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The Nintendo Switch has become a runaway success since its launch in March of 2017, outselling its predecessor the Wii U less than a year and a half later. The console’s hook is that it’s a hybrid handheld and home game system.
The Switch itself is a tablet with a 6.2-inch 720p touch screen and a pair of detachable controllers called “Joy-Con” on either side. The console can be connected to a TV by setting it on a “dock,” which acts as a bridge between the Switch and your display.
Because of its success, the Switch has amassed a huge library of games, and it can be hard to find the best ones. Don’t know which ones to get? We’ve collected some of the best titles below.
Whether you want to fall into a hundred-hour adventure, or want to kick back with some friends on the couch or online, we have you covered.
What You Need to Know Before Buying Nintendo Switch Games
There are many factors to think about when choosing the right Nintendo Switch Games for you; below are the most important ones, which we considered while we were researching this list.
Genres: Different types of games appeal to different people, so we’ve made sure to include titles from the biggest genres: action adventure, fighting, racing, and simulation.
ESRB Rating: The Electronic Software Rating Board determines which games are appropriate for which age group. It’s the equivalent of movie ratings like G, PG, PG 13, etc. Our guide contains games that are suitable for everybody, so no players will feel left out.
Multiplayer vs. Single Player: We made sure to balance out the games in this guide so that single player and multiplayer games are included. If you’re the only one in your household who plays games, the single-player titles we’ve chosen will last hundreds of hours but can be played in smaller chunks of time. If you want to play with friends and family, our multiplayer selections can be played over and over again without getting stale.
Nintendo Switch Online: Some games we chose require a Nintendo Switch Online account to access all of their features. All of the games can be played without it, but you’ll be limited to playing local multiplayer. A Nintendo Switch Online also includes access to a handful of Nintendo and Super Nintendo games, which can expand your library.
1. The Legend of Zelda Breath Of The Wild
The Legend Of Zelda has been a key Nintendo franchise for almost 30 years, but its latest entry, Breath of the Wild is one of the best.
It takes place in a version of Hyrule that’s been devastated by an ancient evil: Ganon. It’s up to you to piece together what’s happened, and explore a huge world that can take well over 100 hours to see fully. Each town, dungeon, and field provides another opportunity to find materials for crafting, or enemies that need to be taken down.
The game has been given an E-10+ rating by the ESRB, so it’s appropriate for most players, but some areas can be a little scary for young kids. It’s easy to get lost in this adventure, but that leads to its one potential flaw.
The game does give you some direction, but it’s easy to completely ignore the story beats in favor of charting your own path and seeing what’s out there. That can be intimidating if you’re used to a more linear game with a predefined path. If you’re ready to lose yourself in an open world, though, there’s no finer title on the Switch.
Pros: A 100+ hour adventure in a world dense with interesting characters and secrets.
Cons: Its open-ended gameplay may intimidate some players.
2. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
When it comes to multiplayer Nintendo Switch games it’s impossible not to recommend Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. The colorful, chaotic racing game gives everybody (the game has earned an E rating, so we mean this literally), a chance to join in with frantic, fast-paced fun.
Choose one of more than two dozen characters, and race against up to three other people for a chance to earn the top spot on the leaderboards. While it plays like a straight ahead racer — the main actions are accelerate, brake, and turn — Mario Kart throws some new items into the mix.
The items, which range from a red shell that acts as a homing missile, to bananas you can place on a course to foil the racers behind you, serve to equalize matches to give players at all skill levels a chance to pull ahead. The action may get a little too chaotic for newer players, but the gameplay is so engaging they’ll get the hang of it before too long.
Pros: Iconic characters and fun courses make each every match feel fresh. Items add a chaotic, random element to each race to help balance out the gap between the player’s skill levels.
Cons: May be a little too fast-paced for inexperienced players.
3. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Video games don’t have to be intense to be satisfying or fun, which is why we highly recommend Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Instead of fighting enemies or testing your reflexes during fast-paced action sequences, you slowly build up a town and build relationships with townspeople. You build up a town over time in the hopes of attracting new residents, and design it to your exact specifications.
The games premise is simple: you travel to an exotic island, and slowly become the town’s mayor. It’s up to you to make the town cool enough for other characters to come settle down there. As you complete quests, the town will begin to flourish, offering accommodations like a museum filled with artifacts you’ve created.
Because you’re the head of the town, you get to control everything from the way it’s laid out and designed, to how the land is shaped and cultivated. Animal Crossing runs on a real-world timer, which means you can only accomplish so much in a single day. The idea is to go back every day to make a little bit of progress over time.
This “slow burn” style game is appealing if you want a title that evolves constantly, and doesn’t take up several hours of your day, but this limitation may get tedious for some players.
Pros: You have complete control over the design of a town, and get to make a little bit of progress every single day.
Cons: The title’s in-game timer limits how much you can accomplish in a single day.
4. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate allows you to finally settle the debate: Who would win in a fight, Link from The Legend of Zelda, or Mario?
This fighting game pits 74 classic Nintendo characters against one another on one of 103 stages. Hand-to-hand combat, character-specific weapons, and random items make every match stand out — even if you play for an entire day.
Nintendo went all-out on the Switch entry in this classic franchise by including every single character and stage from previous Super Smash Bros. games. The variety of characters and play styles is impressive, and the action can get intense when four players are on the screen.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has also earned the distinction of being one of the most family-friendly fighting games. There’s no blood or gore, which has earned the title an E-10+ rating from the ESRB.
Although the title is family-friendly, it’s still a fighting game, which means it’s easy to play, but tough to master. Each character has a robust move set, with different button combinations required to pull off more powerful attacks. This game is still fun to play casually, but getting the most out of it requires a fair bit of time investment.
Pros: A ton of characters and stages make each match as exciting as the next.
Cons: A slightly steeper learning curve than other titles in our guide.