Between hit games like Metroid Dread and the introduction of the Nintendo Switch OLED, 2021 was an exciting year for the Nintendo Switch. However, 2022 has the potential to be even better for Nintendo’s hybrid handheld. That’s because we’ll finally get our hands on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2. We don’t know exactly when it will come out, but we do know that it will be sometime between January and December, and we’ll be eagerly awaiting it until then.
Still, even if you put aside Breath of the Wild 2 (which you should not do), 2022 still looks like a promising year for the Switch. We’re getting long-awaited entries in the Bayonetta and Splatoon series, as well as an unexpected Mario sequel and a Pokémon spinoff that could take the series in some interesting new directions. Read on to learn more about our most anticipated Switch games for 2022.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus (January 28, 2022)
Pokémon Legends: Arceus looks like a new spin on a well-worn old franchise. Instead of a top-down, turn-based RPG, Legends: Arceus casts you as a Pokémon trainer in a full 3D world with real-time combat. Instead of separate battle screens, Legends: Arceus lets you confront wild Pokémon wherever you find them — and some of them may even want to attack you, rather than your Pokémon proxies. Legends: Arceus also winds the clock back, with different appearances and types for some well-established Pokémon, as well as steampunk-style Pokéballs and other technology.
If you played Pokémon Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl and thought that the remakes played it a little too safe, Legends: Arceus seems like the kind of game that might reinvigorate your interest in the series.
Bayonetta 3 (2022)
Nintendo announced Bayonetta 3 with a brief teaser way back in 2017, then went mostly silent until a Nintendo Direct earlier this year. We finally saw some gameplay from the highly anticipated sequel, and it looks like what Bayonetta fans have been waiting for. In the Bayonetta 3 gameplay trailer, the titular witch shoots and pummels demons, all while posing and dancing provocatively. She fights giant monsters with her hair; she spouts cheeky one-liners; she slows down time with her supernatural powers. While we don’t know exactly when Bayonetta 3 will come out, developer Platinum Games has pegged 2022 as a tentative release date, so we’ll have to wait and see. We’re also excited to see which classic song will get updated into a pop ballad battle theme this time.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 (2022)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 isn’t just our most anticipated Switch game for 2022; it’s arguably our most anticipated game for 2022, period. The original Breath of the Wild was a triumph, recapturing the spirit of the original Legend of Zelda on NES with a huge open world, lots of secrets to uncover and very little hand-holding. Breath of the Wild 2 looks like a direct sequel, with the same Link and Zelda continuing the story they started back in 2017. This time around, it looks like Link will also be exploring temples in the sky, which could further cement the tantalizing connections between Breath of the Wild and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. The game will be out in 2022, and we’ll be ready the moment it does.
Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope (2022)
I have been exhorting people to play Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle ever since it debuted in 2017, and I imagine I will keep exhorting them until the Switch finally gives way to the Nintendo Switch Pro, or whatever comes next. This delightful turn-based strategy game stars Mario and friends, as well as the Raving Rabbids, who team up to stop an interdimensional invasion of the Mushroom Kingdom.
Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope looks like it will continue that journey, except this time, in space. We haven’t seen a ton of gameplay yet, but we know that Sparks of Hope will let you recruit nine playable characters, solve environmental puzzles and engage in tactical battles all around the galaxy. It’ll be out in 2022, although we don’t know exactly when.
Splatoon 3 (2022)
The first two Splatoon games demonstrated that Nintendo could make a splash (literally and figuratively) on the competitive multiplayer scene, no violence required. Rather than a violent shooter, Splatoon is more like a fantastical sports game. You play as an Inkling: a kid/squid hybrid, who can swim through rivers of paint. The goal is to cover a battlefield in your team’s paint color.
We don’t know a ton about Splatoon 3 yet, but we know that it will have competitive online multiplayer, as well as a hub city called Splatsville for its single-player campaign. Players will be able to equip new weapons, such as the Ink Bow. The game is due out sometime in 2022, and we imagine we’ll get another, more comprehensive trailer before that happens.
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Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.