Nintendo's Switch, their super popular hybrid console, looks to be having a great 2022. With the handheld being out for five years on the field, it has amassed a respectable library of amazing games.
Their first party, in particular, has seen some solid installments that change up the familiar formula differently. There have also been entirely new IPs to entice fans and newcomers to pick up the portable.
Sure, a couple of their major games got delayed, but it's not all bad. With several high-profile releases on the horizon, there's still a lot for fans of the acclaimed Legend of Zelda developer to look forward to.
Take a look at the five biggest first-party games headed to Nintendo Switch in 2022
5) Splatoon 3
The Splatoon series started with the first game on the Wii U in 2015. It's perhaps the most exciting concept Nintendo has worked with so far.
While arena control in third-person shooters isn't unheard of, doing so by painting territory and swimming across your color is very innovative. The upcoming Splatoon 3 seems to culminate in everything the publisher has learned over the past two games.
The latest entry in the new TPS series will take players to unseen locales in a brand new story campaign in the Splatlands. As usual, multiplayer will be a big focus, too, with new weapons and quality of life improvements. Get your blasters ready for when Splatoon 3 launches on September 9, 2022.
4) Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes
Koei Tecmo's Warriors games have found much success on the Nintendo Switch, especially involving collaborations with the Big N. The latest entry in that regard is Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes.
Akin to 2021's Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, this upcoming entry is also related to the latest main entry in its franchise. It acts as a new take on the universe introduced in Fire Emblem: Three Houses, with players able to take out iconic characters from that game for hack & slash brawls.
There will be three campaigns: Scarlet Blaze, Azure Gleam, and Golden Wildfire. Each focuses on a unique house leader. What's new here is that the protagonist of Three Houses, called Byleth, will be the villain here.
Players will, as usual, take on hordes of baddies - hundreds of them at once. It's the fourth Nintendo-themed Warriors game on the Switch so far. But if this results in more unique tie-ins, keep them coming.
3) Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope
Ubisoft surprised gamers with Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle in 2017. The unorthodox crossover between Nintendo's sacred Super Mario IP and Ubisoft's relatively niche Raving Rabbids sounded odd on paper for sure. A turn-based strategy RPG? But it ended up being one of the best games on the console.
However, to see a sequel pop out this early is also surprising. Sparks of Hope was initially leaked by Big N themselves. The plot sees Cursa seeking out the energy of the Sparks. These are creatures formed by the fusion of Lumas and Rabbids - and this process plunges the galaxy into chaos.
Mario and team must travel to different worlds, save the Sparks, and defeat Cursa. Gameplay maintains a turn-based XCOM-like design but makes changes with new characters and does away with grid movement entirely.
2) Xenoblade Chronicles 3
With Xenoblade Chronicles 3, almost all games in the series are on Nintendo Switch. This time, taking place in the lands of Aionios, the nations of Agnus and Keves are at war with one another. Two unlikely characters team up for a journey: a Keves off-seer, Noah, and Mio, the off-seer from Agnus.
While the game is an action RPG like the previous entries, new mechanics are in place. The Interlink system allows two characters (Noah and Mio) to combine into one powerful being known as Ouroboros.
The game will also feature up to seven party members out on the field at once. The publisher has also decided to move the date up by two months in a rare move. First announced for September, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is now slated for July 29, 2022.
1) Pokemon Scarlet & Pokemon Violet
Nintendo's Pokemon franchise continues to see roaring success on Nintendo Switch. With the upcoming Pokemon Scarlet & Pokemon Violet, developer Game Freak will put out the fifth unique Pokemon game on the portable.
The developers aim big, with a true open world for the latest mainline entry. The team seems to have picked up a few pages from the previous entry, Pokemon Legends: Arceus, which was a stark departure from every other Pokemon game ever.
Not much is known about the game yet, but it seems even more ambitious than Legends. Sprawling environments, dense urban landscapes, and more detailed environments are obvious pointers.
The starter Pokemon this time around are Sprigatito, the grass-type cat; Fuecoco, the fire-type croc; and Quaxly, the water-type duck. Get ready for a new monster-catching adventure when Pokemon Scarlet and Pokemon Violet arrive in late 2022.