10 Best 2D Indie Games On The Switch

Modern game engines like Unreal and Unity have produced some of the most impressive 3D games for consoles like the Nintendo Switch. But despite this, old-school 2D platformers like Sonic Mania and Legends of Rayman continues to be popular among fans of Nintendo’s latest console.

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Independent game development studios are at the forefront of the 2D game renaissance. The reason independent studios keep releasing 2D games is that they are much easier and cheaper to produce than 3D games. From narrative platformers to life simulation RPGs, indie game studios have dominated the 2D gaming space.


dead cells

Screenshot of the Dead Cells Fatal Falls DLC

Indie game developer Motion Twin has made a name for itself by releasing free-to-play browser-based games. However, the company has achieved a lot of success with its 2018 Metroidvania-style platformer, dead cells.

In dead cells, players take the form of a sentient group of reanimated cells that use corpses to escape from a massive prison. Players should not feel discouraged when they fail and die during a run. While dying restarts the game, players can keep permanent upgrades that can give their characters useful abilities. Due to the smooth gameplay mechanics and sprawling visuals of Dead Cells, the title is considered one of the best roguelite games today.

sub hero

An image of a level in Underhero.

sub hero is a side-scrolling game that combines some of the best aspects of different popular games. Platform mechanics Zelda II: Link’s Adventurethe engaging humor of Subtitleand the impressive turn-based combat of paper mario, sub hero takes elements from different genres in order to create a memorable gaming experience on the Switch.

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In sub hero, the main villain’s subordinate takes the place of a failed hero and swears to save the world. Created by a collective of four game developers, the title is a truly impressive feat by the indie gaming community.

Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley Farm and House

Mainly inspired by the classic life simulation game harvest moon, Stardew Valley was revered by critics and casual gamers alike. Along with offering players a ton of player choice, the title also has a superb balance of long, short, and mid-term goals, which then keeps players peeling on their screens.

Game developer Eric Barone (also known as ConcernedApe) took a solid four years to develop Stardew Valley by itself with the aim of correcting the shortcomings that plagued harvest moon. The title is an open game, with many hidden elements like legendary fish that will encourage Switch users to keep playing.

Super meat boy

Super Meat Boy forever boss of the sun

The roots of Super meat boy can be attributed to the popular entertainment and gaming website Newgrounds. In 2009, developer Edmun McMillen launched the meat boy franchise and released the game to praise from game critics and adventure game enthusiasts. Recently, the game was reported for the Switch ⁠ with all of its levels and cutscenes intact. However, the game’s beloved soundtrack did not make an appearance due to licensing issues.

Casual gamers should be warned, however, that Super meat boy is an extremely difficult title. Despite simple gameplay mechanics that involve making precise jumps and turns, the game has no checkpoints. Thus, making a simple mistake and miscalculation can cause players to fail and start the game over from the beginning.

hollow knight

A knight battles a cat-like enemy at night in the Nintendo Switch game Hollow Knight.

Fans of the Metroidvania genre should give hollow knight A try. In the game, players assume the role of a nameless insect-like warrior who navigates a ruined world full of hostile monsters. There’s so much to do in the world of hollow knightwhether it’s exploring secret areas or interacting with the game’s plethora of NPCs.

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Brilliant minds from Team Cherry, hollow knight is a 2D indie game that perfectly balances its stunning visuals with rich and engaging gameplay. Because it contains so many standout elements, it unsurprisingly inspired other fun platformers for the Switch and continues to have a dedicated fanbase.


An image of a level in GoNNer.

Players looking to explore more challenging games should check out GoNNer. The 2016 game from independent game development studio Art In Heart is a score-based platformer that contains dynamic and challenging levels. In the game, players take control of an altruistic blob that seeks to find a gift for Sally, a friendly space whale.

From a story perspective, not much is explained in the world of GoNNer. However, the simplistic story is offset by the game’s difficulty and outstanding art design. In each randomly generated race, the main character encounters terrifying cave monsters, nefarious machines, and even death itself.

adventure buddies

The player character fighting the bacon and egg boss in Adventure Pals.

adventure buddies is a 2D game with strangely cartoonish graphics. Its goofy protagonist’s main mission is to save his father from being turned into a hot dog. Developed by Australian indie game studio Massive Monster, adventure buddies is an entertaining side-scroller that players can play for hours.

Alongside the player’s journey are a loyal giraffe and a rock named Mr. Rock. Obviously, adventure buddies doesn’t take itself too seriously, making it the perfect title for gamers who want a light-hearted and humorous gaming experience.


An image of an underground level on Splasher.

Set in a colorful cartoon universe, splasher is a 2D platform game where players are given a paint cannon with ink that can be used to damage enemies, as well as to cross different areas of the game. This exciting title is independently made by Romain Claude, a former designer of games and levels from the famous game studio Ubisoft.

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On the surface, splasher looks like another typical 2D platformer that could get old fast. However, the lively and dynamic art direction along with its smooth and fast-paced gameplay helps the fun title stand out from the crowd.

shovel knight

Shovel Knight game image with the knight surrounded by green trees

With over two spin-offs, multiple awards, and a committed cult following, shovel knight is a Switch title that every gamer should try. The objective of the game is simple: help the main character climb to the top of a tower to defeat a powerful enchantress (and dig a lot along the way).

The game studio Yacht Club Games has ensured that shovel knightBreakthrough graphics have been paired with diverse gameplay and brilliant level design, which all work together to make this an exciting platformer for the Switch.


Evergate Spike World

Puzzle game fans will surely enjoy Stone Lantern Game’s Evergate. In the 2D platformer, players control Ki, a spirit responsible for helping souls connect to the afterlife. With a moving story and solid puzzle mechanics, Evergate is a title that perfectly balances the puzzle genre with the popular aspects of platform games.

The player’s goal in the game is to reach a marked gate using crystals that perform various functions including propelling Ki in different directions. Although the controls are a bit tricky to master at first, the game’s complex power-up system and fun puzzles make it a title worth spending hours on.

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