It’s been one whole year since brand-new Nintendo Switch hardware launched alongside the first ‘2D’ Metroid game for nearly two decades. Metroid Dread, with planet ZDR’s mysteriously dark environs and Samus’ super-bright firearms, was a perfect showcase for Switch OLED’s particular enhancements over the base console and Switch Lite, demonstrating succinctly the benefits of the new screen’s improved contrast and brighter colours versus the original’s IPS panel.
In the week following launch, we published an article and accompanying video highlighting 25 Switch games (plus a handful more, in fact) that we thought looked particularly lovely on Nintendo’s premium offering. Obviously, there’s an argument that every Switch game will look better on the OLED, but we wanted to focus on experiences that we felt are considerably enhanced by the extra screen real estate and richer detail.
In the year since, there have been plenty of new releases that really pop on Switch OLED (as well as some that fell by the wayside last time — sorry Hollow Knight!), so we’re back with another 25(+) games we think are best experienced on the newer hardware.
Does this mean the regular Switch turns the games listed below into unplayable eyesores? Of course not, they all sing on your common-or-garden Switch, too — and your experience while docked to your TV will be identical. However, if you’re a handheld player looking for an excuse to upgrade as we approach the holidays (yes, they’ll be here before you know it!), here are a whole bunch more reasons to help you justify that slightly extravagant, unnecessary purchase…
You mean this wasn’t on the first list?! Look, we’re rectifying that grievous error now, okay?
The crisp lines and deep, dark colour palette of one of Switch’s premier Metroidvanias makes it the perfect candidate for a replay on Switch OLED. Those rich purples and silky blacks look both richer and silkier than ever, with the bright elements popping against them beautifully. Hollow Knight has always been a looker, and in handheld mode here, it’s at its absolute best.
The outstanding art style of this excellent Switch port definitely benefits from a bigger, brighter screen, as do any text-heavy screens in Vanillaware’s hybrid real-time strategy/narrative adventure. Anything which enhances the visuals of your visual novel (or visual novel sections, in this case) is worth investigating if you play a lot of them, and while we haven’t filled this list with the many excellent VNs on Switch, you should take it as read that fans will generally appreciate the improved experience Switch OLED offers for that particular genre, both through showcasing fine character art and increasing text size to be easier on the eyes.
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For a game that’s all about painting colour into a black-and-white world, you really want the best canvas you can get your hands on. The brighter whites and deeper blacks of the OLED provide just that for indie smash Chicory, plus the bigger screen means you can be more precise when prodding at the world with your sausage fingers.
This is one of the best-looking games on Switch, with a lovely 60fps and a permanently maxed-out pixel count. Coming from developer Shin’en (Fast RMX), The Touryst is an absolute treat for the eyes wherever you play, but Switch OLED gives you a bigger screen to appreciate its colourful voxel art style and bright island-based setting.
When you consider the vintage of these games (2007 and 2011 respectively), Portal and Portal 2 still look remarkable. Granted, the limited scope of their small, contained spaces — especially in the first game — meant Valve could pay all the more attention to those grimy grid plates in all those clinical test chambers, but that shouldn’t detract from just how lovely it all looks, especially on an OLED which highlights the contrasts between the white panelling and the chrome and rust-ridden ironwork hiding beneath it. The RTX mod for the games on PC will make them look even more lovely, but the Switch versions still shine.
As you may have noticed, the games on this list and the previous one tend to feature environments which juxtapose super-bright areas with lights and lasers against dark, dingy ones — something which the high-contrast, per-pixel illumination of the OLED screen is particularly suited to. Alien: Isolation might outstay it’s welcome by several hours, but it’s perhaps the best Alien(s) game ever made, and the Switch port looks spectacular.
More darkness, more dinginess, more neon lights and shiny surfaces. It’s easy to see how an OLED screen would bring Rapture to life even more vividly, but it’s worth mentioning how the sky-based Columbia from BioShock Infinite also benefits from the bigger, brighter Switch screen.
This one might have escaped your attention, but it’s one of this writer’s very favourite Switch games, and OLED gives it an extra 10%. A chiptune bullet hell bonanza, we’ll keep recommending Just Shapes & Beats every opportunity we get; if you’re a fan of NES-era audio and EDM, it really should be on your Switch.
Developer Berzerk Studio’s Infernax, a gory and rather good 8-bit throwback, also looks pretty spiffing on the premium Switch, too.
Blimey, this is a bit of a stretch, isn’t it?…
Look, we like ARMS, okay? And if we’re away from home and want to get our Joy-Con on for some alfresco fisticuffs, Switch OLED is easily the best, brightest way to do it. More screen is always a good thing, even if you forgo motion control for manual, and as one of Switch’s most colourful games (which is saying something), it feels particularly good on SwOLED.