Largely considered the best handheld console by gamers worldwide, the Nintendo Switch has carved out a niche of its own. Offering the portability of mobile games and the power of PCs, the Switch has given gamers access to a myriad of excellent casual games with great replay value.
Chief among these are card games. From deck-building to card-collecting and digital versions of popular card games, the Switch has seen it all. Here are some of the popular card games on the Switch and what makes them so great:
Slay the Spire
Originally released for Windows, macOS, and Linux in 2017, Slay the Spire has since seen ports across different platforms, including a release on the Nintendo eShop in 2019. Combining the classical elements of a rogue-like game with deck-building and strategy, Slay the Spire has excellent replay value, with no two playthroughs ever being the same. The game’s unique art is complemented by equally unique character classes and game modes that are easy to pick up and put down. Controls have also been adapted to the Switch perfectly, with support for touch-screen gameplay being implemented.
Perhaps the only complaint among players is that it doesn’t have a multiplayer option, but we’re soon to see this addressed. The developers have announced a Kickstarter campaign that could see us enjoying the unique experience of Slay the Spire with friends in a tabletop game!
Another great card game initially released on Steam and finally ported to the Switch, Faeria has seen critical acclaim with its unique gameplay. We’ve talked about the gameplay of Faeria previously, highlighting how it mixes traditional card games with strategy games on an interactive game board. This “living board” is perhaps what makes it such a unique experience: Each game starts with a blank game board cut into tiles, and players must fill these tiles with lands to be able to summon their creatures. With beautiful graphics and a unique take on mechanics we’ve seen in games like Magic: The Gathering, Faeria is an excellent addition to the genre.
Faeria can be overwhelming at first, but the game takes its time to introduce you to different mechanics as you progress. This way, you’re never bombarded with too much information and can put new knowledge into practice. It takes a lot of skill to be able to win in Faeria, and when you do win, it can be an incredibly satisfying experience.
If you’re a fan of more classic card games like poker and blackjack, THE Card is a great option on the Switch. Released in 2018 and available for only $4.99 on the eShop, the game is about as straightforward as it gets: Launch the game, and you’ll be able to choose between different game modes and play to your heart’s content. While the game doesn’t let you actively play against others, it does have a built-in ranking system where you can compete with users across the network over who earns the most in-game currency. The graphics are fairly simple, but you don’t really want much in a classic card game anyway. However, THE Card keeps things interesting by allowing players to collect backgrounds and card designs as they earn in-game achievements.
But perhaps THE Card is a bit too straightforward, as some have complained that the game doesn’t actually tell you how to play. For example, the game has a text-based list of the rules of Texas Hold’em, including walking players through terminology like hole cards and community cards, and a rundown of what each round will look like – but there’s no actual tutorial game. That said, players who already know how to play poker and blackjack are sure to appreciate this simple, portable iteration.
A completely fresh take on the genre, Card Shark was announced in 2020 and is set to release in 2021. With beautiful pixel graphics, this game introduces the player to many card manipulation techniques in a journey through 18th century Europe. Players must master these techniques and win mini-games to progress through the stages and unlock new locations, buying into high-stake games with in-game winnings.
While not much else is known about the particulars of Card Shark just yet, it promises to be an interesting addition to the growing list of great card games on the Nintendo Switch.