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The best action games in 2024

Picking the best action games is no easy task, but we like a challenge almost as much as we like the games you can find in this guide.

Lights, cameras, action games! If there’s one genre that crops up time and time again in videogames, it’s action, especially as it slips right into games that don’t necessarily classify as ‘action’ or those that fall under a different primary genre. For instance, many RPGs can also fall under the ARPG bracket, but we’re ready to think even further outside the box, so strap in for our picks for the best action games on Nintendo Switch and mobile.

If you’re after a specific line of games, we have Mario games, Zelda games, Pokémon games, The Witcher games, and Candy Crush games guides that are worth a read. Or, if you want a taste of the genres that so often go hand-in-hand with action games, check out our adventure games, ARPGs, and Switch RPGs articles.

Here are the best action games on Nintendo Switch and mobile:

Action games, Dark Souls' Ornstein and Smough

Dark Souls – Switch

Welcome to Lordran, a place where the action never stops. As an action RPG, Dark Souls has all the combat you can dream of, allowing you to approach things in a different way each time you start a new playthrough. I like having a long, sharp sword and flipping my way around my enemies, but that’s not the approach I recommend for new players, especially as the Dark Souls ring you need to dodge like that takes a considerable amount of effort to get.

To put it bluntly, Dark Souls is one of the best RPGs of all time, going on to essentially create an entire genre with its success. Though a lot of action is present here, it has a spot on our hard games list for a reason – you’ll die, die, and die again in this one. Still, it’s worth it for the convoluted lore you need to piece together yourself to truly uncover the events of this world. If you want a head start in learning the lore, our Dark Souls Gwyn guide is the perfect place to begin, as he’s the reason the world is in such disarray, desperately clinging to his age of fire.

As with most RPGs, there are various stats for you to increase through leveling up. These determine what sort of build you have – you can have dexterity, strength, pyromancy, miracle, and sorcery builds, or a combination if you want to. Admittedly, magic is a very good choice, but I prefer getting up close and personal with melee combat. No matter what sort of play style you have, you can tailor your Dark Souls experience to it, though the Dark Souls bosses are sure to give you a hard time no matter what you do.

Dark Souls bonfires are your saving grace in this world, while Dark Souls’ divine weapons can save your heiny in the Catacombs and Tomb of the Giants, so make sure you learn about those. We also have Dark Souls Gwyndolin, Dark Souls Artorias, and Dark Souls Sif guides if you want to know more about some of the characters found within. Or, for more videogames like this, check out our lists of the best Soulslike games and games like Dark Souls.

Action games, Genshin impact animal

Genshin Impact – mobile

How could we possibly make an action games list and not mention HoYoverse’s massively popular RPG? Genshin Impact took the world by storm in 2020, and it’s showing no sign of slowing down. If anything, things continue to ramp up with the constant updates and livestreams; it certainly keeps the Hoyo team busy, and our Genshin Impact Sumeru review is a testament to that.

Considering it’s an RPG, it should come as no surprise that Genshin features plenty of action for you to sink your teeth into. You find yourself in the world of Teyvat and must journey across its seven nations as you search for your twin after being separated upon your arrival in this strange land. Luckily for you, there are many enigmatic characters for you to meet, though this does mean that you often find yourself running errands or helping out various people.

Thanks to the Genshin Impact banners, you can summon characters to join your team, helping you out in combat. It’s worth noting that there are seven elements in Genshin Impact, one for each nation, and each character shares an affinity with one of these elements, giving them access to unique attacks in battle. The fact that each character has a different preference for weaponry also plays a part in how they perform in battle and whether or not they’re the best fit for your team.

If you decide to jump into this sprawling RPG, our Genshin Impact codes guide can give you a nice boost in primogems, adventurer’s experience, and fine enchantment ore. We also have a Genshin Impact tier list if you want to know who the best characters are and a list of the best games like Genshin Impact if you’re after similar experiences.

action games, Bayonetta posing in front of a red moon

Bayonetta 3 – Switch

Hair today, gone tomorrow. That sums up the Umbra Witch quite nicely, and trust us when we say that this thrilling third entry in the series is a must-play for action game fans – you don’t get more action-packed than Bayonetta 3, or either of her previous outings, to be honest.

The stakes are higher than ever in Bayonetta 3, as the titular character must save the multiverse. Yes, we know. It seems every franchise out there is buying into multiple dimensions, but trust us when we say Bayonetta 3 does it well, offering a terrific story that’s bound to keep you hooked until the end. If you don’t care much for narrative in videogames, great news, the hack ‘n slash nature of the Umbra Witch makes her adventures some of the best action games you can experience, not just on Nintendo Switch, but in general.

If you’re already familiar with the franchise thanks to the previous two Bayonetta games, you’re in for a treat as you’ll recognize some of the returning cast members. You’ll also know what to expect when it comes to upgrading Bayonetta’s abilities, weapons, and more. She jumps into battle with melee offense and gunplay, using her witchy skills when in a pinch. Bayonetta 3 features some of the most fluid combat out there, and just one look at our Bayonetta 3 review shows that we can’t recommend it enough.

Should you want to show your love for the Umbra Witch, we have a Bayonetta figures guide, though prepare yourself. Some of these are hard to get and cost a pretty penny. Or, if you want to get to know Cereza, the girl who goes on to become Bayonetta, check out our Bayonetta Origins review.

Action games, Call of Duty key art showing someone shooting a pistol

Call of Duty: Mobile – mobile

Do I really need to explain why there’s a Call of Duty game on our list of the best action games on Switch and mobile? You don’t get much more action-heavy than this superior mobile shooter, but trust me when I say it isn’t for everyone. War is hell, and while it can be fun to take the fight to some AI in the campaigns of the main games, if you’re someone who prefers to avoid online action due to what can be a harsh increase in difficulty, you don’t want to play Call of Duty: Mobile.

You need to be able to hold your own on the battlefield; your teammates won’t save you. If anything, they might use you as cannon fodder if you don’t pull your weight. Admittedly, you should really be in matches with people of a similar skill set to you, which does help to keep things a bit fairer across the various game modes. Personally, I’m a fan of domination, though I’m also partial to the standard team deathmatch.

As with the mainline games such as Black Ops and Modern Warfare, you get to customize your weapons through various attachments that alter the efficiency of your gear. For instance, you could have questionable accuracy, but that’s a good sacrifice to make in exchange for increased damage if you think you have the skills to battle the sway of your guns.

If you think you’re brave enough to enter the online world of Call of Duty: Mobile, make sure you check out our Call of Duty: Mobile download guide. We also have a Call of Duty: Mobile codes page, where you can get in-game currency, skins, blueprints, weapons, and more. There’s no love lost in war, so gear up, soldier.

action games, Geralt, Ciri, and Yennefer form The Witcher 3

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Switch

Look, I never need an excuse to talk about The Witcher. It’s one of my favorite franchises of all time, right up there with Dragon Age and Mass Effect, and since EA seems determined to ensure I can never speak about those thanks to absent Dragon Age Switch and Mass Effect Switch ports, I’ll continue to lavish love and praise up this masterpiece instead.

Many regard The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt as one of the best RPGs of all time, and it’s not hard to see why. It also boasts two of the best DLC expansions I’ve ever played, but I’m getting ahead of myself. In Wild Hunt, you continue to follow the story of The Witcher 3’s Geralt as he goes on an adventure to find and save The Witcher 3’s Ciri while the Wild Hunt tracks her down. Luckily, two gorgeous sorceresses, The Witcher 3’s Yennefer and The Witcher 3’s Triss, also love and care for Ciri, so you get some help on your quest.

There’s a huge cast of The Witcher 3 characters in Wild Hunt, and each fits into the world perfectly, so if you appreciate good character design as well as action, you’re in for a treat. Still, you’re here for action games, so let’s look at what qualifies The Witcher 3 as one of the best. Well, you’re in a fantasy world full of ferocious monsters, such as vampires, werewolves, drowners, griffins, dragons, and more, meaning there’s plenty of combat for you to experience outside of slaying the evil humans that walk the land, anyway.

You can unlock different stats that help to determine what sort of experience you have. For instance, you can focus entirely on a melee combat build, make use of your signs more effectively, and brew potions to boost your skills in battle, though that can be a double-edged sword.

Should you need some help gearing yourself up, we can tell you how to get The Witcher 3 Viper armor and tell you what the best The Witcher 3 armor is. But why stop there? Some quests can be confusing or difficult to get the best result, so allow us to walk you through them with our The Witcher 3 High Stakes and The Witcher 3 Family Matters articles. Oh, and if spoilers don’t phase you, we can even explain how to get the various The Witcher 3 endings.

action games, someone riding a bike in San Andreas

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas – mobile

Before we dive into this game, the reason we clearly state it’s a mobile option and not Switch is that we can’t in good conscience encourage you to play that flaming pile of dog poop – the Switch version is so bad that it makes CJ’s day look a lot better in comparison, and that guy has some huge family issues going on.

The chances are you’ve at least heard of San Andreas if you haven’t played it, as many consider it one of the best GTA games out there. As you might expect from a title like this, you need to take part in all the crimes you can think of as you fight to increase your street cred and grow your gang. You play as CJ, a poor guy who returns to his hometown following the death of his mother, and it doesn’t take long for him to slip right back into his old life.

You have access to more weapons than we can count in the form of guns, rocket launchers, baseball bats, knuckle dusters, and more. All of which you can use to cause pain and chaos as you explore San Andreas and the three cities within. Before we move on, here’s a fun fact: Los Santos, San Fierro, and Las Venturas are inspired by Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Las Vegas, respectively.

If the gangster lifestyle is for you, check out our list of the best games like GTA and see what other felonies you can commit.

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Resident Evil 2 – Switch

I love Resident Evil. It’s one of my favorite franchises, offering a terrific series of horror games that double as fun action games. However, while RE3, RE7, Village, and RE4 are fantastic games, it’s Resident Evil 2 that holds the title of being my favorite Resident Evil game, and that’s a huge statement as Resident Evil 4 Remake is an extremely close second. Wait, so is Village. Okay, I need to get on with this before I keep changing my mind.

Resident Evil 2 is one of the best videogames I’ve had the pleasure of playing, thanks to its terrifying setting in the Raccoon City Police Department, sewers, and lab – all are superbly designed and have you dreading what’s around the next corner. Beyond that, the monsters on offer here are outstanding in the most grotesque way – Resident Evil Lickers make their debut in this game, and they remain one of the most popular Resident Evil monsters to this day.

Of course, to survive such horrors, you need a gun, which makes RE2 an action game. Resident Evil’s Leon and Claire have access to different weapons, though they’re all effective at dealing with the zombies and monsters. The weapons exclusive to Leon are a pistol and shotgun, while Resident Evil’s Claire has access to a revolver and grenade launcher.

Speaking of Leon and Claire, Resident Evil 2 features two campaigns, technically four, as each character has their own hellish journey through the RCPD. If you choose to play as Claire first, you then get access to Leon’s ‘B’ plot and vice versa. Plaything through both is what unlocks the true ending of Resident Evil 2.

For some extra assistance, we can tell you what the Resident Evil 2 safe codes are, which can quite literally save your life when the hulking mass that is Resident Evil 2’s Mr X is chasing after you. We also happen to have a guide to the Resident Evil 3 safe codes if you ever want to join Resident Evil’s Jill and see how her time in Raccoon City is going.

All this talk about RE2 has me excited for the new Resident Evil game, even if we’re not too sure what it entails yet. Will it be Resident Evil 9 or a remake? Only time will tell. Oh, and don’t forget that there are several other Resident Evil games on Nintendo Switch, including Resident Evil 3 and Resident Evil Village, so you can continue to explore this terrifying world, and unravel the stories you can find within.

Action games, the protagonists surrounded by enemies

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night – mobile

Castlevania is one of the most iconic videogame franchises of all time, making up one-half of the acclaimed Metroidvania genre, and one of its most treasured entries is available on mobile devices. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is popular through gaining a cult following after becoming a sleeper hit even though it initially didn’t get many sales following its release in 1997. Incidentally, that’s what makes this such a rare PS1 game to own.

Anyone familiar with this title knows that it’s an ARPG, making it a perfect choice if you’re after an action game. It serves as a direct sequel to Castlevania: Rondo of Blood from 1993, though by no means do you need to play the PC Engine Super CD-ROM game to enjoy Symphony of the Night.

In Symphony of the Night, you play as Alucard, a returning character from 1992’s Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse. He also happens to be the son of Dracula, though he’s not a vampire, rather, he’s a dhampir due to his mother being human. Alucard returns to Dracula’s castle, hellbent on destroying it. Of course, that’s much easier said than done, so you best prepare yourself to fight through many enemies as you seek to end this evil once and for all.

As SotN is an RPG, it comes as no surprise that you need to boost your various stats as you go through the game, and the only way to do that is by killing enemies and bosses. Luckily, you have access to magic and physical attacks that make this action game one to remember.

If you want to know how truly brilliant this game is, check out our Castlevania: Symphony of the Night review, where we describe it as “a solid port of one of the greatest games ever made.” Enough said.

Action games: Three different Lara Crofts stood next to each other with the game logo to the right of them

Tomb Raider I-III Remastered – Switch

Lara Croft is back with remastered versions of her first three adventures, so now that the Tomb Raider I-III Remastered collection is out on Nintendo Switch, we’d be remiss if we didn’t give it a nod as one of the best action games on the console.

Tomb Raider first hit the scene on PlayStation back in 1996, with Lara’s adventure proving to be so popular that work on a sequel began immediately, leading to Tomb Raider II in 1997, Tomb Raider III in 1998, and Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation in 1999, though the latter is absent from the remastered collection.

If you’re a longtime fan of Lara Croft, you’ve likely played all three of these games on their original platform, so you know exactly what to expect in terms of gameplay, puzzles, and combat. If you’re entirely new to the series, Tomb Raider sends you on adventures with archeologist Lara Croft, with each game in the trilogy offering a different story.

Puzzles, traps, and combat are the pinnacle of the gameplay experience as you travel to different locations around the world in search of artifacts, making sure they don’t fall into the wrong hands. If you want to know even more about what makes this trilogy so iconic (with many revering the first game as one of the best videogames of all time), check out our Tomb Raider I-III Remastered Switch review.

We have to admit, all of this talk about Lara Croft has us excited for a new Tomb Raider game – I wonder how long we have to wait for an announcement.

A hooded knight fighting Rayman in Brawlhalla

Brawlhalla – mobile and Switch

Ubisoft’s fighting game is the perfect choice if you’re after some action on mobile – it also happens to be available on Nintendo Switch if you prefer the hybrid console. The aim of the game is simple here: knock your opponents out of the arena to be the last one standing.

The best comparison I can make is to Super Smash Bros, as you can use your attacks and skills to knock them from the platform and then do all you can to prevent them from getting back to the fight zone safely. Naturally, the weaker you are when knocked from the arena, the further you travel, which makes it harder to return to safety.

Again, just like with Super Smash Bros, random items spawn during the match, which can help to turn the tides in your favor. The weapons you might find include katars, swords, spears, blasters, bows, scythes, and more.

When selecting which Brawlhalla character to use, I highly recommend that you look at their stats, as they have varying strength, dexterity, defense, and speed attributes that alter how they perform in battle.

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Crisis Core – Switch

Many regard Final Fantasy VII as the best Final Fantasy game out there, and while Switch players are unable to experience the Remake trilogy, you can enjoy Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion, a remake of the prequel to FFVII, which Square Enix releases exclusively for the PSP (unsurprisingly, it’s also on our list of the best PSP games).

You take control of Zack Fair, and you’re sure to recognize some of the other Crisis Core characters, as Aerith, Tifa, Cloud, and Sephiroth all appear. As fans already know, Zack is a SOLDIER, and in Crisis Core, he uncovers secrets that will change things forever.

The story spans the war between Shinra and Wutai, offering plenty of combat for you to sink your teeth into. Unlike the original FFVII game, Crisis Core and its remake don’t use turn-based battles. Instead, you fully control Zack, using abilities from materia to cast magic while also relying on the heavy hits from your buster sword.

It’s a terrific action game, and you can check out our Crisis Core: Final Fantasy Reunion Switch review to learn more.

Action games: Astral Chain key art showing the two main character in police uniform while a cybernetic creature looks on

Astral Chain – Switch

The second PlatinumGames title to appear on this list, Astral Chain is a must-own for any Switch owner who loves action games. It’s exclusive to Nintendo’s console, so this is the only way you can play it, and we highly recommend that you do.

You get to play a detective from the Neuron special police task force, who operates in a dystopian future that’s full of interdimensional creatures ready to unleash carnage. An interesting thing to note is that the story actually follows two twins, and they use the titular “Astral Chain” to defeat the creatures.

Astral Chain features various RPG elements, and those of you who like to play detective are bound to appreciate the parts of the gameplay in which you play detective by conducting investigations. As exciting as all of that is, I know that what you really care about is the combat – that is what gives a game its ‘action’ label. Here, you get to experience satisfying hack ‘n slash combat as you face off against various enemies. The combos are great, it’s fast-paced, and is sure to keep you coming back for more.

And that, my friends, concludes our list of the best action games on Nintendo Switch and mobile. Agree with our picks? Think another game deserves a spot here? Let us know. In the meantime, check out our list of the best FPS games and Hard games to see what chaos and mayhem you can cause.