Trying to get your hands on the best Nintendo Switch games that have released so far? There are plenty to choose from, and more awesome titles continue to come out every few months. Whether you’re looking for open-world RPGs, fighting games, competitive racers, or local co-op games to share with a friend, Nintendo has you covered. If you want to try several games across all genres, these are the best Nintendo Switch games of all time.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons — Best Life Simulator on Nintendo Switch
Bottom line: As we stated in our Animal Crossing: New Horizons review, this game was released just as the world needed it most. It’s a chill life and farming simulator that helps both kids and adult players relax while making friends with animals on a tropical island. You can end up spending hundreds of hours fishing, acquiring furniture, collecting creatures for a museum, upgrading your house, and decorating your island just the way you want it. With its relaxing charm, there’s a reason why this title has been one of the most successful games to launch on the Nintendo Switch.
|Animal Crossing: New Horizons||✔||✔||$50 at Amazon|
|Animal Crossing: New Horizons||✔||✔||$50 at Best Buy|
|Animal Crossing: New Horizons||✔||$50 at Walmart|
- Adorable art design
- Relaxing gameplay
- Seasonal activities
- Multiplayer options
- Harvesting and crafting
- Emergency backup limitations
- Real-time clock can be restrictive
Animal Crossing might seem like a simple island getaway experience, but it’s a rather complex simulator. The game follows a real-time clock, so when it’s nighttime in real life, the stars are out over your virtual island. Stores and shops within the game have business hours, so you need to plan your time accordingly to see what clothes and furniture are in stock.
New experiences continue to get added every few months, including seasonal activities that coincide with real-world holidays. For instance, this February, the special Animal Crossing Festivale event coincides with Mardi Gras. Pavé, the peacock, brought cheery festivities to players’ islands, and players could acquire new clothing and items.
Players arrive on a deserted island with almost nothing to their name but can slowly upgrade their getaway by taking and paying off loans from Tom Nook, a tanuki or raccoon tycoon. To earn money, players can collect wood, fish, bugs, and more before selling them to the local store. The rarer the item, the more money players will earn.
There are hundreds of potential animal neighbors for you to meet, and you never really know who you’ll run into. Some popular villagers are definitely more sought after than others, but much like Pokémon, everyone has their favorite villager.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Start a new life on a tropical island paradise relaxing with friends, crafting items, and customizing your home and outfits each day. Fall in love with the adorable antics of your animal neighbors and see what exciting things happen throughout the year.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe — Best Racing Game on Nintendo Switch
Bottom line: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the bestselling game on Nintendo Switch as well as one of the best multiplayer games on the console. Up to four players can race against each other while sharing one screen, so as we said in our Mario Kart 8 Deluxe review, it’s the perfect party game for friends and family. Choose from a large cast of Nintendo characters and attack your fellow racers with silly weapons like bananas or shells to get ahead. The optional child controls make this a great game for people of all ages.
|Mario Kart 8 Deluxe||✔||✔||$59 at Amazon|
|Mario Kart 8 Deluxe||✔||✔||$50 at Best Buy|
|Mario Kart 8 Deluxe||✔||$50 at Walmart|
- Smart steering is perfect for younger children
- 41 characters to choose from
- 48 colorful tracks to race through
- Up to 4-player local multiplayer
- Race against others online
- Single-player mode isn’t very exciting
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the quintessential racing game on Nintendo Switch. It’s also the bestselling Switch game of all time, having sold over 33.41 million copies at the time of this article. You can play on your own, or if you have enough Joy-Cons, up to four players can share a screen and compete against each other.
There’s a large cast of 41 popular Nintendo characters, including Link from The Legend of Zelda, Inklings from Splatoon, Bowser from the Mario games, Isabelle from Animal Crossing, and more. Players determine which character they want to be and then decide which kart, wheels, and glider to race with. The various parts influence how fast a kart moves and how well it handles turns, so you have to choose wisely.
One of the things that makes Mario Kart so much more interesting than other racers is the fact that it has a silly cartoon focus. Someone might be ahead of you, but if you throw a banana just right, you might be able to trip them up and take first place.
Races are challenging-yet-fun for people of all ages, and there are 48 tracks to keep things interesting. There are also plenty of optional controls to help rookie racers out. If you have a young child who wants to play, just turn on Smart Steering to prevent them from falling off the track or bumping into the walls.
By the way, there’s also an augmented reality racing game called Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit. Players race a real-life remote control kart around their homes using the Nintendo Switch while seeing opponents and items on the Switch screen. And as we show in our Mario Kart Live review, it also serves as a really fun cat toy.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Take part in whacky races while playing as your favorite Nintendo characters. Is someone getting too far in the lead? Throw a green shell their way and see if you can blast past them.
Among Us — Best Online Multiplayer on Nintendo Switch
Bottom line: Among Us is the sleeper hit of 2020. While it wasn’t very successful when it originally released in 2018 for PC and mobile, it’s become the go-to multiplayer game for millions of people around the world. It has since come to Nintendo Switch and has become one of the bestsellers. Players take on the role of astronauts trying to repair their ship. However, some of them are imposters seeking to sabotage and kill off the rest of the crew members. You’ll need to use your social deduction skills to determine who are the real crewmates and who is out to destroy everything. A typical session usually results in raucous laughter and plenty of finger-pointing. It’s a hilarious time.
|Among Us||✔||$5 at Nintendo|
- Quick rounds
- Different outfits
- Fun social game
- Cross-platform play
- Easy to learn
- Switch players can’t type as quickly
- Repetitive tasks
This social deduction game takes its cues from the party games Werewolf and Mafia. Each character is tasked with fixing sections of a spaceship, but some of you are actually imposters bent on sabotaging the experience for everyone else. If a player spots something shady, they can call a meeting, and then the players discuss who they think the imposter is. If enough votes are cast for a specific player, that player is thrown out the airlock, and the game continues until the imposters win or the real crewmates win.
To make things a little more interesting, players can change their clothes and accessories to make their characters look more unique. One of the best things about Among Us is that the game supports cross-platform play. Meaning, Switch players can play with folks who are playing on their phones, PC, or other Switch consoles.
Since the game isn’t that complicated, it’s easy to teach to others, and the low price point makes it something that just about anyone will want to buy. One thing to be aware of is that people playing on Switch won’t be able to type accusations as quickly as those on PC or smartphones.
A group of astronauts is attempting to fix their ship, but some of them are imposters. Will you be able to thwart the sabotager’s plans? Or will you be the successful imposter who ruins everything?
Pokémon Sword / Pokémon Shield — Best RPG on Nintendo Switch
Bottom line: No Nintendo library is complete without a Pokémon game. While several different ones were created for the Nintendo Switch, the most essential one for this console is Pokémon Sword or Pokémon Shield. Players run around a fantasy world collecting creatures with elemental abilities like fire, water, and electricity. Strategize your Pokémon’s attacks against your foes’ weaknesses to beat every gym leader and prove that you are the greatest Pokémon trainer of them all. As we said in our Pokémon Sword and Shield review, this game wasn’t as innovative as some people hoped, but it’s still really fun to play.
|Pokémon Sword / Shield||✔||✔||$50 at Amazon|
|Pokémon Sword / Shield||✔||$60 at Best Buy|
|Pokémon Sword / Shield||✔||$59 at Walmart|
- 400 Pokémon to catch
- UK-inspired world
- Can fight giant Pokémon alongside friends
- Nostalgic elements for long-time Pokémon fans
- Easy for new fans to get into
- Not all Pokémon are in the game
- Level-catching limit
Despite its cartoony art style, Pokémon is a hit among all ages and all kinds of gamers. New fans will get sucked into the creature collection aspects and fun combat, while veteran fans will appreciate the nostalgia and brand new experiences that weren’t in previous games. With its wide range of appeal, Pokémon Sword and Shield is one of the best Switch games out there.
Players travel around a fun UK-inspired world. As they encounter new locations, they can collect new creatures and battle one of the increasingly tricky gym leaders. The goal is to defeat every gym leader before taking on the champion to prove that you’re the best Pokémon trainer of them all. When you have more gym badges, you’re able to catch Pokémon at higher levels.
There are 400 catchable characters total, but some are only found in Pokémon Sword, while others are only found in Pokémon Shield. To catch all the Pokémon for this game, you will need to trade with other players. Players can trade locally if their Switch consoles are near each other, or if you have a Nintendo Switch Online subscription, you can trade with others online.
Many players put in several hours after completing the main storyline trying to figure out how to catch shiny Pokémon, creatures with rare coloring. And the adventure doesn’t have to end there. If players choose to purchase the Pokémon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass, they’ll be able to visit two new locations: The Isle of Armor and the Crown Tundra. Here players can face new challenges and catch even more Pokémon than there were in the base game. The Crown Tundra even allows you to capture Legendary Pokémon from past Pokémon titles.
The two sections of the Pokémon DLC were released separately, but they are both out now. To learn more about the expansion pass, read our Pokémon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass review.
Looking for more Pokémon fun? To celebrate Pokémon’s 25th Anniversary, the Pokémon Company recently announced three games coming for the Nintendo Switch: New Pokémon Snap will be releasing on April 30, 2021 and allows you to take pictures of 200 creatures. Pokémon Diamond and Pearl are getting a remake in the form of Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, which will release in late 2021. Finally, Pokémon Legends: Arceus breaks the traditional Pokémon mold by being an action RPG set in the ancient Sinnoh region where players are tasked with making the first-ever Pokédex. It will be releasing in early 2022.
Pokémon Sword and Shield
Pokémon Sword and Shield feature a brand new Pokémon adventure in the region of Galar. Catch, train, and battle other trainers. There are 400 different Pokémon in the base game, and you can get creatures with special abilities by participating in Max Raid Battles.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate — Best Fighting Game on Nintendo Switch
Bottom line: This is seriously a great party game for people who love the fighting genre, and as we said in our Super Smash Bros. Ultimate review, we can’t recommend this game enough. Up to eight players can compete against each other on one screen. Choose from a roster of 74 popular characters from various games and then use their specific skill set to defeat your opponents. There’s also a fantastic single-player component as well as online multiplayer modes to keep you entertained even when friends aren’t available.
|Super Smash Bros. Ultimate||✔||✔||$50 at Amazon|
|Super Smash Bros. Ultimate||✔||✔||$60 at Best Buy|
|Super Smash Bros. Ultimate||✔||$60 at Walmart|
- Supports up to 8 players
- 74 playable characters
- Solo modes and online multiplayer
- Optional DLC
- Uses peer-to-peer servers
- Still no playable Waluigi
Players can unlock 74 playable characters, including favorites like Pikachu, Cloud Strife, Toon Link, Bowser, Star Fox, and more. Each character has their own skillset and signature moves that can be employed to propel you to first place. Unfortunately for many fans, Waluigi still has not been added to the roster.
If you’re interested, you can also purchase the DLC, which includes additional characters, stages, and music. Some of these extra characters have not been revealed yet, so you can get excited as they get announced.
You can play locally with up to eight players as long as you have enough controllers for everyone to use. No friends available at present? No problem. You can compete against others online, and there are plenty of solo game modes to keep you entertained. Pyra and Mythra from Xenoblade Chronicles 2 were recently added as the latest Super Smash Bros. DLC fighter, but two more characters have yet to be revealed.
Try Classic Mode, a one or two-player survival experience, or Adventure Mode, where you must free the rest of the Smash Bros. Ultimate roster who have been possessed by spirits. If you want help getting the most out of this game, check out our Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tips and tricks guide.
It’s important to note that while the game does support online multiplayer for anyone who has a Nintendo Switch Online subscription, it uses peer-to-peer servers instead of dedicated servers. This means that if someone you’re playing against has a bad internet connection, it can cause serious lag and other complications for all players involved in the match.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Over 70 of gaming’s most iconic characters from Nintendo, Capcom, Konami, Square Enix, and more have been packed into the same game, and they’re all looking for a fight. Up to eight people can battle in this party brawler for the ages.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild — Best Open-World game on Nintendo Switch
Bottom line: This is the perfect title for anyone who loves action RPGs and open-world adventures. It won Game of the Year at the 2017 Game Awards and has been praised as one of the most clever games created. As we explained in our Breath of the Wild review, the game allows you to solve puzzles and challenges in a variety of ways. Years after it was released, people are still discovering new things to do in-game. If you’re looking to add the best Switch games to your library, then you really can’t pass up Breath of the Wild.
|The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild||✔||✔||$50 at Amazon|
|The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild||✔||✔||$50 at Best Buy|
|The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild||✔||$50 at Walmart|
- Sprawling fantasy world to explore
- About 60 hours of gameplay
- More than one answer to puzzles
- Nods to past Zelda games
- Revitalized the Zelda series
- Weapons break too easily
- No big dungeons
The Legend of Zelda is one of Nintendo’s most popular IPs, but the latest game in the series took that popularity and blew it out of the water with the stunning masterpiece that is Breath of the Wild.
Players start with absolutely nothing except for some shorts and some vague notion that the main protagonist, Link, has been asleep for 100 years. By exploring the land, you can quickly acquire clothing, weapons, horses, abilities, and items. This is an open-world game, and you could go straight to the main boss if you wanted to. However, Hyrule offers so many exciting locations and secrets to discover that you willingly run off in another direction just to see what’s out there.
The 120 Shrines and four Divine Beasts offer the puzzle-based gameplay we’ve come to know and love in Link’s travels. However, they are much smaller than the dungeons we’ve seen in past Zelda games, which has been a downside for some long-time Zelda fans. Something that makes up for it is that there are often multiple ways to solve puzzles, so you can get creative instead of figuring out what specific tool needs to be used in any given area.
More than anything, Breath of the Wild fills you with wonder and an intense need to explore. Link might only be a tiny Hyrulean in a post-apocalyptic fantasy world, but he can explore it at his own pace and do just about anything he wants along the way. People typically say it takes them about 60 hours to beat the game; you can spend so many more just exploring and discovering new secrets.
It’s also worth noting that a Breath of the Wild sequel, commonly referred to as Breath of the Wild 2, is currently in the works. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also a prequel called Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity that explains the events that lead up to the story of Breath of the Wild. Instead of being the same kind of open-world adventure, the prequel is a hack and slash game that allows you to play as Zelda, Link, Mipha, Daruk, Urbosa, Impa, and others.
This year sees Zelda’s 35th Anniversary, and as part of the celebration a Zelda Wii game is getting a Switch release on July 16, 2021 in the form of Skyward Sword HD. It’s the earliest game in the official Zelda timeline and explores the origins of the Master Sword.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Run around the open world of Hyrule collecting items, gear, and weapons. Will you spend your time scaling the nearby mountain? Taming a wild horse? Taking on powerful enemies?Or maybe experimenting with various cooking ingredients? There is so much to explore and do.
Super Mario Odyssey — Best Platformer on Nintendo Switch
Bottom line: As we said in our Super Mario Odyssey review, this game is an action/platformer that revitalized the Mario series. It employs similar mechanics found in classic games like Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy while introducing several new experiences, such as mind-controlling enemies with a talking hat. You can play on your own or invite a friend to play in co-op mode. The unique worlds are bursting with character, and you can even dress Mario up in various outfits to help him fit into his surroundings.
|Super Mario Odyssey||✔||$50 at Amazon|
|Super Mario Odyssey||✔||✔||$50 at Best Buy|
|Super Mario Odyssey||✔||$52 at Walmart|
- Quirky locales
- Co-op play
- New power-up abilities
- Open-world exploration
- Dress Mario up
- Some challenges can be tough
- Motion controls can be hard to master
In many ways, Super Mario Odyssey’s gameplay is similar to Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy. But in his latest adventure, the plumber must collect Power Moons instead of Stars. He needs them to unlock new locations so he can attempt to rescue Princess Peach from Bowser’s clutches.
After his trusty hat gets destroyed, Mario meets a new friend named Cappy, who can change into various hat forms. With this new partner’s aid, our little mustachioed plumber acquires new attacks and abilities previously not seen before in the Mario games. For instance, the ability to throw Cappy and hit enemies at a distance.
You can even play co-op with one person taking control of Mario and the other controlling Cappy. This makes Super Mario Odyssey a fun game to play with your kids, younger siblings, or with one of your friends.
As with most Mario games, this one is full of cheer and vibrant locales. Whether you’re visiting Princess Peach’s castle, checking out a beach perpetually at sunset, or visiting an insanely hot desert, there’s always fun things to see. By the way, Super Mario 3D All-Stars — a collection of three classic Mario games including Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy — will no longer be available after March 31, 2021 as it’s going back in the “Nintendo vault”. If you haven’t picked it up yet, now’s your final chance.
If you’re craving a multiplayer Mario adventure, you’ll definitely want to check out Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury. Up to four players run around freeing Sprixie’s from Bowser’s clutches while playing as either Mario, Luigi, Peach, Blue Toad, or Rosalina. It was originally a Wii U game but has since been brought to the Switch.
Super Mario Odyssey
Princess Peach has been kidnapped (again), and it’s up to Mario and his new friend Cappy to save her. Play through this adventure on your own, or pass a controller to a friend and play in local co-op.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 — Best Co-op Game on Nintendo Switch
Bottom line: I said in my Luigi’s Mansion 3 review, that I loved every moment and didn’t want the plot to end. That’s because this is one of those games that is so packed full of comedy and fun puzzles that you’ll absolutely love it from start to finish. Best of all, once you unlock Gooigi, Luigi’s gelatinous assistant, near the start of the game, you can experience the full adventure with a buddy in two-player co-op.
|Luigi’s Mansion 3||✔||✔||$50 at Amazon|
|Luigi’s Mansion 3||✔||✔||$50 at Best Buy|
|Luigi’s Mansion 3||✔||$50 at Walmart|
- Great puzzles
- Hilarious ghosts
- fun co-op play
- Hotel with various themed floors
- Multiplayer minigames
- Can be hard to aim the vacuum
- Ends too quickly
Luigi is often seen as the clumsy younger brother or the scaredy-cat, but Luigi’s Mansion 3 really lets this guy shine. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still afraid of those ghosts, but he forces himself forward regardless of his own fears to save his friends. The actual opponents he goes up against, while specters, are incredibly silly and will have you laughing with their hijinx. I couldn’t wait to get to each cutscene because I knew the game would subvert my expectations or do something clever.
Luigi, Mario, Peach, and some Toads are invited to a luxurious resort. However, on their first night, the hotel transforms into a spooky place run by ghosts and everyone is caught except for Luigi. Luigi must travel to the tip-top of this skyscraper hotel to bring things back to normal and suck up ghosts with his special Poltergust G-00 vacuum. Each floor has a different theme to keep things interesting. There’s a pirate theme in the restaurant, a movie studio near the center, a disco higher up, and even a floor decked out like a medieval castle. This brings with it new enemies and puzzles to engage with on each level.
A good chunk of the puzzles require Luigi and Gooigi to work together. If you’re playing solo, you’ll be able to swap between the two characters. However, if you’ve passed a controller to a friend, they can control Gooigi while you control Luigi. This allows you to put your heads together to find solutions. Gooigi has all of the functions of Luigi, except that he can also walk on spikes and can slip through grates in the floor. However, he cannot open doors and if he steps on water, he temporarily dissolves. This makes it so there’s a balanced amount of work for both players to do.
Whether you’re playing with a younger child or a peer, Luigi’s Mansion 3 is a fun co-op game to share with others, which makes it one of the best Switch games of all time.
Luigi’s Mansion 3
Mario, Peach, Luigi, and some Toads have been invited to a beautiful hotel, but things turn sinister when they realize that vengeful ghosts haunt their lodgings. Now Luigi and his gelatinous double need to run around the various floors catching ghosts and saving their friends.
Super Mario Party — Best Party Game for Nintendo Switch
Bottom line: Whether you’re having a get-together, sleepover, or family reunion Super Mario Party is one of the quintessential party games on Nintendo Switch. Up to four players play on a virtual board game as their favorite Mushroom Kingdom character and then participate in minigames at the end of each round.
|Super Mario Party||✔||✔||$50 at Amazon|
|Super Mario Party||✔||✔||$50 at Best Buy|
|Super Mario Party||✔||$60 at Walmart|
- 80 minigames
- Up to four players
- Good replay value
- 20 characters to choose from
- Not as many boards as past games
- Can only use a Joy-Con
Super Mario Party is one of those games that you can pick up and play at any time. It’s perfect for family night, birthday parties, get-togethers, or just about any other occasion. Up to four players can enjoy the game together and choose from a roster of 20 characters. The goal is to rack up as many stars as you can while going around a virtual board game. At the end of each round, players are slotted into different groups and compete in minigames.
There aren’t nearly as many game boards as in previous Mario Party titles with only four options to choose from, but there are 80 fun minigames to help shake things up as you go through each round. You’ll need to unlock these minigames as you go, though.
One other big thing to note is that Super Mario Party cannot be played in handheld mode, which makes sense given that it’s supposed to be a group activity. Additionally, players must use a Joy-Con half and cannot use a Pro Controller while playing. As long as you have four Joy-Cons handy, you’ll be able to play with friends.
Super Mario Party
Grab some family and friends: it’s time to party! Super Mario Party brings dozens of mini-games for up to four players. Whether you’re tag-teaming or going all out in a free-for-all competition, it’s all about trying to win and having fun doing it.
Ring Fit Adventure — Best Fitness Game on Nintendo Switch
Bottom line: As we showed in our Ring Fit Adventure review, this fitness game provides an impressive workout. You’ll jog in place with Joy-Con strapped to your leg to make your on-screen character run forward. And then the Ring-Con allows you to work your arms and do various stretches and core exercises. It costs roughly what you’d pay for a one-month gym membership, but you can use it in the safety of your home.
|Ring Fit Adventure||✔||$70 at Amazon|
|Ring Fit Adventure||✔||$70 at Best Buy|
|Ring Fit Adventure||✔||$70 at Walmart|
- Easy to pick up
- Increases difficulty daily
- Several workout options
- Story distracts your mind from the workout
- Adventures can slow workout
- Can’t buy digitally
Ring Fit Adventure might seem like a workout gimmick that doesn’t actually do much. While it won’t produce a mind-blowing fitness regimen for hardcore workout enthusiasts, it is a fun way to bring cardio, stretches, and even yoga into your daily routine. The best part is you don’t even have to leave the house or get a gym membership to get back into shape.
This fitness game is more expensive than most other Switch offerings because it comes with a Leg Strap and Ring-Con accessory. These devices allow you to slide Joy-Cons into place and then can measure how far you run or how hard you push and pull on the Ring-Con for various exercises.
For those of us who aren’t particularly thrilled by the idea of jogging, there’s also a fun RPG plot for you to focus on to make the workout sessions more interesting. Dragaeux, a super muscular bro type of dragon is causing chaos and it’s up to you to defeat him and his minions… with squats, jogging in place, and ring squeezing. If you’re consistent, this game can really get your heart going and help you get into shape.
Recently, another great Switch workout game called Fitness Boxing 2 also released. Instead of including jogging and crunches, this game has you hold Joy-Cons in either hand and has you punch to the rhythm. It’s another great way to get your heart pumping while distracting you from the unpleasantness of exercising.
You can’t purchase Ring Fit Adventure digitally since it requires you to have the physical accessories to play it. For this reason, you can only purchase a physical copy.
Ring Fit Adventure
Get some cardio, stretches, and yoga sessions in while playing Ring Fit Adventure. The game keeps your mind distracted with an engaging RPG while allowing you to get back into shape.
More of the best Nintendo Switch games
The best of the best are listed above, but other amazing Nintendo Switch games are out there. Here are some more of the best Switch games you can buy.
Monster Hunter Rise – Nintendo Switch
Kamura village is in danger of getting destroyed by rampaging monsters. It’s up to you as a newly made hunter to take down these massive beasts. You’ll obtain items after looting your prey that allows you to upgrade your armor. Plus, you’ll have a cute Palico and Palimute fighting alongside you.
Hades’ son is on a mission to escape the Underworld. He’s going to need some assistance from Zeus, Athena, Poseidon, and other Olympian gods to fight his way through this hack and slash adventure.
Octopath Traveler – Nintendo Switch
Play as eight different characters as you make decisions and take control of their unique abilities. This gorgeous game makes use of a 2D retro artstyle in a 3D space and is an absolute pleasure to look at.
Splatoon 2 – Nintendo Switch
Splatoon 2 is the sequel to Nintendo’s family-friendly shooter game. Play as Inklings and Octolings and shoot to paint your turf. There is a single-player campaign with tons of content, and the online is always fun.
Cadence of Hyrule – Nintendo Switch
Fight your way through Hyrule while playing as Zelda, Link, or Melody. You’ll need to time your movements to the music to land hits and defeat enemies.
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury – Nintendo Switch
Bowser has captured Sprixies from the Sprixie Kingdom and it’s up to Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Toad to save them all in this 3D sidescrolling adventure. Plus, a short standalone game called Bowser’s Fury has Mario taking on a Godzilla-sized version of his nemesis while trying to save Lake Lapcat.
Paper Mario: The Origami King – Nintendo Switch
The evil King Olly has taken over Princess Peach’s castle and is turning Mushroom Kingdom inhabitants into zombie origami. Now it’s up to Mario and his friends to defeat this enemy and bring peace back to the world. This is a hilarious adventure filled with witty writing and plenty of puzzles.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 – Nintendo Switch
Rex is a scavenger who stumbles across Pyra, a powerful living weapon. Together, they explore a sea of clouds and learn more about what happened years ago.
Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! / Eevee!
In Pokémon: Let’s Go, you and your cute companions embark on a journey to become the best team ever. Catch ’em all by yourself or with a partner to cement your status as a legendary Pokémon trainer!
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe
Up to four people can join the fun in New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe as you make your way through this side-scrolling platformer. There are over 164 stages to get through in two main game modes.
Legend of Zelda Link’s Awakening – Nintendo Switch
This remake of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is done in a super cute visual style, but it carefully recreates everything in the original. Additionally, there is new content to complete with the Chamber Dungeon.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses – Nintendo Switch
In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, you’ll need to align yourself with one faction at a time, and you are in charge of leading your chosen house to victory. Each house has its own specialty, so choose wisely.
Super Mario Maker 2 – Nintendo Switch
If you have a creative mind and love classic Mario platforming games, then Super Mario Maker 2 is right up your alley. Create your own Mario levels and let your imagination run wild! You can even play the levels created by other players too.
Hollow Knight – Nintendo Switch
Here’s a beautiful game that prides itself on offering that classic 2D platformer feeling we all grew up on. It’s tough at times, but the reward for your trouble is an entertaining game with lots to explore.
Mario Tennis Aces – Nintendo Switch
Grab your tennis racquet and meet Mario on the court. Mario Tennis Aces brings sporting fun for the whole family. Compete with and against Nintendo’s most beloved characters, and immerse yourself by using the Joy-Cons as your make-believe tennis racquet.
Yoshi’s Crafted World
Yoshi and friends are back at it again in an adorable craft world made from common household items. Play with a friend and help Yoshi make his way through each stage. Discover all of the secrets that the crafted world has to offer.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze – Nintendo Switch
Control Donkey Kong and his monkey buddies as you make your way through several side-scrolling levels. Play by yourself or pass a controller to a friend and play together in local co-op.
Overcooked! 2 – Nintendo Switch
This game won an award for being the best family game to launch on Nintendo Switch in 2018. And that’s for good reason — it puts one of the biggest family activities in video game form as an epic cooperative effort. You and your family will be racing around the kitchen, trying to serve all the hungry guests.
Super Mario 3D All-Stars – Nintendo Switch
This collection includes three Mario classics: Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy. Replay your favorites on the Switch. But you’ll have to get it quickly as this is a limited-time release.
Untitled Goose Game – Nintendo Switch
Sometimes messing with people is the funniest thing as Untitled Goose Game proves. You play as an ornery goose who’s out to mess with people in a village. Whether you’re stealing someone’s glasses to dropping someone’s slippers into a pond, it’s a hilarious game to play.
Celeste – Nintendo Switch
Madeline is on a personal journey to climb to the top of Celeste Mountain. Along the way, she’ll battle her inner demons and make her way through tough challenges. This platformer will keep you on the edge of your seat while delivering a heartfelt story.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle – Nintendo Switch
Mushroom Kingdom has been invaded by rabbids, some good and some bad. It’s up to Mario, Luigi, Peach, and their rabbid doubles to save the world. You’ll need to strategically move characters to the right spots and take advantage of their strengths in this strategic turn-taking game.
Bayonetta 2 – Nintendo Switch
Bayonetta 2 is a hack and slash game that has you playing as a witch taking down angels and demons. You’ll have access to plenty of weapons as you progress further into the game.
Stardew Valley – Nintendo Switch
There are so many things to do now that you’ve inherited your grandfather’s old farm. You can upgrade your land, turn it into a gorgeous location, raise animals, grow crops, and maybe even find love with someone in the nearby town.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity – Nintendo Switch
Hack and slash your way through Hyrule’s history and learn what took place 100 years before Breath of the Wild. You’ll play as Mipha, Revali, Urbosa, Daruk, Zelda, and many more. Each character has their own special skills and attacks.
This is definitely the party game that makes the most out of the Switch’s motion controls. You’ll compete to do things like milk cows, open locks, and perform old western duels. It’s a silly game perfect for any family reunion or game night.
DOOM – Nintendo Switch
Rip and tear your way through hordes of monsters and demons in this violent first-person action game. Add powerful weapons to your arsenal and fight like hell.
Kirby Star Allies – Nintendo Switch
Kirby is out to stop the evil priest Hyness from reviving a dark force that will destroy everything as we know it. But swallowing enemies and taking their powers isn’t enough — he’s gonna need the help of some friends. Run through this side-scrolling adventure and see what allies you can acquire.
Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics
A good board game or card game can be oh-so addicting and this collection gives you 51 awesome options to choose from. Whether you’re into checkers, chess, Yahtzee, poker, mahjong, or one of the other fun games, this will keep you and your friends entertained.
Minecraft – Nintendo Switch
The most popular sandbox game of all time is at your fingertips whether you’re playing at home or on-the-go. Go on an adventure, acquire items, and craft your own worlds the way you want them to look.
Quick list of the 40 best Nintendo Switch games
- Animal Crossing: New Horizons
- Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
- Pokémon Sword / Pokémon Shield
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
- Super Mario Odyssey
- Among Us
- Monster Hunter Rise
- Cadence of Hyrule
- Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury
- Splatoon 2
- Luigi’s Mansion 3
- Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! / Eevee!
- New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe
- The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
- Super Mario Party
- Fire Emblem: Three Houses
- Super Mario Maker 2
- Hollow Knight
- Mario Tennis Aces
- Paper Mario: The Origami King
- Ring Fit Adventure
- Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
- Overcooked! 2
- Super Mario 3D All-Stars
- Octopath Traveler
- Untitled Goose Game
- Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
- Stardew Valley
- Xenoblade Chronicles 2
- Bayonetta 2
- Yoshi’s Crafted World
- Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
- Kirby Star Allies
- Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics
Should you buy a digital game or a physical game?
It depends on how you want to play since there are perks on both sides. With digital games, you don’t have to worry about losing an expensive cartridge and don’t have to pack a bunch of physical games up when you travel. Your games get tied to your account, so if you were to lose your Switch, you’d be able to access the digital games you previously purchased after buying a new console. Additionally, going digital means you can download games immediately from the eShop instead of requiring you to wait for an Amazon package to be delivered or making you run to the store for a physical copy.
However, there’s something nice about the tangibility of physical games. Some game cases come with extras like stickers or posters. After you’ve beaten the game, if you decide that you don’t like it enough to keep it, you can always sell the physical copy to a used-goods store and put that money towards acquiring another game.
How to purchase digital games from the Nintendo eShop
For those who decide that you want to go the digital route, here’s how to purchase games from the Nintendo eShop. By the way, you can easily purchase a Nintendo eShop Gift Card for yourself or as a gift for someone else.
- From the Nintendo Switch’s main menu, select Nintendo eShop. You’ll be taken to the Featured section of the eShop.
- You’ll see various categories like Recent Releases, Great Deals, and Best Sellers. You can also use the search bar at the top of the screen to find a specific game. Tap the image of any game you’re interested in.
- Select Proceed to Purchase.
- Enter your payment information.
- Wait for the game to download. If the game is currently available, you’ll be able to play as soon as it finishes downloading. If the game hasn’t been released yet, you’ll be able to play the moment it launches.
Is gameplay different for Nintendo Switch vs. Nintendo Switch Lite?
Unlike the Nintendo Switch, the Nintendo Switch Lite doesn’t include detachable Joy-Cons, motion controls, or rumble. Any game that relies on these features won’t work on the Switch Lite unless you have external Joy-Cons or a Pro Controller handy. Also, you cannot play many multiplayer games on the Switch Lite screen unless you also have detached Joy-Cons to pass out to friends.
One other thing: The Nintendo Switch Lite does not have a kickstand, so if you do want to play a game on this system while using external controllers, you’ll definitely want to purchase a Nintendo Switch playstand.
Do you need to buy a microSD card for Nintendo Switch?
We highly recommend that people purchase a microSD card for their Nintendo Switch or Switch Lite, seeing how these consoles only have 32 GB of internal memory. That means that you’d only have room for up to three large Switch games before running out of space. And if you’re the kind of person who loves taking videos and screenshots of your gameplay, you’ll get even less out of it.
To help you out, here are the best microSD cards for Nintendo Switch. If you’re not sure how much space you need, check out our guide for which size microSD card is best for Nintendo Switch?
Do I need to buy amiibo?
Nintendo has created hundreds of small figurines with scannable NFC chips inside of them known as amiibo. Thing is, amiibo are not necessary for you to be able to enjoy most Nintendo Switch games. For the most part, these statues are simply fun collector’s items that can unlock small in-game perks when scanned on your Nintendo Switch. However, using certain amiibo scanned with specific games can be very useful.
The Legend of Zelda amiibo, for example, provide some awesome additions to Breath of the Wild. Using specific figures, you can unlock special clothing items, Wolf Link from Twilight Princess who fights alongside you, or even a ridable Epona from Ocarina of Time.
If you want to display these figurines somewhere or really like the perks that come from scanning a specific amiibo, you might just want to buy them. Otherwise, these are not a necessary purchase.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Rebecca Spear loves keeping up-to-date with the latest and greatest electronics. She is a life-long gamer and a writer who has written hundreds of online articles over the past four years. On any given day, you’ll find her drawing with her Wacom tablet, playing RPGs, or reading a good book. Hit her up on Twitter: @rrspear
Christine Chan is a staff writer at iMore. She loves her Nintendo Switch and is never seen without it. She knows a thing or two about what battery packs are good for the console.
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