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Best Nintendo Switch games: the Switch games you need to play right now

Best Nintendo Switch games: a Nintendo Switch displaying Animal Crossing: New Horizons
(Image credit: Future/Nintendo)

Looking for the best Nintendo Switch games? You'll find them here. From popular Nintendo exclusives, like Breath of the Wild and Animal Crossing, to third-party favorites, like Hades and Hollow Knight, the Switch game library offers something for everyone.

But, with the ever-growing Nintendo Switch library offering so many quality choices, pinpointing which games are worth your time and money is becoming increasingly difficult. So, we're here to help. Below, we've rounded up the best Nintendo games available right now, with our list covering everything from family-friendly platformers to challenging dungeon crawlers and everything in between. We're confident there will be something for you, no matter your taste, experience level or mood.

What's more, all of the games you’ll find in our list work across the Switch family. That means whether you’re playing on the original Nintendo Switch, the upgraded Nintendo Switch OLED or the handheld Nintendo Switch Lite, this selection of top Switch games is for you. It's worth noting, however, that many of the local co-op games on our list won't offer the same experience on the Switch Lite, which is much more suited to single-player experiences.

You'll want to keep this page bookmarked, then, especially as we'll be regularly updating our list as more hotly-anticipated upcoming games release. With the likes of Breath of the Wild 2, Splatoon 3, and Bayonetta 3 among the new Switch games this year, we expect more to join our list. 

Ready for your next adventure on Switch? Read on for the best Nintendo Switch games available right now, and check out our Nintendo Switch game deals for great discounts.

Best Nintendo Switch games

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

Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Image credit: Nintendo)
The pinnacle of peaceful pursuits

Reasons to buy

+
Crafting is an excellent addition
+
Best-looking Animal Crossing to date
+
More player control

Reasons to avoid

-
One island per Switch
-
More clarity around data recovery needed

Animal Crossing: New Horizons was 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. It was easily 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. It's packed with charm and the perfect game for those who want to kick back and just take things at their own pace. 

New Horizons feels 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: New Horizons Review

A battle from Baldur's Gate on Nintendo Switch

Baldur's Gate 1 and 2: Enhanced Editions (Image credit: Nintendo)

Baldur's Gate 1 and 2: Enhanced Editions / Planescape Torment and Icewind Dale Enhanced Editions

Classic RPG adventure

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent optimization 
+
Include all DLC packs
+
Hundreds of hours of content

Reasons to avoid

-
Still better played on PC
-
Outdated mechanics

Cramming in hundreds of hours of RPG adventures, 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.

Bayonetta 2

Bayonetta 2 (Image credit: PlatinumGames)

Bayonetta 2

Hack and slash staple

Reasons to buy

+
Great story
+
Dumb fun
+
Stylish and fast-paced

Reasons to avoid

-
Short story mode

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. 

A difficult level from Nintendo Switch game Celeste

Celeste (Image credit: Matt Makes Games Inc.)

Celeste

A hidden masterpiece

Reasons to buy

+
Challenging and engaging
+
Thought-provoking narrative
+
Super-tight gameplay

Reasons to avoid

-
Can be repetitive

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.

A knight facing a dragon in Dark Souls: Remastered for Nintendo Switch

Dark Souls: Remastered 

Dark Souls: Remastered

A well-aged fantasy RPG

Reasons to buy

+
Immersive and haunting world
+
Challenging but rewarding

Reasons to avoid

-
Notoriously difficult
-
Slight downgrade in some visuals

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 storytelling, 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 benefit from 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.

A Paladin on a rocky cliff from Diablo 3 for Nintendo Switch

Diablo 3 (Image credit: Blizzard)

Diablo 3: Eternal Collection

Battling hell's demons, while on the toilet

Reasons to buy

+
Balance between simplicity and depth
+
Fantastic co-op multiplayer
+
Addictive loot system 

Reasons to avoid

-
Drain on the Switch’s battery
-
Can be repetitive

It’s been quite a journey for Diablo 3. After a rocky start on PC way back in 2012, which 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. 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, that is.

Check out our full Diablo 3: Eternal Collection review

A battle scene from Divinity Original Sin 2 for Nintendo Switch

Divinity: Original Sin 2 (Image credit: Larian Studios)

Divinity: Original Sin 2 – Definitive Edition

Modern RPG classic

Reasons to buy

+
Flexible and freeing systems
+
Classic RPG foundation
+
Multiple ways to progress

Reasons to avoid

-
Optimization for Switch is lacking

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 got 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 it's been squeezed onto the Switch at all is impressive alone. That it works so well as an on-the-go handheld title is a testament to just how engrossing a game it was in the first place. A must-play.

A cutscene from Fortnite on Nintendo Switch, with a glowing wall and bazooka-holding character

Fortnite Battle Royale
All aboard the battle bus

Reasons to buy

+
Vibrant world
+
Fun combat
+
Unique building mechanic
+
Excellent monetization

Reasons to avoid

-
Can be hard to keep up

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 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. 

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

A look at Hades green-glowing underworld on Nintendo Switch

Hades (Image credit: Supergiant Games)

Hades

Endless hours of stylish fun

Reasons to buy

+
Gorgeous art style
+
Combat is extremely fun
+
You can pet the two-headed dog

Reasons to avoid

-
The music won't be for everyone
-
Too much going on at once becomes overwhelming

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 top Switch game.

The Hollow Knight character on Nintendo Switch

Hollow Knight

Hollow Knight

Masterful Metroidvania

Reasons to buy

+
Dark and beautiful
+
Challenging but fun
+
Memorable characters
+
Lots of replay value

Reasons to avoid

-
Quite difficult

You can get your side-scrolling Metroidvania fix on Switch with the superb Hollow Knight.

Placed in the center of a sprawling map that slowly reveals its scale as you unlock new abilities, you'll 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). There's numerous 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 top Nintendo Switch games available right now.

A robot shines a torch on a boy in Inside for Nintendo Switch

Inside (Image credit: PlayDead)

Inside

One of the best modern age platformers

Reasons to buy

+
Great platforming action
+
Unsettling, unique atmosphere
+
Brain-bending puzzles

Reasons to avoid

-
Short

The follow-up to Limbo, Playdead's Inside is one of the best modern platformer games on the Switch. 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 oppressive, 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.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land's Kirby inhaling

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

Reasons to buy

+
Brilliant platforming
+
Fully 3D levels
+
Outrageously adorable

Reasons to avoid

-
Linear Mouthful Mode segments
-
Repetitive boss fights

Nintendo's blobby pink hero is back in a brand new adventure for Switch – and it's one of his best.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a joyful family platformer that is equally 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, then, but its 3D levels and Kirby's new abilities make the series feel fresh. And, if you haven't played a Kirby game before, then you're in for quite the treat.

Check out our full Kirby and the Forgotten Land review

A gravity-defying racetrack from Mario Kart 8 on Nintendo Switch

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Racing royalty

Reasons to buy

+
Revised battle mode
+
Fantastic multiplayer fun
+
Includes old and new tracks

Reasons to avoid

-
Pretty much like every other Mario Kart game

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.

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. Just note that you will need Nintendo Switch Online to play with friends online.

Mario Party Superstars' Peach waving her arms in the air, a banner across the screen says "you got a star!"

Mario Party Superstars (Image credit: Nintendo)
The best Mario Party has been in years

Reasons to buy

+
No more motion controls
+
A classic selection of boards
+
Beautiful graphics

Reasons to avoid

-
Little is brand new
-
Online play is still fiddly

Mario Party Superstars emerges as the best entry for the long-running board game franchise on Switch – and the best it’s been for a long time, period. The removal of motion controls means the game can be played on every Switch console, including the Nintendo Switch Lite. The game also features a robust online offering, which will give the game some much-needed longevity.

While there isn’t anything new in gameplay terms, and we wish there was at least one more board, it’s the most polished Mario Party to date. With streamlined play modes, and lovely visuals, Mario Party Superstars is one of the best Switch games to play with friends.

Check out our full Mario Party Superstars review

Metroid Dread Samus fighting a creature

Metroid Dread (Image credit: Nintendo)
Samus returns

Reasons to buy

+
Challenging boss fights
+
Countless secrets to discover

Reasons to avoid

-
Long load times
-
Can feel all too familiar

Metroid Dread is incredibly refined and will satisfy players who have been craving a classic new entry in Nintendo's long-running series.

However, as great as Metroid Dread is, we couldn't shake the underlying feeling that the series' formula, as a whole, needs a severe shake-up. The game has its moments where it dares to break the mold but, and the new E.M.M.I. threat is a welcome addition that helps elevate the tension. But all too often, Metroid Dread resorts to the same tactics that helped the series first stand out in 1986. 

Despite our desire to see more innovation from Samus Aran's next adventure, Metroid Dread is still one of the best games on Switch, and well worth checking out for fans and newcomers alike - especially as we wait for more solid details on Metroid Prime 4.

Check out our full Metroid Dread review

A man with his monster friend from Monster Hunter Rise on Nintendo Switch

Monster Hunter Rise (Image credit: Capcom)
Capcom's essential huntathon

Reasons to buy

+
More accessible than previous games
+
Gorgeous graphics, consistent framerate
+
Wirebugs/Palamutes are excellent

Reasons to avoid

-
Some toned-down mechanics
-
Lack of a distinct end-game

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 go hunting some unforgettable monsters. Harvest them for resources and use those resources to upgrade armor and weapons, so you can take on even bigger monsters.

Available on Nintendo Switch and PC, Rise has had to make some concessions in terms of fight complexity and difficulty for the Switch. At its core though Monster Hunter Rise is every ounce the satisfying, addictive experience its bigger, shinier brother, Monster Hunter: World, is on Xbox and PlayStation consoles.

Check out our full Monster Hunter Rise review

Ori rides an owl in Ori and the Will of the Wisps for Nintendo Switch

Ori and the Will of the Wisps (Image credit: Microsoft)

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

A magical masterpiece

Reasons to buy

+
Stunning visuals
+
Great platformer
+
Emotive story

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as challenging as some platformers

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, a sequel that sees Ori and his makeshift family separated in an all-new environment.

The latest entry adds 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 smaller than the average 40-hour RPG, or less brutal than the latest first-person shooter, Ori is one of the top Switch games for that, offering a 12-hour challenge in a hauntingly beautiful world.

Pokémon Legends Arceus trainers kneels before a Bidoof

Pokémon Legends: Arceus (Image credit: The Pokémon Company/Nintendo)

Pokémon Legends: Arceus

A new direction for Pokémon

Reasons to buy

+
Focus on catching Pokémon again
+
Shakes up the formula
+
Fast-paced and exciting

Reasons to avoid

-
Some may not like the change in direction
-
Performance issues at launch

Pokémon Legends: Arceus is unlike any Pokémon game you may have played before - in the best possible way. While the likes of Sword and Shield (below) add new features that breathe some fresh air into the long-running series, Arceus goes even further: shaking up the game as we know it. 

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 with them. For some, this new direction will be most welcome, but others may find it a bit too much of a deviation from the Pokémon formula we've grown accustomed to. Either way, Pokémon Legends: Arceus is one of the best Switch games available and well worth checking out if you're a Pokémon fan.

A girl looks towards a town in Pokemon Sword and Shield for Nintendo Switch

Pokémon Sword and Shield (Image credit: Nintendo)
Close to being the very best

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic Pokémon designs
+
Immersive new region
+
Effective gameplay improvements

Reasons to avoid

-
Dynamaxing doesn't quite hit the mark
-
Not very graphically accomplished

Pokémon Sword and Shield were 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. 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 Sword and Shield released, 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. Uncertain on which one to choose? Let us take you through the Pokémon Sword and Shield differences.

Check out our full Pokémon Sword and Shield review

Sonic the Hedgehog jumps to a platform

Sonic Mania Plus (Image credit: SEGA)

Sonic Mania Plus

Gotta go fast

Reasons to buy

+
60fps gameplay and HD visuals
+
New zones
+
Modernized classic Sonic

Reasons to avoid

-
It's Sonic, what's not to love?

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, it's easily one of the best Switch games going. 

A Splatoon team lines up

Splatoon 2

Splatoon 2

Ink-splatting action

Reasons to buy

+
Fast-paced and fun
+
Great to play solo or with others
+
A unique shooter

Reasons to avoid

-
Matchmaking can be a pain

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. Splatoon 2 is technically a sequel but truthfully, 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. There's also a new campaign to complete too.

If you never played the original, then Splatoon 2 is an easy game to recommend. Still, even if you did, then it might be worth jumping in again to revisit it on Nintendo's portable system, especially as Splatoon 3 is due for release this year.

An overhead view of a Stardew Valley farm on Nintendo Switch

Stardew Valley (Image credit: ConcernedApe)

Stardew Valley

Charming pixelated sim

Reasons to buy

+
Relatable, well-written characters
+
Lots to explore
+
Farm sim and dungeon crawler hybrid
+
Relaxing and laid back

Reasons to avoid

-
No actual ending

Stardew Valley is one of those games that always felt like it was supposed to be on a Nintendo console. So, we couldn't have been happier when it released 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.)

A player made Super Mario level

Super Mario Maker 2  (Image credit: Nintendo / TechRadar)
Makes us appreciate how hard level design is

Reasons to buy

+
Incredible customization tools
+
New 3D world option
+
Vertical levels

Reasons to avoid

-
Menus crammed into one screen
-
Capacitive touchscreen

At its 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.

Check out our full Super Mario Maker 2 review

Super Mario running down a city street in Super Mario Odyssey

Super Mario Odyssey (Image credit: Nintendo)

Super Mario Odyssey

One of Mario's finest adventures

Reasons to buy

+
Doesn't discard the core mechanics
+
Game world full of intriguing surprises
+
Instantly familiar

Reasons to avoid

-
Can be a bit tedious

Super Mario Odyssey was Mario's first real outing on the Nintendo Switch and he made 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 Super Mario Odyssey review, we called this game "one of Mario's finest adventures in recent memory" and recommend that you play it now. If you decide to pick the game up for yourself, don't forget to check out our Super Mario Odyssey tips and tricks guide to help you get started.  

Check out our full Super Mario Odyssey review

Nintendo mascots battle it out in Super Mario Bros. 3D World

Super Mario Bros. 3D World + Bowser’s Fury (Image credit: Nintendo)
Majora's Mario

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent, comedic multiplayer
+
Constantly inventive
+
New online multiplayer option
+
Bowser’s Fury is a blast

Reasons to avoid

-
Visuals are showing their age
-
Repetition in Bowser’s Fury endgame

Super Mario 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 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 3D World + Bowser's Fury review

The full roster of fighting characters from Super Smash Bros, overlooking a cliff face

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Image credit: Nintendo)

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

The ultimate brawler

Reasons to buy

+
Exciting and inclusive roster
+
A mode for every occasion
+
Great fun to play solo or with others

Reasons to avoid

-
Online play can stumble

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 (though all DLC has now been released).

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.

Check out our full Super Smash Bros. Ultimate review

The falling blocks of a Tetris 99 round

Tetris 99 (Image credit: Nintendo)

Tetris 99

Block-rocking freebie

Reasons to buy

+
A great spin on a classic
+
Hugely addictive
+
It's Tetris

Reasons to avoid

-
Local multiplayer sold separately

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.

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 Switch Online, it's the best reason to sign up for the service, too.

Tetris Effect gameplay showing neon-co,ors flying around a tetris board

Tetris Effect (Image credit: Resonair/Monstars)

Tetris Effect: Connected

A cosmic adventure

Reasons to buy

+
Wonderful multiplayer modes
+
A feast for the senses
+
It's Tetris

Reasons to avoid

-
You don't like Tetris...

Yes, another Tetris entry. It might be almost three decades old, but Tetris' addictive gameplay continues to stand the test of time. It's a terrific puzzle game that's easy to pick up and sometimes impossible to put down, and although there have been many iterations, spin-offs and homages, Tetris Effect: Connected is probably the best version of the game to date. 

A feast for the eyes and ears, Tetris Effect: Connected takes the classic game and shapes it around an audio and sensory experience. You'll journey through the cosmos, dropping tetrominoes across ever-changing backdrops and sounds, as time just slips away. 

What makes the game really stand out, though, is the co-op and competitive online and local multiplayer modes. Tetris has always been a blast playing alone, but with friends or new foes online, it's even better.

Zelda star Link faces a skeletal cyclops in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for Nintendo Switch

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Image credit: Nintendo)

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

A compelling adventure

Reasons to buy

+
Hours of gameplay
+
Plenty to explore and secrets to find
+
Engaging narrative

Reasons to avoid

-
Can be overwhelming in size

Even for a series 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 set for release next year).

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.

Check out our full The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild review

A skateboarder performs a kickflip in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 remaster for Nintendo Switch

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 (Image credit: Activision)
A must-have remaster

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic soundtrack
+
Varied courses
+
Slick gameplay 

Reasons to avoid

-
Mediocre graphics
-
Character customization could be better  

Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 + 2 on the Nintendo Switch is the perfect game for kicking back 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 that 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, either. It 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.

Check out our full Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 + 2 review

Characters chatting away in Undertale for Nintendo Switch

Undertale (Image credit: GameMaker Studio)

Undertale

One that'll stay with you

Reasons to buy

+
Beautiful, memorable soundtrack
+
Incredibly charming and funny
+
Fantastic modern-day JRPG

Reasons to avoid

-
Combat mechanics can be a pain

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.

FAQs

Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch lite on magazines

(Image credit: TechRadar)

What are the top five most popular Nintendo Switch games?

If we go by Nintendo's sales figures (opens in new tab), the five most popular Nintendo Switch games are Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Breath of the Wild and Pokémon Sword and Shield.

What is the best Switch game right now?

That will really depend on your taste but some of the best picks from our list are The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Divinity Original Sin 2, Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Super Mario Odyssey, while Hades is easily one of the best indie games on Switch.

What are the best Switch games for kids?

The Switch is arguably the most family-friendly console of them all as there are plenty of Nintendo Switch games for children. Some of the best Switch games for kids from our list are Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Pokémon Sword and Shield and Super Mario Odyssey.

Vic Hood
Vic Hood

Vic is TechRadar Gaming's Associate Editor. An award-winning games journalist, Vic brings experience from IGN, Eurogamer and more to the TechRadar table. You may have even heard her on the radio or speaking on a panel. Not only is Vic passionate about games, but she's also an avid mental health advocate who has appeared on both panels and podcasts to discuss mental health awareness. Make sure to follow her on Twitter for more.

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