Best Nintendo Switch games 2022
Trying to get your hands on the best Nintendo Switch games that have released so far? There are plenty to choose from, and more awesome titles continue to come out every few months. Nintendo has you covered whether you’re looking for open-world RPGs, strategy games, competitive racers, or local co-op games to share with a friend. These are the best Nintendo Switch games of all time that have released so far.
Note: Most Switch games require you to have a Nintendo Switch Online subscription to play online. Additionally, N64 and Sega Genesis games can be accessed via the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack.
1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for Nintendo Switch
Best Open-World game on Nintendo Switch
Bottom line: This is the perfect title for anyone who loves action RPGs and open-world adventures. It won Game of the Year at the 2017 Game Awards and has been praised as having one of the most clever physics systems ever created. As we explained in our Breath of the Wild review, the game allows you to solve puzzles and challenges in various ways. Years after it was released, people are still discovering new things to do in-game. If you’re looking to add the best Nintendo Switch games to your library, then you really can’t pass up Breath of the Wild.
|The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild||✔||✔||$38 at Best Buy|
|The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild||✔||$37 at Walmart|
- Sprawling fantasy world to explore
- About 60 hours of gameplay
- More than one answer to puzzles
- Nods to past Zelda games
- Revitalized the Zelda series
- Weapons break too easily
- No big dungeons
The Legend of Zelda series is one of Nintendo’s most popular IPs, but the latest entry took that popularity and blew it out of the water with the stunning masterpiece that is Breath of the Wild.
Players start with absolutely nothing except for some shorts and some vague notion that the main protagonist, Link, has been asleep for 100 years. You can quickly acquire clothing, weapons, horses, abilities, and items by exploring the land. This is an open-world game, and you could go straight to the main boss if you wanted to. However, Hyrule offers so many exciting locations and secrets to discover that you willingly run off in another direction just to reach that strange structure on the horizon or that large beast flying in the distance.
Weapons break after a few hits, so you need to learn to manage your inventory and use more powerful swords on the right enemies. The 120 Shrines and four Divine Beasts you’re tasked with visiting offer the puzzle-based gameplay we’ve come to know and love in Link’s travels. However, they are much smaller than the dungeons we’ve seen in past Zelda games, which has been a downside for some long-time Zelda fans. Something that makes up for it is that there are often multiple ways to solve puzzles, so you can get creative instead of figuring out what specific tool needs to be used in any given area.
More Zelda fun
- Skyward Sword HD: It’s the earliest game in the official Zelda timeline and explores the origins of the Master Sword. This HD release fixes many of the issues people had with the original Wii version.
- Link’s Awakening: Link washes up on Koholint Island, far away from Hyrule, Ganon, and Zelda. Here he must delve into dungeons and uncover the mystery of the Widh Fish. This is one of the whackiest, quirkiest, and most endearing Zelda adventures in the series.
- Breath of the Wild sequel: This upcoming title, commonly referred to as Breath of the Wild 2, is currently in the works and Nintendo is aiming for a 2022 release date. So far, we’ve seen that Link has a strange new hand with new powers and we’ve also gotten a glimpse at a ruined Master Sword.
- Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity: This is a hack and slash prequel that explains the events leading up to the story of Breath of the Wild. You get to play as Zelda, Link, Mipha, Daruk, Urbosa, Impa, and others.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Nintendo Switch
Run around the open world of Hyrule collecting items, gear, and weapons. Will you spend your time scaling the nearby mountain? Taming a wild horse? Taking on powerful enemies? Or maybe experimenting with various cooking ingredients? There is so much to explore and do.
2. Super Mario Odyssey
Best Platformer on Nintendo Switch
Bottom line: As we said in our Super Mario Odyssey review, this game is an action/platformer that revitalized the Mario series. It employs similar mechanics found in classic games like Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy while introducing several new experiences, such as mind-controlling enemies with a talking hat. You can play on your own or invite a friend to play in co-op mode. The unique worlds are bursting with character, and you can even dress Mario up in various outfits to help him fit into his surroundings.
- Quirky locales
- Co-op play
- New power-up abilities
- Open-world exploration
- Dress Mario up
- Some challenges can be tough
- Motion controls can be hard to master
In many ways, Super Mario Odyssey’s gameplay is similar to Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy. But in his latest adventure, the plumber must collect Power Moons instead of Stars. He needs them to unlock new locations so he can attempt to rescue Princess Peach from Bowser’s clutches.
After his trusty hat gets destroyed, Mario meets a new friend named Cappy, who can change into various hat forms. With this new partner’s aid, our little mustachioed plumber acquires new attacks and abilities previously not seen before in the Mario games. For instance, the ability to throw Cappy and hit enemies at a distance. Or my favorite: mind control any enemies whether they be small Goombas or a big T-Rex.
You can even play co-op with one person taking control of Mario and the other controlling Cappy. This makes Super Mario Odyssey a fun game to play with your kids, younger siblings, or one of your friends.
Other Mario games
- Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury: Up to four players run around freeing Sprixies from Bowser’s clutches while playing as either Mario, Luigi, Peach, Blue Toad, or Rosalina.
- Paper Mario: The Origami King: With its charming diorama aesthetic, this adventure makes light of Mario and the Mushroom Kingdom as you battle office supplies, evil paper mache, and zombie origami characters.
3. Pokémon Sword / Pokémon Shield
Best RPG on Nintendo Switch
Bottom line: The most essential Pokémon games on Nintendo Switch are definitely Sword and Shield. Players run around a UK-inspired fantasy world collecting creatures with elemental abilities like fire, water, grass, and electricity. You’ll strategize your Pokémon’s attacks against your foes’ weaknesses to beat every gym leader and prove that you are the greatest Pokémon trainer of them all. As we said in our Pokémon Sword and Shield review, it wasn’t as innovative as we hoped, but it’s still really fun to play.
- 400 Pokémon to catch
- UK-inspired world
- Can fight giant Pokémon alongside friends
- Nostalgic elements for long-time Pokémon fans
- Easy for new fans to get into
- Not all Pokémon are in the game
- Level-catching limit
Players travel around a fun U.K.-inspired world with a mixture of 400 old and new creatures to catch. The goal is to use your Pokémon to defeat every gym leader before taking on the champion and proving that you are the best Pokémon trainer of them all. When you have more gym badges, you’re able to catch Pokémon at higher levels.
You can see Pokémon wandering around in the Wild Area before battling them, and you can take on massive Gigantmax Pokémon with friends in online multiplayer. You will need to trade with other players to complete your Pokédex and catch every Pokémon. As we said in our Pokémon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass review, if you choose to purchase the DLC, you can explore two new locations, face new challenges, and catch even more Pokémon than there were in the base game.
The Crown Tundra part of the DLC even allows you to capture Legendary Pokémon from past Pokémon titles and makes shiny hunting much easier. The games are simple enough for kids to enjoy and complex enough for more intensive players to sink their teeth into.
Catch more Pokémon in these games
- Pokémon Scarlet and Violet: The upcoming Gen 9 games provide players with new Pokémon to catch and new locations to explore in the first-ever open-world Pokémon adventure. It will release sometime in “late 2022.”
- Pokémon Legends: Arceus: This game breaks the traditional Pokémon mold as an action RPG that’s set in the ancient Sinnoh region. There’s crafting, new Pokémon variants, and more. Run around fighting and capturing the Pokémon you run into.
- Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl: These are remakes of the classic DS games. They offer new experiences in addition to updating the original adventure.
- Pokémon Unite: Command one Pokémon in a group of five as you fight opponents and attempt to score points in this free-to-play MOBA game.
- New Pokémon Snap: Take pictures of over 200 creatures while exploring the Lental Region. If you pay attention, you might even see Mythical or Legendary Pokémon.
4. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Best Life Simulator on Nintendo Switch
Bottom line: As we stated in our Animal Crossing: New Horizons review, this game was released just as the world needed it most. It’s a chill life and farming simulator that helps both kids and adult players relax while making friends with animals on a tropical island. You can end up spending hundreds of hours fishing, acquiring furniture, collecting creatures for a museum, upgrading your house, and decorating your island just the way you want it. With its relaxing charm, there’s a reason why this title has been one of the most successful games to launch on the Nintendo Switch.
- Adorable art design
- Relaxing gameplay
- Seasonal activities
- Multiplayer options
- Harvesting and crafting
- Emergency backup limitations
- Real-time clock can be restrictive
- Many holiday celebrations feel the same
Animal Crossing might seem like a simple island getaway experience, but it’s a rather complex simulator. Players arrive on a deserted island with almost nothing to their name but can slowly upgrade their getaway by gathering and then selling bugs, fish, and harvested materials to pay off loans from Tom Nook, a tanuki or raccoon tycoon. As you acquire more DIY recipes, you can craft more items to fill your island with beautiful things.
The game follows a real-time clock, so when it’s nighttime in real life, the stars are out over your virtual island, and your animal villagers are asleep in bed. Stores and shops within the game have business hours, so you need to plan your time accordingly to see what clothes and furniture are in stock when things are open.
Different experiences are available throughout the year, including seasonal activities that coincide with real-world holidays. However, one of the big complaints from players is that many of the holiday activities feel the same, just with different themes. Also, if you don’t want to lose your progress, you’ll need to backup New Horizons manually as it doesn’t offer cloud saves.
You can keep the fun going by purchasing the Animal Crossing: Happy Home Paradise DLC which allows you to design vacation homes for animal clients. There are new buildings to unlock, new items to decorate with, and you can even scan amiibo cards to invite specific villagers into the game. Once you complete the DLC, you can even go back to your home island and redecorate your villager’s houses.
5. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Best Racing Game on Nintendo Switch
Bottom line: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the best-selling game on Nintendo Switch as well as one of the best multiplayer games on the console. Up to four players can race against each other while sharing one screen; so as we said in our Mario Kart 8 Deluxe review, it’s the perfect party game for friends and family. Choose from a large cast of Nintendo characters and attack your fellow racers with silly weapons like bananas or shells to get ahead. The optional child controls make this a great game for people of all ages.
- Smart steering is perfect for younger children
- 41 characters to choose from
- 48 colorful tracks to race through
- Up to 4-player local multiplayer
- Race against others online
- Single-player mode isn’t very exciting
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the quintessential racing game on Nintendo Switch. You can play on your own, or if you have enough Joy-Cons, up to four players can share a screen and compete against each other. If you have a young child who wants to play, just turn on Smart Steering to prevent them from falling off the track, going backward, or bumping into the walls.
There are 48 tracks and a large cast of 41 popular Nintendo characters, including Link from The Legend of Zelda, Inklings from Splatoon, Bowser from the Mario games, Isabelle from Animal Crossing, and more. Another thing that makes it fun is you can hurl silly weapons like cartoon bananas or shells at your friends to get ahead.
Really the only downside is that playing on your own isn’t nearly as fun as playing with friends. Fortunately, if you have a Nintendo Switch Online subscription, you can race with players all around the world, so you’ll always have someone to play against.
By the way, there’s also an augmented reality racing game called Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, where players race a real-life remote control kart around their homes using the Nintendo Switch while seeing opponents and items on the Switch screen. Mario Kart enthusiasts will love it.
Other multiplayer Mario fun
- Mario Tennis Aces: Play against others or take on the single-player campaign as you work on your backhand on quirky tennis courts.
- Mario Maker 2: Love playing Mario sidescrollers? You can design your own and share them with others online. Since you can also play online creations there’s always something new to do.
- Mario Golf: Super Rush: Run around the golf course playing as one of your favorite Mushroom Kingdom characters. There are unique challenges at each location and special moves for each player.
6. Metroid Dread
Bottom line: As we said in our Metroid Dread review, this is a gorgeous return to form for Samus. It had been over 19 years since a brand new sidescroller Metroid game had released and this entry doesn’t disappoint. You’ll need to platform and blast your way through tricky enemies and a host of Metroid Dread bosses as well. It’s a challenging yet rewarding game that really goes back to Metroid’s roots.
- Challenging bosses
- Beautiful visuals
- Amazing soundtrack
- Great puzzles
- Can easily get lost
- EMMI robots can get old
Samus has landed on the planet ZDR to answer a mysterious transmission, but it’s all a trick to trap the bounty hunter. Upon landing, she gets hunted by vicious EMMI robots that can kill her with one hit. She’ll need to use her stealth abilities to avoid them and explore caverns to become more powerful. The boss fights are incredibly challenging but are worth the experience once you’ve done it. Samus also gets to show off a few new suit designs along the way, some of which are freaking cool.
The soundtrack meshes perfectly with the gameplay while the visuals are gorgeous and together they will keep you wanting to dive further and further into the story. There are also plenty of puzzles to solve along the way. There are two things to keep in mind: It’s very easy to get lost, so you should check your map frequently to see where you are and where you haven’t been yet. And secondly, the EMMI robots are relentless and can get a little old after a while. So, you’ll just have to learn how to avoid them properly with those new stealth techniques.
All in all, this is one of the very best Metroid games to ever have released. It’s a fitting way to bring Samus to the Nintendo Switch.
7. Among Us: Crewmate Edition
Best Online Multiplayer on Nintendo Switch
Bottom line: Among Us has become the go-to multiplayer game for millions of people around the world. Players take on the role of astronauts trying to repair their ship. However, things take a Mafia or Werewolf turn as some of the players are imposters seeking to sabotage and kill off the rest of the crew members. You’ll need to use your social deduction skills to determine who are the real crewmates and who is out to destroy everything. A typical session usually results in raucous laughter and plenty of finger-pointing. It’s a hilarious time.
- Quick rounds
- Different outfits
- Fun social game
- Cross-platform play
- Easy to learn
- Switch players can’t type as quickly
- Repetitive tasks
This social deduction game takes its cues from the party games Werewolf and Mafia. Each character is tasked with fixing sections of a spaceship, but some of you are actually imposters bent on sabotaging the experience for everyone else.
If a player spots something shady, they can call a meeting, and then the players discuss who they think the imposter is. If enough votes are cast for a specific player, that player is thrown out the airlock, and the game continues until the imposters win by killing everyone or the real crewmates win by fixing the ship or tossing the imposter.
One of the best things about Among Us is that the game supports cross-platform play. Meaning, Switch players can play with folks who are playing on their phones, PC, or other Switch consoles. It’s easy to pick up, making it a great game for all ages. The only downside is that Switch players cannot type as quickly as other players, so the discussion sections might feel more limited. The trade-off is that buttons and joysticks can make it easier to run around the ship and accomplish certain tasks.
8. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Best Fighting Game on Nintendo Switch
Bottom line: This is seriously a great party game, and as we said in our Super Smash Bros. Ultimate review, we can’t recommend it enough. Up to eight players can compete against each other on one screen. You’ll choose from a roster of 74 popular characters from various games and then use their specific skills to defeat opponents. There’s also a fantastic single-player component as well as online multiplayer modes to keep you entertained even when friends aren’t available.
- Supports up to eight players
- 74 playable characters
- Solo modes and online multiplayer
- Optional DLC
- Each fighter has unique attacks
- Uses peer-to-peer servers
- No playable Waluigi!
There are 74 playable characters like Pikachu, Cloud Strife, Toon Link, Bowser, Star Fox, and more. Each character has their own skillset and signature moves that are in line with the games they come from and can be used to propel you to first place. Unfortunately for many fans, Waluigi still has not been added to the roster.
When there are enough controllers to go around, you can play locally with up to eight players. If friends aren’t available, you can always compete against others online or check out the solo game modes to keep you entertained. Just note that the online component uses peer-to-peer servers instead of dedicated servers. So, if someone you’re playing against has a bad internet connection, it can cause serious lag and other complications for all players involved in the match.
Purchasable DLC includes additional characters, stages, and music. For instance, the very last fighter to be added was Sora from Kingdom Hearts and a little while before that we got Pyra and Mythra from Xenoblade Chronicles 2 added to the roster. Not to mention, Nintendo is making amiibo for every Super Smash Bros. Ultimate fighter. You can train and level up your favorite character and then save your stats to the corresponding amiibo.
9. Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Best Strategy Game on Nintendo Switch
Bottom line: Fire Emblem: Three Houses was a hit when it released in 2019 and is the best-selling Fire Emblem game of all time, and that’s for a good reason. As I said in my Fire Emblem: Three Houses review, This is the perfect game for anyone who enjoys complex RPGs, strategic gameplay, and Harry Potter. Players take on the role of a mercenary and direct students under their command into battle in turn-based tactical rounds.
- Tactical turn-based combat
- Several ways to level up
- Decisions have different outcomes
- Plenty of replay value
- Romance system
- Lots of tutorial menus
- Steep learning curve for children
Fire Emblem has been around since the early 90s, but while the franchise performed really well in Japan, it’s only more recently that it’s seen huge success in North America. Three Houses has sold more units than any entry in the series before it, and for good reason.
Players take on the role of Byleth — a mercenary who can be either male or female — that gets roped into becoming a professor at the Officer’s Academy in Garreg Mach Monastary. Here, the player is introduced to the students and chooses to align with one of the three houses: Black Eagles, Blue Lions, or Golden Deer. Each house comes from a different area of the continent and deals with political issues happening back home that affect how they see each other. You make plenty of decisions and the choices you make lead to different endings. You can even romance various characters if you say the right things.
As a professor, you take charge of your students in battle telling them where to move, who to protect, and which units to attack. Then you have to wait and let the enemy make their move before going again. Each character has specific strengths and weaknesses against other characters. For instance, archers are powerful against Wyvern Riders but are weak to most melee attacks. So you need to place your units strategically and level up their skills at the school to make them more powerful. It’s a truly satisfying game that makes you feel like a clever tactician. Plus, permadeath is optional and you can rewind a few steps if your team is in trouble.
More Fire Emblem games
- Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes — Though not a core series game, this spin-off revisits the students at Garreg Mach in an alternate universe, where key events from the main game have been changed. You still get to choose which house to team up with and while there isn’t turn-based tactical elements, players can still strategize by commanding units to specific places in action RPG battles.
10. Luigi’s Mansion 3
Best Co-op Game on Nintendo Switch
Bottom line: I said in my Luigi’s Mansion 3 review that I loved every moment and didn’t want the plot to end. That’s because this is one of those games that is so packed full of comedy and fun puzzles that you’ll absolutely love it from start to finish. Best of all, once you unlock Gooigi, Luigi’s gelatinous assistant, near the start of the game, you can experience the full adventure with a buddy in two-player co-op.
- Great puzzles
- Hilarious ghosts
- Fun co-op play
- Hotel with various themed floors
- Multiplayer minigames
- Can be hard to aim the vacuum
- Ends too quickly
Luigi’s Mansion 3 opens with Luigi, Mario, Peach, and some Toads getting invited to a luxurious resort. However, the hotel transforms into a spooky place run by ghosts on their first night, and everyone is caught except for Luigi. The green plumber must travel to the tip-top of this skyscraper hotel, defeating ghosts and exploring the fun themes of each floor along the way. It can be hard to angle the Ghostbusters-like vacuum at some points, though.
The spectral opponents he goes up against are incredibly silly and will have you laughing with their hijinks. A good chunk of the puzzles requires Luigi and Gooigi to work together. If you’re playing solo, you’ll be able to swap between the two characters. However, if you pass a controller to a friend, they can control Gooigi while you control Luigi. They each have some skills that the other doesn’t, encouraging you to work together.
Whether you’re playing with a younger child or a peer, Luigi’s Mansion 3 is a fun co-op game to share with others, which makes it one of the best Switch games of all time. I only wish it was longer since this game only takes about 13 hours on average to beat.
11. Mario Party Superstars
Best Party Game for Nintendo Switch
Bottom line: Whether you’re having a get-together, sleepover, or family reunion, Mario Party Superstars is one of the quintessential party games on Nintendo Switch. Up to four players play on a virtual board game as their favorite Mushroom Kingdom character and then participate in minigames at the end of each round.
- 100 classic minigames
- Up to four players
- Good replay value
- Online play
- Five classic boards
- Several characters
- Not as many boards as in past games
- No voice chat
Mario Party Superstars is one of those games that you can pick up and play at any time. It’s perfect for family nights, birthday parties, get-togethers, or just about any other occasion. Up to four players can enjoy the game together from one Switch and choose from a roster of Mushroom Kingdom characters. The goal is to rack up as many Stars as you can while going around a virtual board game. At the end of each round, players are slotted into different groups and compete in minigames to earn Coins.
There aren’t quite as many game boards as in previous Mario Party titles with only five options to choose from, but they are classic boards from the N64 era. There are also 100 classic minigames from throughout the series including ultimate best minigames like Bumper Balls, Face Lift, and Bowser’s Big Blast.
If you don’t have any friends around who can play Mario Party Superstars with you, you can go online and compete against specific friends or random people around the world. You can even use character stickers to express how you feel during different moments. This is important because the game doesn’t offer voice chat. Still, it is sure to get you and your crew hollering with laughter in no time.
Other Mario Party fun
- Super Mario Party: was the first Mario Party game to release on Nintendo Switch. Many consider it one of the worst games in the series. So if you’re looking for Mario Party, make sure to get Superstars.
12. Ring Fit Adventure
Best Fitness Game on Nintendo Switch
Bottom line: As we showed in our Ring Fit Adventure review, this fitness game provides an impressive workout. You’ll jog in place with Joy-Cons strapped to your leg to make your on-screen character run forward. And then, the Ring-Con allows you to work your arms and do various stretches and core exercises. This game costs roughly what you’d pay for a one-month gym membership, but you can use it in the comfort of your home.
- Easy to pick up
- Increases difficulty daily
- Several workout options
- Story distracts your mind from the workout
- Adventures can slow workout
- Can’t buy digitally
Ring Fit Adventure might seem like a workout gimmick that doesn’t actually do much. While it won’t produce a mind-blowing fitness regimen for hardcore workout enthusiasts, it is a fun way to bring cardio, stretches, and even yoga into your daily routine. The best part is you don’t even have to leave the house or get a gym membership to exercise.
This fitness game is more expensive than most other Switch offerings because it comes with a Leg Strap and Ring-Con accessory. As such, it’s only available as a physical copy. These devices allow you to slide Joy-Cons into place and then can measure how far you run or how hard you push and pull on the Ring-Con for various exercises.
For those of us who aren’t particularly thrilled by the idea of jogging, there’s also a fun RPG plot for you to focus on to make the workout sessions more interesting. Dragaeux, a super muscular bro type of dragon, is causing chaos, and it’s up to you to defeat him and his minions… with squats, jogging in place, and ring squeezing. If you’re consistent, this game can really get your heart going and help you get into shape. You’ll take several breaks from running to fight enemies, which is good or bad depending on what you’re looking for in a workout game.
More workout fun
- Fitness Boxing 2: This is another great Switch workout game. Instead of including jogging and crunches, this game has you hold Joy-Cons in either hand as you bounce and punch to the rhythm. It’s another great way to get your heart pumping while distracting you from the unpleasantness of exercising.
- Nintendo Switch Sports: While not a game that can give you a serious workout, the Wii Sports successor can get you moving while swinging your Joy-Con to play games like bowling, volleyball, tennis, and even soccer.
More of the best Nintendo Switch games
The best of the best are listed above, but other amazing Nintendo Switch games are out there. Here are some more of the best Switch games you can buy.
Nintendo Switch Sports
Wii Sports’ successor is on Switch bringing with it popular motion control games like bowling, tennis, and volleyball. It also includes a leg strap for a Joy-Con, allowing the game to register kicks for soccer.
Pokémon Scarlet and Violet – Nintendo Switch
The first open-world Pokémon game ever made is coming to Nintendo Switch in “late 2022.” Explore new locations and capture new and returning Pokémon.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land – Nintendo Switch
In Kirby and the Forgotten Land, Kirby finds himself in a strange land with vine-covered ruins. It’s up to him to explore, save the Waddle Dees, and fight big bosses using his Copy Abilities and platforming prowess.
Triangle Strategy – Nintendo Switch
Conflict between nations stirs as you navigate tricky situations and strategize to make it through battles. Your decisions determine what happens in this beautiful HD-2D adventure.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus – Nintendo Switch
This adventure takes us away from the standard Pokémon formula, having us explore the ancient Sinnoh region while working on creating the first-ever Pokédex. Catch and battle Pokémon straight from the overworld and craft Poké Balls with items found in the area.
Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl – Nintendo Switch
These Gen 4 remakes have you exploring the Sinnoh region in 3D. The art style pays homage to the classic DS games and there are several new features to make the game interesting whether you played the originals or not.
Pokémon Unite – Nintendo Switch
This free-to-play 5v5 MOBA game has you commanding one of five Pokémon in a team as you attempt to defeat opponents and score points. Each Pokémon has a different Battle Type and will need to be used strategically in order to do well.
Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin – Nintendo Switch
As a Monster Rider, you raise Monsties from eggs and add them to a fighting team of six. You’ve been entrusted with a special Rathalos egg that a mysterious group of people is out to steal. You’ll need to keep it safe while fighting alongside your Monsties and exploring a fantasy world.
Nintendo Switch Online – Nintendo Switch
If you want to enjoy the online components of your favorite Switch games you’ll need to have a Nintendo Switch Online subscription. Plus, it gives you access to a library of retro NES and SNES titles like Super Metroid, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and Donkey Kong Country.
Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack – Nintendo Switch
This addition gives you access to the Animal Crossing: Happy Home Paradise DLC along with a list of N64 and Sega Genesis games including The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and Star Fox. You can even purchase a special N64 Controller for Nintendo Switch to enhance the playing experience.
Monster Hunter Rise – Nintendo Switch
Kamura village is in danger of getting destroyed by rampaging monsters. It’s up to you as a newly made hunter to take down these massive beasts. You’ll obtain items by looting your prey, and they’ll allow you to upgrade your armor. Plus, you’ll have a cute Palico and Palimute fighting alongside you. The paid Sunbreak DLC which brings more monsters, attacks, and missions releases June 30, 2022.
Hades – Nintendo Switch
Hades’ son is on a mission to escape the Underworld. He’s going to need some assistance from Zeus, Athena, Poseidon, and other Olympian gods to fight his way through this hack and slash adventure.
Cuphead – Nintendo Switch
This is one of the most challenging sidescrollers to come out in a long time. The wonderful old-timey animation style puts one in mind of the 20s and 30s. Play on your own or with a friend in local co-op.
Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition – Nintendo Switch
As the Luminary, it’s your job to protect the world from an evil force. Your adventure will take you through various lands to meet new party members in this popular RPG. Plus, you can choose to play the game in all its 3D beauty or opt for 16-bit visuals for retro glory.
Spiritfarer – Nintendo Switch
Play as Stella, a ferry master who helps anthropomorphic animals find rest in the afterlife. This is an item management game filled with feel-good moments and gorgeous visuals.
Octopath Traveler – Nintendo Switch
Play as eight different characters as you make decisions and take control of their unique abilities. This gorgeous game uses a 2D retro art style in a 3D space and is an absolute pleasure to look at.
Splatoon 2 – Nintendo Switch
Splatoon 2 is the sequel to Nintendo’s family-friendly shooter game. Play as Inklings and Octolings and shoot to paint your turf. There is a single-player campaign with tons of content, and online is always fun.
Slay the Spire – Nintendo Switch
This strategy RPG combines deckbuilding with roguelikes. Craft the perfect deck of cards and take down foes as you fight your way to the top of the spire. The dungeon layout changes each time to keep things fresh.
Cadence of Hyrule – Nintendo Switch
Fight your way through Hyrule while playing as Zelda, Link, or Melody. You’ll need to time your movements to the music to land hits and defeat enemies.
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury – Nintendo Switch
Bowser has captured Sprixies from the Sprixie Kingdom, and it’s up to Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Toad to save them all in this 3D sidescrolling adventure. Plus, a short standalone game called Bowser’s Fury has Mario taking on a Godzilla-sized version of his nemesis while trying to save Lake Lapcat.
Paper Mario: The Origami King – Nintendo Switch
The evil King Olly has taken over Princess Peach’s castle and is turning Mushroom Kingdom inhabitants into zombie origami. Now it’s up to Mario and his friends to defeat this enemy and bring peace back to the world. This is a hilarious adventure filled with witty writing and plenty of puzzles.
LEGO Marvel Superheroes 2 – Nintendo Switch
The silly world of LEGO meets the action-packed characters of Marvel in this collaboration. Run around the Marvel universe, taking down baddies as your favorite superheroes, including Iron Man, The Hulk, Captain American, Spider-Man, and more.
Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition – Nintendo Switch
Shulk and his party need to travel around a world where land is actually the bodies of massive titans called the Bionis and the Mechonis. It’s considered to be one of the best RPGs with a unique battle system and plenty of characters to meet.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 – Nintendo Switch
Rex is a scavenger who stumbles across Pyra, a powerful living weapon. Together, they explore a sea of clouds and learn more about what happened years ago.
Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! / Eevee! – Nintendo Switch
In Pokémon: Let’s Go, you and your cute companions embark on a journey to become the best team ever. Catch ’em all by yourself or with a partner to cement your status as a legendary Pokémon trainer!
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe – Nintendo Switch
Up to four people can join the fun in New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe as you make your way through this side-scrolling platformer. There are over 164 stages to get through in two main game modes.
New Pokémon Snap – Nintendo Switch
Explore the Lental Region and take pictures of over 200 Pokémon in their natural environment. You might even see some Legendary or Mythical Pokémon.
Super Mario Maker 2 – Nintendo Switch
If you have a creative mind and love classic Mario platforming games, then Super Mario Maker 2 is right up your alley. Create your own Mario levels and let your imagination run wild! You can even play the levels created by other players too.
Hollow Knight – Nintendo Switch
Here’s a beautiful game that prides itself on offering that classic 2D platformer feeling we all grew up on. It’s tough at times, but the reward for your trouble is an entertaining game with lots to explore.
Mario Tennis Aces – Nintendo Switch
Grab your tennis racket and meet Mario on the court. Mario Tennis Aces brings sporting fun to the whole family. Compete with and against Nintendo’s most beloved characters, and immerse yourself by using the Joy-Cons as your make-believe tennis racket.
Yoshi’s Crafted World – Nintendo Switch
Yoshi and friends are back at it again in an adorable craft world made from common household items. Play with a friend and help Yoshi make his way through each stage. Discover all of the secrets that the crafted world has to offer.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze – Nintendo Switch
Control Donkey Kong and his monkey buddies as you make your way through several side-scrolling levels. Play by yourself or pass a controller to a friend and play together in local co-op.
Overcooked! 2 – Nintendo Switch
This game won an award for being the best family game to launch on Nintendo Switch in 2018. And that’s for good reason — it puts one of the biggest family activities in video game form as an epic cooperative effort. You and your family will be racing around the kitchen, trying to serve all the hungry guests.
Super Mario 3D All-Stars – Nintendo Switch
This collection includes three Mario classics: Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy. Replay your favorites on the Switch. It’s technically returned to the “Nintendo vault,” and the digital download is no longer available from Nintendo’s website. However, you can still find physical copies roaming around, though at a high-ish price.
Untitled Goose Game – Nintendo Switch
Sometimes messing with people is the funniest thing, as Untitled Goose Game proves. You play as an ornery goose who’s out to mess with people in a village. Whether you’re stealing someone’s glasses or dropping someone’s slippers into a pond, it’s a hilarious game to play.
Borderlands Legendary Collection – Nintendo Switch
This collection nets you three games: Borderlands, Borderlands the Pre-sequel, and Borderlands 2. Play as one of six different characters as you work to liberate the planet Pandora from the evil corporate CEO, Handsome Jack. There are plenty of guns to collect and skills to improve upon along the way.
Celeste – Nintendo Switch
Madeline is on a personal journey to climb to the top of Celeste Mountain. Along the way, she’ll battle her inner demons and make her way through tough challenges. This platformer will keep you on the edge of your seat while delivering a heartfelt story.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Nintendo Switch
Skyrim has been released on so many consoles already, but the Nintendo Switch version lets you play it any time, anywhere, even during a flight. This Switch version also includes outfits and gear from The Legend of Zelda franchise.
Sonic Mania + Team Sonic Racing Double Pack – Nintendo Switch
What’s better than a Sonic game? Two, of course! Experience the fun of the original Genesis games with Sonic Mania, a new platformer that uses pixel graphics akin to the originals. Then when you’ve got a hankering for a racing game, take to the track and race against other players.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle – Nintendo Switch
Mushroom Kingdom has been invaded by Rabbids, some good and some bad. It’s up to Mario, Luigi, Peach, and their rabbid doubles to save the world. You’ll need to strategically move characters to the right spots and take advantage of their strengths in this strategic turn-taking game.
Bayonetta 2 – Nintendo Switch
Bayonetta 2 is a hack and slash game that has you playing as a witch, taking down angels and demons. You’ll have access to plenty of weapons as you progress further into the game.
Miitopia – Nintendo Switch
You decide what all of your teammates and the NPCs you encounter look like while playing through this lighthearted RPG. The Dark Lord has stolen everyone’s face, and it’s up to you to defeat him and return the world to normal.
Oxenfree – Nintendo Switch
This supernatural thriller is considered to be one of the very best video game plots. A group of teenagers accidentally opens a ghostly rift that unleashes terrifying monsters. Your decisions change the outcome of the game as you work to put things back to normal.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD – Nintendo Switch
Link and Zelda are friends at the Knight Academy on the floating island of Skyloft. But one day, Zelda gets knocked off her flying bird to the land below and it’s up to Link to save her. This remaster makes motion controls optional and improves several flaws of the original Wii game.
Stardew Valley – Nintendo Switch
There are so many things to do now that you’ve inherited your grandfather’s old farm. You can upgrade your land, turn it into a gorgeous location, raise animals, grow crops, and maybe even find love with someone in the nearby town.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity – Nintendo Switch
Hack and slash your way through Hyrule’s history and learn what took place 100 years before Breath of the Wild. You’ll play as Mipha, Revali, Urbosa, Daruk, Zelda, and many more. Each character has their own special skills and attacks.
1-2-Switch – Nintendo Switch
This is definitely the party game that makes the most out of the Switch’s motion controls. You’ll compete to do things like milk cows, open locks, and perform old western duels. It’s a silly game perfect for any family reunion or game night.
WarioWare: Get It Together! – Nintendo Switch
Looking for some crazy fun? Play a bunch of silly microgames either by yourself or with a friend. Most of them are incredibly zany, and since they’re short, it’s easy to pick up and stop whenever you want.
ARMS – Nintendo Switch
ARMS puts a spring in the traditional boxing formula. Choose from a cast of characters and take on several foes to prove your fighting prowess. You can also play two-player split-screen in the horde mode.
DOOM – Nintendo Switch
Rip and tear your way through hordes of monsters and demons in this violent first-person action game. Add powerful weapons to your arsenal and fight like hell.
Kirby Star Allies – Nintendo Switch
Kirby is out to stop the evil priest Hyness from reviving a dark force that will destroy everything as we know it. But swallowing enemies and taking their powers isn’t enough — he’s gonna need the help of some friends. Run through this side-scrolling adventure and see what allies you can acquire.
NEO: The World Ends with You – Nintendo Switch
When Rindo gets pulled into a strange competition known as the “Reapers Game,” he realizes that his life is on the line if he loses. He’ll need to form a good team, acquire new fighting abilities, and solve puzzles in order to protect himself and his team from a horrible fate.
Astral Chain – Nintendo Switch
You play as a special police officer tasked with exploring an alternate dimension called the Astral Plane. Using both Joy-Cons, you’ll control both your main character and a “special weapon” called a Legion at the same time. See what secrets you can uncover in the cyberpunk world.
Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics – Nintendo Switch
A good board game or card game can be oh-so addicting, and this collection gives you 51 awesome options to choose from. Whether you’re into checkers, chess, Yahtzee, poker, mahjong, or one of the other fun games, this will keep you and your friends entertained.
Quick list of the 67 best Nintendo Switch games
Source: Rebecca Spear / iMore
These are the very best of the best Nintendo Switch games you can buy. This list is not in any particular order.
- Animal Crossing: New Horizons
- Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
- Pokémon Sword / Pokémon Shield
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
- Pokémon Unite
- Nintendo Switch Sports
- Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl
- Super Mario Odyssey
- Mario Party Superstars
- Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin
- Among Us
- Nintendo Switch Online
- Nintendon Switch Online + Expansion Pack
- Pokémon Legends: Arceus
- Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition
- Monster Hunter Rise
- Cadence of Hyrule
- Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury
- Splatoon 2
- WarioWare: Get It Together!
- The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD
- Luigi’s Mansion 3
- Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! / Let’s Go, Eevee!
- New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe
- The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
- Super Mario Party
- Borderlands Legendary Collection
- Metroid Dread
- Triangle Strategy
- Kirby and the Forgotten Land
- Fire Emblem: Three Houses
- Astral Chain
- Super Mario Maker 2
- Hollow Knight
- Mario Tennis Aces
- Slay the Spire
- Paper Mario: The Origami King
- Ring Fit Adventure
- Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
- Overcooked! 2
- LEGO Marvel Superheroes 2
- Super Mario 3D All-Stars
- Octopath Traveler
- Untitled Goose Game
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
- Sonic Mania + Team Sonic Racing Double Pack
- Stardew Valley
- Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition
- Xenoblade Chronicles 2
- Bayonetta 2
- Yoshi’s Crafted World
- Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
- New Pokémon Snap
- NEO: The World Ends with You
- Kirby Star Allies
- Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics
Should you buy a digital game or a physical game?
It depends on how you want to play since there are perks on both sides. With digital games, you don’t have to worry about losing an expensive cartridge and don’t have to pack a bunch of physical games up when you travel. Your games get tied to your account, so if you were to lose your Switch, you’d be able to access the digital games you previously purchased after buying a new console. Additionally, going digital means you can download games immediately from the eShop instead of requiring you to wait for an Amazon package to be delivered or making you run to the store for a physical copy.
However, there’s something nice about the tangibility of physical games. Some game cases come with extras like stickers or posters. After you’ve beaten the game, if you decide that you don’t like it enough to keep it, you can always sell the physical copy to a used-goods store and put that money towards acquiring another game.
How to purchase digital games from the Nintendo eShop
For those who decide that you want to go the digital route, here’s how to purchase games from the Nintendo eShop. By the way, you can easily purchase a Nintendo eShop Gift Card for yourself or as a gift for someone else.
- From the Nintendo Switch’s main menu, select Nintendo eShop. You’ll be taken to the Featured section of the eShop.
- You’ll see various categories like Recent Releases, Great Deals, and Best Sellers. You can also use the search bar at the top of the screen to find a specific game. Tap the image of any game you’re interested in.
- Select Proceed to Purchase.
- Enter your payment information.
- Wait for the game to download. If the game is currently available, you’ll be able to play it as soon as it finishes downloading. If the game hasn’t been released yet, you’ll be able to play the moment it launches.
Is gameplay different for Nintendo Switch vs. Nintendo Switch Lite?
Unlike the Nintendo Switch, the Nintendo Switch Lite doesn’t include detachable Joy-Cons, motion controls, or rumble. Any game that relies on these features won’t work on the Switch Lite unless you have external Joy-Cons or a Pro Controller handy. Also, you cannot play many multiplayer games on the Switch Lite screen unless you also have detached Joy-Cons to pass out to friends.
One other thing: The Nintendo Switch Lite does not have a kickstand, so if you do want to play a game on this system while using external controllers, you’ll definitely want to purchase a Nintendo Switch playstand.
Do you need to buy a microSD card for Nintendo Switch?
We highly recommend a microSD card for your Nintendo Switch or Switch Lite, seeing how these consoles only have 32 GB of internal storage and the Switch OLED only has 64GB of internal storage. That means that you’d only have room for up to three large Switch games before running out of space. And if you’re the kind of person who loves taking videos and screenshots of your gameplay, you’ll get even less out of it.
To help you out, here are the best microSD cards for Nintendo Switch. If you’re not sure how much space you need, check out our guide for which size microSD card is best for Nintendo Switch?
Do I need to buy amiibo?
Nintendo has created hundreds of small figurines with scannable NFC chips inside of them known as amiibo. Thing is, amiibo are not necessary for you to be able to enjoy most Nintendo Switch games. For the most part, these statues are simply fun collector’s items that can unlock small in-game perks when scanned on your Nintendo Switch. However, using certain amiibo scanned with specific games can be very useful.
The Legend of Zelda amiibo, for example, provide some awesome additions to Breath of the Wild. Using specific figures, you can unlock special clothing items, Wolf Link from Twilight Princess who fights alongside you, or even a ridable Epona from Ocarina of Time.
If you want to display these figurines somewhere or really like the perks that come from scanning a specific amiibo, you might just want to buy them. Otherwise, these are not a necessary purchases.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Rebecca Spear is the games editor for iMore. She loves keeping up-to-date with the latest and greatest electronics and video games. On any given day, you’ll find her drawing with her Wacom tablet, playing RPGs, or reading a good book. Hit her up on Twitter: @rrspear
Christine Chan is a staff writer at iMore. She loves her Nintendo Switch and is never seen without it. She knows a thing or two about what battery packs are good for the console.
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