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The 20 coolest games under $20 you can get for the Nintendo Switch

Whether you like RPGs or platformers, action games or farming sims, there's one universal truth that we must all acknowledge: everyone loves a good deal. When it comes to loading up on new games, it's always exciting to find something for a decent price, especially if it's something that will entertain us for hours on end.

With that in mind, this list has been assembled for the Nintendo Switch player who is on a budget, but who also still has an eye for quality. Some of these are well known, while a few may be hidden gems that you may have missed when they first came out. There are a surprising number of fantastic games available for the Nintendo Switch that fall under the $20 mark, and there's something fun for just about anybody.

Celeste

Celeste is a seemingly simple platformer that starts players off with the most basic of challenges and the simplest of move-sets: jump from here to there. As the game progresses, the challenges become tougher and you will have to rely on your instincts and reflexes to guide your protagonist, a young girl named Madeline, to the top of Celeste Mountain. 

Over the course of Madeline's journey, you will learn more about her past and why she's making this dangerous trek, in a story that IGN remarked is "seamlessly and thoughtfully blended into the level design using both subtle themes and overt conversations." Celeste is fun, challenging, as surprisingly effective on an emotional level. The controls are simple enough that just about anyone can pick up and play, while getting killed respawns Madeline at a nearby checkpoint, allowing you to continue her journey at your leisure.

Katana Zero

Katana Zero is a stylish action-platformer with some really cool retro design elements. The biggest draw here, beyond the throwback graphics and neon-drenched level designs, is the combat system, which is surprisingly deep. Taking notes from 2D classics like StriderKatana Zero allows you to dodge incoming attacks, while the game's time-slowing mechanics allow you to deflect bullets back at your enemies.

The game also offers some fun dialogue options with NPCs. Letting NPCs finish their sentences will open up new dialogue options and allow you to learn more about the world of the game, while cutting them off can either lose you a solid piece of information or prompt them to attack you, leading to an unexpected confrontation. These fun little wrinkles keep Katana Zero from being just another side-scrolling action game.

Cuphead

For the few who may not be familiar with Cuphead, don't let the adorable (and impressive) handdrawn graphics fool you: Cuphead can be gruelingly difficult. It's gameplay and visuals occasionally feel like what would have happened if a young Walt Disney had decided to make an arcade shooter. This game is seriously beautiful, with a visual style that references cartoons from the 1930s and a plot that sees the lovable Cuphead and his brother Mugman doing battle with the Devil himself.

If you missed Cuphead during its original release but want to take it for a spin on the Nintendo Switch, then you're in luck, as the port for the Switch reportedly boasts faster load times than previous versions, while still maintaining the solid gameplay and smooth animation that made it a hit.

Hollow Knight

What else can be said about Hollow Knight that hasn't already been said? It's one of the best Metroidvania games in years, with a fun art style and deeply rewarding combat and exploration. The Nintendo Switch release includes all of the bonus content packs that have been released for the game, meaning even more enemies and new caverns to battle your way through. 

As IGN said in their review, Hollow Knight is "an unashamedly challenging game that does a great job of silently teaching you how to play." Meanwhile, the game's non-linear style of progression means you'll spend hours discovering all the game's hidden pathways and fun secrets (of which there are plenty). If you've played Hollow Knight on another platform, you should still grab it on the Switch for the bonus content. If you're new to this world, then there's never been a better time to start exploring.

Rocket League

It's rocket cars playing soccer! What else could you possibly need to know? Okay, okay, fine: Rocket League is a super easy-to-play and incredibly fun mix of arcade sports gameplay and vehicular combat, complete with flashy cars and throngs of screaming virtual fans in the stadiums. The game has had a lot of updates since it first launched, including various new Mutators, which are settings that be manipulated in various ways to make your game as structured (or chaotic) as you'd prefer. Want your ball to bounce like it's on the surface of the moon? There's a Mutator for that.

The Switch version is a neat experience, with IGN reporting, "In handheld mode it's incredibly cool to be able to play Rocket League no matter where you are." In other words, the multiplayer for Rocket League was already a blast, but now it's wonderfully portable.

Stardew Valley

At first glance, Stardew Valley appears to be just another Harvest Moon clone. While the game owes quite a lot to that touchstone of the farming-RPG subgenre, it's the unique ways in which Stardew Valley presents its story and the people within it that sets it apart from its brethren. 

While the farming and maintaining of said farm is the main focus of the game, you'll also be able to meet the townsfolk that live nearby, all of whom have secrets and foibles of their own. Aside from listening to their problems and occasionally helping them out with tasks, you can even find romance in the world of Stardew Valley. It's a pleasant and undemanding game with a few extra layers of pathos for the folks who take the time to learn more of its secrets.

Oxenfree

Oxenfree is a beautifully immersive narrative experience, its plot a mixture of a ghost story and classic coming-of-age worries and ideas. While the mechanic of being able to use a radio to communicate with spirits is already interesting enough, it's the story and character interactions that are the true draw to this game, as every character feels like a completely realized person. The sort of graphic novel visual style further pulls you into the narrative as you begin to work through a mystery that has built over years and years.

"The Nintendo Switch version of Oxenfree might be the very best way to play," said IGN. "There's also both controller and touch-screen support, and Point-and-click adventure games feel great when you can actually…well…point and click on things."

The Flame in the Flood: Complete Edition

If survival games are more your deal, then you may want to check out The Flame in the Flood: Complete Edition. This game puts you in the shoes of a young woman who has been stranded in the wild following a natural disaster. Now she must make her way down a river with her dog in tow. The river is procedurally generated, which means that you'll have a different experience and new challenges every time you play. 

The game doesn't exactly hold your hand and allows you to discover things as you go, which may cause "some learning pains," as noted in GameSpace's positive review. Still, the intricate crafting system and the fantastic soundtrack by Chuck Ragan should more than keep you invested.

Mighty Gunvolt Burst

Okay, so Mighty No. 9 wasn't the end-all, be-all return to the glory days of Mega Man-style action we all hoped for. Still, that doesn't mean you shouldn't give its highly enjoyable spinoff, Mighty Gunvolt Bursta spin. The two games have quite a bit in common with the original Mega Man games, but Mighty Gunvolt Burst has some added features that give this game quite a bit of replay value.

Mighty Gunvolt Burst has a really neat mechanic where you can customize your ammunition using different upgrades and unlockables, taking things another step beyond the usual "kill a boss and take their gun" formula. This essentially guarantees that you'll want to play again to try different combinations of power-ups. It also somewhat redeems the cooler aspects of Mighty No. 9, featuring new takes on some of the stages from that game. 

Super Meat Boy

Super Meat Boy is a mean game. This wacky and violent platformer is oftentimes difficult to the point of absurdity, but that's somehow part of its manic charm. Most of the levels (of which there are over 300) consist of a single screen, in which precision jumps are required to avoid the various buzz saws and other implements of death that have been placed in the way of our hero, Meat Boy, as he tries to rescue his girlfriend from an evil fetus. If you haven't guessed, this game has a twisted sense of humor, one that it enjoys flaunting every step of the way. 

For gamers who have already enjoyed SMB on other platforms, the Switch version has the added incentive of including the new split-screen Race Mode, in which two players can compete to see who can finish the dangerous levels fastest.

Enter the Gungeon

Enter the Gungeon is a fantastically frantic mix of classic dungeon-crawling and straight-up arcade bullet hell combat. As you work your way through different creepy castles and fortresses, you'll find yourself dodging all manner of gunfire, laser weapons, and deadly traps. It's even more fun in co-op, with the screen occasionally being almost overrun by discharging weapons on all sides. There's even a weapon that shoots bees, just in case you were worried this was a serious game with the word "Gungeon" in the title.

The Switch version also offers more of a forgiving curve to the gameplay, as noted by Kotaku in their review. Fallen enemies now yield more money for challengers of the Gungeon, which makes purchasing upgrades and new weaponry more doable than ever.

Octodad: Dadliest Catch

Octodad: Dadliest Catch feels like a game that must have been made on a dare. It's premise, helping an octopus posing as a normal suburban dad get through his days without alerting bystanders to his true nature, is absolutely absurd. Luckily for us, Octodad follows up that premise with some hilarious and addictive gameplay. 

Thanks to the game's ragdoll physics, guiding the titular character through such mundane chores as working in the yard and shopping for groceries becomes a total blast. You'll really have to concentrate as you steady the floppy fellow and put his suckers to work on the task at hand. The Nintendo Switch version also comes with the Octodad Shorts, a pair of hilarious DLC missions that see Octodad on a first date and dealing with the pressures of working at a hospital.

Thimbleweed Park

There's something sweet and comfortably familiar about Thimbleweed Park. If you're a child of the '80s or '90s who grew up with point-and-click adventure games in the vein of LucasArts' Maniac Mansion or The Secret of Monkey Island, then Thimbleweed Park — which was co-designed by former LucasArts maestros Gary Winnick and Ron Gilbert — will feel like going home again.

The story is one of small town weirdness, with an overall vibe described by Nintendo Life as "Twin Peaks-meets-The X-Files aesthetic and atmosphere." The story takes some surprising twists and turns as you get to know the locals and, of course, solve tons of puzzles. Don't worry about getting too stumped by the puzzles, though. If you ever find yourself stuck, the game's "HintTron 3000" system will point you in the right direction and you can continue on with the fantastic narrative of the game.

Night in the Woods

Night in the Woods is another well-written and beautifully designed adventure game. Unlike many other games of its genre, however, this one is focused on very human feelings of aimlessness and trying to figure out your place in the big wide world; it just so happens to also feature cute cartoon animals as its characters. 

As the game goes on, you participate in occasional minigames and learn more about the past of Mae, the lead character, as well as her relationships with the people in her hometown. As you guide her though her day-to-day life, here's a bit of repetition to the way the game is structured. However, much of that is by design, as the game's story unfolds with a sense of "understated worldbuilding," as GameSpot's review put it. By the time the game is over, you'll have grown to love Mae and her weird friends.

Sonic Mania

If your love affair with the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise ended with the Sega Genesis, then Sonic Mania is tailor-made for you. In the game that Kotaku called "a celebration, a digitized block party of blistering speeds and bright worlds," players will guide Sonic and his pals through several Zones, some of which are brand new. Others, like Green Hill Zone and Flying Battery Zone, are revamped stages from classic Sonic adventures. 

Even the boss battles get heavily into the nostalgia game, with one of the fights against Dr. Eggman playing out like a match from Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine. It's this kind of dedication to celebrating the early days of Sonic the Hedgehog, even the more obscure parts, that makes Sonic Mania a nostalgia trip that every '90s kid needs.

Guacamelee! 2

While the first game in this series is fantastic, Guacamelee! 2 tops it in almost every way. It even considers newcomers to the story, as this game opens with the massive final boss battle from the first game. Afterwards, it jumps forward in time to tell a hilarious and occasionally very sweet story of family and duty, not to mention plenty of luchador butt-kicking.

The game plays like an unholy mix of classic beat-em-ups and Metroidvania exploration. It also features many more enemies and even bigger boss battles than the original Guacamelee! Fans of the first game won't be disappointed, while newcomers will be delighted to discover the joys of turning into a fighting chicken and absolutely wrecking a room full of reanimated skeletons. Name another game that'll let you do that; we'll wait.

Furi

Furi is an odd little action title that essentially plays like a series of boss battles. A game where you battle intimidating enemies one-on-one, dodging and slashing away, boasting cel-shaded graphics and music by electronic acts like Carpenter Brüt, Furi kind of comes across like if Sekiro were made in the '80s

Combining grueling combat and difficulty with a bare-bones plot and an awesome score, Furi kind of throws everything into the pot to make one hard-to-put-down confection. As Wired put it, Furi is "built for enthusiasts down to the last rivet." The Nintendo Switch's port of Furi also includes a new boss that wasn't present in the other versions of the game, meaning this is a good time to pick up your electric sword and deal some death.

GoNNER

GoNNER is a deceptively cute action-platformer that drops you into a colorful, explosive world and occasionally sets you against a zillion enemies at once. Of the game's mixed genres, PocketGamer said, "Developer Art in Heart has simply spliced together features from the best roguelikes and 2D platformers to create the ultimate package." In other words, just because there's nothing particularly new here, it doesn't mean that GoNNER doesn't offer a heck of a good time, as well as a challenge.

The game's layout and enemy selection is procedurally generated, which not only means you'll have a different experience every time, but that one play through may also be more hardcore than the time before, so don't give up or chuck your controller. The more you play and learn the game's rhythms and your enemies strategies, the better at it you'll become. 

Okami HD

If you somehow missed out on playing the gorgeous and innovative Okami when it was originally released back in 2006, then you owe it to yourself to pick up this remaster that perfectly integrates the handheld nature of the Nintendo Switch. This beautiful cel-shaded adventure incorporates the act of painting as a gameplay mechanic, with players using the game's Celestial Brush to solve puzzles and combat enemies, drawing symbols on the screen to create and cast different magical spells.

Luckily for newcomers and longtime fans of this game, the unique painting mechanics are more of a joy than ever to play on the Nintendo Switch. GamesRadar's review of Okami HD made mention of how much more intuitive the game felt on its new platform: "Playing Okami in handheld mode… It's seamless. Utterly seamless perfection"

Wizard of Legend

If you're looking for a throwback thrill, then this may be the magical adventure you're looking for. Wizard of Legend feels like a relic in all the right ways. Its graphics resemble an old-school PC game, while its dungeon crawling will likely feel pleasantly familiar to anyone who has spent hours grinding through the castles and caves of the Legend of Zelda series, complete with the requisite bosses in each dungeon. 

The dungeons are different every time you play, and in-depth combat and magic-casting systems keep the gameplay fresh, which CGMagazine called "the main draw of Wizard of Legend, with dozens of arcana spells to collect, rearrange, level up, and tweak, and really give the game longevity and a reason to come back."