If you’re the type of gamer who simply cannot rest until they’ve solved a crucial problem or answered a burning question, you’ve stumbled upon the perfect list of mystery games for the Nintendo Switch.
There are heaps of incredible whodunnit and mystery games on the Nintendo Switch right now, ranging in styles from detailed visual novels to lighthearted pixelated romps.
It’s an interesting genre to play through, as indie developers can often knock bigger companies out of the water with unique stories and game mechanics.
To help you find the perfect mystery game to solve, I’ve handpicked a selection of 10 of the best Nintendo Switch mystery games to check out. They range in intensity from laidback and intriguing to deep, dark and occasionally disturbing.
Right off the bat, Gnosia is one of the most compelling visual-novel style mystery games that’s been released in recent years. This sci-fi title was met with rave reviews when it was originally released and continues to gather steam in the genre to this day.
Gnosia takes place aboard a drifting spaceship, with a full crew and a silent, lethal threat amongst them. One of them is an enemy, and the crew must figure out who the Gnosia threat is before it’s too late. One by one, characters are put into ‘cold sleep’ after rounds of deduction, intense character interactions and voting.
The looping gameplay style makes this title a real treat. Instead of playing through in a regular linear fashion, you’ll play through loops and experience the mystery in a new and thrilling way. Your character role changes throughout the game, too.
Overall, this game is a delight. The art style is vivid, the characters are truly memorable and the plot will certainly take you by surprise. If you enjoy sci-fi games and visual novels that require you to think on your feet, this is the ideal Nintendo Switch mystery game for you.
Considering that this game was originally made for other platforms back in 2011, L.A. Noire on the Switch is a truly impressive title to add to your collection.
This game encapsulates the 1940s detective style perfectly, putting you in the shoes of an L.A. cop who has to work through various dark, intriguing crime scenes. During this game, you’ll search for clues, piece together theories and interrogate suspects, all with a healthy dose of gunfights and car chases.
This game is on the darker side with some gorier themes, so it’s perfect if you’re interested in true crime content. The plots of the cases come directly from real 1947 L.A. crimes, making this somewhat of an educational piece, too.
What truly makes this game stand out is the attention to detail. While the open-world mechanics may not be the best, the micro expressions on the face of suspects while you’re interrogating them and the memorable voice acting make this game an absolute dream to play through. It’s worth checking out.
Looking for a Nintendo Switch mystery game that’s a little on the weirder side? Thimbleweed Park is fantastically eclectic, with a striking pixel art style and unique characters. It’s a murder mystery game with a twist, set in the 1980s.
The tagline for Thimbleweed Park is ‘In a town like Thimbleweed Park, a dead body is the least of your problems’ and it sums up the vibe of this title perfectly.
The playstyle of Thimbleweed Park is brilliant, complete with 5 different playable characters to pick from and a host of bewildering puzzles. The story covers everything from mysterious factory fires and secret agents, to ghosts and childhood dreams.
It’s a fictional world that’s incredibly easy to get lost in.
The overall reception to this game online was positive, although a handful of reviewers have expressed frustration at the amount of red herrings and the spider webbed nature of the story. If you appreciate tangled, looping storylines in vibrant, pixelated worlds, you’re going to love unraveling Thimbleweed Park.
Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and The Millionaire’s Conspiracy
The Professor Layton series from LEVEL-5 is somewhat of a household name in the mystery game niche, and this latest installment is the ideal pick for gamers who want a relaxed game full of brain teasers and puzzles to pick apart.
While this game doesn’t feature the iconic Professor Layton as the main character, it does feature his daughter Katrielle and her efforts to find him when he goes missing. The game features a whole host of vibrant characters (including a talking dog) and plenty of thoughtful, well-structured puzzles to sink your teeth into.
It’s worth highlighting the brilliant visuals and aesthetics that this game offers. It’s a cartoony game that still manages to feel elegant and well put together.
Moreover, this game includes a handful of free DLC that would have originally cost extra. Always a bonus.
This game skews towards a slightly younger audience, as it’s advertised under a ‘family friendly’ tag and doesn’t feature stressful elements like time constraints for puzzles. Don’t let that put you off if you’re looking for a relaxed gaming experience, though. This title is charming and intriguing, with plenty to keep you occupied.
Return of the Obra Dinn
This is one of the most striking mystery game releases in recent years.
Capitalising on a unique, 1-bit graphic style, this game takes place in London, in the 1800s. It’s a riveting, nautical mystery with plenty of twists and turns. The Obra Dinn is a merchant ship that originally disappeared at sea for 6 months, only to return back to port heavily damaged and without a crew member in sight.
You play as an insurance investigator for the East India Company’s London Office, and you’re tasked with finding out what exactly happened to this legendary ship. As you might have guessed from the title of this article, things are not what they seem aboard the Obra Dinn.
This game is certainly on the more complex side of things, offering up a user experience that’s entirely based around logical deduction, powers of observation and exploration. If you’ve got time to kill and you want to lose yourself in a world of mystery, difficult puzzles and dramatic stories, get on board with this Nintendo Switch mystery game today.
The Sinking City
This Lovecraftian mystery game is not for the faint of heart.
The Sinking City is a superb mystery game that takes place in a universe inspired by the classic horror stories from H.P. Lovecraft, and it’s fantastically dark. You play as a 1920s private investigator, roaming across the sinking city of Oakmont and looking for answers.
As with anything Lovecraftian, there are plenty of dark themes and nightmarish visions to tangle with. The general premise is that you’re trying to understand what has possessed the city and the inhabitants. This game has been accused of being a little tropey in places with the storyline, but the overall aesthetic is perfect and the plot itself is immersive.
The open investigation system in this game is fascinating, and makes for a lot of replay value. The puzzles are thoughtful and require you to seek out clues in order to solve them properly, with a unique ‘mind’s eye’ game mode to help you do so. There are multiple solutions to different cases throughout the game, and it’s absolutely gripping.
Finally, it’s worth noting that this port was put together in a considered and efficient way. There are a few hiccups when playing, but overall the user experience is smooth and it’s plain to see that the developers really had the users in mind when putting this title together for the Switch. It’s well optimised and easy to pick up, too.
AI: The Somnium Files
While gathering up the games that I wanted to feature in this article, I simply couldn’t miss out this title. AI: The Somnium Files is a mysterious, hazy dream of a game that’s packed with murder, intrigue and an ongoing sense of dread.
The general premise of this game is a muder mystery, where a body is found atop a carousel horse in an abandoned theme park. A suspect is found close by with a bloody ice pick, and the mystery unravels from there. It’s a dark game with gory aspects, and the haunting environments it takes place in are simply perfect.
Combining elements of sci-fi and traditional detective games, this title offers challenging puzzles with strict time limits and multiple endings. It utilises the branching storyline format perfectly, meaning that there is plenty of replay value to this piece.
There’s plenty of variety in this piece, with elements that read like a visual novel placed directly after quicktime events and action sequences. It makes for an interesting playthrough, and the user experience is generally fantastic. It helps that the overall aesthetic and game design are incredibly well done, too.
It’s certainly an approachable title, and one that offers plenty of game time without excessively complicated puzzles or challenging game mechanics. If you’re interested in sci-fi games, visual novels and interlacing storylines, this could be the best pick for you in this list.
Moving on from typical murder mysteries and detective stories for a moment, Vampyr is a fantastic example of how to blend the macabre with puzzle and intrigue. It’s a vampire game with a twist, offering up a beautifully dark take on London in the 1900s.
The game follows Dr. Jonathan Reid, who is a recently turned vampire that needs to balance his thirst for blood with his oath to heal those around him. The city is being torn apart by a disease, and one of the main challenges in this game is finding a cure for it. The disease is causing mass chaos, and there’s a rising population of blood-thirsty vamps to boot.
The overarching plot is full of mysteries and beautifully written characters, encouraging the player to figure out who turned them into a vampire in the first place while presenting them with tough moral choices and fast-paced action sequences, too.
One of the most notable things about this piece is the attention to detail when it comes to characters. Feeding on an NPC isn’t simply a case of biting them and gaining XP. Almost every character has been written to perfection, and your interactions with them can cause a chain reaction throughout the game.
While this isn’t a classic mystery game, it does offer up plenty of intrigue and promises something unique for seasoned mystery game fans. It’s dark, fast-paced and comes with plenty of twists and turns along the way.
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
Any game that starts off with a warning that ‘it won’t hold your hand’ is a game worth checking out, in my books.
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a prime example of a mystery game, with a clever plot, beautiful visuals and challenging puzzles to solve.
You play as a detective, Paul Prospero, who has a knack for all things occult and spiritual. He follows up on a letter from a boy named Ethan Carter, and quickly finds out that Ethan has vanished in the midst of a gory murder. The story spirals from there, uncovering various other murders and puzzles that take careful consideration to solve.
The dark, Lovecraftian undertones of this game are simply fantastic. The visuals aren’t groundbreaking by any means, but the world is immersive and the game itself plays very well. There’s a wonderful open-world setup in this game, which avoids clunky loading screens and allows gamers to wander to their heart’s content.
This game strays from typical murder mystery games, in that it doesn’t involve much combat, gore or horror. It’s more of an atmospheric and creepy endeavor, with clear ties to the macabre 20th century fiction that inspired the writers.
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter offers a dark, entrancing atmosphere and a brilliantly crafted storyline to boot. If you enjoy getting lost in eerie, well-written worlds with captivating characters, chuck this game into your library today.
The Forgotten City
This game has developed somewhat of a cult following, and it’s easy to see why.
The Forgotten City originates from a Skyrim mod, and has been met with incredibly positive reviews from the online community. It’s an intriguing mystery game based in an ancient city, that promises difficult moral dilemmas, entrancing environments and mind-melting puzzles that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat.
The game starts with your character waking up next to the Tiber River and being sent into ancient ruins to track down a mysterious figure. The game evolves from there, offering gamers the chance to explore historically-accurate environments and navigating fascinating storylines that involve everything from time loops to sentient statues.
The fact that this game originated from a Skyrim mod is simply spectacular. The original mod was nothing to sneer at either, offering a fantastic experience for Skyrim players and winning industry awards for its writing in the process.
There’s a lot to love with this game. Whether you’re interested in exploring historical environments, meeting well-written characters, solving crimes or getting to grips with time loops, you’re sure to find something to love with The Forgotten City.