If you’re looking for the best Nintendo Switch games that you can play anytime and anywhere, then this guide is for you.
A Nintendo Switch lets you play a huge and diverse library of games. This includes many of Nintendo’s own exclusives, like Animal Crossing, third-party favorites, like Diablo 3, as well as innovative indie titles. All of the best Nintendo Switch games offer something for everyone, and the library now legitimately includes some of the best games ever made, such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Hades.
All of the games you’ll find in the list below work across the Switch family. That means whether you’re playing on the original Nintendo Switch, brand new Nintendo Switch OLED or its handheld-only counterpart, the Nintendo Switch Lite, then this selection of the best Nintendo Switch games is for you.
We update this guide often, so if there’s nothing for you here right now – or you’ve played them already – keep checking back for new releases. Otherwise, read on for the best Nintendo Switch games you can play right now.
Nintendo Switch OLED pre-orders are now live. Releasing on October 8, 2021, the Switch OLED brings some much-needed upgrades to the popular hybrid console. You get a 7-inch OLED screen, a better kickstand and speakers, plus 64GB of internal storage.
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These are the best Nintendo Switch games:
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the first new entry in the mainline Animal Crossing series for almost eight years and the first entry to be playable on the Nintendo Switch - and it was definitely worth the wait.
New Horizons whisks you off to a deserted island through an exclusive Nook Inc package. Your job is to get the island to be a top resort, attracting new islanders by sprucing things up and making your island a tropical paradise.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is packed with charm and the perfect game for those who want to kick back and just take things at their own pace. It’s familiar and fresh, deftly combining the old enjoyable parts of the series with some much-needed improvements and far greater depth than we’ve seen before. It just keeps giving, too, with regular seasonal updates to keep you invested. It's one of the best Switch games for relaxing and engaging play.
Check out our full Animal Crossing review here.
Cramming in hundreds upon hundreds of hours of RPG adventure, these double packs should not be missed. Pairing Planescape Torment with Icewind Dale, or the two Baldur's Gate games (plus all games' associated add-on packs) these enhanced editions for the Nintendo Switch make four classics PC role playing games playable on console for the first time.
Cleverly converting mouse and keyboard control to on-the-go gamepad play, you're now able to take four of the most epic D&D-inspired role playing games with you wherever you go, and then dock them for big-screen play at home.
The controls may take some getting used to, and the gameplay and visuals are of a certain slower vintage. But if you want an unmissable history lesson in role playing games, and want to settle into some unforgettable stories and choice-driven play, these excellent-value bundles are a must play.
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Not everyone would have had the chance to enjoy Bayonetta 2 when it was first released back in 2014, thanks to its Wii U exclusivity. Fortunately, it's now one of the best Nintendo Switch games, and it finally had a chance to reach a wider audience.
Bayonetta 2 is an excellent game, with fast-paced and satisfying combat, jaw-dropping animations and frankly outstanding fashion choices. Even better, when you purchase a physical copy of Bayonetta 2, you'll also receive a free download code for the original game.
More than anything, this is a great way to prepare for Bayonetta 3, which has been confirmed as being in development for the Switch.
Few games are as universally acclaimed as this brilliant indie hit so of course we've named it one of the best Switch games. It's essentially a spin-off of Crypt of the Necrodancer, a rhythm-based rogue-like that sees you time your moves and attacks to the beat of the music. However, this Legend of Zelda Zelda-themed follow-up places the action in Hyrule itself – also allowing you to play as either Link or Zelda (Nintendo, take note).
Blending the best of classic top-down Legend of Zelda games with a groovy, musical feel, and slick animations to match, it is the rhythm-based Zelda game we never knew we needed.
From the developers of Towerfall, Celeste follows the story of Madeline, a young girl who decides to face her mental health issues by climbing to the top of the mysterious Celeste Mountain. In doing so, she learns more not only about the mountain but about herself as well throughout the process.
An inevitable classic, Celeste integrates the obvious jump, air-dash and climb controls into a brutal series of platforming challenges in upwards of 700 unique screens. If that’s too easy, you’ll unlock B-side chapters along the way, designed for only the most intrepid of hardcore players. You don’t even have to worry about waiting an eternity between each respawn, as Celeste brings you back from the grave in an instant, a welcome departure from the typically extensive load screens. It's not only one of the best Switch games out there, but one of the best indie games too.
What's left to be said about Dark Souls that hasn't already been spat out in blood, frustration and pure, unfiltered joy? The daddy of tough-as-nails adventure games, it's spawned a thousand imitators and a zillion curse words as adventurers stalk the deadly land of Lodran.
Taking a methodical and precise approach to combat, it's as unforgiving as it is rewarding, making each hard-won victory against its monstrous foes a real achievement. Always fair, it's also a master of environmental story telling, revealing its secrets slowly as you gain command of its systems and best its enemies.
Dark Souls: Remastered isn't quite as pretty on the Switch as it is on PS4 or Xbox One, but it does have the added benefit of on the go play (just don't go swearing on the bus). And there's a whole new wave of players to engage with when you activate its online mode – a key component of the series, with a new community eking out their first bold steps into its cruel world.
It’s been quite a journey for Diablo 3. After a rocky start on PC way back in May of 2012 that saw online server crashes and criticism of the series’ famed addictive loot cycle, the game was overhauled in time for a last-gen console version in 2013 and a current-gen release on Xbox One and PS4 in 2014. Two excellent expansion packs and a host of game-improving tweaks later, Diablo 3 is not only a contender for the title of the greatest dungeon crawler of all time, but, somehow, it’s now portable, too.
The Switch has done it again, with developer Blizzard cramming every improvement and piece of added content into this handheld version of the game. It not only works, but looks and plays amazingly too, making it one of the best Nintendo Switch games you can buy. Diablo 3 has evolved into one of the greatest games of its genre, and the added portable factor here arguably makes this the best version to pick up, so long as you’re not a mouse-and-keyboard PC purist.
Check out our full Diablo 3 (Nintendo Switch) review.
From Doom to Skyrim, the Nintendo Switch is becoming known for the seemingly-impossible handheld port, and with the release of Divinity: Original Sin 2 – Definitive Edition, it's bagged itself not only a fantastic technical achievement, but one of the finest RPGs ever made, too.
Building on the foundations set by old-school RPG classics like Baldur's Gate, Divinity: Original Sin 2 has you on a literal quest for godhood, in a world where those with magical powers are marginalized.
So far, so standard for an RPG title. But Divinity: Original Sin 2 comes into its own with just how flexible and freeing its systems are. With turn-based combat that takes as much inspiration from XCOM as it does from tabletop RPG spellcasting, you'll always be given multiple ways to progress, letting you combine items and environmental modifiers to take on foes in increasingly creative ways.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 has more ideas in its first ten minutes than some games have in their entire duration: want to be an undead adventurer who can talk to skulls? Go for it. An animal-whisperer like Dr Doolittle? 100% go for it. Throw four-player online co-op into the mix, where anyone can do whatever they want, whenever they want, and you've a recipe for chaotic perfection.
It's one of the few games where, if you can dream it up, you can probably do it in the game. A massive PC title, the fact its been squeezed onto the Switch at all is impressive alone. That it works so well as an on-the-go handheld title is testament to just how engrossing a game it was in the first place. A must play.
It's not often you get to put a free game on the Nintendo Switch list but Fortnite Battle Royale is giving us this chance. We'd be amazed if you hadn't heard of it, but Fortnite: Battle Royale is the free-to-play hit from Epic Games which throws you into an online Battle Royale where you must fight and build to be the last person standing.
The game was announced and launched on the Nintendo eShop during E3 2018. If you've not had the chance to play the Battle Royale phenomenon, the Nintendo Switch offers one of the most convenient ways to do it – especially if you find a smartphone screen just a little bit too small to truly play at your best. And if you already have an account you can move seamlessly between your Nintendo Switch, smartphone, PC and Xbox console.
Check out our full Fortnite Battle Royale review.
This excellent action RPG will look incredibly familiar to you if you've played Transistor, another game made by the same studio: Supergiant Games.
Where Transistor was more of a straight cut experience, Hades is rogue-like, which means the levels are all procedurally generated, and no single area will be the same each time you enter it keeping the map fresh and exciting.
With a killer soundtrack, hack-n-slash combat, interesting story and stellar RPG systems, Hades is extremely fun to play and will stave off any pangs of boredom.
Suffice it to say, if you have an interest in Greek mythology, you'll be pleasantly surprised by how much research Supergiant has put into this one, offering a truly exceptional experience.
Sometimes there's far too much going on while you're playing which does make it all a bit hectic, but if you can get past the chaos you'll have hours of fun playing this game, as it's easily one of the best Switch games around.
While we're all waiting for a new Metroid Prime game to land on the Nintendo Switch, you can still get your side-scrolling Metroidvania fix with the superb Hollow Knight.
You know the score – you're placed in the center of a sprawling map that slowly reveals its scale as you unlock new abilities to traverse increasingly difficult traps, and take on ever-more monstrous foes. Secrets sit around every corner, and the sense of satisfaction you get when you backtrack to a previously-inaccessible location once armed with the right skills is unsurpassed in all of gaming.
Hollow Knight separates itself from other Metroidvania titles with its distinct art style (mysterious underground bug city? Count us in), and its nods to the Dark Souls series, with tough boss fights and the strangely aloof citizens of its subterranean setting. Hollow Knight is comfortably one of the best Switch games you can buy today.
The follow-up to Limbo, Playdead's Inside is one of the best modern platformer games on the market. But while Limbo focused on horror, Inside instead deals in sci-fi conspiracy. It's a somewhat Orwellian tale, which sees you playing as a young boy trying to escape from the oppression, tyrannical society in which he lives.
While Inside is fairly short (lasting around three or four hours) it packs one heck of a punch in that time, delivering brain-bending puzzles, a unique and unsettling atmosphere and brilliant platforming action. All this adds up to make it an unforgettable experience and a worthy entry on our best Switch games list.
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. In fact, it's one of the best Switch games full stop.
At its 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, in 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.
Monster Hunter Rise is an essential Switch experience and an impressive – if diluted – Monster Hunter experience that adds new mechanics to the already burgeoning toolset whilst creating fresh, fun experiences for newcomers and series veterans alike.
The simplified premise of Monster Hunt Rise, like any Monster Hunter game, is that you hunting down some unforgettable monsters, harvest them for resources and use those resources to upgrade armor and weapons so you can take on even bigger monsters.
At present a Nintendo Switch exclusive (but coming to PC at a later day), Rise has had to make some concessions in terms of fight complexity and difficulty for the Switch, but at its core Monster Hunter Rise is every ounce the satisfying, addictive experience its bigger, shinier brother is on Xbox and PlayStation consoles.
Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin is certainly a much different experience than the usual action of the main series. This spin-off title features a much more kid-friendly aesthetic with a vividly colorful world and a cast of decently written characters.
It's the battle system that's the real draw of Stories 2, though. The turn-based combat is simple enough for younger players to pick up, while eventually providing the kind of depth you'd find in a more traditional JRPG. While the story isn't much to write home about, Monster Hunter Stories 2 is a great entry point for series newcomers and well worth the time of veteran hunters used to titles like Monster Hunter World and Rise.
For years, Ori and the Blind Forest was one of our favorite Metroidvania 2D dungeon crawlers on Nintendo Switch - it was heartfelt, beautiful and challenging, and the world simply oozed personality and intrigue. Years later, Moon Studios and Microsoft Ori and the Will of the Wisps, the first game's sequel that sees Ori and his makeshift family separated in an all-new environment.
The new game in the series adds some new combat elements like a shard system that allows for more customization of Ori's abilities, while big boss battles help to make it more memorable and break up the puzzle-solving.
If you need something a bit smaller than the average 40-hour RPG, and something less brutal than the latest first-person shooter, Ori is one of the best Switch games for that, offering a 12-hour challenge in a hauntingly beautiful world.
Pokémon Sword and Shield are the first core Pokémon games to make their way to the Switch. Full of charm and fun, Sword and Shield bring some much-needed gameplay optimizations to the franchise alongside some fantastic new features such as the Wild Area.
Set in the UK-inspired Galar region, Sword and Shield introduce a whole new world to investigate and new Pokémon to capture. And, while we can't help but feel they don't quite live up to some of the better predecessors, it's definitely worth picking up on Switch. Since the release of Sword and Shield we've also seen two very worthwhile expansions released: Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra. These are sold-separately but add a lot to your Galar experience and make two of the best Switch games even better.
Sonic Mania Plus is a Nintendo Switch must-have for those who love Sega's charismatic blue hedgehog. Sonic Mania was originally released in 2017, and follows Sonic, Tails and Knuckles as they aim to take down Dr Eggman. Made up of 12 levels, Sonic Mania pays homage to the original Sonic games, with side-scrolling action and redesigned versions of iconic levels from the series.
Sonic Mania Plus is an expanded version of Sonic Mania, adding new playable characters, a new Encore mode and other improved features. While you can buy Sonic Mania Plus as a standalone game, those who own Sonic Mania can also upgrade to the definitive edition for around $5.
Sonic Mania Plus is the best Sonic game we've seen in a long time and is easily one of the best Switch games on the market.
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. For our money it's certainly one of the best Switch games you can pick up.
Stardew Valley is one of those games that always felt like it was supposed to be on a Nintendo console, and we couldn't have been happier when it was released recently for the Switch.
If you've ever played a Harvest Moon game, you’re already familiar with the premise of Stardew Valley: it's an addictive farming simulator which sees you interact with townees to the point where you can literally marry them.
Stardew Valley isn't just one thing though, it's a whole bunch of things at once. You can engage in crafting, fishing, cooking and even exploring procedurally-generated caves to mine for items and even take on monstrous enemies.
However, do keep in mind your health and energy, as you'll need to make sure your character is in tip-top shape in order to avoid suffering from exhaustion – lose health and you lose a considerable amount of money and items you’ve worked hard to attained. Stardew Valley will have you hooked for hours on end, for better or worse. (Better, definitely better.)
At heart, Super Mario Maker 2 has a simple premise: let players design their own Mario levels. But even that single aim provides near-endless amounts of fun and creation with Nintendo’s joyful and chaotic level editor.
A follow-up from the original Super Mario Maker game on Wii U, and its eventual 3DS port, this sequel / reboot on the Nintendo Switch manages to avoid several pitfalls from the previous entry, making for a more widely accessible title that still retains the joy of giving you the keys to Mario’s inner workings. Whether those keys are literally keys, or rather Chain-Chomps and flying Goombas, is completely up to you.
The addition of a Luigi Assist mode, and a willingness to give you all the tools you need from the outset, make this a vastly more accessible entry, and one that has something for any budding designer out there – or simply someone wanting to understand the workings of their favorite Mario games a little better.
Read the full Super Mario Maker 2 review
Super Mario Odyssey is Mario's first real outing on the Nintendo Switch and he makes his debut in style in one of the best Switch games there is. Odyssey is a 3D sandbox adventure that sees Mario travel between a wide range of worlds to save Princess Peach from the nefarious and maritally-minded Bowser.
Giving the old formula a bit of a refresh, this game sees the traditional Power Ups replaced with a new companion for Mario called Cappy. This sentient hat is Mario's weapon and friend and he can be used to possess enemies and objects to solve puzzles and defeat foes.
In our full Super Mario Odyssey review we called this game "one of Mario's finest adventures in recent memory" and recommend that you play it now – it's instantly one of the best Switch games out there.
If you decide to pick the game up for yourself, don't forget to check out our tips and tricks guide to help you get started.
Super Mario Bros. 3D World gets a deserved second opportunity to shine in this Nintendo Switch port, offering up the best-realized Mario multiplayer experience Nintendo has created yet. The addition of Bower’s Fury, a short but sweet Mario game in its own right, seals the deal on making this one of the best Switch games on the market.
Nintendo is often accused of being a bit stingy with its re-releases – the barebones offering of Super Mario 3D All-Stars didn’t go unnoticed. But this Super Mario Bros. 3D World rerelease, packaged as it is with the Bowser’s Fury adventure, is a generous joy.
Bowser’s Fury is a treat – the topping you didn’t know would work on your favorite ice cream flavor. Its conceit shouldn’t work, but does, with the looping Fury mechanic surely now set to be revived in a full-size, full-fat, wholly-original adventure of its own. It’s definitely worthy of one.
Check out our full Super Mario Bros. 3D World + Bowser’s Fury review.
Super Smash Bros. is back and the party game that sees friends turn into enemies has definitely found its home on the Nintendo Switch.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate packs in more fighters, more stages, more gameplay modes, and more tactical elements of any game in the franchise. This is, for all intents and purposes, the definitive Super Smash Bros., with everything that entails – and plenty of juicy Smash Bros DLC (Joker! Piranha Plant! Banjo-Kazooie!) to keep you occupied after you've unlocked the main roster of fighters.
If you're looking for a Nintendo Switch game that is fun for the whole family, then you definitely can't go wrong with Smash. It's without a doubt one of the best Switch games for groups.
Read our full Super Smash Bros. Ultimate review.
When you've got a game as near-perfect as Tetris already is, how can you put a fresh spin on it to keep a new generation of players hooked? By tapping into the latest modern gaming crazes, that's how.
Tetris 99 takes the classic block-building, line-making formula, and fuses it with a battle-royale multiplayer system. You and 99 other Tetris fans go head to head, making lines as quickly as possible and sending screen-filling blocks to each other's screens to knock each other out. The last person standing wins.
One quick five minute game soon becomes a two hour session, and with regular challenges and additional modes to purchase, it's great fun. As a free download to those who subscribe to Nintendo Online, it's the best reason to sign up for the service, too.
Even for a series like The Legend of Zelda which rarely puts a foot wrong, Breath of the Wild is an absolutely phenomenal game on the Nintendo Switch (with an upcoming sequel, Breath of the Wild 2, currently in the works).
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 a little more confident.
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. It's not just one of the very best Nintendo Switch games, but arguably the greatest game of all time, too.
Read our full The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild review.
Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 + 2 on the Nintendo Switch is the perfect game for kicking back with at home or while taking a break at the skatepark. Whether you’re a skateboarding newbie or a long-time pro, this is a fantastic game you’ll want to add to your library.
The gameplay is superb, hitting the sweet spot of being easy to learn and challenging to master. Using ramps, rails and roadworks you have to rack up points by chaining together various tricks, and the slick button inputs mean that you’ll never lose a combo unfairly.
And while the loop is repetitive, it never gets stale thanks to the wide range of tracks and levels you can explore. There are traditional skateparks alongside abandoned shopping malls and city streets. You can unlock new levels by completing challenges which cater to a range of abilities, meaning that you don’t have to be a combo expert to progress through the game.
You also can’t ignore this game’s fantastic licensed soundtrack, which blends classics from the original game like Superman by Goldfinger and Rage Against The Machine’s Guerrilla Radio with more modern hits like Skepta’s iconic Shutdown.
The only downside is an expected on – the Switch version’s graphics are a noticeable downgrade from what’s available on Xbox, PlayStation, and PC. However, graphics don’t bother everyone and they don’t noticeably impact the gameplay.
Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 + 2 manages to capture the best of skateboarding culture and is an absolute must-have for anyone gaming on Nintendo’s hardware.
Undertale is one of those games that stays with you. A work of digital art whose charm and creativity never fails to keep its edge, no matter of how many times you play it through. And considering just how many innocuous JRPGs are out there right now, that’s a pretty extraordinary feat in itself.
So why is Undertale so superb? It takes all the best elements from the ever-evolving RPG genre and weaves a world built on choice, consequence and compassion. As a child dropped into an underground world filled with terrors, you’ll have to face a whole host of monsters to make it home. How you face them and what choices you make, define your journey.
And its Telltale-esque consequence system doesn’t just extend to dialogue choices – you can spare monsters after a fight, forging possible crucial alliances for later in the game. You can even end fights by telling your opponent jokes. It’s a game of such warm and pleasant quality you’d almost believe it was a JRPG from the earliest heyday of the genre - making it one of the best Switch games around.
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