Update: This week sees the arrival of Splatoon 2 on Nintendo's hybrid console. The game might not be that different from the original, but it's still easy to recommend, and has earned its place in our guide to the top Switch games.
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The Nintendo Switch is finally here which means it’s time to stop worrying about hardware, and time to focus on what matters: the games.
Thankfully the Switch’s launch has seen the arrival of a number of quality games. You’ve already got a good range of experiences from fun little puzzlers like SnipperClips, to epic adventures like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which has already become one of the best reviewed games of all time.
We’ve had the chance to play through most of the lineup for ourselves, and we’ve selected our favorite games of the bunch. If you’re picking up the new console, then these are the titles that will make you feel the best about your investment. Don't worry if you can't get them all straight away; some of them may make an appearance in the Black Friday sales this year.
Over the coming months there are a number of excellent titles on the horizon including Super Mario Odyssey, and we’ll be sure to keep this list updated.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Even for a series like The Legend of Zelda which rarely puts a foot wrong, Breath of the Wild is an absolutely phenomenal game.
While past Zelda games have stuck pretty closely to the formula established by Ocarina of Time (the series’ 3D debut), Breath of the Wild throws much of the established wisdom away.
Rather than having a pre-defined order you must use to approach each major mission, Breath of the Wild opens the entire map up to you almost immediately, allowing you to approach the game in whatever order you see fit. You can spend hours just climbing trees and brewing elixirs, or you can even head straight to the game’s final boss if you’re feeling confident.
But away from Breath of the Wild’s unique structure, it’s the puzzles themselves that make the game feel the most satisfying. While previous games rigidly allow for a single solution to each puzzle, BotW’s physics-based problem solving means that there are often multiple solutions to each challenge depending on how you combine your various skills.
The result is a game that feels incredibly broad in scope, with so many little touches to discover that it’s hard not to fall in love with this long-running series all over again.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U was already one of the best entries in the franchise, and the Nintendo Switch version is no different.
At it's core the game offers the same excellent racing as the Wii U original, but there are also a number of new additions for this version of the arcade racer.
You've got the return of battle mode, new characters, all the previously released DLC tracks, and the ability to hold two special items at a time to add an extra layer of strategy to your racing.
The new game is also a great way of playing the game in multiplayer. You can play online, split-screen with up to four players or link up to eight consoles together to play multiplayer wirelessly (where you can also play with up to two players per console).
It's a versatile release, and well worth picking up for anyone who missed out on Mario Kart 8 the first time around.
Splatoon was the closest Nintendo has ever allowed itself to get to an online shooter, and it did so by fundamentally turning the genre on its head.
That means no guns, no bullets, and ultimately no death. Instead, you play as characters with paint guns tasked with covering the map in your team's colors.
You can kill (well, 'splat') your enemies, but you do so only in service of buying yourself time to paint more of the map without your opponents, and their painting, getting in the way.
While Splatoon 2 is technically a sequel, in truth it's more of the same.
That's not necessarily a bad thing. The original game was tightly designed and well-balanced, and while the sequel makes some minor tweaks to the gameplay, the same Nintendo charm is still present in spades.
If you never played the original then Splatoon 2 is an easy game to recommend, but even if you did then it might be worth jumping in again to revisit it on Nintendo's portable system.
- If you want to get ahead of the competition then our Splatoon 2 tips and tricks guide will help you do just that.
If ever there was a game to show off how useful the new Joy-Con controllers can be it’s SnipperClips.
Best enjoyed in co-op mode, the game tasks you with cutting pieces out of your geometric-shaped partner in order to solve physics-based puzzles.
Although the puzzles themselves deftly tread a fine line between approachability and challenge, the real joy in the game is the slapstick that results as you muddle your way through each level.
You’ll never conclusively beat a level; it will always feel as though you’ve barely scraped through, but the tension this creates is fantastic fun.
It's tough to know what genre to describe Arms as. At its core, the game is a fighting game where you attempt to land punches on your opponent using giant extendible arms. Punch-Out this is not.
What first appeared to be a slightly gimmicky title made to show off the Nintendo Switch's motion-sensing controllers actually turned out to have a surprising amount of depth and strategy to it, leading to some frantic multiplayer battles.
Nicely, the whole game can also be played with more traditional buttons rather than control schemes so you don't have to get caught flailing your arms around on the bus when you play it as a portable game.
Ultra Street Fighter 2
Over twenty years after its original release it's hard to know what more can be written about one of the most influential fighting games of all time.
Ultra Street Fighter 2 is essentially the same Street Fighter 2 that's been continuously re-released on every console under the sun. Technically this version is based on Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo from 1994, which added super and air combos to the base game, but unless you're a die-hard fan this likely won't mean too much to you.
So don't go into this expecting a wildly different game from what you've played before. This is a traditional Street Fighter experience through and through, and the console's form-factor makes it perfect for quick multiplayer sessions.
If you want to satisfy your arcade racing itch before Mario Kart 8 Deluxe blue-shells its way onto the console in a couple of months then Fast RMX is the game for you.
With one part Wipeout and two parts F-Zero, the game has you racing futuristic hovercraft round a series of implausible tracks at breakneck speeds.
Fast RMX’s gimmick is that at any point your craft has either an orange or a blue polarity, which match with speed power-ups that are spread around the track. By switching your polarity as you race, you can maximize the benefits these power-ups bring.
It’s a neat feature, but it’s overshadowed by how technically capable this game is. It looks fantastic whether you’re playing it in portable or console mode, where it will run at a solid 60 frames per second.
It might not have the charm of its Mario-themed competitor, but Fast RMX is a great game for anyone seeking fast-paced arcade racing thrills.
Shovel Knight is not a new game. It saw its first release way back in 2014 on the PC after it was funded on Kickstarter, and since then versions have appeared on everything from the Vita to the PS4, the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U.
But that doesn’t make it any less of a great game on the Switch, where its 2D side-scrolling is as tight and responsive as ever.
Chances are you’ve played Shovel Knight on one system or another in previous years, but if you’ve yet to take the game on the go, or better yet if you’re looking to try its newest expansion pack, ‘Specter of Torment’, then the Switch is as good a place as any to satisfy your Shovel cravings.
Super Bomberman R
Although it’s not a port, Super Bomberman R might as well be for all the changes it makes to the traditional Bomberman formula.
For all intents and purposes, this is classic Bomberman. You run around a maze dropping bombs, all the while trying to avoid getting caught in the subsequent explosions caused by both yourself and your opponents.
Super Bomberman R does try to mix up the formula a little by offering a single-player campaign, but at just a couple of hours long it’s not especially engaging.
Nope, this is a game that’s all about that multiplayer, where you can play with up to eight players locally or online. It’s here the game feels most at home, and for the most part its every bit as good as the classic Bombermans that have proceeded it.
The biggest problem is the game’s price, which is the same as big budget triple-A games like The Legend of Zelda. For a multiplayer-only experience that’s a little bit steep, but if you see the game discounted anywhere then this is an excellent game to have on the Switch.