The best Nintendo Switch games work either on the go or on a TV. Also they’re great. There are so many games on Nintendo Switch now that simply finding new ones can be incredibly daunting, and while the eShop might not have your back if you’re trying to make sure you’ve played the best the console has to offer, we definitely do.
Our selection here is of ten of the most essential games on the console as we see it. Some of these are already the best-selling games on the console, while others are a few short steps off the beaten path. We’ll be adding and changing this list over time, and there’s loads of games that could easily feature here, but we’re pretty confident that we’ve covered the best Switch games here, so read on to find out what you should have in your library.
The Best Nintendo Switch Games
We could have an honourable mentions list long enough to keep you reading until the Switch Pro comes out, but we’re going to try and focus our attention a little bit. We do have some extras for you to consider at the bottom of the page, but here are the best Switch games around and why you should play them.
- Animal Crossing: New Horizons
- Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
- Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
- Monster Hunter Rise
- Metroid Dread
- Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition
- Fire Emblem: Three Houses
- New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe
Have you ever felt like you want to escape the tedium of your normal life, the chores, the 9-5 grind, and the people in it, all to pack up and move somewhere else to do chores, work, and meet new people? Well, that’s basically what Animal Crossing: New Horizons is all about, and while that not might sound ideal, it’s an absolute blast to play, and a good chance to do something in a game that isn’t all about violence and chaos. Sometimes you just want to plant some trees, you know?
There might be rumours of a Mario Kart 9 being in development, but Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the definitive Mario Kart game that you can buy now. Slick karting action, still great looking graphics, tons of new and classic tracks to race on and straightforward and fun multiplayer both online and offline, it’s a must have. Considering there’s been almost 40 million copies of this game sold already, this recommendation might be a bit redundant, but that’s just 4 copies sold for every 10 Switches and tens of millions of people out there that haven’t snapped it up!
If there was one game you’d expect to be an instant flop, it would be this strange crossover game with Ubisoft’s minion-like mascots. Well, much to our surprise and probably everyone else’s too, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is somehow one of the XCOM clones in existence. The mix of light-hearted cartoonish violence, surprisingly deep gameplay systems, and the sheer satisfaction of beating up Rabbids, makes for a truly fantastic game and there’s good reason why a sequel is on the way in 2022!
Breath of the Wild was the first Switch game that a lot of people played, and it remains one of the most incredible gaming experiences around. The decision to turn Link’s adventure from a linear experience into a free-form open-world one changes the game completely, and the physics in the game allow for some of the most absurd interactions going. You absolutely have to play this.
Already played through Breath of the Wild and want more while waiting for Breath of the Wild 2? Give Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity a shot for a prequel story and over the top combat!
Smash Bros has been one of those series that has always been good, but nobody was expecting this entry to actually live up to its name. Ultimate has every character from the history of the game, nearly every level, new characters, new levels, and more gameplay than is reasonable. It’s also got a thriving online scene, excellent ideas for local play, and a cracking story mode as well. If you’re worried about fighters being constantly tweaked, Nintendo recently launched its last balancing update.
The latest Monster Hunter game might just be the best one yet, which is an incredible accomplishment given that Monster Hunter World was so good. While Rise has you doing a lot of the standard monster hunting as you’d expect, it adds in new and exciting movement options, attacks, and a really cool setting to make it a contender for the best Switch game in existence. That’s one hell of a flex from a series that was massively overlooked by western gamers only a few years ago.
Our Best Nintendo Switch Game winner for 2021, Metroid Dread is an epic return for the classic series. Following on from their Metroid II remake on Nintendo 3DS, MercurySteam have created a modern 2D adventure for Samus Aran that pushes the original series’ narrative forward for the first time in 15 years. This game really lives up to its name, as you’ll truly dread stepping into the EMMI zones and running away from the implacable robots that hunt you.
Xenoblade Chronicles is easily one of the very best JRPGs of all time, but many will have overlooked the game’s original release as a Nintendo Wii exclusive. Almost a decade later, the Definitive Edition spruced the game up for the Nintendo Switch, improving the graphics across the board and expanding the story with the new Future Connected epilogue which brings a new area and allows for more closure to the original’s epic story.
Already loved Xenoblade Chronicles in the past? Well, you might want to check out Xenoblade Chronicles 2 instead.
Fire Emblem was given a fresh lease of life on the Nintendo 3DS, but the tactical RPG series has reached a broader audience on Nintendo Switch with Fire Emblem: Three Houses. As a teacher at Garreg Mach Monastery, you pick one of three houses to guide through their studies and personal growth, as well as lead into battle. There’s a fun turn-based battle system to enjoy that leans on the established Fire Emblem formula, and it’s all wrapped up in a heroic fantasy narrative, but it’s really your investment in the characters and their journey that makes this one special.
There’s loads of Super Mario games available to play on Nintendo Switch, whether it’s golden oldies from the NES and SNES in the Nintendo Switch Online library or the sublime Super Mario Odyssey, but we’re going to pick New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe for its family friendly credentials. There’s a huge amount of great 2D Mario (and Luigi) platforming on offer, and it’s enjoyable with children thanks to co-op play and the easier gameplay that Toadette offers.