Christmas is approaching faster than a blue shell in your rear-view mirror, which means you’re probably thinking hard about the gifts you’re going to give this to family and friends this year.
If you’ve got a Nintendo Switch gamer in your life, in some ways the perfect gift is obvious: one of the best Nintendo Switch games! The harder part is deciding which one. The Nintendo Switch has a lot of games, and if you’re not spending time entrenched in releases and reviews then it can be hard to choose. Or maybe you know that there’ll be a Nintendo Switch console waiting under the tree for you this year and you want some “treat yourself” inspiration so that you can start building an enviable game library. That’s where we can help.
To save you time and stress, we’ve put together this list of Nintendo Switch games we can recommend as gifts. There are different games to suit different tastes so we think you’re likely to find just the thing to add a touch of Nintendo magic to Christmas 2020. You'll find a mix of recent releases and classics below, with all the lowest prices from around the web, so you know you're getting the best Nintendo Switch game deals available.
If you're looking for a Nintendo Switch instead, check out the links below:
- The cheapest Nintendo Switch bundles, deals and sale prices
- The cheapest Nintendo Switch Lite prices, sales and bundle deals
If you know someone who's played Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and they're waiting impatiently for its sequel (currently only known as Breath of the Wild 2) then Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is a way to tide them over. Set 100 years before the story of Breath of the Wild, this game focuses on a war known as the Great Calamity which is alluded to in Breath of the Wild but never shown. Players fight for Hyrule on the battlefield against hordes of enemies, with available playable characters being Link, Zelda, the Four Champions and more.
The game is built on the classic Dynasty Warriors format, much like the previous Hyrule Warriors game – but this goes a step further by actually looking a fair bit like Breath of the Wild, even if the screen gets slightly too busy for the Switch to handle at times.
Has their gaming life been at least partly defined by classic Mario adventures? Then Super Mario 3D All-Stars is really the only way to go this Christmas. This compilation game, celebrating the 35th anniversary of the Super Mario franchise, is made up of ports of Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy, all optimized for Nintendo Switch. It’s three great games in one, who wouldn’t love that kind of nostalgia hit on Christmas morning? Extra incentive to get this game for Christmas is that after March 31 2021, it’ll no longer be available for some arbitrary reason.
Nintendo’s toys-to-life Labo Kits are a great gift for the practical, craft-loving gamer in your life and they’re sure to help pass more than a few enjoyable hours over the Christmas holidays. With Nintendo Labo kits you can build toys for yourself from cardboard, customize them and then use them to play games on your Switch, with everything from a VR kit to a full-on robot suit available.
While the Nintendo Labo kits are great for all ages, they’re especially suited to kids who delight in play and creativity, but parents will also get a kick out of helping to construct the toys. Fair warning: it’s easy to turn into a big kid yourself when you’re faced with a wearable cardboard robot suit.
- Don't miss our reviews of the Nintendo Labo VR kit and the original Nintendo Labo
Pokémon Sword and Shield are the first mainline Pokémon games to make it onto the Nintendo Switch platform so they’re really unmissable for current, and even lapsed, Pokemon fans interested in a truly charming experience. Since their release in 2019, Pokémon Sword and Shield have also enjoyed two DLC releases this year: Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra. These add entirely new areas and storylines to the Galar region.
If your giftee already has Sword or Shield, you can purchase the expansion pass that gives access to both DLC titles individually, but you can also buy the games bundled with the expansion pass at some retailers. Amazon also sells the Expansion Pass, though make sure you get the version for the right game.
- Not sure which version you want to get? We can help with our explainer of the differences between Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons has become the biggest Nintendo Switch release of 2020 for a good reason. Animal Crossing is a life and social simulator in which you build up your very own desert island town, customize it to suit your own tastes and attract some adorable animal residents.
It’s the kind of game where things happen over weeks and months rather than minutes and hours, so if you know someone who would appreciate a slow-paced island life where their biggest worries are likely to be finding the perfect pattern for their new wallpaper or choosing a great gift for their favorite neighbor, then it could be the perfect gift of peace this Christmas.
Okay, this suggestion comes with a caution: if they’re not into their sports or haven’t ever expressed an interest in doing more exercise, then really think before opting for Ring Fit Adventure. If they are the sporty or sporty-aspiring person in your life, though, then it could very well be the perfect game for them!
Ring Fit Adventure is an RPG that turns your real-world actions into in-game movements so you can simultaneously explore a huge fantasy world, defeat enemies and work up a sweat from the comfort of your own home. It'll hold an appeal for those that liked Wii Fit and should make moving around the house a little more entertaining.
Honestly, the biggest challenge with this one is simply finding it in stock – in a year where most of us have spent a lot of time indoors, it's been hard to find.
Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit is a fresh take on traditional Mario Kart races which allows you to turn your own home into the race track with some mixed reality innovations. The game comes with a real-life drivable kart fitted with an on-board camera so that you can play on your Switch console and see your home transformed through a live feed. It offers the same kind of creative opportunities of Nintendo’s Labo kits and gives you the chance to bring your whole home into part of the game.
If you think a more straightforward racing game that requires less space and set-up would be appreciated, then don’t look past Mario Kart 8 Deluxe with its fantastic traditional Mario Karting courses.
If you or someone you know is a strategist extraordinaire then Pikmin 3 Deluxe is the way to go. In Pikmin 3 you play stranded space explorers, leading your very own squadrons of tiny Pikmin and using their unique skills to overcome enemies and puzzles in order to help you return to your own planet with new food supplies.
Pikmin 3 has multiple difficulty settings so it’s welcoming for beginners as well as old-hands, and there’s a co-op element so that a friend can join on the same console. And don’t worry about this being the third in a series: you don’t need to have played the first games to enjoy this one. An enjoyable blend of strategy and adventure, Pikmin 3 Deluxe is a game that manages to be both adorable and challenging for players of all ages.
Spending Christmas in close quarters with family can sometimes leave us looking to, shall we say, exorcise some aggression. Super Smash Bros Ultimate is the cute, colorful and cartoonishly violent solution. Up to 8 players can be supported in an all-out brawl in this fighting game where you can put your favourite Nintendo characters head-to-head on some iconic stages from popular Nintendo franchises. Ever argued that Kirby could beat Jigglypuff? This game is the chance to prove it.
You can also buy the two Fighter Passes, available separately, which each add a host of extra characters to the game from the likes of Persona 5, Minecraft and Final Fantasy 7.
A lot of the games on this list subscribe to the bright and light Nintendo aesthetic. Hades offers something maybe a little darker and grittier but no less fun and vibrant. Hades is an excellent example of the rougelike genre in which you play Zagreus, the son of Hades. As Zagreus, you must use your weapons, wits and the help of some Olympian gods to fight your way out of the Underworld with the aim of reaching Mount Olympus. Those with an interest in Greek mythology will find a lot to enjoy here.
Hades isn’t a walk in the park but its satisfying combat, engaging narrative and vibrant visuals will keep you coming back for more. This is a download game, so you'll need to log in to the Nintendo eShop on a Switch to pick it up.