The Switch is a fantastic console for local multiplayer. It comes with two controllers right off the bat, and when removed from the dock, it is easy to set up the kickstand and detach the Joy-Con to play with a friend. Provided, of course, you have games. One of the Switch eShop’s problems is an immense amount of apparent shovelware stinking up the ranks. Sifting through the Switch eShop catalog can be very, very challenging.
Have no fear. While we wait for Super Mario Party, Super Smash Brothers Ultimate, and Towerfall: Ascension to make it over, a strong ensemble has already emerged. Several great local multiplayer games are hidden around the Switch eShop, and I have made it my mission to find them all. After hunting down and playing a ton of these games, I affirm that the titles in this list stand tall amongst the rest. My friends agree, too–we have several hours logged in most of the games here, with the only exceptions being more recent releases. While these budget titles do not all have the same depth as games like Mario Kart, they all stand strong on their own and are especially wonderful to play one after another. With that all said, let’s begin.
Probably the most unknown game on this list, Little Triangle released on the Switch eShop back in March of this year. The game is a strong platformer with an incredibly smooth multiplayer mode inspired by Duck Game. There are plenty of stages, weapons, and power-ups to keep things entertaining. Gameplay is extremely fast-paced–like Duck Game and Towerfall, it only takes one hit to earn a kill. However, Little Triangle is able to differentiate itself from the aforementioned party fighters in a few ways. First, platforming is much more important. Aside from being a weapon, (You can kill a player by landing a jump or double jump on their heads.) many stages are quite large with tricky jumps to nail in the heat of battle. Second, rounds are not just quick bursts where each player has only one life. Instead, each player enters the battle with ten lives. Matches still go by very quickly, but the deeper life pool enables longer, tense matches that come right down to the wire. If you want to know more about Little Triangle, check out our review here.
Astro Bears Party
Frequently on sale for a dollar, but normally five, Astro Bears Party is a lot more fun than other Switch eShop games in a similar price range. Absurdly simple but insanely competitive, Astro Bears Party is essentially “3D Snake” for up to four players. After selecting one of four bears, each with different attributes, your goal is to outlast everyone else on the spherical playing field. To do that, you have to avoid running into other bears and their colorful trails. Many rounds come to intense finishes with narrow misses, precision jumps, and lethal dashes used to edge out the competition.
With a free content update (more bears and modes!) coming out sometime in 2018, Astro Bears Party looks to offer some insane value for a frequently marked-down price. As is, it is already excellent fun.
A recent release by publisher Qubic Games, One Strike is an incredibly simple but satisfying fighting game. Like the title says, one strike is all it takes to win a round. You can strafe, dash forward and backward, block, and attack. That’s it. Despite the simplicity, One Strike is very, very fun. The game is fairly priced too at just $5 (marked down to $2.50 if you own Astro Bears Party, from the same publisher). Longer rounds involve a heart-pounding flurry of striking and blocking as you desperately attempt to find a gap in your opponent’s defense before they find one in yours. Go ahead and see how tense it gets in match five of a best-two-out-of-three. You probably will not play very many super long sessions of One Strike, but you will certainly have a great time here in quick bouts or between sessions of other multiplayer games.
Astro Duel Deluxe
Astro Duel Deluxe may be a mobile port, but it was handled with care, bringing new modes and gameplay that take advantage of Switch hardware. This is pretty much multiplayer Asteroids littered with power-ups, stage hazards, and a wicked soundtrack. The $15 asking price is a bit steep, but the title is well worth it when on sale. The Pilot Hunters mode is especially fun, where a player is not out until you shoot down their ship and then their ejected pilot. Take too long, and a new ship will regenerate around the pilot and allow them to rejoin the fight. Up to six players can duke it out as teams or in a free-for-all. One life per round, first to a set number of kills wins. Astro Duel Deluxe has a lot going for it, and it’s a game that my friends have asked to play time and time again.
Hypersect put out something special with INVERSUS. A speedy and stylish territorial shooter on a two-dimensional plane, INVERSUS is a unique game with lots of room for strategies and incredible stand-offs across its wealth of intricate stages. Firing a shot can either kill a player or change opposing territory into your own. Using strategic shooting, you can block off any chance of escape and take an easy shot at your adversary. You can face off one-on-one or you can try teams of two–both work well and have tons of stages. You can also keep things fresh with unlockable emotes and color schemes that keep the game aesthetically fresh. The only title on this list to feature online multiplayer, INVERSUS is still at its best when facing off locally against friends in one match after another.
Bonus: Soccer on Desk
If you have access to the Japanese Switch eShop and are interested in an arcade soccer game, you should check out Soccer on Desk (Tsukue de Sakkaa). While the similar art styles make this look like a knockoff of more-renowned developer Atooi’s Soccer Slammers, Soccer on Desk ends up being the more enjoyable title. Compared to Soccer Slammers, Soccer on Desk has several quirky and colorful stages, 11-on-11 matches, and way more strategy while maintaining fun and simplified gameplay. As far as World Cup cash-in arcade soccer titles go, Soccer on Desk is about as good as it gets. Soccer on Desk also has a demo on the Japanese Switch eShop if you would like to give it a try.
There you have it. These games are all great additions to the Switch eShop, and if you are looking for something to play with your friends, I wholeheartedly recommend one of these. If you have your own thoughts on these games, or if you have entirely different suggestions, then feel free to leave us a comment.