We know what you're thinking, but Nintendo does have some good online games.
Winner: Tetris 99
No one knew they wanted Tetris battle royale until it happened. Announced in the February Nintendo Direct, this online-only game features a dynamite game mode where 99 players enter and only one leaves. When it first launched, the game seemingly just appeared with no explanation. That first week was filled with discovery and the most intense Tetris I've ever played in my life. It's breathtaking how strategies and competitiveness developed so quickly.
On the first day, Tetris 99 was almost a gentle stroll by comparison. By the end of the first week, it was a thrilling hellscape where one false early move could mean 10 people teamed up on you to fill your screen with garbage. While some sort of tutorial could go a long way, if you're down to break blocks, Tetris 99 is an immaculate online experience.
~ Neal Ronaghan
Runner Up: Killer Queen Black
Killer Queen Black takes the spirit of a competitive arcade game and brings it to a home console, but the most impressive element is just how addictive it is. Playing Killer Queen Black solo can be an exercise in frustration as it's hard to communicate with your teammates and coordinate a strategy; however, the opposite is true when you get a group of friends together online or in-person.
Executing on a strategy, groaning in unison, and screaming in celebration are all incredibly satisfying outcomes that occur with dizzying frequency, and there simply isn't another experience like Killer Queen Black. The short, intense matches work perfectly and mean you're never out of the action for too long. With a roadmap of free updates planned for 2020, the Switch's best online game is only going to get more killer.
~ Jordan Rudek
Runner Up: Duck Game
Times have changed for me as I've gotten older. I used to get together with friends far more often and we all used to be younger and more liable to pound caffeine and play the snot out of silly local multiplayer games. Duck Game is something that just exudes the feeling of snorting Mountain Dew while inhaling a pixie stick with friends. It might be one of the more technical games that might also be closer to tripping on cocaine.
You and up to three friends all control ducks on a game show where you have to kill the other ducks and stay alive. Every round is a short instance on a designed and/or random stage with unique weapons and hazards. Part of the charm falls into the discovery, realizing that wearing a metal suit of armor makes you liable to getting controlled by a magnet. Realizing that you can save an item for a later round if you make use of certain power-up blocks. The other part of the charm involves the frantic chaos that quickly emerges as your group discovers the nuances of the controls and weapons. It's clear the developer is a Smash Bros. fan because while items and level design make everything insane, there's a degree of technicality and precision in the controls.
As a couch multiplayer game, Duck Game is a amazing. As an online experience, it's a little less daffy but still plenty of fun. Throw in some single-player challenges, oodles of unlockable hats, a solid stage creator, and more charm than you can quack a stick at, Duck Game rules. Also there's a quack button. Press the quack button.
~ Neal Ronaghan