The Nintendo Switch has absolutely dominated headlines this year, with gamers praising everything from the hybrid hardware itself to the system's rapidly-expanding library of must-have titles. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, our top choice for open world game of the year, has been one of the most talked-about games of this year, and not just for Nintendo systems but gaming in general. Good as it is, though, it isn't a Nintendo Switch exclusive, meaning there was really only one choice for our best Nintendo Switch exclusive of 2017.
Nintendo Switch Exclusive Game of the Year 2017: Super Mario Odyssey
If Nintendo is a company that is synonymous with game hardware, Mario is a name that's synonymous with game software. The former plumber has had more than his fair share of exciting escapades, from the depths of the Mushroom Kingdom sewers to the outer reaches of the galaxy and beyond. He's a well-traveled man, you see, and for his latest outing, he's taken to the skies and forged an all-new odyssey.
It's simply not enough to say that Super Mario Odyssey is a great game. It is, of course, but it's also a great Mario game, which takes the compliment to an all-new level. Mario and new sidekick/powerup/fashion accessory Cappy have quite literally escalated what's widely considered to be the reference point in 3D platforming design, and even though that's to be considered an especially high esteem, it still doesn't say enough. Super Mario Odyssey is a masterpiece of design, and deserves every bit of praise it's received so far. This is a game that no player should go without.
There's not much left unsaid about the glory of Splatoon 2 — put simply, it's one of the most enjoyable shooter titles on the modern market. Sure, it's not hyper-realistic, nor is it loaded with gore and gibs. It is, however, immaculately-designed and family-friendly, and it's easily one of the biggest titles on Nintendo's Switch hardware. It's such a polished and peerless game that if not for the inevitable return of Mario, Splatoon 2 surely would have taken our top spot for the best Nintendo Switch exclusive.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2
The Xeno universe is both popular and expansive, with RPG fans across the world singing the praises of its latest iteration. This isn't an adventure for the faint of heart, oh no — Xenoblade Chronicles 2 represents the best of what the series has to offer, with dozens of hours of quests, excellent music from veteran composer Yasunori Mitsuda, and peerless JRPG-styled action. It might not be everyone's cup of tea, but for those who eschew standard platforming and wrist-slinging motion controls, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a hard Switch game to beat.