Nintendo's lineup of independent games for the Switch is full of welcome surprises - including a 'Stranger Things' game

cuphead promo_casino_no_bgCuphead"Cuphead" is one of the most popular indie games of the last five years, and it's coming to the Nintendo Switch next month.Cuphead

  • Nintendo recently announced nearly 20 independent games coming to the Nintendo Switch later this year.
  • "Cuphead," "Stranger Things 3," and an unexpected music game based on "The Legend of Zelda" lead an interesting list of upcoming releases.
  • The Switch has become a popular console for indie developers thanks to its portability and large user base.

Nintendo has bolstered the lineup of the Switch with a healthy slate of indie games in its first two years, and independent developers are finding new opportunities with the portable hybrid console.

During a special "Nindies" presentation on Wednesday, Nintendo showed off more than a dozen upcoming indie titles for the Switch, including a new "Legend of Zelda" spinoff and a tie-in to the next season of Netflix's "Stranger Things."  The Switch will also welcome some high profile indie ports from other platforms, like Studio MDHR's "Cuphead" and Vlambeer's "Nuclear Throne."

A 25-minute presentation broadcast on Wednesday featured footage from nearly 20 upcoming indie games.

"Top indie developers look to Nintendo Switch to showcase their games to a broad audience," Steve Singer, Nintendo of America VP of publisher and developer relations, said in a statement. "The diversity of indie content we discussed today demonstrates how Nintendo Switch players can find quality indie games of nearly any type."

Here's the full breakdown of the indie titles coming to the Nintendo Switch this year.

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"Cuphead" (Studio MDHR)

"Cuphead" (Studio MDHR)

Studio MDHR is bringing its run-and-gun action game to the Switch. Inspired by the cartoons of the 1930s, "Cuphead" features hand-drawn cell animation and an incredible jazz-inspired soundtrack. The game launches on Nintendo Switch on April 18.

"Cadence of Hyrule - Crypt of the NecroDancer Featuring the Legend of Zelda" (Brace Yourself Games)

"Cadence of Hyrule - Crypt of the NecroDancer Featuring the Legend of Zelda" (Brace Yourself Games)

"Cadence of Hyrule" is a "Legend of Zelda" spin-off based on the indie hit "Crypt of the Necro Dancer. Playing as Link or Princess Zelda in a rhythm-based adventure, players will explore a randomly generated overworld and dungeons on a quest to save Hyrule, and every beat of the 25 remixed Legend of Zelda tunes is a chance to move, attack, defend and more. The game is scheduled to launch this spring.

"Stranger Things 3: The Game"

"Stranger Things 3: The Game"

Playthrough the events of the upcoming "Stranger Things 3" to get a deeper look at the story in this retro-style adventure game from BonusXP. Players can explore Hawkins, solve puzzles, and team up with a friend in local co-op to battle the monsters of The Upside Down as one of 12 playable characters from the hit original series. The game launches on Nintendo Switch on July 4, the same day the third season debuts on Netflix.

"Overland" (Finji)

"Overland" (Finji)

In this turn-based survival game created by Finji, players take control of a group of travelers on a post-apocalyptic road trip across the United States. You'll fight off scary creatures, rescue stranded survivors and scavenge for supplies like fuel, first aid kits and weapons. Every choice will come with consequences. "Overland" is due out later this fall.

"My Friend Pedro" (Deadtoast)

"My Friend Pedro" (Deadtoast)

"My Friend Pedro" is a ridiculous run and gun shooter from Devolver Digital and Deadtoast. Players let loose a wave of destruction on every level, twisting their body and both hands in slow-motion to avoid enemy fire and line up the perfect shot. The game will launch on Switch and PC in June.

"Neo Cab" (Fellow Traveller and Chance Agency)

"Neo Cab" (Fellow Traveller and Chance Agency)

"Neo Cab" is an emotional survival game about staying human in a world disrupted by automation. Lina, the last human driver on the neon-drenched streets of Los Ojos, California, interacts with a diverse cast of characters with individual story arcs.

Players must balance their income, sustain a positive rating and manage their emotions, as fulfilling Lina’s job as a rideshare driver is the only way they might reunite with her best friend Savy, who’s mysteriously gone missing. The game launches on Nintendo Switch this summer.

"The Red Lantern" (Timberline Studios)

"The Red Lantern" (Timberline Studios)

"The Red Lantern" challenges players to survive the Alaskan tundra with a team of five sled dogs. The Musher becomes lost while training for the grueling Iditarod race and must fend off bears, resist frostbite, and take care of the dogs while navigating the wilderness and trying to return home. The game is coming to Nintendo Switch later this year.

"Darkwood"

"Darkwood"

"Darkwood" is a survivor horror game set in east-central Europe, in a forest possessed by unknown evil forces that corrupt all the inhabitants of the woods: people, animals and even the plants.

Players can get new powers by extracting a strange essence from mutated fauna and flora and injecting it into their bloodstream. The game aims to build atmospheric tension without the usual horror tricks of jump scares and creaking doors. "Darkwood" launches on Nintendo Switch in May.

"Katana Zero" (askiisoft)

"Katana Zero" (askiisoft)

Devolver Digital and askiisoft have created a stylish neo-noir action-platformer featuring breakneck action and instant-death combat. Players take on the role of an assassin, the Dragon, to slash, dash and manipulate time to unravel their past in a beautifully brutal acrobatic display.

Deflect gunfire back at foes, dodge oncoming attacks and manipulate enemies and environments with traps and explosives. Players can overcome the opposition however the situation requires, as each level is designed with many methods of completion in mind. "Katana Zero" launches on Nintendo Switch on April 18.

"Rad" (Double Fine Productions)

"Rad" (Double Fine Productions)

"Rad" is a 3D rogue-like action game set in a post-post-apocalyptic world. As a teenage protagonist, players must journey into the Fallow, an ever-changing, procedurally generated wasteland that holds the secrets of the past and answers for the future.

Here, radioactive toxins will randomly mutate your character, giving you powerful new abilities that challenge you to constantly adapt your play style. Using these abilities and your trusty bat, you have been tasked with saving humanity’s future by healing the world. "Rad" launches on Nintendo Switch this summer.

"Creature in the Well" (Flight School Studio)

"Creature in the Well" (Flight School Studio)

Creature in the Well is a top-down dungeon crawler inspired by pinball. Players venture deep into a desert mountain haunted by a desperate Creature and work to restore power to an ancient facility by charging energy orbs and having them bounce around to reactivate dormant machinery. It's a little bit "Legend of Zelda" and a little bit pinball.

Eventually they will uncover and upgrade powerful gear to help them save the city of Mirage from a deadly sandstorm. The game launches on Nintendo Switch this summer.

"Bloodroots" (Paper Cult)

"Bloodroots" (Paper Cult)

In "Bloodroot," Mr. Wolf is hell-bent on finding the person who betrayed him and exacting revenge. Players can choreograph spectacular, bloody combos by making use of their surroundings, with weapons ranging from hatchets and ladders to … carrots?

The game launches on Nintendo Switch this summer.

"Pine" (Kongregate)

"Pine" (Kongregate)

"Pine" offers a stirring open-world adventure with beautiful environments to explore, puzzles to solve, and secrets to discover. Players take on the role of Hue, a brave young adult who belongs to the last remaining tribe of humans on the island of Albamare.

The island’s factions trade and fight with each other over food and territory, while Hue learns about ways to influence the ecology in search for a new home for the humans. The game launches on Nintendo Switch in August.

"Super Crate Box" (Vlambeer)

"Super Crate Box"  (Vlambeer)

"Super Crate Box" brings back the glory of the arcade age with tight controls, simple-but-fun game mechanics, cracking retro art and a hip chiptune soundtrack. The Nintendo Switch version will include two-player co-operative and competitive multiplayer for even more arcade mayhem. "Super Crate Box" will arrive on the Switch in April.

"Nuclear Throne" (Vlambeer)

"Nuclear Throne" (Vlambeer)

Vlambeer’s post-apocalyptic roguelike-like top-down shooter challenges players to fight their way through the wastelands with powerful weaponry, collecting radiation to mutate new limbs and abilities. It's already a cult classic on other platforms.

"Nuclear Throne" is out now on Switch with 12 playable characters, seven playable main worlds, 30 ways to mutate characters, and more than 120 weapons.

"Blaster Master Zero II" (Inti Creates)

"Blaster Master Zero II" (Inti Creates)

In this run and gun platformer, Jason and Eve must venture into the depths of space to stop the mutant infection that’s slowly corrupting Eve’s body. Thankfully, stopping mutant outbreaks is Jason’s specialty. "Master Blaster Zero II" is out now for the Switch.

"Swimsanity" (Decoy Games)

"Swimsanity" (Decoy Games)

"Swimsanity" is a multiplayer underwater shooter with co-op and versus game modes for both online and local play

The game comes with tons of content, including more than 150 challenges spread across eight game modes. Players can toggle between classic dual-stick controls and using motion controls to aim. "Swimsanity" launches on Nintendo Switch this summer.

"UltraBugs" (Vlambeer)

"UltraBugs" (Vlambeer)

"UltraBugs," a fast-paced, high-score-centric game in which players pilot a ship to fight endless space bugs. The only problem is that those bugs then split up into more space bugs when they’re defeated. By beating boss monsters, players will unlock enemy DNA that they can use to customize their ship. "UltraBugs" is coming to Nintendo Switch later this year as a part of the Vlambeer Arcade collection.

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