Nintendo Switch Year In Review – Our Stats And Most Played Games

Image: Nintendo Life

Just recently Nintendo gave us an insight into our gaming years on Switch; it provided a reminder that Mario is always watching when we play, and that we’ve devoted many days of the year to this lovely hobby of ours. Depending on region you get a neat page of information that covers your most played games, handheld / docked split, number of games played and more besides.

If you still haven’t done it, head to the pages below and make sure you’re logged into your Nintendo Account.

A number of us in Nintendo Life Towers (also known as our individual home offices, but never mind) looked at our stats and some of the results were… surprising. In some cases it reminds us of big games we reviewed, or games that dominated our routines or specific months.

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

Actually you were number 2
Actually you were number 2 (Image: Capcom)

Thomas Whitehead, deputy editor

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

I enjoyed reading my stats, which were a mix of the expected and some eyebrow-raising surprises. For example I expected handheld play to dominate, with 70% of my time leaving that dock empty. I knew October would be my busiest month thanks to Metroid Dread, which I played through twice within a couple of weeks.

Overall playtime was nearly half of what it was in 2020, though – Switch was my undisputed gaming system a year ago, but has had more competition this year. It’s not been gathering dust, though, and apparently I still started 38 new games this year; I don’t think I finished 38, but that’s life.

As for the top 3, number 1 was guaranteed as I play it a little every single day, it’s part of my morning routine. The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles has been a lovely surprise though, as I’ve enjoyed the very slow, gradual progression; I’ve not even finished it yet! It’s a series that has always offered amazing 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 marvellous, if anything I should have played it more. Looking over my Switch year as a whole I’ve concluded that it was a good one, especially considering the craziness of the last two years. Thanks a lot, humble little Switch.

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

Kate Gray, staff writer

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

I think this paints a rather unfair picture of me as a farm-crazy gamer! I play lots of games, and I put massive amounts of time into Ace Attorney and Fata Morgana this year… but of course, the ones I spent the most time in are the ones that reward you for regular check-ins. I don’t think it’s particularly representative of my gaming habits, though. However, finding out that I spent 59% of my gaming time in portable mode makes sense. I’ve always been a handheld gal.

Apparently, I have played 41 games this year. Not sure if that counts games that I’ve installed, and not touched, but it sounds about right. My top genres are Action/Adventure/Simulation/RPG/Puzzle, which I probably could have guessed, although I’m not sure how many puzzle games I’ve played this year, other than Bonfire Peaks.

Looking at my Steam library for comparison, I spent a loooot of 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 into Raft, 17 hours in Resident Evil 4, 15 hours in Inscryption, and 31 hours in Chicory. A lot of those games I would have played on Switch if they’d come out at the same time… and I’m likely going to do similar numbers with Astroneer when it comes to Switch! And, well, I can’t check how long I’ve spent in Minecraft because the website is currently down, but I’d estimate at least 200-300 hours. See, I’m totally a real gamer.

Perfect for some snatched moments of gaming time
Perfect for some snatched moments of gaming time (Image: 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 goes down as one of the Switch’s coolest years in my eyes. Tons of unexpected revivals of niche gems that will truly shape how I view the system’s legacy…but my core stats reflect none of that with my three most played games being older releases. I played more games than I did in 2020 but for a shorter amount of time – I have excuses though!

I had a baby just at the end of 2020 which has impacted when and how I play games. My handheld ratio is far higher than docked (63% portable play), this is because the TV belongs to Bluey now. I’ve become more selective with what games I choose to play and didn’t end up taking on many over 30 hours in length. My top three all share something in common, these are games I’ll play for a few minutes at a time but with their evergreen nature those minutes add up fast.

You're... still playing Breath of the Wild?
You’re… still playing Breath of the Wild? (Image: Nintendo)

Gavin Lane, editor

It turns out that because I opted not to send all my play 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 about your Play Activity this year to provide you with a full 2021 Nintendo Switch Year in Review.

Sad faces all ’round. It’s probably for the best. Despite buying a prodigious quantity of games, my overall playtime has likely been pretty low this year – thanks kids — with older games taking up much of my precious free time (yes, by playtime Blasphemous is probably my GOTY 2021). The number of games I’ve ‘played for a little while’ is, frankly, embarrassing. Triple-figure backlog. Night. Mare.

Looking at my profile, it’s… well, it’s a bit confusing. Having migrated to a Switch OLED in October, I haven’t redownloaded Bowser’s Fury or Skyward Sword yet, which would otherwise feature in my top 3. As things stand, Metroid Dread, Tetris Effect: Connected and er, Breath of the Wild are my most played games of 2021.

It’s those Korok seeds, see? Still got a handful to find after 280 hours. My ol’ mum did her Year in Review, though, and revealed to me that she’s put a whopping 424 hours into BOTW this year alone. Retirement, eh? What a grand lark that’ll be!

October was a busy month for a lot of us
October was a busy month for a lot of us (Image: Nintendo)

Ollie Reynolds, reviewer

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

Well, this will teach me never to loan one of my Switches to anyone..! Just prior to the launch of the OLED I’d lent my Switch to my brother, along with access to my primary account while he waited for the new console. Truth be told, I haven’t played one minute of Tetris 99 this year, but his addiction has caused it to shoot to the top spot!

No major surprises otherwise; I’d played my Switch the most on October 13th, which would’ve coincided nicely with Metroid Dread’s release. I’m also not surprised in the slightest to see the majority of my time has been spent in portable mode!

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

Gonçalo Lopes, reviewer

I’m going for a nice little countdown for my top 3, which are all different from my colleagues!

#3 – Haven (27 hours)

The Game Baker’s Furi is a masterpiece that spoke to me on several levels, so when Haven was announced I most certainly took notice. You won’t have to play it for long until you start to deeply care for Yu and Kai’s survival on the titular planet. Well written dialogue and amazing voice acting are rounded up by an incredible soundtrack by Danger.

#2 Wrestling Empire (94 hours)

January 2022 will mark the one year 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 roam’ mode, it is the best wrestling game ever made, out-wrestling by miles its real life inspiration’s current state. Plus you can use Nintendo 64 consoles as weapons that randomly explode on impact.

#1 Fitness Boxing 2 (99 hours)

After 300 days straight in Ring Fit Adventure in 2020 I needed something fresh to continue my daily workout routine. I picked this one after spending quite some time with the original and it was nice to have familiar virtual P.T.s making me shadow box daily to the sound of Darude’s Sandstorm. In case you are still wondering: Yes, these do work. It is all about discipline.


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

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