The Switch has seen a golden era for Nintendo releases, but other developers haven’t been slacking either. With such a huge install base, both indie and AAA devs have worked hard to make their games work on Nintendo Switch. That means even more great stuff for you to play. so what are the best Nintendo Switch games?
Whatever you think is the best Nintendo Switch (standard, OLED, or Lite), the system has so many unmissable games. From the best Switch RPGs to the best Switch multiplayer games, we’ve worked to give you an overview that encompasses all player tastes. We’ve limited it to 24 games, and it wasn’t easy to narrow it down to so few, either.
Now, in no particular order, here’s our list of the best Nintendo Switch games:
1. The Legend Of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
It’s hard to follow up a masterpiece with a masterpiece, but if anyone can do it, it’s Nintendo. Tears of the Kingdom is the best sandbox adventure game on the market, let alone just the Switch, with a mind-bogglingly big world of dungeons, shrines, and quests to adventure. There are new powers too, with an emphasis on creation, with Link capable of creating vehicles with ultrahand capable of making vehicles, with fuse allows the invention of new weapons.
Picking up after the events of Breath Of The Wild, Tears of the Kingdom sees Link and Zelda separated once more, as a long-dormant evil revives and spreads across Hyrule. As Link, it’s your job to regain your power, find the princess, and return peace to the land once more.
For a bit of guidance getting around Hyrule’s heavy overhaul, check out our guides to Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom gleeoks, Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom koroks, Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom shrines, and Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom depths. Or, if you’re still thinking it over, see if our Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom review can convince you.
2. Super Mario Odyssey
Not content with simply releasing the most ground-breaking Zelda game in 2017, Nintendo outdid themselves and also gave us what is not only one of the best Mario games on Switch but one of the plumber’s best outings ever. Returning to the ‘sandbox’ style of the world seen in Super Mario Sunshine, Super Mario Odyssey has our plumber pal exploring huge levels to find hidden challenges and earn the literal hundreds of Power Moons needed to power his hat-shaped ship, The Odyssey, and rescue peach.
The difference here is that Mario can copy the abilities of almost any enemy in the game. No, he hasn’t been taking lessons from Kirby, but instead made friends with a hat with magical abilities. Cappy allows Mario to possess enemies, NPCs, and even random objects, giving him skills and moves unlike anything before. With so many fun ways to move and so many things to do (with a selection of Super Mario Odyssey amiibo available to enhance the game), Mario’s latest adventure should keep children happy for weeks.
3. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Remember when Animal Crossing was a niche Gamecube game? The one with the weird villagers and wobbling gyroids. Well, Animal Crossing: New Horizons has now sold over 30 million units on Nintendo Switch, and it became a phenomenon that inspired countless games like Animal Crossing on Switch, and a wealth of Animal Crossing plushies and toys. Through some serendipitous timing, and a truck full of new ways to customize not just your house, but your island, the series took the world by storm.
New Horizons looks absolutely gorgeous in shiny HD. The villagers are cuter than ever, bugs can be seen wandering around, and the atmosphere provided by the gorgeous night sky is untouchable. This fantastic game also received a hefty update and some paid DLC.
4. Astral Chain
Platinum knows how to make action games like Gordon Ramsey knows how to shout at people and cook things. It’s an art form at this point and they always deliver. Astral Chain is a console exclusive for Nintendo Switch and shows Platinum flexing its action muscles in some interesting ways, while providing possibly the best graphics on the system to date.
You play as Akira, a cop in a future-noir city who must use monsters known as Legion as weapons. The Legion are bound to you by the Astral Chain, and you can attack not only by yourself and with your Legion, but also by combining your attacks with the chain itself. Part detective story, all bonkers, Astral Chain is an incredible action game stuffed with style, and any action fan owes it to themselves to give it a try.
5. Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Another niche series now more popular than ever, after the success of Fire Emblem Awakening on 3DS, the series has continued to improve and grow, with Fire Emblem: Three Houses delivering the best game in the decades-old series, according to many. Think of it as anime chess, Fire Emblem is a strategy game where you control a team of characters and battle opposing armies while leveling up and gaining new weapons and abilities.
You play as Byleth, a professor at a school that is home to different factions, and the relationships between these characters, and the world, have far-reaching consequences. With so many loveable Fire Emblem: Three Houses characters, three different stories to play through, and some fantastic refinements to the series’ RPG elements, Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a huge adventure and an easy recommendation for any strategy or RPG fan.
6. Luigi’s Mansion 3
Poor Luigi. For someone so easily scared, he sure does end up in a lot of frightening places! This entry is no different, as after receiving a suspiciously generous invitation to stay in a plush hotel, things go awry, and soon Luigi is chasing ghosts through the many floors of this creepy building. Developer Next Level Games learned some great lessons from Luigi’s Mansion 2 on 3DS, and this entry not only plays smoother but looks like an animated movie brought to life.
The physical comedy of Luigi running away scared is sold through incredible animation work, and the gameplay feels satisfying and rewarding to master. You’ll love exploring every inch of the hotel to find hidden treasures and piles of cash, all while defeating the many ghosts and wonderful bosses in Luigi’s way. It says a lot that, despite its light-hearted nature, it earned a spot on our list of the best ghost games.
7. Monster Hunter Rise
Switch fans may have felt a bit jealous when Monster Hunter World was released, as that title brought some much-needed refinements to the series as well as shiny HD graphics. Well, the argument for the best Monster Hunter game is now much more difficult, as our Monster Hunter Rise review states why the game blew fans away on Nintendo Switch this year.
Adding some acrobatics to proceedings, as well as a trusty new pet with the palamute, Monster Hunter has never felt quicker, or sharper, than with Rise. There’s even the new rampage mode if you enjoy cutting down hordes of enemies, and multiplayer is a joy with buddies. Rise also has a massive expansion, with Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak bringing even more content to the massive package recently, and we’ve been blown away. You can also use our Monster Hunter Rise skills guide to stay ahead of the competition.
8. Stardew Valley
Ah, the quiet life. There probably isn’t a more relaxing game on Switch than Stardew Valley. This cozy agriculture simulator tasks you with building and maintaining an adorable pixelated farm. It’s up to you to choose your crops, protect them, and do your best to make some money as well.
You can also get married, decorate your house, make friends with the villagers, rebuild the community center, explore the mines, and even go fishing. Play Stardew Valley however you want, and at whatever pace you want. But however you play, there are hundreds of hours of fantastic, calming gameplay if you want it. Be sure to check out our Stardew Valley fish guide when you do eventually dive in.
9. Hollow Knight
If you’ve ever played and enjoyed a Metroidvania game (Metroid, Castlevania, Axiom Verge, Ori & The Will of the Wisps, etc) you owe it to yourself to play Hollow Knight. It’s tougher than most, taking some cues from Dark Souls with difficult bosses tucked away in most corners, a long trek back to them, and a battle with yourself to reclaim any of the souls you lose upon death.
Where Hollow Knight excels though is in world-building and game feel. Hollow Knight feels absolutely incredible to control, and every additional ability unlocked only further strengthens your arsenal. Then the mystery of the world and strength of the visual style pushed me to explore every single corner I could. I’m still astonished at the quality of this game, and hopefully Team Cherry is working hard on the sequel so we don’t have long to wait for the Hollow Knight Silksong release date.
10. Metroid Dread
Talk about being fashionably late. A sequel to the 2001 GBA game Metroid Fusion, Samus finally returns in Metroid Dread, though it feels like she never left. With slick movement, satisfying weapons, and an incredibly atmospheric world to explore, Dread could be the best entry in the 35-year-old series and has us hoping we never have to wait this long again. It offers a great deal of content, and there’s even more if you use the Metroid Dread amiibo too.
Dread wraps up the epic story of Metroid after so many years, and there’s plenty of lore to tuck into for the fans that have been waiting. But if you’re a first-time Metroid player, you’re about to play an incredible action exploration game that just so happens to finish a story. This is as good a place to start as any, and if Dread eventually makes you a Metroid fan, then welcome aboard!
Check out our Metroid Dread review for more information on this stellar sci-fi title.
11. Super Mario Maker 2
With so many Mario games over the years, it was getting difficult to imagine where the 2D sidescrolling series could go in the future. So Nintendo instead gave the tools to fans, and we couldn’t be happier. Create your own levels in the style of classic Mario games, but make them as devious and difficult as you can possibly imagine.
Super Mario Maker 2 adds a lot of exciting new elements to the formula (slopes, worlds, new styles) and even gave us a taste of a Zelda Maker with an NES Link power-up that copied the hero of time’s abilities. Where could Mario go next? Who knows. But we’ve got literally thousands of fantastic Mario levels to play until then, so there’s no rush.
12. Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition
A sprawling open-world RPG with a gargantuan story, spanning worlds built on the bodies of dead gods, Xenoblade is as JRPG as it gets. However, with some fantastic active-battle systems, it manages to mix strategy with skill in some really smart ways.
The main characters are still likable, even if you get a bit sick of hearing “It’s Reyn time” repeatedly, and this port brings the Wii classic to life with beautiful visuals that finally do this huge world justice. There’s never been a better way to play this JRPG classic than on your Switch. Check out our guide on the Xenoblade Chronicles timeline if you find stepping into this world a bit daunting.
13. Bayonetta 2
What do you call a witch that loves explosions? Michael Bayonetta… Anyway, Bayonetta 2 is a prime example of PlatinumGames firing on all cylinders, and luckily it wasn’t stuck on the WiiU forever. Both entries in the series are on Switch and are stellar action games with a chaotic flair for detail, but the sequel is just inching ahead for us thanks to its gigantic set-pieces and the occasional Nintendo nod. Both entries are utterly unmissable action games that any fans of the genre have to experience.
It’s easy to see why this larger-than-life character has touched so many games. She was great in the first game, and the second puts everything up a notch and provides a more colorful, action-packed adventure. You don’t need to worry if you haven’t played the original Bayonetta either, as many editions of the second game come with a download code for it. Check out our guide on Bayonetta figures if you’re one of her many dedicated fans.
14. Pokémon Legends: Arceus
Who knew that going backwards was the key to moving forwards? Pokémon Legends: Arceus flings our protagonist into the past to the land of Hisui, centuries before it became Sinnoh. But this quasi-open-world adventure managed to deliver the freshest take on Pokémon in Ponyta’s years.
Exploring the different regions of Hisui and seeing Pokémon in the wild is a thrill, but just the ability to actually throw pokéballs and catch the many different ‘mon on offer was a simple, but essential revelation. If you’re still roaming around Hisui, why not check out our many different guides such as; Pokémon Legends: Arceus mystery gift codes, Pokémon Legends: Arceus shiny Pokémon, and Pokémon Legends: Arceus Eevee guide?
We also have Pokémon Legends: Arceus review with our full thoughts.
15. Live A Live
Live A Live is a remake of a Japanese-only Super Famicom title from the 90s, about a series of separate stories better described as vignettes, all scattered through various time periods and locations.
The separate stories are all short and self-contained but manage to explore new features every time and tell a satisfying story. The HD-2D uplift is gorgeous, and the best example of the graphics engine we’ve seen yet, and without spoiling things, the end does bring together several elements in a hugely satisfying way. We gave this delightful RPG a highly-coveted 10 in our full Live A Live review.
16. Xenoblade Chronicles 3
It’s hard to believe this series went from a desperate struggle to be localized in the West, to a smash trilogy with a new entry flying above and beyond expectations. Monolith Soft is a true master of the genre, and Xenoblade Chronicles 3 exemplifies their talent at crafting open worlds and satisfying JRPG combat.
Taking place in a world being torn apart by a war between the two factions known as Agnus and Keves, XC3 squeezes an enormous world onto the Switch and somehow looks better than its predecessors while still cramming seven different characters into every battle. The ouroboros technique adds a thrilling new wrinkle, while the story is the darkest the series has ever tackled.
It’s a good year for RPGs, as we also delivered a 10 in our Xenoblade Chronicles 3 review, saying “it takes everything that makes the series special and turns it up louder, down darker.” If you’re interested, learn more about the Xenoblade Chronicles Operation Rainfall movement that brought the original to our shores, and what those responsible think of the series now.
17. Splatoon 3
The third time is the charm. Splatoon was already a huge success in Japan and made waves in the West, but Splatoon 3 looks set to take the world by storm. Introducing the exciting new Tri-Colour Splatfests, along with numerous quality fo life improvements and a slew of new weapons, anyone who describes Splatoon 3 as an iteration has taken a few too many Splattershots to the head.
We’ve also been addicted to the new Splatoon 3 Tableturf Battle mode, decorating our Splatoon 3 lockers, and collecting eggs in the Splatoon 3 Salmon Run mode. Check out our full Splatoon 3 review to find out why we love this latest entry so much, and then have a read of our article about the Splatoon 3 soundtrack and what makes it so interesting.
It still feels surreal to see Mazza shooting guns next to the Rabbids, a spin-off from the Rayman series… but like Wanda and Vision, it works! This tactical wonder is a sequel to Kingdom Battle, and Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope does away with the linear grid, giving a tactical RPG more focused on movement and positioning, while still providing an array of weapons and status effects to play with.
It’s also a visual delight, with a voyage through the galaxy working as a backdrop for this story, including the titular Sparks, an unholy combination of the Lumas from Super Mario Galaxy and the Rabbids. There is even an (inter)stellar soundtrack from Grant Kirkhope, Gareth Coker, and Yoko Shimomura (Kingdom Hearts). With great gameplay and a wealth of difficulty options, this is a fantastic game for all ages that will still test the tactical titans out there.
Read our Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope review for more reasons why we love this game.
19. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
They say that most great art isn’t appreciated in the artist’s lifetime, and back in 2014 the first reactions to Retro Studios making ‘just another’ Donkey Kong game ranged from underwhelmed to downright angry. Well, luckily they were all wrong to judge the power of Retro, as Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze has withstood the test of time and is now considered one of the finest 2D platformers ever to grace a Nintendo console. Of course, it also has a spot on our list of the best monkey games too (even though DK isn’t a monkey).
Intricate, satisfying level design is laced with absolutely bags of personality thanks to the bright and colorful visuals and the genius soundtrack of the legendary David Wise. Yes, it’s tough as nails, but if you’re really struggling there is the fantastic new funky mode to aid the younger players and let you experience this title in all its glacial glory.
20. Mario Party Superstars
There ain’t no party like a Mario Party, and thankfully Mario Party Superstars returned the floundering franchise to its previous glory, stripping the mistakes of Super Mario Party and throwing in a hefty dose of nostalgia.
Featuring a solid 100 minigames from past entries, but layered with some of the most consistent and convenient online features in a Nintendo game to date, this is a brilliant title to play with a few pals over, and thanks to the many online modes even have hours of gameplay if you just want to get better on your own. You can check out our full thoughts in our Mario Party Superstars review.
21. Triangle Strategy
Look, we don’t like the name either, but just give it a chance. Lovers of classic titles like Final Fantasy Tactics, Fire Emblem, and Tactics Ogre, will find so much to love from Triangle Strategy. Underneath the strategic hood is a tense political thriller, and almost every single decision plays a part in your story’s path.
Who you talk to, who you save, who you kill, and the choices along the way, all of these test your resolve and inform your decisions in meaningful ways. The combat is also absolutely stellar, so if you know the strategy is your thing, this is a must-play from us. Check out our full thoughts in our glowing Triangle Strategy review.
The rogue-like genre seems to have exploded in popularity over the last few years, and Switch is home to dozens of fantastic picks. But, if you only had the money for one, we’d recommend Hades. Combining slick action gameplay with a stylish world and great dialogue, Hades is a joy to play in every single moment.
Zagreus must escape from Hell, and the overbearing pressure from his father Hades, and his climb through the many layers are aided by the gods of Olympus. Each death is part of the journey though, as the Hades characters comment on your failures and help you to build up the skills you need. It’s a masterclass in combining narrative and game design, that just happens to play like a dream. Utterly essential. Read our Hades review to find out more about this fantastic game.
23. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
At nearly 40 million copies sold (for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe alone, not including the Wii U version), there is a very good chance that if you own a Switch, you already own this masterpiece. Nintendo never drops the ball when it comes to their flagship racing franchise, but 8 especially hit it out of the park, with many of the best Mario Kart tracks available to race on.
The Switch version takes the gravity-defying antics and adds a substantial battle mode, includes all the DLC such as new tracks and new racers (Link, Isabelle, Inklings, & more), and couples it all with the ease of use the Nintendo Switch offers. It runs buttery smooth and has a swathe of online options, so even so many years later, this is a game you simply have to own. The new Booster Pass also brings back some classic Mario Kart characters and tracks which weren’t included originally.
24. Super Smash Bros Ultimate
Now the best-selling fighting game of all time, this game crosses over just about every major gaming franchise in history, from Pac-Man to Sora from Kingdom Hearts. Each character plays very differently, and the whole game feels like a tribute to the video game medium as a whole. Check out our Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tier list for an in-depth look at its roster.
Smash Bros works so well because anyone can pick it up and either just have a giggle while throwing items around as Steve from Minecraft and Bowser, or you can play skilfully online and truly have your abilities tested. It’s easy to understand but tough to master, and with over 80 characters, you’ll never run out of things to learn anyway.
25. The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild
Obviously. Launching the same day as the Nintendo Switch itself, this genre-defining adventure changed the series and video games forever. A vast, stunning world to explore is matched by incredibly deep mechanics, to deliver the most satisfying toolbox in video games to date. Simply finding weapons and exploring, while playing with Link’s many new abilities, is more fun than almost any other video game.
Breath of the Wild also manages to elevate the series in other ways, introducing voice acting for the first time, and it brings a true sense of grandiosity to its story. Characters like Urbosa and Daruk are fantastic new additions, and while we don’t get to interact with them directly, BotW is filled with interesting characters intertwined with their stories.
Honestly, the Zelda series has never been better, and there’s an argument that video games haven’t either. If you only have the money for one Nintendo Switch game, this is what we’d recommend. And if you have the money for two… Well, you might want to check out our Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom review, just saying.
So, there you have it, the best Switch games worth your time and money, though we could go on much longer. Or, if you prefer to play on mobile, organize your month with our Pokémon Go community day guide.