The best exclusive Nintendo console of 2020
From the return of a cult Mario cult series to some stellar indie action, 2020 has been a great year for Switch owners.
One game, however, has become a legitimate social phenomenon – it’s our pick for the best Nintendo * console exclusive of 2020.
Not only was it exactly the kind of game everyone needed at the start of an isolating pandemic, Animal Crossing: New Horizons took the laid-back and cozy city-building simulator to the next level with a level of customization without previous. New Horizons has allowed players to shape their island getaway down to the last square inch, whether you want a bustling city filled with handcrafted roads and parks, or a laid-back island paradise full of waterfalls and bamboo forests.
77 shiny little details in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
The new crafting and customization system allows players to not only decorate their dream home, but also welcome new fellow villagers to perfectly placed homes with a front yard as dazzling as you might imagine. And while time spent at the airport will never be an issue, New Horizons’ ability to accommodate groups of players is the perfect showcase for your hard work in creating the perfect island community.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons also won IGN’s Audience Choice for Best Nintendo Console Exclusive! For more, check out our full Animal Crossing review here!
Below are our other favorite Nintendo console exclusives of 2020.
The best Nintendo exclusives of 2020
Watch the video or click on the gallery above, or scroll down for the full list!
Supergiant Games has gone above and beyond with Hades, a roguelike with so much depth, heart, and incredible combat that we haven’t been able to stop playing since arriving on Switch. The studio’s first foray into the genre, Supergiant has managed to find clever ways to make every passage through the underworld count, as players take on the role of Hades son Zagreus hoping to escape hell.
The expertly written and performed ensemble cast adds a lot of personality to the world, offering sprawling new quests and personal developments for players to take on at their own pace. Sure, progress is being made in unlocking new weapons, discovering new bonuses, and, yes, escaping hell, but Hades is making new information about the personality, relationship evolutions, and even chances of success. ‘improve the Zagreus house just as significant. It’s a brilliant combination of Supergiant’s storytelling prowess, his knack for spirited combat with lots of customizable depth, and beautiful artistry in the look, sound and feel of each of his new worlds with the best gameplay. from the studio to date.
For more, check out our full Hades review here!
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
The musuo genre has always been a bit of a niche, but Koei Tecmo’s latest Nintendo-infused entries only get better and better. Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity might be the first game in the Warriors series to really appeal to the mainstream – mostly because of its obvious connection to Breath of the Wild. What initially seemed like a stash for enthusiastic fans until Breath of the Wild 2 turns out to be a fantastic game that stands out while celebrating the game that came before it (or after it, technically, in the tradition).
Serving as a prequel to Breath of the Wild allowed us to discover more of Hyrule before the calamity. The roster contains many iconic characters, including the four champions: Zora, Daruk, Urbosa, and Revali. Each playable character has a unique set of abilities that feel truly different from each other, allowing for great replayability across dozens of missions. While the gameplay is mostly your usual hack the genre is known for, it’s so perfectly infused with Breath of the Wild parts such as Sheikah Slate and the Kitchen that it really feels like a proper entry, rather than a spin-off.
For more, check out our full Hyrule Warriors AoC review here!
Paper Mario: the king of origami
As longtime fans of the Paper Mario franchise, it’s easy to cancel any sequel since The Thousand-Year Door as a betrayal of what made the series’ first two entries so great. And, yes, The Origami King isn’t the ultimate comeback to train fans of the franchise, but it’s a journey worth taking, with surprisingly touching character moments, hilarious writing, a Inventive combat system and Legend of Zelda’s worth of fun puzzles to complete. In fact, this Paper Mario release owes much of its success to the clear inspiration it takes from this other stalwart Nintendo series – the Zelda-fication of the world is used to create a truly challenging and fun dungeon design. And he still finds clever uses for the many characters Mario meets along the way – we don’t think we’ve ever said before that a Bob-omb could make us cry, but here we are. Not to mention the unique combat system, which turns turn-based battles into geometric puzzles to solve as you race against the clock. It’s fresh, unique, and while it’s not the Paper Mario we were hoping for before playing, it’s absolutely the one we’re so glad we got to play.
For more, check out our full Origami King review here!
Pikmin 3 Deluxe
The original Pikmin 3 may have made its debut on the Wii U, but it really does get the chance to shine as it always deserves with Pikmin 3 Deluxe. Since most missions are relatively short, being able to play in bed or on the go makes this the definitive version of Pikmin to date. The different areas that you will explore on planet PNF-404 are rich and detailed and teeming with life.
The basic mechanic of managing multiple squads of Pikmin to solve puzzles before dark makes the perfect distinction between relaxation and stress somehow. Nintendo has added a short prequel story and new side missions to this Deluxe version, as well as the introduction of a badge system that gives players specific challenges to complete, giving you a lot more to do even after the end of the game. the main campaign.
For more, check out our full Pikmin 3 Deluxe review here!
There are plenty of other rewards beyond the best Switch games! Check out all of our platform, genre, and design winners – and, of course, our picks for this year’s GotY – below!
IGN’s Game of the Year 2020
Best games by platform
Best games by genre
Game Development and Crafting Awards
Be sure to check out all of our other Game of the Year award winners, as well as our picks for the best movies, TV shows, comics and anime of 2020!
* note that this category represents our picks for the best games exclusively on each console platform – while Hades is also available on PC, it is exclusive to the Switch console.
IGN’s Best of 2020 was designed by:
Main design + artistic direction: Justin vachon
Brand image + Artistic direction: Angela Nguyen
Branding + social design: Julia rago
Editorial design: Amanda Flagg
Editorial design: Eric Sapp
Animated Graphics: Will Batchelor