explore, nothing else came close. Except for Elden Ring, which is, of course, the real game of the year. It’s just not on Switch.

Well, that’s it for our list of the Switch games of the year 2022! Do you agree with our list? We’ve also put together a list of our mobile games of the year, too.