7 Aesthetic Games for the Nintendo Switch That You Can Play Undocked
By Amber Stefanson | Dec 5, 2022
It’s no secret that the Nintendo Switch looks much better docked than in handheld mode. Both the original Switch and the newer OLED Switch feature 1080p when they’re docked. Undocked, they have a lower resolution of 720p. Those who don’t want to sacrifice graphics quality when they play handheld games will enjoy the beautiful-but-gentle graphics of these stylized picks.
Note: All gameplay pictures are taken in 720p resolution to give you an accurate idea of how they hold up in handheld mode.
1. Old Man’s Journey
(Image Credit: Broken Rules)
As its title suggests, in this game you follow an old man on a long trek. Help him scale mountains by changing the landscape to eliminate obstacles in this peaceful puzzle game. Although the early stages feel like a point-and-click adventure, later scenes become increasingly difficult to solve.
Once you’ve completed an area, you learn more about the old man through a series of montages with themes of regret and redemption. With its meditative music and painterly, but non-demanding graphics, this game is a great choice to take on the go.
2. Untitled Goose Game
(Image Credit: House House)
Don’t let the Corporate Memphis art style throw you off. Untitled Goose Game is full of soul and impish delight. You play as a mischievous goose who wreaks havoc on a peaceful neighborhood. Steal your neighbors’ belongings right from under their noses and hide them in the lake. Untie their shoelaces and watch them fall as they try to chase you away. Honk at them from unseen corners and scare the living daylights out of them. It’s the perfect game to play from your backyard when your real-life neighbors are getting on your nerves.
There’s a checklist of pranks to pull on each neighbor before you can move on to the next level, and some are a real challenge to set up. Luckily, you can team up with a friend and figure out how to pull off each prank in two-player mode.
(Image Credit: Devolver Digital)
The serene, misty art style of Gris will make you feel like you’re walking through a watercolor painting. This peaceful platformer features geometric landscapes and abstract, ruined architecture. You play as a young woman working through her grief after an undisclosed tragedy. In a pit of despair, her world loses all color — and as a result, the first few levels are in black and white. As you complete areas by solving puzzles and collecting wisps, you regain colors one by one.
A popular theory is that each color represents a different stage of grief. However, this game is rife with visual metaphors that leave a lot up to interpretation. This makes Gris the perfect game to settle down with on a lonely night. You’ll lose yourself instantly in the vibrant-yet-melancholic atmosphere.
4. OlliOlli World
(Image Credit: Roll7)
OlliOlli World is a delightful take on classic skateboarding games. Its charming pastel color palette and simple linework add an adorable flare to a previously grungy genre. You can customize your character with items that you earn as you play the game — but don’t worry: once you buy the game, everything in it is completely free with no in-game currency.
The best part about OlliOlli World is how easily it scales to your preferred difficulty. You can take it easy and glide through levels on the main storyline, or you can challenge yourself to beat the “local legends”, who are NPCs whose scores set the bronze, silver, and gold-tier benchmarks. You can even put your skills to the test by competing with other players in online tournaments. To get the highest score, you’ll need to hold down your bumpers while doing some borderline-acrobatic moves with your thumbs. Seriously: you’ll want an ergonomic controller for this game to avoid cramping up during these intense tournaments.
5. Kentucky Route Zero
(Image Credit: Cardboard Computer)
Kentucky Route Zero is easily the most cinematic game on this list. Its moody, geometric art style is complemented by its tragic narrative arc for an overall immersive storytelling experience. The plot follows a deliveryman and the people he meets as he makes a delivery along a mysterious, secret highway. You guide him along his trip and interact with the environment through a mix of dialogue and internal narration.
This game is a point-and-click style adventure without any traditional puzzles, so it plays more like a graphic novel than other games on this list. This makes it a great pick for anyone who prefers a more thought-provoking and poetic gaming experience.
(Image Credit: Stovetop, LLC; Stage Clear Studios)
Snakeybus is a spiritual successor to the arcade game, Snake. You play as an unstoppable bus that grows longer and faster as you drop people off at their destinations. After only a few drop-offs, you’ll become a tangle of bus segments flying through the wreckage of street lamps and bus stands that you’ve knocked over. It’s game over when you crash into a building (or yourself) and can’t keep moving.
The chaos of this arcade game is balanced by its soundtrack of relaxing lo-fi hip-hop, and the graphics play nicely in handheld mode. The textures and colors are extremely atmospheric, but the scenes are simple and easy to load. Pictured above is the Seattle-inspired map, but there are many other locations that invite different styles of gameplay.
7. What the Golf?
(Image Credit: Triband)
If the clean, minimalist art style of What the Golf? doesn’t win you over, the absurdity will. This chaotic puzzle game pushes the boundary of what can be considered “golf”. In fact, the developers at Triband call it the golfing game for people who hate golf.
It features smooth-but-silly physics and hundreds of creative, irreverent levels. Since this game has no core storyline, it’s easy to pick up for short gaming sessions. For this reason, we recommend What the Golf? for commuting and travel. These golf-adjacent antics are sure to fill any amount of time with complete amusement.
NexiGo Controllers to Set the Right Vibe
Now that you have some new games to add to your wishlist, you’ll need some new controllers that are equally as eye-catching. Consider these teal and turquoise NexiGo Joypads designed after the pastel-colored islands in Animal Crossing. If pastels aren’t your thing, check out the customizable RGB-lit cracked lava design on our larger ergonomic Joypads.