What are the best Nintendo Switch games? Making a list of only the best and greatest titles to hit Nintendo's bestselling console isn't as easy as it used to be – now that the Nintendo Switch has had two years on the market to build up a jam-packed library of titles. (See why we loved the hardware in our Nintendo Switch review.)
We've come a long way from those early launch days, when Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was the only must-have game on the Nintendo Switch – though it still is one of the best Switch games we can recommend, and should be played before the incoming sequel, Breath of the Wild 2.
There's now plenty of other Switch games to choose from, whether you're into fighting games, racing games, adventure games, puzzle games, or anything else you can think of. The ability of the Switch to handle both AAA blockbuster titles and charming indie hits makes it a truly flexible console that can be tailored to each player.
It's not been easy, but we've put together a list of what we consider to be the best games to land on Nintendo's hybrid console. At least one of these games should tickle your fancy but, if not, then check back next week as we're constantly updating our list with new releases.
Keep an eye out too for some massive titles coming later in 2019, including a reboot of Link's Awakening, a charmingly British Pokémon Sword and Shield, spooky Luigi's Mansion 3, and even the blood-soaked Doom Eternal.
We have a separate guide for the best online multiplayer Switch games, but otherwise sit back and read on for the best Nintendo Switch games currently available on the bestselling console.
- Looking to play online? You'll need Nintendo Switch Online for that
Super Mario Maker 2
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 Smash Bros. Ultimate
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.
Read our full Super Smash Bros. Ultimate review.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U was already one of the best entries in the franchise, and the Nintendo Switch version is no different.
At 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.
Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled
Before you dismiss this racing game in favor in Mario Kart, Crash Team Racing has plenty to recommend it.
Technically a reboot of the 1999 racing game, it takes a number of characters from the beloved Crash Bandicoot games and sticks them in a wild and chaotic race to the finish – complete with mad-cap items and surreal tracks inspired by the 90s titles.
Ok, so it's a bit like Mario Kart. But for anyone looking for more of a touch of chaos, or just to have some fun with the Bandicoot and his pals, Crash Team Racing is a rollicking good time.
Read our full review: Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled is a ridiculously fun ride down memory lane
Final Fantasy IX / Final Fantasy VII
For the first time ever, Square Enix is bringing some of its most-revered 32-bit era Final Fantasy games to a Nintendo console.
First up – Final Fantasy IX. It has been brought to the Nintendo Switch as a reworking of the recent PC and PS4 versions, with new added on-the-go portability thanks to the Switch's form factor.
Now, admittedly, the Switch port leaves some things to be desired as it carries over some problems introduced by the ports to other systems. But Final Fantasy IX remains a classic of a JRPG – and this Nintendo Switch version takes advantage of the more modern hardware by smoothing out background textures and bringing a far greater level of detail to character models.
And then, of course, the stone-cold classic that is Final Fantasy VII. For many it will have been their first introduction to JRPG gaming – all big-haired sad-boys and turn-based magic battles. But its epic, sci-fi tinged tale of a world on the brink of collapse, and a rag-tag gang of freedom fighters trying to save it, is perhaps more relevant today than it was back in 1997. Of the two ports, it's the more polished, too – it's quality-of-life improvements, such as sped-up battles and skippable random fights have been more seamlessly integrated. It's the best way to play the game today.
Read our full review: Final Fantasy IX on Nintendo Switch is a fantastic game, and an OK port
Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee
If the idea of throwing around the ol' Pokéball gives you the warm and fuzzies, check out Pokémon Let's Go: Pikachu and Eevee. Basically a re-imagining of Pokémon Yellow Version, Pikachu and Eevee take you through the Kanto region on your quest to become the Pokémon Master.
Eight gym leaders, four elite masters and dozens of members of Team Rocket stand in your way, but as long as you can keep the rock, paper, scissors-esque battling system in mind, these games are a light-hearted stroll down memory lane.
That said, it's not the perfected version of the formula that Pokémon Sword and Shield could be when it releases in later this year, but for now it's hands down the best Pokemon game on the Nintendo Switch.
Read our full Pokémon Let's Go review.
Wargroove is a turn-based strategy game set in a medieval fantasy world, one where trees become giant soldiers, vampires assassinate kings, and a royal dog commands his very good battalion to victory. And we can't put it down.
It may look uncannily like Advance Wars - and plays largely like it too - but Wargroove manages to recreate the series’ blend of depth and accessibility while remaining fun in its own way too. You’ll find an engaging war narrative, packed with lively and witty encounters between the colorful cast of characters - with some gorgeous sprite animations - while offering plenty of strategy and a dedicated map-editor to create your own battle terrains. There's even cross-platform play with Windows and Xbox One!
Fan of old-school 16-bit RPGs? Wish they could get a HD facelift without losing the pixel-perfect magic of the 90s era? Octopath Traveller may be the Nintendo Switch game you'd dreamed for a time machine for as a kid.
Channeling the magic of the early Final Fantasy games (and published by Square Enix, naturally), it melds pixel art with polygonal environments, like a love letter to the role playing games of old.
Picking up the story of one of 8 uniquely-talented adventurers, there's an epic world saving story to follow, a clever turn-based combat system to master and a great voice-acted script to enjoy too. Fantastic fun.
Captain Toad Treasure Tracker
Captain Toad Treasure Tracker is a real gem in the Nintendo Switch game pile. A re-release of the well-received Wii U title, Captain Toad is an action puzzle game that puts you in the shoes of the Mushroom Kingdom's most lovable sidekick.
While puzzles are a bit on the easier side for older 'kids' who might be playing (a term we'll use loosely here), pint-sized adventurers will have to use their noodle to collect items without running into the paths of enemies. It's good, clean, IQ-enhancing fun – which is the best kind of fun!
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. Easily one of the best Nintendo Switch games around.
Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy
Freshly-added to the Nintendo Switch line-up of games, if Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy is just half as popular on the Switch as it was for the PS4 it's bound to do very, very well. Maybe it's everyone's current love of nostalgia from their earlier days?
Whatever the case, the remaster of Crash Bandicoot is very likely to pull at your heart strings. It has everything you knew and loved from the original game, but enhanced and revamped, and there are plenty of new levels and adventures that have been added to make this a better experience than ever.
Mario Tennis Aces
Mario and his crew are some of the most talented fictional characters in the known universe. They can golf, they can compete at the Olympics, some of them are doctors, plumbers and princesses. And now they play tennis, too, in this excellent Nintendo Switch game.
Mario Tennis Aces has been heralded as a combination of Super Smash Bros. and the old Mario Tennis games released on the Nintendo GameCube and N64. To that end, gameplay is lightning-quick and requires superb reflexes.
The big changes this time around are the new super moves that cause rackets to break and balls to fly to nigh unreachable spots on the court. They add a new layer of strategy to the long-running Mario sport franchise and fun, too. Pick this one up at your earliest opportunity.
Read our full Mario Tennis Aces review.
Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze
Golden bananas, rickety minecarts and cranky kongs – the king of the gaming apes, Donkey Kong, is back! And it's already one of the best Nintendo Switch games out there.
If you've previously been a Wii U owner, this may well feel like a very familiar adventure, as Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is actually a remake of that system's simian-themed platformer.
The Switch version is easily the definitive version of the game though, bringing not only with it the Switch's signature handheld play, but also a new 'Funky Mode' that lets you take control of Funky Kong, a returning character who is just that little bit faster and able to leap just that little bit further, making a very challenging platformer a tad easier for the smaller cheeky monkeys in your family.
Kirby Star Allies
Star Allies is Kirby's debut on Switch – and it's a good one, even if it is largely your familiar Kirby fare. Fans of Kirby's previous adventures will recognize the colorful side-scrolling platformer gameplay and enemy absorbing powers, but there's a new mechanic which allows Kirby to throw hearts at enemies and recruit up to three of them to his side to be controlled by either AI or real-life friends.
Though it's not the most engaging single-player game, and might not leave long-time fans as satisfied as they might have hoped, Star Allies is a co-op experience that shouldn't be missed, especially if you're looking for a game to play with your kids.
Part software, part hardware, Nintendo Labo is a must-have for anyone who enjoys Nintendo's more quirky and play-focused ideas.
Build your own cardboard toys, play games with them, explore how they work and reprogram them to do what you want. With Nintendo Labo the only real limit is your patience and imagination: build a fishing rod and catch a shark, build a piano and control a musical cat choir, built a robot and, well, become a robot. It's all possible with Labo.
Nintendo Labo is certainly one of the more original and even educational releases we've seen in years and it can only be played on the Nintendo Switch. It's easily one of the best 'games' for the device.
Check out our full Nintendo Labo review.
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 a Nintendo Switch game too, finally giving it the reach it deserves.
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.
Super Mario Odyssey
Super Mario Odyssey is Mario's first real outing on the Nintendo Switch and he makes his debut in style. 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 review for Super Mario Odyssey 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 Nintendo 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.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Even for a series like The Legend of Zelda which rarely puts a foot wrong, Breath of the Wild is an absolutely phenomenal game 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.
Read our full The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild review.
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 Nintendo Switch games you can pick up.
Bandai Namco's Little Nightmares is a big adventure on Nintendo Switch. First released on consoles and PC in 2017, this new take on the horror genre is a welcome addition to Nintendo's portable console.
Players take up the role of a young girl called Six, who is trapped in the Maw, a terrifying place filled with monsters that are larger than life. Across a range of platforming levels, players must help Six overcome her small stature and escape the Maw.
Little Nightmares is a game with a palpable atmosphere – the different levels and their respective monsters are grim and frightening, and we frequently found ourselves tense and holding our breath as we tried to get through a level. It's unusual to get such a thrill from such thoughtful and quiet gameplay.
The Nintendo Switch release of the game is the Complete Edition, and contains all three DLC releases.
Cadence of Hyrule
Few games are as universally acclaimed as this brilliant indie hit. 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.
There's also a free demo version you can download from the eShop before you make the choice to buy – technically only in the UK, though our friends at GamesRadar have a neat workaround for that.
Anyone who loves classic point-and-click adventure stories such as Broken Sword and Monkey Island will certainly want to direct their attention towards this recent release from LucasArts veteran Ron Gilbert.
Mechanically, the game works like the classics of the genre with lots of slow-paced obtuse puzzle solving and verb-list clicking. Even visually it's very similar to the games that have influenced it.
If you're tired of playing the same classics on repeat, pick up Thimbleweed Park for your Nintendo Switch for an excellent new addition to the point-and-click genre. You'll travel back to 1987 for a neo-noir adventure that you won't want to leave.
It's tough to know what genre to describe Arms as: at its core, the game is a fighting game where you attempt to land punches on your opponent using giant extendible arms. Punch-Out this is not.
What first appeared to be a slightly gimmicky title made to show off the Nintendo Switch's motion-sensing controllers actually turned out to have a surprising amount of depth and strategy to it, leading to some frantic multiplayer battles.
Nicely, the whole game can also be played with more traditional buttons rather than control schemes, so you don't have to get caught flailing your arms around on the bus when you play it as a portable game.
Overcooked was one of the breakout indie hits of 2016, and now it's come to the Nintendo Switch in fantastic style.
There game is best played with a group of friends, which is perfect considering you always have at least two controllers with your Switch.
But what do you actually do? In essence you play as a group of chefs trying desperately to cook meals without your customers getting angry or your kitchen catching on fire.
With each person only able to do one thing at a time, and most meals requiring multiple stages of preparation, this forces you to split tasks up between you. The problem is that every task proceeds at a slightly different pace, meaning you're constantly having to change your plans to deal with problems as they arise.
It's frantic, it's great with friends, and it's a perfect fit for the Switch – one of the best experiences we've enjoyed on the console.
Dark Souls: Remastered
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.
Super Mario Party
When it comes to casual co-op gaming there's not much better out there, and it shows the Switch game catalog continuing to grow and get stronger over time.
This is the latest in a long line of Super Mario Party games of course, but the 3D board game mechanics remain tight and engaging, and the game hides plenty of secrets and surprises along the way for you to discover. Most importantly, it's enjoyable to play, and keeps you coming back.
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.
Mario Rabbids Kingdom Battle
This crossover has surprised a lot of people, us included. Though Nintendo's Mario and Ubisoft's Rabbid rabbits doesn't seem like a combination that should work it really does.
This is a turn-based tactical game and it's incredibly fun to play thanks to gameplay that's satisfyingly complex and deep without being overly difficult – though the difficulty increases, it's in a gradual way that doesn't result in feelings of being overwhelmed.
Mario Rabbids is also just a lovely game to look at – the level design is consistently fantastic and the world and its characters are adorable and colorful. Joining up with Mario lends Ubisoft's Rabbids a charm they've lacked until now, while Mario and co benefit from the partnership by gaining a bit more of a silly sense of humor which really benefits the Nintendo image.
With this partnership, Nintendo has managed to secure another appealing exclusive for the Switch, and one of the top games for the console.
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.)
The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim
Skyrim might be a game that's six years old, but the portability of the Nintendo Switch makes it feel fresh again. What was once an exclusively home console and PC experience can now be played on your commute and there's no denying that holding the wild world of Skyrim in the palm of your hand is exhilarating.
For a touch of novelty, the game also supports the console's Joy-Con motion controls so you can swing your sword and draw your bow in real life. It's a whole new way to play.
This is the full open world Skyrim experience for the Nintendo Switch, including all DLC, so we're very confident in declaring it one of the best Switch games right now.
Read more about our thoughts on Skyrim's arrival on Switch.
New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe
Have you ever had one of those moment where you’ve done something really cool, and there was no-one around to see it?
That’d be a bit like Nintendo’s 2012 release, New Super Mario Bros. U for the Wii U. The culmination of six years work which had kicked off with the New Super Mario Bros on the Nintendo DS in 2006, reimagining the classic 2D side-scrolling Mario titles, New Super Mario Bros. U was an under appreciated joy upon its release. This was simply by virtue of the Wii U console itself shifting so few units.
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe resurrects an under-appreciated platforming star on Switch, bringing Nintendo’s signature charm, a scalable challenge based on the characters you play as, and sits up there with the best 2D Mario games ever released. Whether you pick it up on the Nintendo Switch or are inspired to dust off a Wii U console, it deserves to be played.
Read our full New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe review.
Dauntless is a new free-to-play title in the vein of Monster Hunter World from Phoenix Labs.
Jumping into the boots of a customized slayer, your job is simple: accept quests, hunt Behemoths, get paid and do it over again.
Forward-thinking additions like cross-play at launch and a stacked battle pass make Dauntless an enticing world to jump into, and one that’ll only grow in the months and years to come.
All told, there’s more content in Dauntless, a free-to-play title, than many full-priced titles in today’s market. It doesn’t have the depth of Monster Hunter, but it offers a much more accessible jumping on point with inventive monster designs and exciting but easy to learn combat. It’s free, so what have you got to lose?
Check out our full Dauntless review.