14 Exciting Games To Expect From Nintendo Switch In 2023

14 Exciting Games To Expect From Nintendo Switch In 2023

Nintendo's popular portable looks to continue knocking them out of the park over the coming year

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Joy-Cons around a bunch of forthcoming Nintendo game characters.
Image: Nintendo / Disney / Kotaku

The Nintendo Switch certainly feels as though its time is drawing to a close. Six years old this year, it was already a technological generation behind on its release, and there’s no question that it’s increasingly struggling to run the games it’s hosting. Despite all this, and even with the rise of the Steam Deck, there’s nothing else out there quite like it. It still feels like an essential device, and 2023 provides all manner of reasons why you’ll want to keep yours charged and ready.

Like so many Nintendo handhelds and consoles before it, the Switch feels unique in a cross-platform market, with its peculiar ability to be both a handheld and a console contributing largely toward this. But it’s also because there’s a sort of game that just feels right on a Nintendo device, difficult to sensibly delineate, but we all know it when we see it. And 2023 turns out to already be packed with such games.

Who knows what surprises Nintendo might have up their sleeves for 2023—it’s the sort of bizarro company which will announce and release a major entry into a beloved franchise with about ten minutes’ notice—and there’s every chance that we could be learning of a follow-up console as soon as we see Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom in May. But below is a collection of games we do know are coming this year, or at least have very good reasons to expect. And no, we did not bother listing Metroid Prime 4.

For the avoidance of confusion, this is certainly not an exhaustive list of forthcoming Switch games, but rather a selected few we think could be worth looking forward to. Also, this list is deliberately console exclusive, which is to say, games released either exclusively on the Switch, or only on Switch and PC.

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Kirby’s Return To Dream Land Deluxe

Kirby’s Return To Dream Land Deluxe

Nintendo

Kirby, until recently only loved by seventeen children and Stephen Totilo, is now truly having his day. With last year’s Kirby and the Forgotten Land, the amorphous pink blob drove his way back into everyone’s hearts by eating an entire car, and then our entire hearts. Now, everyone’s paying far more attention to this remake of the 2011 Wii game than they otherwise might.

Return to Dream Land Deluxe is a ground-up remake, with new graphics, a new “Mecha Ability,” and a bunch of new mini-game modes, along with four-player co-op, and it looks all sorts of cute.

It’s hard to know if this 39th Kirby release would have gotten such a high profile without last year’s surprise hit, but here’s hoping it’ll deserve it. The Wii version was reviewed very well at the time, albeit tempered by that perennial Kirby complaint of a lack of difficulty.

Release Date: February 24

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Metal Slug Tactics

Metal Slug Tactics

Nintendo

Marking a big shift for the traditionally sidescrolling world of Metal Slug, Leikir Studio’s Metal Slug Tactics re-thinks the concept as an XCOM-like strategy game. Which is...really exciting!

Despite the beautiful trailer above, it’s still not entirely clear how the game will play, with the game’s official description saying it’ll contain “roguelike elements.” On the assumption that we won’t be drinking mysterious potions and developing goblin farms, they likely mean there will be tile-based randomized elements and lots of starting over, but these are just guesses.

It promises “iconic bosses” from the franchise, and it’s certainly gorgeously detailed. Things clearly aren’t all smooth sailing, thought, with the game slipping from 2022 to this year—and still without a firm release date—but we’re hopeful.

Release Date: 2023

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Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp

Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp

Nintendo

Talking of games that have slipped then failed to get a release date, there are few stranger than Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp. The remakes of the utterly wonderful GBA turn-based strategy classics appeared to have been finished and ready for release back in April 2022 when they were suddenly pulled at the eleventh hour in a confusing and misguided reaction to the illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine.

It was confirmed in September that the games were still coming out. But four months on, there’s still no news, which is all darned strange given that it was clearly ready to go. Perhaps they’ve taken this opportunity to invest a bunch more time into the remakes of the beloved franchise? Who can know the minds of Nintendo.

But we remain extremely hopeful that Advance Wars will finally see the light of day once more in 2023, after an astonishing 15 years.

Release Date: 2023, hopefully

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Master Detective Archives: Rain Code

Master Detective Archives: Rain Code

Nintendo

When we said in the intro that these games just feel Nintendo, there are few examples that match such a description better than Master Detective Archives: Rain Code, a detective mystery game featuring an amnesiac trainee detective, Yuma, who is naturally accompanied by a ghostly creature called Shinigami.

From Too Kyo Games, spun off from co-developers Spike Chunsoft, the game shares a bunch of developers in common with the Danganronpa series, and fans will likely spot the neon similarities.

It’s going to be about running around a mega-corporation-controlled city, attempting to solve all manner of mysteries, which will be solved via the Mystery Labyrinth: a “realm” that will offer some bewildering sort of metaphorical alternative reality where the mysteries of the case will be represented by deadly traps and...yeah, it sounds batshit, and we can’t wait.

Release Date: Q2 2023

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Digimon World: Next Order

Digimon World: Next Order

Bandai Namco

2016's Japanese Vita release (then 2017's worldwide PlayStation 4 release) Digimon World: Next Order, is another game getting the time-honored Switch remake. (Alongside PC, we should say.) Set in the digital monster universe, it was—and still is—an RPG in which you play as one of two humans tasked with raising and battling Digimon beasties, including making sure they go to the bathroom.

Next Order never found the same love as the previous year’s Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth, in part due to its complexity. It makes it an odd surprise choice by Bandai Namco for a remake (especially given Cyber Sleuth hasn’t seen the same), but it should at least improve things for the franchise after 2022's less loved Digimon Survive.

Given the enormous popularity of Pokémon at the moment, it seems a smart time to remind people of Digimon’s better days, especially if Bandai is testing the water to perhaps bring back either the World or Story series.

Release Date: February 22

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Disney Illusion Island

Disney Illusion Island

Nintendo

With Mickey Mouse about to finally be released into the wonderful world of the public domain, Disney is finally doing something worthwhile with the character. Disney Illusion Island looks like the most extraordinary mix of Cuphead and The Power Puff Girls.

It’s a one to four-player co-op platforming game, playing as Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy, seemingly reviving the almost forgotten Illusion franchise of Disney games. Remember 2013's Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse? No? Neither do we. It itself was a return to the ‘90s series after a fifteen-year gap, making this new project quite the deep dive.

But what a lovely-looking one! The cutscene animation is the same as last decade’s Mickey Mouse Shorts, far more Warner than Disney, while the game itself looks gorgeously painted and animated. We don’t yet know if it’ll be any fun to play, and things have been quiet since that initial trailer last September, but with an intended 2023 release date, hopefully, the Switch exclusive will be in our hands soon.

Release Date: 2023

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Have A Nice Death

Have A Nice Death

Nintendo

Well, OK, sometimes games really don’t either sound or look like a “Nintendo game.” Have A Nice Death feels like the sort of game that could never even glimpse at a SNES, but after a year in Early Access on PC, it’s finding a forever home on the Switch.

It’s a manic action-platformer, with all those roguelite flavorings, in which you play as quite the cutest little reaper, hacking and slashing through its unearthly levels. Your employees at Death Inc. have gone rogue, and as such, you need to grab a scythe (or any of 30 other weapons) and go teach them a lesson.

Published by Gearbox, this is a superbly animated roguelite, which will arrive on Switch after a year’s refinement by PC early testing.

Release Date: March 22

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Pikmin 4

Pikmin 4

Nintendo

Shigeru Miyamoto loves it, so we all have to love it. Pikmin almost feels like a troll at this point for the Nintendo honcho, appearing where baying crowds are desperate for news of anything Mario. The climactic reveal of Pikmin 4 in last September’s Nintendo Direct felt like a kick in the teeth after everyone was hyped for news on Breath of the Wild 2 or a new Nintendo console.

BUT! Let’s not let that make us forget that Pikmin 4 is a new game from Shigeru Miyamoto, even if it’s not exactly our first choice. His Lemmings-alike series has been in development since the last game came out in 2013, and Miyamoto told Eurogamer that it was “nearing completion” in 2015! Then last year we found out, with the briefest glimpse, that it’d be with us in the year of our Lord Bowser, 2023.

Naturally, there’s not been a breath of information about it since, but given it’s Nintendo we can expect it to show up as a surprise in a future Direct, and should then be in stores about seven minutes later.

Release Date: 2023

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Rune Factory 3 Special

Rune Factory 3 Special

Nintendo

Older readers may remember a time when new JRPGs would be made, rather than endless remakes and remasters of old ones. But then the prized mystical jewels mined to create new games ran out, and we are left only able to endlessly tweak the graphics of those from previous generations.

Thus Rune Factory 3 Special, a remastering of 2009's Neverland RPG, A Fantasy Harvest Moon. Yes indeed, you’ll once again be losing your memory, waking up in a strange village, and responding to this severe trauma by farming. And monster hunting. And quest-solving.

Expunged of its “Harvest Moon” following The Great Schism, hopefully, this return to the series at its peak can make up for last year’s disappointing Rune Factory 5.

Release Date: 2023

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Fitness Boxing Fist Of The North Star

Fitness Boxing Fist Of The North Star

Dynastone Gaming

2018 saw the Switch release of Fitness Boxing, a Nintendo-published exercise game that was all about seeing how long you could go without throwing your Joy-Cons directly at your TV screen. 2020 gave us a sequel, Fitness Boxing 2: Rhythm and Exercise. But 2023 brings us Fitness Boxing Fist of the North Star, a crossover game with the popular anime!

The game itself is much the same—time to dig out those wristbands you lost the day you bought your Switch—letting you do your daily workouts, just this time fighting the tiny, tiny heads of folk like Kenshiro.

Release Date: March 2023

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Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon

Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon

Nintendo

A surprise new spin-off Bayonetta game was announced at the Game Awards at the end of last year. It’s a prequel to Bayonetta 3, centered on Cereza when she was a young girl, and her first demon, Cheshire, housed in a stuffed toy.

We’ll apparently be fending off faeries and solving puzzles in the action-adventure, as Cereza attempts to find a way to save her mother. There’s surprisingly little of it revealed given its impending release, but no doubt much excitement shall arise as soon as it’s out.

Release Date: March 17

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Blanc

Blanc

Nintendo

A second surprising game from Gearbox, Blanc is an adorable hand-drawn co-op game about a wolf cub and fawn, working together to find their way home. The whole thing looks like it’s being drawn with a pencil as you play it, and features no text to make things much more accessible. Although if it doesn’t end with the wolf eating the deer, then it’s missed a trick.

It looks just lovely, and is a Switch exclusive, via the eShop.

Release date: February 14

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Storyteller

Storyteller

Nintendo

In development since before the evolution of man, Storyteller is a puzzle game based around rearranging the contents of panels in a cartoon strip to rewrite stories.

A PC demo released for a brief window in 2021 proved the concept was very strong, so there’s good reason to be very excited for this to finally release, fourteen years after its first announcement.

Release Date: March 23

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The Legend Of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom

The Legend Of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom

Nintendo

Yeah, we probably shouldn’t forget this one.

If, by some astonishing miracle, this doesn’t slip yet again, the follow-up to Breath of the Wild should really be with us in May. That’s less than four months away!

There seems little point in telling you that this is a sequel to the most popular Zelda game of all time and another visit to an open-world Hyrule, only this time with a Y-axis.

In a normal world, we’d be drowning in trailers and promotional material for the game by now, but Nintendo operates in anything but a normal world. So it is that with less than a third of a year to go that we still know no more than last September when everyone pored over the brief trailers to spin out extraordinary conspiracy theories.

But still, can it really be true? Can Nintendo really deliver the game everyone will always call Breath of the Wild 2 before the summer? Here’s hoping.

Release Date: May 12

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Bonus: A New Switch?

Bonus: A New Switch?

A Nintendo Switch U.
Image: Nintendo / Kotaku

OK, people have been inaccurately predicting the imminent announcement of a follow-up to the Nintendo Switch since the day after it released. At this point, there are so many predictions that someone getting it “right” will happen by the law of averages. But is there reason to think 2023 might be the most likely year for, at the very least, an announcement?

Well, here’s a theory: Nintendo has marked new console generations with a new Zelda game for quite a while now. Not because of some bizarre tradition, but rather because their technological ambitions for each new title seem to outstretch the abilities of whichever device they originally build it for. For example, 2006's Twilight Princess came out for the GameCube a week before it came out for the brand new Wii. Breath of the Wild came out for Wii U the same day it was released on the new Switch. So could it possibly be that with Tears of the Kingdom, we might just be looking at the bridge to the Switch U, or whatever Nintendo calls their next console?

Probably not. It’d be crazy if they could keep that under wraps this close to release. But will we maybe see news and perhaps a release for the 2023 holiday season? That’s my guess. You can hold me to it. I’ll be hiding, wearing a suspiciously large hat.

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