Well, 2022 has come to a close, and it is finally time to look back at this year to see what Nintendo Switch games and beyond stand out for Nintendo Link’s Game of the Year 2022. Despite the fact that 2021 was a rebuilding year of sorts, there were still some amazing games that came out and blew our minds. In 2022, that trend absolutely continued, and we were overwhelmed with some top-tier games and sequels, including one of the best Kirby games to date.
There were many brilliant titles this year that it was difficult to nail down which ones to focus on. Nintendo released some big first-party titles, Bayonetta 3 was an exclusive hit and winner of The Game Awards Best Action Game, The Pokemon Company released a lot of Pokemon this year, and there were also excellent indie games that elevated 2022 to be a great year for gaming.
The following will list our Honorable Mentions, and then we will go down our nominees before crowning our Game of the Year 2022.
DISCLAIMER: All Honorable Mentions, Runner-Ups, and the Winner are all games that released on a Nintendo console in the year of 2022. Some may have released in previous years elsewhere, but we still wanted to honor these games for still being amazing even as a port.
These are titles that deserve to be here but did not quite get the votes and attention from our team during the Game of the Year 2022 discussion.
Nintendo Switch Sports
Nintendo Switch Sports was one of the biggest releases on the Nintendo Switch this year. A proper sequel to one of the best-selling games in Nintendo history, Nintendo Switch Sports had a lot riding on it. It’s launch was solid, but fans were confused by the lack of certain features and even missing sports. Thankfully, Nintendo has been continually updating this one and offering new outfits to unlock on a weekly basis, and the recent addition of golf as a free download has given the title new life at the end of the year.
Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak
Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak is not necessarily a new game release, but it was such a huge update that it breathed new life into last year’s 1st Runner-Up. Sunbreak offered Monster Hunter Rise players with a new hub, new areas, lots of new monsters, a new story, and so much more. Capcom has been known in the past to nickel-and-dime their customers, but this is one of those occurrences where they delivered tremendously and offered what is arguably the best DLC of 2022.
Portal Companion Collection
Portal and Portal 2 are two of the best games ever made, so when the two released on the Nintendo Switch earlier this year as the Companion Collection, Switch gamers finally received brilliance from Valve. This package contains both games, and honestly, it is hard to find flaws with either one. The stories for both games are incredible, the voice acting is perfection, and the unique physics gameplay is some of the best out there. If you have never played these titles before, download them now!
With the sheer amount of fantastic titles that have released this year on Switch, people can quickly forget about something like Triangle Strategy, but this fantastic RPG from Square Enix blew us away when it released back in March. The combat is so much fun, the story is wonderful, and the characters are truly amazing. There is a lot to love about this one, and the fact that its art style is stunning and its soundtrack is astounding only adds to the fantastic experience.
Pokemon Scarlet & Violet
The most recent release on this list, Pokemon Scarlet & Violet is an ambitious release from Game Freak and The Pokemon Company. The titles have abandoned a lot of the ways of old Pokemon games and instead moved more towards the style of Arceus and Breath of the Wild. It unfortunately launched with a lot of issues, but that is expected from a title making a lot of transitions. Thankfully, the games are super-fun and offer a lot to fans.
Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes
Fire Emblem is one of those series that just keeps pumping out titles, but it has yet to really connect with a western audience. Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is actually a sequel of sorts to Fire Emblem Warriors, which is a Warriors/Musou version of the popular tactical RPG series. Three Hopes fixes a lot of the issues that were present in the first Fire Emblem Warriors, and the story this time around is intriguing and maintains your attention. It’s the Fire Emblem you know and love, but this is pure action. No tactics, really.
The next five are our nominees that just barely missed the cut. These are our runner-ups for Game of the Year 2022.
5th Runner-Up: Pokemon Legends: Arceus
Pokemon Legends: Arceus was a bold and new step away from tradition for The Pokemon Company and Game Freak. A slight abandonment from the traditional RPG aspects and a much simpler way to catch Pokemon, players were strongly split on this one, as some were not huge fans of the drastic changes while others appreciated the changes and hoped for more like it in future installments.
The story this time around carried a lot more weight than the average Pokemon game, and the ancient setting provided a new backdrop that helped us to see Pokemon and training in a new light. Something fans were happy about was the return to more difficult gameplay instead of the constant holding of hands, which helped many fans to believe that this may be the new entry Pokemon game to help ease people into the series.
There is a lot to talk about regarding Pokemon Legends: Arceus, but this was the big first step in a new direction for the company and it looks like this has served as the catalyst for change in Pokemon. And you know what? I am all for it.
4th Runner-Up: Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope
Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope is the next adventure from the relationship between Nintendo and Ubisoft. The first title was highly praised and sales were pretty solid, so it was a no-brainer to bring the series back and make it bigger and better than before.
As our own Chelly said in her review, “Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope is a fantastic sequel that has improved on an already great game. The change in scenery, entertaining characters, and improved turn-based combat help to make this game something special that could be recognised as one of the best Nintendo has to offer.” Considering the year the Switch has had, that is a huge statement, and I cannot agree more.
Sparks of Hope is the effort of a wild collaboration that just works perfectly. The Mario universe and the Rabbids share a common style and comedy that meshes wonderfully, and based on the success of the first title and this one, it is easy to say that this series has a future that will continue to grow.
3rd Runner-Up: Splatoon 3
The Switch is now home to both Splatoon 2 and Splatoon 3, and Splatoon 3‘s launch this year was massive. It saw huge sales, great reviews, and a massive online community immediately, and it is still one of the most popular online games on the Nintendo Switch. It also helps that the recent Splatfests have been extra fun, encouraging players to continue investing in their characters and unlocking titles, clothes, and more.
One of the most surprising parts of Splatoon 3 is that its single player this time around is a proper challenge. They have expanded upon the previous games’ formula and have upped the ante in many ways. The final segment after 100% completing the single player is hard as nails and a testament to skilled players. In addition to that, the online is better than ever, and Salmon Run is permanently open at all times (FINALLY!).
As I said in my review, “Splatoon 3 is a massive package that is beyond worth the full price. There is so much to do here, and thanks to the dozens of quality-of-life improvements, this is the essential version and a game that will keep you busy for months and months thanks to it competitive and cooperative modes and free updates that are planned post-launch.” If you are a fan of online multiplayer games, this is the best of 2022 on Switch.
2nd Runner-Up: Rogue Legacy 2
Rogue Legacy 2 was a surprise release on the Nintendo Switch in November, and what a joy it was to receive this one! For those unfamiliar, Rogue Legacy is a 2D rogue-like action platformer that released back in 2013. Fans were enamored by the addictive gameplay and the hilarious mechanic of problematic traits being passed down to your offspring upon death. Rogue Legacy 2 expands on this formula and does so much more that I had no choice but to give this a perfect score.
There is so much potential gameplay here, and the fact that every round changes makes each time you play unique and interesting. The traits, both positive and negative, add so much to the gameplay, which can be anything from having IBS and farting frequently to something debilitating like Clumsy where you break everything you touch. This mechanic adds so much entertainment and value to Rogue Legacy 2 that it is impossible to not want to continue playing.
This is absolutely the best indie game to release on the Nintendo Switch this year. It looks great, plays great, and sounds great, and on top of all of that, it takes everything the first game did and makes it even better! There are even too many quality-of-life improvements to cover, but let me just assure you, this is an absolute must-have on the Nintendo Switch. Do not miss out on this one. It would be Game of the Year 2022 if it weren’t for the next couple games.
1st Runner-Up: Bayonetta 3
It breaks my heart that Bayonetta 3 did not win our coveted Game of the Year award. I wanted so badly to mess with our voting system to bump this up, but I have to respect myself and my team and accept that this did not win. Despite that, Bayonetta 3 is the absolute best entry in the series, and this is an action masterpiece in every way. Bayonetta has never looks or controlled better, and the addition of kaiju battles only elevates the action even higher.
Since this is the closure to the original Bayonetta storyline, there is a whole lot happening here, and the introduction to the multiverse brings a slew of Bayonettas to the table, which only makes things both better and more entertaining. Each new area provides some excellent backdrop while introducing a new Bayonetta from the multiverse, and watching our favorite witch tag team with herself is pure bliss. Every single chapter, including the fantastic Jeanne ones, is compelling, fun, challenging, and hilarious, and there is no better way to close this chapter than how the game ends. Absolute perfection.
Switch owners are spoiled by the fact that you can own all three Bayonetta games on the hybrid console right now. This is one of the highest rated trilogies in gaming history, so owning all three games on one console is an honor. It is awesome that Nintendo and Platinum are continuing the series with Bayonetta Origins, but I am still sad Bayonetta 3 didn’t win our Game of the Year 2022. But I honestly cannot complain about the winner, because it is also brilliant.
Game of the Year 2022
And the winner of our third annual Nintendo Link Game of the Year is…
Kirby and the Forgotten Land
Kirby and the Forgotten Land released back on March 10th of this year, so it is easy to have forgotten about this excellent entry after the releases of Nintendo Switch Sports, Splatoon 3, Bayonetta 3, and so much more. 2022 was jam-packed with fantastic Switch releases, but it would be criminal not to recognize the brilliance that is Kirby and the Forgotten Land.
This is the greatest Kirby game to date, without question, and that is no offense to the series. Kirby has been around for ages and has dozens and dozens of entries under its belt, but Kirby and the Forgotten Land stepped away from the standard formula of the mainline games and created something truly magical. Kirby works so perfectly in 3D that I cannot find myself wanting a new 2D Kirby game ever again. There is just so much to love about this title, from the brilliant soundtrack, to the addictive gameplay, to the wonderfully challenging bosses, to the excellent addition of MOUTHFUL MODE, where Kirby inhales giant objects like cars and vending machines and exhibiting their properties.
As I said in my review earlier this year, “Kirby and the Forgotten Land is an absolute blast and truly one of the best games on the Nintendo Switch! I cannot recall a time I enjoyed a Kirby game this much, but everything HAL Laboratory put into this one is a home run.” Kirby and the Forgotten Land is not just one of the best games on the Nintendo Switch, it is not just a winner for Best Family Game at The Game Awards, it is simply the best of 2022.
For these reasons and so much more, Kirby and the Forgotten Land is Nintendo Link’s Game of the Year 2022. The pink puffball’s best game yet, and we only hope for more like it.
Thank you to all of the developers and publishers who helped to make 2022 a truly special year for gaming. Without you all and the insanely hard work you put into your games, we would not have been so overwhelmed with fantastic titles this year! It is with a sincere heart that I send my thanks, wish you luck moving forward, and hope that 2023 is even better than this year.
And thank you to our fans for supporting us as we continue to grow Nintendo Link. You all are awesome, and I promise you that 2023 is going to be another huge year for us! Look forward to that.
Thank you for stopping by Nintendo Link for our Game of the Year 2022 article! What did you think of the format? How about our choices? Do you agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments below! And as always, happy gaming, everyone.
What's Your Reaction?
My name is Jason Capp. I am a husband, father, son, and brother, and I am a gamer, a writer, and a wannabe pro wrestler. It is hard to erase the smile on this simple man.