The Best Switch Indie Games in 2023 – SwitchArcade Special

Hello, friends. It’s that time of the year again. Pretty much all the games that are coming in 2023 have come. We’ve been winding down the year with some of our top picks on the Nintendo Switch this year in various categories, all leading up to our overall top ten games of the year on Friday. This time we opted to split out the Best Indie Games list from the Best Hidden Gems, which you would have seen yesterday from Mikhail. The truth of the matter is that not all indie games are hidden, and not all hidden gems are indies. So here we are. An absolute pain to narrow this list down to just ten, and even with that effort I can’t say we’ve got them in any particular order here. Here they are: TouchArcade’s Best Switch Indie Games of 2023.

Curse Crackers: For Whom the Belle Toils ($15.00)

Some games just feel good to play right away, and you know you’re in for a treat when that happens. Curse Crackers: For Whom the Belle Toils looks as humble as it can, but as soon as you nimbly make your way through the carefully crafted stages, you’ll fall deeper and deeper in love with this charming platformer. It’s one of those games where you immediately feel powerful but keep finding new ways to get where you’re going even faster and more efficiently. Outstanding.

Astlibra Revision ($24.99)

I really had no idea what I was in for with this game when I first started it, but I knew Mikhail had praised it quite a bit after he played it on another platform. And yes, this is indeed quite the specimen. It’s an action-RPG that goes on for a frankly absurd amount of hours, but the time just flies thanks to the solid mechanics and compelling character progression. If you’re looking for a game that will keep you busy for a very long time without boring you, Astlibra Revision is an excellent pick.

Cocoon ($24.99)

The best adventure games are often the ones that keep surprising you with novel puzzles to solve and problems to overcome, and Cocoon does a fantastic job of that. Your world-hopping powers are used simply enough at the outset, but before long you’ll be untangling some absurd knots with your expanding skill set. It’s all wrapped up in a gorgeous presentation, which certainly doesn’t hurt matters. You’re best off going into this one without anything spoiled, but if you enjoy adventure games or figuring out puzzles, you’ll likely have a blast with this.

Vampire Survivors ($4.99)

With everything else going on and the absolute tidal wave of imitators, it’s easy to forget that Vampire Survivors only hit Switch a few months ago. I’m sure many played this game before then, but it suits the Switch just as well as it does any platform. The process of simply trying to survive enough to unlock a couple of things leading into essentially becoming the story monsters tell their kids to scare them is one of the more satisfying loops in recent gaming history. It feels like a steal to get so much game for such a reasonable price, but there it is.

DREDGE ($24.99)


Speaking of games with satisfying loops, here’s DREDGE. On the surface, it’s a simple game where you’re going out fishing to get some money to fix your boat. That’s what you’ll be doing most of the time, after all. Go catch some fish, sell them, buy some upgrades, and so on. This part of the game is actually quite enjoyable in and of itself. But as you play the game, little mysterious elements start piling up, creating a rather unsettling atmosphere. What’s really going on in these murky waters? The combination of the narrative elements and the simple yet pleasurable fishing mechanics creates a potent combination.

DRAINUS ($19.99)

Longtime readers will know that I love RPGs a lot, but the other genre that has my heart is none other than the shoot-em-up. While to the layperson they might all seem rather similar to one another, each one has a character all of its own. DRAINUS is an incredibly polished example of the genre that is more beginner-friendly than the average entry. You have a lot of tools to keep yourself alive, and the longer you play the more powerful you’ll become. The shooting action itself is snappy and fun, and the boss battles are suitably epic. It’s a shooter I would recommend even to someone who doesn’t usually get into games from this genre, and that’s a rarer thing than you might expect.

Meg’s Monster ($14.99)

Meg’s Monster absolutely destroyed me. I had no idea what I was getting into when I started playing the game, but I had heard some buzz from Japanese players and thought the visuals looked good. There are some light RPG mechanics in play here, but it’s more of an adventure game with a heavy narrative focus. A little girl appears in a world of monsters, and it seems as though the world might end if she cries. A monster named Roy ends up taking her in to try to help her get home, and the journey is absolutely heart-wrenching. Meg’s Monster still lives rent-free in my head months after finishing it, and I think at this point it’s going to be setting down roots there.

The Making of Karateka ($19.99)

Digital Eclipse is owned by Atari now, so this is going to be the last time it will be eligible for an indie game award from us. What a way to go out, though. Building on the extremely well-executed Atari 50‘s foundations, this is an incredibly deep dive into a single game and everything that went into its creation. There are a handful of versions of the game in question that can be played here along with a few other bits and bobs, and they’re enjoyable enough in their own right. But having such rich context provided for each of them makes it even more compelling to dig into these historical artifacts. It doesn’t matter if you like Karateka or not – this interactive documentary is equally fascinating for any student of gaming’s past.

A Highland Song ($17.99)

I think some of the most interesting stories are personal ones, and A Highland Song feels very personal indeed. I know it’s not a strict biography or anything, but someone who really loves where they’re from had to have been involved here because I can feel the familiarity dripping from every rainy rock and hill I stumbled over while playing this. What really pushed this game over the top for me was in how open-ended it was. I was expecting a fairly straightforward trip with a good story, but instead I got a decidedly non-linear journey with many good stories. Sure, the broad strokes are more or less the same, but this game truly believes that the journey is its own reward and hopes you agree. I know I do.

Snakebird Complete ($14.99)

Given this is TouchArcade, I’m sure most of our readers are very well-acquainted with the classic Snake game. It was a staple of Nokia mobile phones but its roots go back almost to the very beginning of our little hobby. Putting a spin on it that actually works isn’t the easiest thing to do, but that just what Snakebird did by adding some physics and a lot of challenging puzzle-solving to the basic action of eating and getting bigger. This Switch release brings all the Snakebird content you could ask for, and it suits the platform very well indeed.

And that’s a wrap for our ten best Nintendo Switch indie games for 2023. Are there any you’d like to add to this list? What do you think of our picks? You know what to do, my coolest of cats. Head to those comments and say your peace. I’ll be back tomorrow with our Genre Awards, and then again on Friday with the full-on Best of 2023 Awards. Thanks for reading!

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