Hack-and-slash games are a great way to relax. Simply mash the A button, whack a weapon around into hordes of enemies, and forget all about the worries of the day. Alright, some of them are a bit more involved than that, but it’s still a blast to just mow down foes with a sword. So, if you want to get a slice of the action or just unwind with some violence, we’re here to help.
Before we unsheath this katana of a guide from its holster (our minds), be sure to check out our huge arsenal of amazing gaming content. We have guides for your every need, covering the best Space Invaders games, the best Pac-Man games, Tetris games, the best Switch fighting games, the best Switch RPGs, and for something a bit more cerebral we also have the best tactics games on Switch and mobile.
So, let’s slice into our list of the best hack-and-slash games on Switch and mobile.
When it comes to hack-and-slash games, PlatinumGames is the studio to follow. The studio is responsible for entries in the Devil May Cry series, Bayonetta, Metal Gear Solid Rising, Nier Automata, and so much more. Well, Astral Chain is pure PlatinumGames. This futuristic detective action game is its own IP and is a beautiful meld of what makes the studio so renowned.
You play as a cop called Akira, and you must explore neo-futuristic cities on the hunt for clues, mixing detective work with pulse-pounding action. Plus, you soon unlock huge monster-like partners called Legions that work alongside you to battle bad guys.
You control attacks with the chain between you and your Legion (the Astral Chain, in fact), and you can bind and trip foes with that chain to pull off exciting attacks. Astral Chain has some huge set pieces, monstrously huge bosses, a surprisingly interesting story, and it’s also drop-dead gorgeous. Seriously, Astral Chain is one of the best-looking Switch games, and its densely populated neon cities positively pop on the OLED.
Speaking of Platinum… Bayonetta has had a rocky road. After starting on PS3/Xbox 360, then Nintendo picked the series up and funded a sequel and made it for the Wii U before she appeared in Super Smash Bros for Wii U. Then, Nintendo announced Bayonetta 3 for the Switch early in the system’s life, only for the title to take years to eventually emerge. So, was it worth the wait?
Yes, yes it was. The Bayonetta series is wacky, camp, and extravagantly violent. Face off against the demonic forces of hell (and heaven) in a battle for the galaxy. Bayo uses her Umbra Witch powers to stop time, manifest demons as powers with her hair, and she also has pistols as heels on her shoes. Why? Who cares. It looks absolutely awesome.
The third adventure in the franchise kicks things up a kaiju-sized notch, as now Bayo can control huge demons the size of buildings and take part in gigantic battles. Meanwhile, the new character Viola joins the fray, with a punk attitude and a pet demon-cat called Cheshire. The whole trilogy is worth your time and is available on Switch, but we’re so glad the series ends with a bang.
Yup, that famous tactics series has not one, but two action spin-offs. Fire Emblem: Three Hopes is a quasi-sequel to smash hit Fire Emblem: Three Houses, imagining a different scenario after the events of the first game. You take control of new characters, get to revisit the cast you know and love, and even interact with the previous protagonist Byleth in new and interesting ways.
It might not seem like the best fit for an action game, but all the characters do have sick weapons already. One interesting element is the way Koei integrates the Fire Emblem weapon triangle into combat, offering a genuine bit of the classical tactics gameplay that fans know and love. Things also get a bit ridiculous in this entry, but if you just adore the original title and that world, this is a really fun way to revisit it all.
Breath of the Wild sequels are like buses… you wait ages for one, and then you get one proper sequel and one that messes with the timeline in absolutely crazy ways and maybe isn’t connected to anything or is maybe absolutely essential to the story of the series. Well, maybe not exactly like buses.
After the success of Hyrule Warriors – the addictive blending of Dynasty Warriors and The Legend of Zelda – developer Koei Tecmo set about to make a sequel, and it seems this time Nintendo let them have a bit more of a dive into the Zelda lore. Age of Calamity is set 100 years before Breath of the Wild, retelling the great calamity that besets Hyrule in that title, and letting you play as Link in pals in epic battles against hordes of Ganon’s evil forces.
Much like other warriors games, it’s all about mowing through enemies while taking down enemy outposts, but this time each Zelda character also has individual weapons and powers. It’s really fun to visit a time period before Hyrule’s downfall and also spend time with characters that don’t quite make it through the previously mentioned calamity. If you’re a huge Breath of the Wild fan, this action spin-off is well worth your time.
Available on Switch and mobile, Motion Twin’s 2D action game Dead Cells is the gift that keeps on giving. Over five years on from release, this incredible rogue-lite is still growing. Just recently, Motion Twin worked alongside Konami to develop the Return to Castlevania DLC, adding numerous new areas, characters, and weapons from the vampire-hunting series to Dead Cells.
With its huge array of weapons, enemies, and bosses, there’s almost an infinite amount of things to do in Dead Cells. The levels are also procedurally generated, so no two runs are the same. If you don’t love rogue-likes we still recommend giving this one a go, as while death is still ready to push you back to the beginning, it’s easy to stock up on those all-important cells that help you unlock new items.
It’s great to play no matter what platform you’re on, but Dead Cells is on Switch, Android, iPhone, and is available as a part of Apple Arcade. There’s full controller support on mobile, but the touch controls also do a great job of translating the fast-paced action. No matter what system you own, give this one a go.
You can read our Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania DLC review for more.
If you’re an avid mobile gamer, you’re bound to know of Genshin Impact, but have you dipped your toes into one of Hoyoverse’s other titles? Honkai Impact 3rd is a fast-paced futuristic action title that blends a lot of what fans love about Genshin with some other fun action elements.
Play alone or with pals across this fun story campaign, and get to know and appreciate the huge cast of characters with the addition of social sim elements. You can even quickly flip between several controllable characters, using the best attacks for different enemies. It’s also a stunner on mobile, looking absolutely fantastic on any device with an AMOLED display and HDR technology.
Alright, folks, that’s all we have for the best hack-and-slash games for today, but come back to Pocket Tactics for all the latest and greatest handheld gaming news. If you need even more great gaming recommendations, then be sure to check out our list of the best horror games on Switch and mobile next.