The Switch is a great console for couch co-op, but what if you're more of a sofa single-player? Even then it has you covered - let's why!
Simply put, one of the finest 2D platformers out there (here's our review). You take control of Madeline, a flame-haired and blue-jacketed young woman whose goal is to climb the mysterious mountain - Celeste. The game's harsh-but-fair platforming is highly addictive: you restart rooms in a fraction of a second (instead of some horribly drawn-out loading screen), meaning success could only be a heartbeat away. And your heart will beat fast during Celeste: the skill needed to see everything is off the charts.
The platforming is inspired but there's more to the game than that. Even though Madeline shows cast-iron determination to climb the mountain, she suffers from depression and anxiety. As the story unfolds... ah, no spoilers. You really need to experience this one for yourself. We love it so much that we wouldn't mind if you played it on the PS4 or XBox One - just play it.
Picture a mad gaming scientist in a typical evil laboratory somewhere, splicing an arcade golf game with an RPG. "It's alive!" they might cackle as a jagged bolt of lightning fuses these two unlikely genres into this cute Switch exclusive. Whilst the conventions of the RPG are gently played with, the golfing boils down to the classic three-press swing mechanic that has been around for over thirty years.
That's not to say you'll get bored, mind you. The script is surprisingly witty, with the classic RPG archetypes not always acting as you would expect. The game puts as many spins on the idea of golf as it can, with enough offbeat, quirky results to keep you charmed right to the end credits. Plus also, there is a two-player mode - I know, I know, but it's hard to find great games that don't cater for multiple players on the Switch!
Graceful Explosion Machine
There was little that was graceful about my playthrough of this colourful score attack shmup, let me tell you. It wasn't my fault, though - who builds a ship whose main gun can overheat?! And then, right, then... you can only use the super-exciting weapons if you've killed enough baddies and collected the gems they drop! What a palaver. Anyway, this risk-reward mechanic lifts the game out of the ordinary.
Once you've got the hang of navigating the wrap-around levels and your natty weapons systems, the score-chasing can begin in earnest (am-tip: pace your shooting of enemy waves so that your score multiplier never drops). The game's online leaderboards will keep you on your toes, or marvelling at the skill of the world's most talented players. Sometimes, though, you can relax by selecting one of the more straightforward levels and mindlessly blasting some space aliens.
No discussion of outstanding single-player games on the eShop could be complete without Six-Letter-Word Knight, the challenging Kickstarter-backed platform-y adventure. You control a horned sprite who fights with an unusual weapon that allows them to bounce and who leaves loot behind when they die. The aesthetic is gorgeous and the music outstanding, a real labour of love with brilliant level design and memorable, tough bosses. What's that? Shovel Knight? That is so 2014! Get yourself over to 2017 with Hollow Knight (here's our review).
This downbeat Metroidvania is a must-play, particularly when it's so comparatively cheap. What initially seems a little aimless soon becomes an irresistible adventure that will fill many an hour (my first playthrough took thirty-six hours and I've since gone back for more, filling out the nooks and crannies of the map and challenging some of the tougher bosses). Thoroughly enjoyable from (near the) start to finish and beyond.
SteamWorld Dig 2
Remember SteamWorld Dig, Image & Form's lovely 3DS eShop hit of 2013? An addictive procedurally generated Metroidvania that drew applause from pundits and punters alike? Had steambots in it? Rusty? Remember him? Anyway, this multi-platform sequel tears up (most of) the blueprint left by the original: we how have level design, for starters.
And what level design! The sense of progression is very well pitched, with power-ups and unlocks handed out to you at just the right times, enabling you to push at the boundaries of the map just that little bit more. The real star of the show is the Upgrade Cog system, allowing you to alter Dorothy's abilities whenever you pop back to the surface's hub village. A colourful and complete adventure that fits beautifully into the SteamWorld narrative.
And they say the single-player adventure is dead! I think you'll find the genre is very much alive and kicking, 'they', whoever you are...