The best open-world games on Switch and mobile

Are you looking to get lost in an open-world while on the go? Find the one that’s right for you with our list of the best open-world games on Switch and mobile.

Art from one of the best open-world games, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, showing Link (a young blonde boy in a blue tunic with a sword and shield on his back) climbing up a sandy cliff face with a red dawn sky full of clouds in the background.

In this day and age, it’s hard to pick out a list of the best open-world games. For the last 20 years, the industry has offered countless massive worlds full of sci-fi-, fantasy, and cowboy adventures. Still, we’ve put together this list in an attempt to pick out the cream of the crop on Switch and mobile, so you can find somewhere new to lose hours of your free time.

So, go ahead, dig in. There’s a lot to choose from. Once you’ve had your fill of the best open-world games, we’ve got lots of other recommendations for you, whether it’s the best mobile multiplayer games for those looking to spend some time with others or the best games like Civilization, for those looking to do the exact opposite.

Anyway, enough dilly-dallying, let’s get into our list of the best open-world games.

Genshin Impact – mobile

One game heavily influenced by Breath of the Wild, Genshin Impact has since made its mark as a wonderful game in its own right. It took a while for Genshin to move out of Zelda’s shadow, but it’s clearly done it now.

Giving you numerous characters to have in your party, an open world full of secrets, and lots of seasonal events, Genshin Impact is one of the best open-world games, and what makes it better is that it’s a game you can play forever. And it’s coming to Switch soon if you’re not up for playing it on your phone. (We’ve got a Genshin Impact Switch release date guide to keep you up to date, too).

Play Genshin Impact for free.

Screenshot of Link standing on a sky island in Tears of the Kingdom for open world games guide

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom – Switch

If you thought Hyrule was big in Breath of the Wild, oh boy, Tears of the Kingdom has something to show you. The scale of this game is unlike anything else we’ve ever seen before, with no ‘open areas’ or ‘open zones’, just a proper open world in the truest sense of the term. There are endless hours of gameplay here, so leap from the sky islands, and float through an incredible adventure.

To get off to a solid start in Hyrule, check out our guides for Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom gleeoksZelda: Tears of the Kingdom shrinesZelda: Tears of the Kingdom depths, and Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom old map, and Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom enemies.

Geralt from the Witcher riding his horse through pine tree-laden woods.

The Witcher 3 – Switch

If you’re looking for an open world that’s gorgeous, maybe play this on a different platform. But if you’re after deep characters, rolling hills, and scary monsters, this is the game for you on Switch.

The key with The Witcher 3 is the side quests, which are celebrated to no end. But there’s good reason; these are definitely the best side quests in any videogame, leading down winding narratives and engaging gameplay moments. It’s a must-play.

Skeletons adorned in armour and wielding weapons from the game Skyrim.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Switch

One of the best open-world games is also one of the first to say to the player “hey, go do what you want, doesn’t matter where you go, you’ll find something”, Skyrim came out in 2011, and is still getting ported to every system.

Still, though, after maybe a thousand hours in the game, I love going back, even though it’s a weirdly uninteresting world. Oh, and my favourite way to play is on the Switch.

A character from Dragon's Dogma facing up to a dragon in the darkness.

Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen – Switch

For anybody out there playing Elden Ring who wants to have a bit of a history lesson, go pick up Dragon’s Dogma. So much about it has seeped into many open-world games over the years, yet the game doesn’t get as much credit as some others.

With magic and melee combat, large beasts for you to clamber up and grab onto, and a story that ends in the wackiest way, Dragon’s Dogma is a strange, excellent concoction that everyone should check out.

The main character from Assassin's Creed 4 Black Flag, hanging from the ropes of a ship with his sword drawn, watching a whale diving in the water.

Assassin’s Creed Black Flag – Switch

Ubisoft’s recreation of the Caribbean in Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag is endlessly gorgeous and enjoyable. You climb in the shoes of a pirate assassin, sail the high seas, and do lots of murders in beautiful places. Oh, and it’s part of the Rebel Collection on Switch, so you get AC Rogue too, which is an alright game.

Black Flag is often talked about as the best Assassin’s Creed game, so it’s definitely worth a look. If you’re more of a fan of Italian escapades, check out our Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection review to see what we think.

Shulk and Reyn from Xenoblade running through the Gaur Plain in Xenoblade Chronicles.

Xenoblade Chronicles – Switch

The slow burn that has been Xenoblade Chronicle’s rise to stardom is great to see, considering it has some of the best open-world games out there all in one series. Back when Monolith Soft released the original in Japan, fans had to fight for a western release.

Now, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is a headline title for Nintendo this year. If you want to go back to where it all started before the Xenoblade Chronicles 3 release date, check out the original on Switch. It has an expansive, beautiful world full of strange creatures and excellent storytelling.

Two characters from Dragon Quest XI jumping off a cliff.

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Switch

For more JRPG goodness, look no further than the grandaddy of JRPGs. Dragon Quest has been around forever (Square Enix released it a year before the first Final Fantasy game), and it’s a mega-hit in Japan.

If you’re looking to get into it, the best place to start is with Dragon Quest XI. It has a grand, world-ending story, gorgeous monster designs, and lots of turn-based battling to keep you engaged.

The bird from A Short Hike flying on a gust of wind with ocean below

A Short Hike – Switch

Those of you looking for a more peaceful open world, or just not looking to murder anyone, look no further than my personal game of the year for 2020, A Short Hike. It‘s a tiny little adventure where you meet quirky people, solve their problems, and try and hike up a mountain.

It‘s delightful, and a great example of a small game still being one of the best open-world games. No matter what people say, size doesn’t always matter.

Cole Phelps holding his LAPD badge aloft in LA Noire

L.A. Noire – Switch

While the open world in L.A. Noire may seem a little barren, that doesn’t stop it from being an excellent game. Full of excellent writing and dialogue suited to the period, the game tells the story of Cole Phelps, a cop in the LAPD, climbing the ranks and solving crimes. I

t has wonderful storytelling, and most people tend to overlook things that it does better than any other games out there, just because the open world is kinda empty. Who cares when everything else is as good as it is?

The character from Sky Children of the Light, looking at a large glowing orb, with fluffy clouds in the distance.

Sky: Children of the Light – Switch and mobile

Developed by Thatgamecompany (who also developed the similarly excellent Flow, Flower, and Journey), Sky: Children of the Light has a delicate open world, beautifully realised, with seven kingdoms to explore.

Like Journey before it, there are clever, subtle social elements to make everything that much more impactful. And it’s free-to-play, which is even better. We also have a Sky: Children of the Light review if you need more convincing to play one of the best open-world games for free.

Art from the game Oceanhorn showing the main character weilding his sword with various characters in the background.

Oceanhorn – Switch and mobile

If you fell in love with Breath of the Wild and just need some more as soon as possible, then Oceanhorn may be for you. It’s an unabashed Zelda-like, even down to the main character. But that doesn’t stop it from being engaging.

It has some great puzzles, some pretty world design, and a sequel, so if you like the first game, there’s more where that came from. Literally.

Link from Breath of the Wild tentatively walking across a log floating in a lake.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Switch

The game that launched the Nintendo Switch also happens to be one of the best games of all time. It’s covered in things to discover, leaving you to explore with very little direction.

There are gentle dragons swimming past waterfalls, massive mountains to climb, or just strange glows in the distance. Everything that intrigues you leads to a surprise. Just be sure to carry enough food to keep your health in the green as you adventure through Hyrule.

That’s that, then. Thousands of hours of the best open-world games for you to get lost in. Go on then, get lost! If you do decide to give Genshin a go, check out our Genshin Impact codes list to get some free stuff and get off to a good start. If you want more gaming recommendations, also take a look at our list of the best mobile MMORPGs and our Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom review for some inspiration.