Just How Accessible Are Switch Games Like Xenoblade, Pokémon, And Mario Odyssey?

When it comes to accessibility features in video games, things have improved somewhat in recent years, with many developers now consciously providing elementary options that tweak the gameplay experience to better suit players of different abilities and with specific impairments. There remains much work to be done, though, to promote industry-wide understanding and communicate the vital importance of implementing these options for many gamers.

In this feature, Isabelle Meyer looks at a small selection of Switch games and assesses their accessibility.

Gaming as a disabled person can be tricky. It isn’t always easy to tell from a trailer if a game is accessible enough to meet your personal needs, and while reviews may touch on accessibility features, often promotional material is the only resource available to disabled gamers.

Disabilities can affect every individual’s ability to play differently, and the impact of some specific disabilities may not be obvious to those who lack personal experience. Unfortunately, this leads to accessibility features often being overlooked as the barriers to gaming their absence cause may not be apparent to the game designer.

Accessibility features may even be present in games, but they often aren’t highlighted as a matter of course in many game reviews, especially when it comes to more passive aids. Game developers may not include relatively simple-to-implement features due to not understanding or realising they could help and benefit a portion of the player base.

In this small roundup, we aim to highlight the accessibility of some popular Switch games, as well as showcase some games that include uncommon accessibility features — ones that should be included in many more games. You can find more details in our full reviews; here we focus primarily on each game’s accessibility.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (Switch)Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (Switch)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Monolith Soft

Release Date: 1st Dec 2017 (USA) / 1st Dec 2017 (UK/EU)
Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Switch)Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Switch)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo

Release Date: 20th Mar 2020 (USA) / 20th Mar 2020 (UK/EU)
Pokémon Legends: Arceus (Switch)Pokémon Legends: Arceus (Switch)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Game Freak

Release Date: 28th Jan 2022 (USA) / 28th Jan 2022 (UK/EU)
Super Mario Odyssey (Switch)Super Mario Odyssey (Switch)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo

Release Date: 27th Oct 2017 (USA) / 27th Oct 2017 (UK/EU)

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