Nindie Nexus Game of the Year 2018

2018 has been a fantastic year for the Switch and Nindie games played no small part in that. In the year Nindie Nexus formed we have reviewed hundreds of Nindie games. The first review, in fact, was published February 14th, Stardew Valley the game of choice! As is tradition though, we must put on our decision making glasses and elect our favourite game of the year. This year we saw Hollow Knight, Dead Cells, Celeste and a whole heap of superb titles hit the Switch, but which was chosen as OUR number one?! Our internal poll covered over 20 games amongst the murmuring but today we break it down into a top 3 list. Our choices for the best the Nindie scene offered the Nintendo Switch in 2018.

– Dead Cells –

A clear third place in our staff polls, Dead Cells defines what a ‘roguevania’ is and will always be. With the best 2D combat I have ever seen, and a massive collection of weapons and secrets to unlock, Dead Cells provides volumes of content. It arrived in August and has remained a mainstay in many of our teams Switch menu screens, including mine! Gorgeous visuals, a lovely soundtrack and addictive gameplay make Dead Cells well worth the accolades it has received. Thus, we are delighted to include it in our final three list. Welcome to Nindie royalty!

– Hollow Knight –

Now I know Hollow Knight came out in 2017, but it released on Switch in 2018, so it counts! Hollow Knight is a modern classic in the Metroidvania genre, achieving superb success for such a low price! Its hardcore gameplay is not for everyone, I for one struggled a lot at times, but it is an extremely polished title and plays incredibly well on Switch. The real highlight of Hollow Knight is the fun but oh so rage-inducing boss fights. There are so many, most being optional, but the majority are phenomenally well balanced. With a giant 2D world to explore, a whole load of charms to unlock, and so much more, Hollow Knight is one of my go-to Switch Nindies. It is one of the only games I have genuinely enjoyed being lost in. 2nd place is well earned for sure.

– Celeste –

It took a series of votes to produce this outcome, but here it is. Who would have thought that this platformer released in January would take the world by storm? Celeste represented the Nindie stage in many a best game of the year list, even the official Game Awards. And it deserves this praise. When a Nindie manages to find itself in Game of the Year categories alongside titles like God of War and Red Dead 2, it might be something a little bit special.

Some call it a game which is nothing more than a ‘hard platformer’. What these people fail to see is the story it tells the player. One of personal doubt, mental health and the pressures of modern society, its 2D retro pallet truly deceives. Celeste stands out because it managed to tell a bloody good story, mix it with insanely fun gameplay, and it still makes sense.


Congratulations to Celeste, but also to Hollow Knight and Dead Cells. In fact, to every single Nindie which made our staff and our readers smile this year. Thank you. Thanks for making gaming fun, for innovating, for going against the norm. Thanks for giving us the most unique experiences, free from the modern day landscape, you are the people who develop some of our favourite games now. 2018 has been the best year yet for Nindies, and we are so excited to go into 2019 and explore even more.