Nintendo Switch year in review – Our statistics and most played games


Image: Nintendo’s Life

Just recently, Nintendo gave us a glimpse into our years of Switch play; it reminded us that Mario always watches when we play, and that we have devoted many days of the year to this beautiful hobby of ours. Depending on the region, you get a neat information page that covers your most played games, handheld / docking breakdown, number of games played and more.

If you still haven’t, head to the pages below and make sure you’re signed in to your Nintendo Account.

A number of us in Nintendo Life Towers (also known as individual home offices, but whatever) looked at our stats and some of the results were… surprising. In some cases, it reminds us of great games we reviewed, or games that dominated our routines or specific months.

So, in a spirit of sharing, some of our team decided to write about their best three games with some thoughts on the results. Enjoy!

In fact you were number 2
In fact you were number 2 (Image: Capcom)

Thomas Whitehead, Associate Editor

  1. Animal Crossing: New Horizons – 141 hours
  2. The Chronicles of the Grand Ace Attorney – 38 hours
  3. Monster Hunter Rise – 37 hours

I enjoyed reading my stats, which were a mix of expected surprises and a few surprises. For example, I expected portable gaming to dominate, with 70% of my time leaving this dock empty. I knew October would be my busiest month thanks to Metroid Dread, which I played twice in a few weeks.

Overall playtime was almost half of what it was in 2020, however – Switch was my undisputed gaming system a year ago, but has had more competition this year. It doesn’t gather dust, though, and apparently I’ve started 38 new games this year anyway; i don’t think i finished 38, but that’s life.

As for the top 3, the number 1 was assured because I play it a little every day, it’s part of my morning routine. The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles was a nice surprise though, as I enjoyed the very slow and gradual progression; I haven’t even finished it yet! It’s a series that has always offered incredible value for money, and let’s not forget it’s two games in one. That’s a lot of reading and OBJECTIONS.

And Monster Hunter Rise is wonderful, if anything, I should have played it more. Looking at my Switch year as a whole, I concluded that it was a good year, especially given the craziness of the past two years. Thank you very much, humble little Switch.

Ah, island life
Ah, island life (Image: Nintendo Life)

Kate Gray, Editor-in-Chief

  1. Animal Crossing: New Horizons – 184 hours
  2. History of the Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town – 71 hours
  3. Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town – 58 hours

I think that paints a rather unfair image of me as a crazy farm player! I’m playing many of games, and I’ve dedicated a ton of time to Ace Attorney and Fata Morgana this year … but of course the ones I’ve spent the most time in are the ones that reward you for regular recordings. I don’t think that’s particularly representative of my gaming habits, however. However, finding out that I spent 59% of my gaming time in portable mode makes sense. I have always been a pocket girl.

Apparently I have played 41 games this year. I’m not sure if this counts the games I installed that I haven’t touched, but it looks about right. My main genres are Action / Adventure / Simulation / RPG / Puzzle, which I Probably I could have guessed, although I don’t know how many puzzle games I’ve played this year other than Bonfire Peaks.

Looking at my Steam library for comparison, I spent a loooot time in Valheim (92.9 hours) and Hades (191 hours, oh my god) as well as 49 hours in Astroneer, 36 hours in Loop Hero, 23 hours in Raft, 5 hours in Resident Evil 4, 3 hours in Inscryption, and 31 hours in Chicory. I would have played a lot of these games on Switch if they had been released at the same time … and I will probably be doing similar numbers with Astroneer when it comes to Switch! And, well, I can’t verify how much time I spent in Minecraft as the website is down right now, but I would estimate at least 200-300 hours. You see, I’m totally a real gamer.

Perfect for some snatch play moments
Perfect for some snatch play moments (Photo: Nintendo)

Jon Cartwright, video producer

  1. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – 176 hours
  2. Tetris 99 – 47 hours
  3. Animal Crossing: New Horizons – 35 hours

2021 is one of the coolest years for Switch in my eyes. Tons of unexpected rebirths of niche gems that will really shape how I view the legacy of the system … but my base stats don’t reflect any of that, with my three most played games being older versions. I played more games than in 2020 but for less time – I apologize though!

I had a baby just at the end of 2020 which had an impact on when and how I play games. My portable ratio is much higher than that on docking station (63% portable gaming), that’s because the TV is now owned by Bluey. I have become more selective with the games I choose to play and haven’t ended up taking much more than 30 hours. My top three all share something in common, these are games that I’ll be playing for a few minutes at a time, but with their lingering nature, those minutes add up quickly.

Are you still playing Breath of the Wild?
Are you still playing Breath of the Wild? (Photo: Nintendo)

Gavin Lane, Editor-in-Chief

It turns out that because I chose not to send all of my game data to The Man, I don’t have access to my stats like everyone else. Instead, I get the following message:

Unfortunately, we don’t have enough data on your gaming activity this year to provide you with a full review of Nintendo Switch 2021.

Sad faces everywhere. It’s probably for the best. Despite purchasing a stupendous amount of games, my overall playtime has probably been pretty low this year – thanks children – with older games taking up a lot of my precious free time (yes, in playtime Blasphemous is probably my GOTY 2021). The number of games I have “played for a little while” is downright embarrassing. Three-digit order book. Night. Mare.

Looking at my profile, it’s… well, it’s a little confusing. Having migrated to an OLED Switch in October, I have yet to re-download Bowser’s Fury and / or Skyward Sword, which would otherwise be in my Top 3. As it stands, Metroid Dread, Tetris Effect: Connected and uh, Breath of the Wild are my most played games of 2021.

It’s those Korok seeds, you know? I still have a handful to find after 280 hours. My old mother took stock of the year, however, and revealed to me that she had put in a huge 424 hours in BOTW this year only. Retirement, eh? What a great lark that will be!

October has been a busy month for many of us
October has been a busy month for many of us (Photo: Nintendo)

Ollie Reynolds, critic

  1. Tetris 99 – 27 hours
  2. Metroid Dread – 20 hours
  3. Cutting head – 16 hours

Well, that will teach me to never lend any of my switches to anyone ..! Right before the OLED launched, I loaned my Switch to my brother, along with access to my main account while he waited for the new console. Truth be told, I haven’t played Tetris 99 for a minute this year, but his addiction made him shoot in first place!

No big surprises otherwise; I had played my Switch the most on October 13th, which would have coincided nicely with the release of Metroid Dread. I’m also not at all surprised that the majority of my time has been spent in portable mode!

Perfect for a daily fitness routine
Perfect for a daily fitness routine (Photo: Nintendo)

Gonçalo Lopes, critic

I’m going to do a cool little countdown to my top 3, who are all different from my colleagues!

# 3 – Haven of peace (27 hours)

The baker’s game Furi is a masterpiece that spoke to me on many levels, so when Haven was announced I most certainly took note. You won’t have to play it for long until you start to care deeply about Yu and Kai’s survival on the titular planet. Well-written dialogues and amazing dubbing are complemented by an incredible soundtrack of Danger.

# 2 Empire Wrestling (94 hours)

January 2022 will mark the first anniversary of this “hidden gem”. It also marks twelve months of continuous free updates provided by a relentless Mat Dickie. Even without the upcoming “free roaming” mode, this is the best wrestling game ever, far exceeding its current state of inspiration in real life. Additionally, you can use Nintendo 64 consoles as weapons that randomly explode on impact.

# 1 Fitness Boxing 2 (99 hours)

After 300 days in a row Ring shaped adventure in 2020 i needed something fresh to continue my daily workout routine. I chose this one after spending quite a bit of time with the original and it was nice to have familiar virtual PTs that made me a shadow box every day to the sound of Darude’s sandstorm. In case you were still wondering: Yes, it works. It’s all about discipline.


These are some of our Switch years in review; be sure to share yours in the comments below!


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