The 38 best games on Nintendo Switch
Sony and Microsoft are kicking off the next generation of video game consoles in November with the launch of theand . They’ll both cost a bundle and could be nearly impossible to obtain this holiday season. Thankfully Nintendo already has a horse in the race with the . Unlike any PlayStation or Xbox, the Switch can be played on your TV screen or on the go. (There’s also the , which costs $100 less, which plays nearly all of the same games, but can’t be connected to a TV.)
To be clear, the Switch made its debut back in 2017, so it’s not going toe-to-toe with the graphical prowess of the next-gen consoles. But the Switch’s flexibility in moving locations — even if it’s just room to room — and the fact that it’s the only place you can play the latest and greatest Nintendo-exclusive franchises like Zelda, Mario, Pokemon and Animal Crossing gives it an advantage 2020’s shiny new consoles will have a tough time countering. In fact, unlike Nintendo’s previous Wii and Wii U consoles, the Switch has built up a huge library of games, including plenty of third-party titles and some games that can already be considered bona fide classics.
Let’s run through a few of our favorites, which we’ll update periodically. Note that the red buttons are links to third-party retailers, most of which are the cartridge version of the game in question, though some (where indicated) are digital codes for download. Direct links to the Nintendo eShop downloads are also included, if you’d prefer to buy directly from Nintendo.
Read more at GameSpot: Nintendo Switch games and news
A package containing Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy could hardly be bad, right?
Well it’s not perfect — the games have aged and there are a few control issues — but it’s hard to argue with the value of Super Mario 3D All-Stars. Especially for those who have fond memories of Mario throughout the years.
They should have added Super Mario Galaxy 2 though. Come on Nintendo!
Among Us/ Screenshot by Shelby Brown/ CNET
Among Us is one of the most popular games in the world right now. While the Nintendo Switch might not be the ideal platform, I’d argue it’s the best way for kids to play. There’s no chance of them coming across audio chats with teenagers swearing at one another, plus the chat is censored.
The Game Awards
Hades, an isometric rogue-like from Supergiant Games, came out of nowhere in 2020 and is now a very strong contender for Game of the Year.
Why? Part of it is the combat — which is fluid, weighty and tactile — but its evolving storyline, which ties the idea of constant death into Hades’ narrative, really pushes it over the edge. This is a rogue-like that people who don’t like rogue-likes can enjoy.
Carrion is “are we the baddies?” the video game.
But Carrion calls itself a “reverse horror game”. You play as a tentacled monster, creeping through a facility, killing all the humans in your path. A very unique, innovative game that’s worth your time, money and energy. Give it a bash
Super Mario Maker 2 doesn’t quite feel made for the Nintendo Switch in the way it was perfect for the Wii U, but it’s still a fantastic piece of software. It makes level design accessible for everyone and has a massively beefed-up single-player mode.
That’s not to mention the endless replay value that comes with the insane user-created levels. Check Super Mario Maker 2 out for sure.
Hollow Knight might be one of the best games available on the Nintendo Switch. It’s a disturbingly well-designed platformer in the vein of Super Metroid. But it’s more than that. The atmosphere, the audio design, the visuals…
Dear lord, this game is a stone-cold classic. Play it now.
Matt Makes Games
Celeste is a video game that makes you want to lodge your controller in your TV — in a good way.
With incredible level design and flawlessly tuned precision platforming, Celeste is one of the best games of its type ever released. It’s smart, charming and dense with content.
It’s also perfect for the Switch. You’ll be hurling obscenities at this game on public transport and you’ll love every second of it.
Splatoon 2 is very similar to the first Splatoon. It’s barely a sequel in the traditional sense but, much like Mario Kart 8, that doesn’t make it any less essential.
Splatoon’s high concept is pure genius and extremely Nintendo. It takes the first-person shooter, traditionally a violent genre, and flips it on its head. You’re shooting paint, not bullets. You don’t score points for shooting enemies, you score points by shooting the environment itself.
Are you ready for some video game buzzwords?
Cadence of Hyrule is an indie roguelike rhythm game based on the Legend of Zelda. In regular speak: a game that crosses Zelda with Dance Dance Revolution.
Which sounds like a completely bizarre proposition, but Cadence of Hyrule works! It really works. And you should play the hell out of it.
Doom rules. This is known.
Playing Doom on the Nintendo Switch also rules. Sure, it’s a little compromised compared to the versions you might play on the PS4, Xbox One or on a decently specced-up PC…
But yeah, good luck lugging one of those on the train.
Stardew Valley is the perfect example of why the Nintendo Switch is a game-changing device.
Here is a game that is perfectly good on all the platforms it’s currently available on (PC, Xbox One, Vita, PS4) but on the Switch it’s just elevated.
Because of the nature of the Switch (and how it allows you to just passively play while watching TV, or on public transport) it’s perfect for a game like Stardew Valley — which is the digital equivalent of knitting a scarf.
Actually all games are just better on the Switch. All of them.
The traditional words used to describe Dead Cells are “roguelike” and “metroidvania.” Both common genres, but Dead Cells is a game with a unique conceit: you will play, you will die. But in Dead Cells you get to keep your upgrades and then restart with those upgrades, meaning you slowly progress through the game more easily as you play. Very cool.
Gorogoa is unlike any video game you’ve ever played.
It’s a puzzle game… I guess. But it’s really a game about exploring a strange universe in ways you can’t really predict.
A couple of warnings: Gorogoa is pretty short and I think it might play better on an iPad, but it’s such a unique, compelling and seamless experience on any platform.
Find a way to play this video game.
Who wouldn’t want to play one of the best video games ever made on public transport?
Dark Souls isn’t perfect on the Nintendo Switch and, at this point, you could make a strong argument the best version is the remastered version on the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X. That being said, you can’t play either of those on the toilet.
Check and mate.
Arms is a motion-controlled game that’s like boxing. Except you have big stretchy robot arms and everyone has special powers. Obviously.
Which is to say Arms is a very Nintendo-esque version of boxing.
It’s also extremely inventive and surprisingly in-depth. There’s layers to Arms and a genuine strategic element. It’s not perfect, but Arms is bizarre, inventive and a lot of fun.
Tetris 99 sounds like it came from the pages of The Onion. Battle royale has become so dominant as a genre that even Tetris is battle royale now.
But here’s the crazy thing: Tetris 99 works. This game works. It’s a lot of fun and you should play it.
Note that this game is free for Nintendo Switch Online subscribers.
Sonic Mania is just…
[chef kissy fingers]
I mean imagine being an adult, growing up with Sonic. They announce a new game and you expect it to be bad because Sonic has been bad for like 20 years.
Then they drop Sonic Mania. A game that takes everything good about Sonic, preserves it, and then updates it perfectly in a seamless modern interpretation that has no right being this good.
Night School Studio
You know when you’re playing a video game and you’re like, “Man, this story is really interesting and well written…
“For a video game.”
With Oxenfree you don’t really need to make that distinction.
Oxenfree is a spooky mystery wrapped in teen drama. It’s like Riverdale for video games. It also features a really deft and perfectly implemented dialogue system that rewards multiple playthroughs.
Golf Story takes the 16-bit JRPGs you loved back in the SNES days and adds uh… golf.
Yes. The sport of golf.
And somehow it all works. Golf Story is the world’s craziest elevator pitch perfectly executed. The golf works, the RPG works, the story is fun. Great little video game.
The creators of Thumper call it “rhythm violence.” Goddamn.
It makes sense. Calling Thumper a “rhythm” game just doesn’t cut it. It’s more than that. It’s just a pure, visceral experience that connects music to action in the most compelling ways. It’s brutal. It’s earth-shaking and just flat-out cool.
Like Mario Kart 8, Stardew Valley and Oxenfree, Bayonetta 2 is an old video game repurposed for the Nintendo Switch.
Bayonetta 2 originally came out on the Wii U, a console that struggled. Therefore Bayonetta 2 struggled.
Thankfully it’s getting a second run on the Switch. Which is great, because Bayonetta 2 is an under-appreciated masterpiece. Get on it.
Baba Is You is a puzzle game that will break every part of your brain. It’s a puzzle game that forces you to literally rewrite the rules of the game in order to complete tasks.
If that sounds complicated it’s because it is complicated. In a good way.
It’s also the kind of game that will haunt you, sort of like The Witness. You will be thinking about puzzles while you do the dishes, while you’re driving the car. You’ll scream EUREKA. Then maybe break a dish or crash your car.
This game is dangerous for your health.