I haven't been very impressed with Nintendo's own publishing efforts in 2018. But that's okay, because the Switch has been the undisputed king of ambitious indie platformers. I've included three of the suckers on this list.
If you were to hold my Switch out of the window and threaten to drop it, I'd be forced to pick Dead Cells as my favourite. It's just such a brilliant combination of Rogue-lite, Metroidvania and action-platformer components.
Zipping around slicing up enemies and discovering wild new weapons like automated razor-blade turrets has been an absolute highlight of my gaming year.
Learn more about Dead Cells here.
Pocket Run Pool
If it was tricky picking my favourite Switch game of the year, it's been contemptuously easy singling out my favourite mobile game.
Pocket-Run Pool might not have accounted for most of my gaming time in 2018, but it's the only game I've played consistently for more than six months. If I find myself with a spare minute or two, I will boot it up almost without thinking.
Zach Gage's masterful reimagining of pool turns it into a high stakes sports-puzzler hybrid, where clearing up the table is only half the battle, and where wacky rule twists can leave you with giant balls (ahem) or exploding pockets.
Learn more about Pocket Run Pool here.
If Dead Cells is a whirling dervish of randomised chaos, then Hollow Knight is a finely tuned showcase of impeccable taste and just-so precision.
It's the kind of 2D Metroidvania platformer that sucks you in with its distinctively beautiful world building, and keeps you coming back for more with its finely tuned movement mechanics.
Hollow Knight's tone can be relentlessly melancholic, forcing you to go outside in the sunlight for a breath of fresh air (the horror!). But you'll soon dive back into the murk and grime to uncover more of its mysteries.
Learn more about Hollow Knight here.
Part Time UFO
If you thought Nintendo's Switch game offerings were meagre this year, don't even mention its mobile efforts. After the varied delights of Super Mario Run, Fire Emblem Heroes, and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, we got diddly squat from the big N in 2018.
Thankfully, Nintendo's own second party pals at HAL (they of Kirby and Smash Bros. fame) came up with the goods in Part Time UFO.
This wonderfully self-contained box of delights plays like one of those physical grabber claw games, but with none of the frustration and loads more variety and wacky humour. It's delightful.
Learn more about Part Time UFO here.
Yoku's Island Express
Yoku's Island Express is another game we reckon Nintendo itself would have been proud to put its name to, this time back on Switch.
It's a Metroidvania platformer of sorts, but with a thoroughly distinctive pinball mechanic at its core.
You'll find yourself pinging a plucky little beetle around a richly detailed fantasy island using bumpers and flippers, and interacting with a charming cast of creatures great and small.
Learn more about Yoku's Island Express here.