The best Nintendo Switch games to play in 2024

Mario runs and jumps up with his hand outstretched. Luigi can be seen gliding in from the left, using his hat as a glider
(Image credit: Nintendo)
Nintendo Switch games to look forward to in 2024

Luigi's holds the Poltergust, smiling

(Image credit: Nintendo)

There's plenty of upcoming Switch games to look forward to in 2024, including the Luigi's Mansion 2 HD remake.

The best Nintendo Switch games are bound to offer you unforgettable adventures on the hybrid handheld console. There's something incredibly special about being able to experience a great game in both the palm of your hand and on a larger screen, and the Nintendo Switch's extensive library offers only the best ways to make the most of this. 

The Nintendo Switch is a great console for video game veterans and newcomers alike, offering versatility, as well as an impressively broad catalog of games, uplifted by Nintndo's legendary first-party titles. Plus, since the console's been around for a while now, it comes in a variety of variants, with the Nintendo Switch OLED offering a gorgeous display, while the Nintendo Switch Lite's robust design makes it ideal for younger gamers.

In addition, the Nintendo Switch is also a great choice for multiplayer, especially when it comes to in-person split-screen. From party-friendly multiplayer jaunts to moving single-player adventures, the Nintendo Switch boasts an impressively broad library. With that in mind, here's our list of the very best games that the Nintendo Switch has to offer.

Best Nintendo Switch games 2024

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The three main protagonists arranged in a triangle

(Image credit: Nintendo)

13. Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Pledge your allegiance

Fire Emblem Three Houses managed to bring in a ton of new fans to the long-running tactical RPG series when it launched back in 2019 on Nintendo Switch. It did this by combining the excellent grid-based combat the previous games are known for, with Persona-like social elements, and a truly epic story.

At the start of the game, you'll get to choose between three houses, as you get to know each group's leader, and take students into battle to learn the ropes, As the story goes on, your allegiances become ever more important, with battle line being drawn in a huge war which sees friends become enemies. 

Even if tactical combat isn't usually your thing, it's worth giving Fire Emblem: Three Houses a try. There's loads of options to tweak things to your experience, including turning off party member deaths (which are permanent by default). 

Mario and Hippo-like enemies in Super Mario Bros Wonder

(Image credit: Nintendo)

12. Super Mario Bros. Wonder

A game for all ages

Super Mario Bros. Wonder is a triumphant addition to 2D Mario games, and it perfectly encapsulates joy in gaming form. For those who grew up alongside the Mario series this game will transport you back to a state of childlike glee, but even for entirely new players of the game, there are still a lot of reasons why you should select this game when jumping into the Mushroom Kingdom for the first time. 

There are a lot of new additions to the game that make Wonder feel incredibly fresh and exciting in comparison to its predecessors, and with a lot of co-op options, it's a great game to enjoy with friends and family too. On the Nintendo Switch, its vibrant world will absorb you for hours, making it a fantastic addition to every library and offering a perfect representation of what Nintendo is all about. 

A beach scene from Animal Crossing: New Horizons for Nintendo Switch

(Image credit: Nintendo)
Irresistible island retreat for social sim lovers

The first Animal Crossing console game in eight years, Animal Crossing: New Horizons whisks you off to a deserted island through an exclusive Nook Inc package. This island is yours to fill with villagers, but also to change in whatever way you can imagine, thanks to the game's new island-building tools. Make friends with your fellow islanders, fish, collect fruit and decorate your island – thanks to a plethora of cute tools and decorative items, there are a lot of ways to make your island your own.

New Horizons feels familiar and fresh, combining the old enjoyable parts of the series with some much-needed improvements and far greater depth than we’ve seen before. Thanks to the game's great online features, you can visit friends' islands, swap items and even design and try custom clothing, making the social game more social than ever before. Nintendo knows how to make all of these elements come together to make a game that's difficult to put down, and even if you don't end up playing Animal Crossing for years and years, we dare you to not be charmed by its tone and presentation. Check out our Animal Crossing: New Horizons review to learn what else the game has in store for you

Bayonetta, a witch wearing glasses and holding a gun

(Image credit: Nintendo)
The action in this game will leave your mouth hanging open

PlatinumGame's beloved witch is back to fight angels across dimensions. You once again take control of Bayonetta, a super-powered witch and gunslinger, who fights her way across the multiverse to stop a deadly singularity.

Bayonetta is a cult hit for how utterly stylish it is. The eponymous witch effortlessly fights enemies the size of skyscrapers, flipping and cartwheeling all the while. The combat is incredible to look at, easily rivaling the likes of Devil May Cry 5 or Final Fantasy 16. Summons make a great addition to Bayonetta's already distinctive combat, each of which offers distinct abilities that come with their own risks in battle. Bayonetta 3 is a big, bold action game that pushes the Nintendo Switch's hardware to its limit. According to our Bayonetta 3 review, if you want something to get your blood pumping, you've found your game.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land's Kirby inhaling

(Image credit: Nintendo)
Kirby’s jump to 3D is as smooth as the pink blob himself

Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a joyful family platformer that is as ambitious as it is adorable. This is the boldest Kirby game yet, pushing the pink puffball into all manner of new dimensions and contorted shapes. It also sees Kirby doing what he does best: inhaling enemies to absorb their abilities, jumping and gliding through tight platforming segments, and tackling big bosses at the end of each stage. 

Forgotten Land will feel familiar to those who have played a Kirby game before, but its 3D levels and Kirby's new abilities make the series feel fresh. Its visuals are perfect to illustrate the graphical jump from the 3DS to the Switch, and the gameplay shows the blob in top form.  Whether you haven't played a Kirby game before or are a longtime fan, you're in for a charming platforming treat.

Mario in his kart, raising a fist in victory, princess Peach and Bowser coming in behind him

(Image credit: Nintendo)

8. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Nintendo's best racer has never been this good

This racer offers several new additions to this version of the arcade racer that was already available on Wii U. You've got the return of battle mode, new characters, all the previously released DLC tracks, and the ability to hold two special items simultaneously 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). 

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 - as well as one of the best online multiplayer Switch games. It's a versatile release and well worth picking up for anyone who missed out on Mario Kart 8 the first time around, and it's still getting new DLC. Just note that you will need Nintendo Switch Online to play with friends over the internet.

Samus fighting a large enemy, standing on a swirling red-dusty floor

(Image credit: Nintendo)
This adventure has all the strengths of the genre it helped create

Metroid Dread is a well-refined version of the game that has inspired a generation of players and developers, helping to spawn a whole new genre of game: the Metroidvania. The structure is simple – bounty hunter Samus arrives on an unfamiliar planet and has to make her way around to find a means to escape. During her journey, she will find new tools and power-ups to help her get to previously inaccessible places. In Metroid Dread, the stakes are raised by pitting Samus against indestructible enemies, which requires a stealthier approach than previous Metroid games.

A solid difficulty, the new enemies, and the thrill of discovery all make Metroid Dread an essential Metroid game that delivers on everything fans already enjoy, while also looking incredibly polished visually. It's definitely one of the best Nintendo Switch games, at least until we finally get details on Metroid Prime 4

Pokémon Legends Arceus trainer kneels before a Bidoof

(Image credit: The Pokémon Company/Nintendo)

6. Pokémon Legends: Arceus

A new direction for Pokémon

Acting as a prequel to the main series, Arceus takes players to a much older version of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl’s Sinnoh region (known here as the Hisui region). Pokémon roam freely and you're charged with completing one of the region's first Pokédexes. With no gym leaders or badges, Arceus' focus is primarily on catching Pokémon, rather than battling them. 

Pokémon Legends: Arceus is unlike any Pokémon game you may have played before – in the best possible way. While Pokémon Scarlet and Violet added a wide range of modernization to the main series, Arceus arguably did more with less, breathing fresh air into the franchise by telling its story through a more immersive and polished lens. This makes Pokémon Legends: Arceus one of the best Nintendo Switch games available and well worth checking out if you're a Pokémon fan or want to break into the series. 

Four inklings wildly shooting ink at each other

(Image credit: Nintendo)
The family-friendly shooter that won't miss

Splatoon turns the conventional idea of a shooter on its head. Instead of bullets, here you shoot ink, both to defeat other players and obstacles or to help with movement. In your typical Splatoon match, players will compete not to kill one another, but to cover as much of the stadium as possible in their chosen color of ink. Packed with fun modes that make the best of this idea, Splatoon 3 is the most fun in multiplayer, offering a colorful and stylish ride the whole family can enjoy.

Splatoon 3 changes nothing about the series on a fundamental level, but it offers a lot of quality-of-life improvements that show Nintendo is listening to its players, such as a hub world for players to interact, better connectivity, and a better campaign experience. Splatoon 3 is a strong series entry for one of the best series on the console.

Mario, Luigi, Peach and their Rabbid counterparts looking at something

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Easily one of the best Ninendo Switch games when it comes to accessible strategy Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope offers a fresh approach to the genre. You fight opponents in turn-based battles that see you either attack, use special skills, or try to avoid incoming attacks. As you might expect, Nintendo's offering is a slick, yet simplified take on the formula, offering accessible tactical combat with enough grit to keep more seasoned players interested.

Because Mario + Rabbids combines the colorful joy of Mario with the... Rabbids-ness of Ubisoft's Rabbids, the result is as inventive as it is fun. Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope continues everything that was great about its predecessor, stuffing it with even more puzzles and skills to puzzle with in order to make it past villains from the Mario series. Generally, if you like strategy but don't want to control monotonously gruff military men all the time, this is the game for you. Just know that because it's aimed at a slightly younger demographic, strategy veterans may find Sparks of Hope a little on the easy side.

A collage of characters available in Super Smash Bros.

(Image credit: Nintendo)

3. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Everyone is here

The long-running Smash series is Nintendo's family-friendly take on fighting games. In Super Smash Bros., beloved characters from Nintendo and beyond battle it out with the aim of knocking their rivals off the edge of the screen.

Our Super Smash Bros. Ultimate review says it like it is: 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 (though all DLC has now been released). If you're looking for one of the best Nintendo Switch games for great multiplayer times, then you definitely can't go wrong with Smash.

A Tetris 99 board with 98 smaller ones, three of them about to attack

(Image credit: Nintendo)

2. Tetris 99

Competitive Tetris, for free

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 a modern gaming craze. Tetris 99 takes the classic block-building, line-making formula, and fuses it with a battle-royale multiplayer system. You and 98 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. You can get Tetris 99 as a standalone game, but as a free download to those who subscribe to Nintendo Switch Online, it's the best reason to sign up for the service, too.

Link stands on a golden ledge, looking out over the skies of Hyrule

(Image credit: Nintendo)

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom had massive boots to fill as the successor to the immensely successful Breath of the Wild, a launch title for the Nintendo Switch. Expectations were sky-high from the get-go and yet this follow-up takes everything that made its predecessor special and dials it up to 11. With an amazingly detailed and expansive open world, exciting dungeons, thrilling combat, and a new focus on creativity, this is the defining title for Nintendo's aging handheld-console hybrid. 

We've played over 70 hours in our The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom review and found it to be an absolute delight, full of welcome embellishments and bold additions. One of the biggest new additions to the established formula is the new Zonai devices, such as Ultrahand and Fuse, which add a new perspective to how you can interact with the game world. That's very much just scratching the surface of what makes this new RPG so special. 

Best Nintendo Switch games: FAQs

A Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch lite resting on magazines

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Which games should I download on my Nintendo Switch?

The big franchises that we've mentioned above are a great starting point but the Nintendo eShop is home to further indie titles and ports on the console, too. Our list of all the biggest upcoming games can help you to keep track of the up-and-coming titles such as Lego Horizon Adventures and Metroid Prime 4 just to name a few. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is likely to be the biggest draw for the system right now in its twilight period which pushes the console to its limits with the most ambitious game yet.  

What are the top 10 selling Switch games?

In December 2023, Nintendo revealed its latest sales numbers, which show that the top 10 selling Switch games are all Nintendo mainstays:

1.     Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
2.     Animal Crossing: New Horizons
3.     Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
4.     The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
5.     Super Mario Odyssey
6.     Pokemon Sword and Shield
7.     Pokémon Scarlet & Violet
8.     Super Mario Party
9.     The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
10.   New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe

How we made our best Nintendo Switch games list

The Nintendo Switch is unmatched in its versatility and so, too, is its library of games. This meant that, when tackling this list, we wanted to take a similarly broad approach, offering as wide a variety of genres as possible while placing an emphasis on games that embody the polish we've come to associate with the Nintendo brand. The titles on this list may be eclectic, but they're slick, well-built affairs, liable to put a smile on the faces of all but the most curmudgeonly gamers. 

The team at TechRadar Gaming has poured thousands of hours into the best games on the hybrid handheld console, and whether that's an indie gem or a first-party release, we've undoubtedly got an opinion on whether or not it's worth picking up. Because of this, we've got opinions you can rely on. 

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Cat Bussell
Staff Writer

Cat Bussell is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Gaming. Hailing from the crooked spires of London, Cat is an experienced writer and journalist. As seen on Wargamer.com, TheGamer.com, and Superjumpmagazine.com, Cat is here to bring you coverage from all corners of the video game world. An inveterate RPG maven and strategy game enjoyer, Cat is known for her love of rich narratives; both story-driven and emergent.

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