Nintendo Switch enjoys second best reviewed launch line-up in history

Chris Stead 8 March 2017

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The Nintendo Switch is looking to prove that quality, not quantity, is what makes for a good launch line-up.

In the lead-up to the release of the Nintendo Switch, a lot was made of its relatively small launch line-up. Our own analysis showed it was the smallest list of games for the launch of any console in 21 years. Not only that, it had the smallest number of console exclusives, too. Now that the Switch is out in the wild - read our impressions here - review scores for games are rolling in, and they're shaping up relatively well.

We crunched the numbers on Metacritic review scores for every console and handheld device released since 2000, and it’s not the healthiest run of numbers you’ve ever seen. Across the 15 devices released, launch line-ups have averaged a score of 71.77 from critics. The best performer, believe it or not, was Nintendo’s GameCube - across 12 launch games, it landed an average score of 78.17. It’s a clear winner.

Nintendo Switch review

Currently sitting second on this list, is the Nintendo Switch. Its average review score of 75.89 puts it ahead of the GBA (74.94) and Xbox 360 (74.68). Obviously, there are more reviews to come from sites tracked by Metacritic, but the early signs are that the Switch could have the second-best reviewed launch line-up ever. The Nintendo Switch may not have had many games, but what we do have access to is better than we’ve come to expect from most console launches this century.

For the record, the highest scoring games are The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (98), Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment (87), Snipperclips – Cut it Together (81) and Fast RMX (80). The worst is 1-2 Switch (56) a game that increasingly looks like it should have been bundled with the console for free. Below you will find the results of our analysis.

Please note: For consistency across the years and systems, we have taken “launch games” to mean titles available in the US on the day of a system’s first availability. Some territories – notably Australia - received an unexpected line-up at launch with titles that have not been included in this analysis. Three games announced for the US launch – Human Resource Machine, Little Inferno and World of Goo – weren't released as planned. Some games only have a few listed reviews on Metacritic and systems released prior to 2000 don’t have Metacritic ratings. We will update this story as more scores come in.

SystemAverage Metacritic ScoreGames at Launch
GameCube78.1712
Switch75.899
GBA74.9416
X36074.6828
PS473.8825
PS273.8527
Xbox73.6020
PSP73.3816
PS371.6015
Vita71.0425
DS69.336
Wii U69.1233
XBO68.3320
Wii66.1921
3DS63.1916
Average71.8119.2

Where next? Did you know there are over 100 games announced for the Nintendo Switch?

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