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What's Worth Picking Up From Nintendo’s End-Of-Year Hidden Gems Switch Sale

Subnautica, Risk of Rain 2, Kentucky Route Zero, and more are on sale for pretty good discounts

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May, the protagonist of Night in the Woods, rides on the back of a bicycle as the sun sets behind her. Presents are photoshopped in the path of the bike.
Image: Finji / Nintendo / Kotaku

As the death bell tolls for 2021, Nintendo and a suite of independent publishers have chosen to give us some final indie game sales before sending this garbage year off into that sweet night. All things considered, it’s a pretty excellent send-off, composed of many of the last few years’ best indie games. If you’re wondering what’s worth grabbing, here are a few choice recommendations I think most of y’all would enjoy.

Subnautica + Subnautica: Below Zero

The cult-classic ocean exploration survival sim and its newish, similarly beloved sequel are on sale for a pleasant 40 percent off, leaving the two-game bundle at only $36. I, for one, will finally be picking these games up, since I am totally unphased by the ocean’s depths.


Cris Tales

Our own Mike Fahey really liked Cris Tales, an indie JRPG about playing with time. For those of you who are fans of the turn-based battling genre, you can pick it up for a pleasing 50 percent discount.


Risk of Rain 2

Risk of Rain 2 is one of the best roguelikes of the last decade, and it only costs $6 right now. It is also getting a new expansion in the first half of 2022, so now is a good time to get in.

OlliOlli: Switch Stance

The OlliOlli games are excellent on their own, but for $3 they’re a total no-brainer. Two stellar side-scrolling skateboarding games for less than a cup of coffee? Yes, I am down.


Where the Water Tastes Like Wine

Where the Water Tastes Like Wine is a narrative experience about America—and a tremendously cool one at that. While it can be a bit sparse at times, $4 is a steal to experience some of the best writing in all of video games.



Ashen is a great souls-like with a simple, Switch-friendly art style that makes it a perfect game for tense combat on the go. It is currently on sale for half off.


Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition

Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition is the other video game that many would describe as having “the best writing in all of video games.” It is also, coincidentally, about America and the brutality of modern capitalism. Purchase it (currently $15) and Where the Water Tastes Like Wine to become mad at the world, and hopeful for the capacity of human connection in spite of a system that does not care about you.


Night in the Woods

The other, other video game that you could reasonably describe as having “some of the best writing in all of video games,” which also, also happens to be about the slow collapse of American capitalism. 10 dollars. If you buy all three of these games, and play through them in the same week, you will become a communist. Sorry, I don’t make the rules (but I do live by them).


Void Bastards

Void Bastards is a roguelike, sci-fi first person shooter popularized by Game Pass, by some of the creators of System Shock 2 and BioShock. if you don’t have a PC or Xbox to play it on, try it here! It, too, is half off.


Slay the Spire

Slay the Spire is a stellar roguelike deck builder that needs no introduction. It is currently $7 dollars and 50 cents. If you haven’t played it already, just buy the damn thing so you can know why everyone else has been raving over it.


These are my favorite games from the current bout of sales—but there are dozens more worth taking a look at! If you wanna see the full suite of sales you’ll have to go to Nintendo’s website to actually see everything, because the eShop’s front page barely surfaces any of it. Oops!