Wondering what the Best Nintendo Switch games out there are? We have you covered. This list was compiled December 2019, but… It’s hard to argue that these titles are timeless!
The Nintendo Switch has been out for almost three years, and in that time, it has delivered to us a sensational library of games!
This hybrid console that can be used as a stationary or portable device has sold over 41 million units! To put that in perspective, the Wii U only sold 13.56 million units in its entire lifetime! Here are the Top 10 Best Nintendo Switch Games!
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Please keep in mind that this list is my personal opinion and that I haven’t played every single game on the Nintendo Switch. In addition, I’m going to try and only put Switch exclusives on this list, so games like Hollow Knight, Stardew Valley, Ace Attorney etc will most likely not make this list.
Best Nintendo Switch Games
10. Captain Toad Treasure Tracker
Release Date: July 13, 2018
Copies Sold: 1.18 Million
Okay, so I’m already breaking the rules I just set, but did anyone actually play this game on the Wii U? Regardless, this game is awesome! You control Captain Toad, and your goal is to safely navigate through various obstacles to reach a gold star at the end of each level, so it’s basically a series of minigames and boss battles.
Despite its simple concept, the game is highly addictive and forces you to use your brain. In addition, two-player co-op was added for the Switch version.
When it comes to the Nintendo Switch, I usually play in Docked Mode and rarely take it outside the house. However, on the rare occasions when I do, this is a must-play during a long journey.
Because of the slow nature of the game, you can play for extended periods without experiencing the motion sickness you get from games like Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros.
9. Luigi’s Mansion 3
Release Date: October 31, 2019
Copies Sold: N/A
The latest release to make it on this list is Luigi’s Mansion 3, although it really shouldn’t be called that, as it’s set in a hotel rather than a mansion. But after Nintendo’s bad experience with Hotel Mario, maybe it was for the best.
Nevertheless, the game brings a charming experience, challenging boss battles and fun multiplayer with two-player co-op and eight-player minigames. I had such a blast playing Luigi’s Mansion 3 that I really hope we get a Luigi’s Mansion 4 in the future!
8. Xenoblade Chronicles 2
Release Date: December 1, 2017
Copies Sold: 1.73 Million
Xenoblade Chronicles was released back in 2010 on the Nintendo Wii. It received critical acclaim, opening many peoples’ eyes to a series that was previously only popular in Japan. Since then, we’ve had a port to the 3DS, a spiritual successor on the Wii U and now a sequel on the Nintendo Switch.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is an open-world action RPG set in the world of Alrest, which has no stable land, so people live above the sea in the clouds! You play as Rex, a salvager collecting treasure for money who quickly finds himself in a situation that spirals out of control!
I should mention that this game won’t be for everyone. It’s very weird, slow and confusing, but once it gets going, you’re in for a hell of a ride! You can watch the video below to see if it’s your type of game.
Xenoblade Chronicles is an immensely complicated series with a very confusing lore, so if you haven’t played a Xenoblade game before, I would recommend watching a playthrough on YouTube or waiting for the HD Remaster of the first game that is coming to the Nintendo Switch in 2020.
In addition, I will say that you’re certainly getting your money’s worth with this game, with the average playthrough length being around 75-100 hours and around 200-250 hours if you’re a fan of completionism. It’s one of those games that has so much content that you’ll probably never get to experience everything it has to offer. Simply put, this is an excellent game full of memorable boss battles, engaging characters, a fascinating world and a captivating story.
7. Fire Emblem Three Houses
Release Date: July 26, 2019
Copies Sold: 2.29 Million
Fire Emblem Three Houses, or, as I call it, ‘Find a Husband/Wife Simulator’, is an experience that is very hard to describe. I’ve never played a game quite like it, but it sure got me hooked! For those unfamiliar with the Fire Emblem Series, they are tactical role-playing games that have been around since the 1990s, a series that was popular in Japan but failed to find success overseas until 2012’s Fire Emblem Awakening on the 3DS.
The unexpected success of Fire Emblem Awakening helped save the series from cancellation after dwindling sales figures for the past few entries, and this gave the Fire Emblem series renewed significance.
In Fire Emblem Three Houses, players take on the role of the main character, called Byleth by default, who can be either male or female. You are a former mercenary who is recruited to become a teacher at the Garreg Mach Monastery. You must choose a ‘house‘ to support and have three options: the Golden Deer, the Blue Lions or the Black Eagles.
Once you decide, you become their teacher and mentor and must guide them through a series of battles and teach them the ways of combat. The game carries over the turn-based tactical gameplay of earlier Fire Emblem titles while incorporating social interactions with your students where you can grow to know them and eventually get them to become your best friend or maybe even your husband/wife. It sounds really creepy, but in practice, it’s the glue that holds this whole game together!
The main selling point of the Fire Emblem series is that characters who fall in battle are subjected to permanent death. This changes everything, because you can no longer just send your units headfirst into the enemy with no consequences.
If you make a mistake, that unit is gone forever! Not only does this force you to adopt a more tactical play style, but it helps you develop a deeper connection with units. Perhaps you have a weak character who grows over the course of the game to become an absolute tank, perhaps a character you want to marry in the future suddenly dies. The impact this can have on you is truly profound, as I found myself screaming in surprise and tragedy as my students would die in battle.
My first playthrough of the game took me around 50 hours. However, this is the type of game that encourages multiple playthroughs, as the game contains various story-changing choices and wildly different endings. In addition, with New Game+ and the inclusion of the expansion pass, I could easily see getting 150-200 hours out of this game!
6. Super Mario Maker 2
Release Date: June 28, 2019
Copies Sold: 3.93 Million
Nintendo clearly got tired of making new 2D Mario games, so now they just let you create them. Super Mario Maker 2 allows you build and share your own 2D levels using objects from the original Super Mario Bros. all the way to Super Mario 3D World. However, most people who create levels make impossible hellscapes such as level below.
Being able to download and play a seemingly unlimited number of levels (plus the surprising inclusion of a Story Mode) make the possibilities of this game near endless. When you have the option to play speedrun levels, puzzles, mini-games, Auto-Mario levels, multiplayer maps, music levels or just making your own courses from scratch, there is something for everyone to do or play in Super Mario Maker 2!
5. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
Release Date: August 29, 2017
Copies Sold: 2.5 Million
Never in my life did I imagine the ”Raving Rabbids” would ever return, much less do a cross over with Mario to form a remarkably entertaining game! However, don’t be fooled by its cartoonish nature, as this game is surprisingly difficult! You certainly will get stuck in some of the latter sections of the game.
Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle is a turn-based tactical role-playing game in the vein of games like XCOM: Enemy Unknown and The Banner Saga.
The game’s story sees Mario and his friends Luigi, Princess Peach, and Yoshi, along with four Rabbids dressed up like them teaming up to battle against enemy Rabbids who have accidentally entered the Mushroom Kingdom after misusing a powerful invention.
This game has so much charm, wonderful animation and a hefty amount of content. Are we sure Ubisoft made this game? You will laugh, you will rage and you will celebrate the satisfaction of success! If you didn’t check this game out in 2017 it has my full recommendation.
4. Super Mario Odyssey
Release Date: October 27, 2017
Copies Sold: 15.38 Million
YES! Now this is the Super Mario game I have been waiting for. Super Mario 64 was one of the first video games I ever played, and after Super Mario Sunshine and Galaxy 1 & 2 failed to captivate me (they are still amazing games btw so please don’t hate me) Super Mario Odyssey delivers near perfection. The story starts with… Princess Peach being kidnapped by Bowser, (how original) who plans to forcibly marry her. (Okay, that is different!)
Soon after, you are joined by your new sidekick, Cappy, who teams up with Mario in order to rescue his sister Tiara who has also been abducted by Bowser. Cappy takes the shape of Mario’s cap, providing him with the ability to control almost anything such as a frog, a goomba, a chain chomp and even a huge dinosaur!
You can even play certain levels in VR Mode if you have the Nintendo Labo accessory. As Mario, you travel across many various “Kingdoms” searching for and clearing various objectives in order to obtain items known as Power Moons.
In contrast to the linear gameplay of recent entries, the game returns to the open-ended, exploration-based gameplay found in Super Mario 64. Also, the game features a photo mode that allows players to take and save screenshots which can then be improved upon with various filters and stickers.
With gorgeous graphics and an ultra-smooth frame rate, Mario has never felt better to control and manoeuvre around the crazy levels! Super Mario Odyssey innovates on the Mario formula while keeping the essentials in place! Now can we get that Super Mario 64 Remake Please, Nintendo? 🙂
3. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Release Date: March 3, 2017
Copies Sold: 14.54 Million
The launch title for the Nintendo Switch! Breath of the Wild was exactly the game the Switch needed to start off on the right foot. Breath of the Wild is an action-adventure game set in an open-world environment where players are free to explore the vast kingdom of Hyrule. Breath of the Wild encourages nonlinear gameplay, as you are actively encouraged to freely explore the world.
What’s so special about this game is the complete sense of adventure. A simple trip to a local village to restock on supplies can turn into 5-hour detour where you discover a hidden shrine, get struck by lightning, fall off a mountain, barely survive an encounter with a guardian and almost freeze to death! The number of possibilities that can happen in this game is astounding! Here are some insane combat examples below.
The only negative I have with the game is some frame rate drops in certain areas (although this has been improved since release with a number of patches) and Link’s lack of speech during the cutscenes. I’m so done with silent protagonists! Give them some character!
Regarding the frame rate, though: some people have seen fit to put Breath of the Wild on the PC so you can experience that true 4K 60FPS glory. If you own a Nintendo Switch, this game is the definitive singleplayer game, a must-buy! Finally, the future of the Zelda franchise seems in good hands, as a sequel to Breath of the Wild was announced at E3 2019.
2. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Release Date: April 28, 2017
Copies Sold: 19.01 Million
Mario Kart is amazing, but you know that. Everyone knows that it is the best racing series of all time! This game is a must-have for any user of a Nintendo Switch. This enhanced port of the Wii U game includes all previously released DLC content on top of delivering an incredibly smooth 1080p 60FPS.
The revamped battle mode is also a welcome improvement over the Wii U version which was seriously lacking in content and a huge drawback from previous Mario Kart games.
The remade Battle Mode has eight new arenas and several gameplay modes, and six additional playable characters were added to the roster, including Bowser Jr, Dry Bones, King Boo, Inkling Boys and Girls from Splatoon, and Gold Mario.
The only downside is that if you play with three or four players locally, the framerate drops from 60 to 30 frames per second, but that’s hardly a deal-breaker. The game is absolutely gorgeous, one of the best racing games of all time and every bit as addictive as Mario Kart always is!
1. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Release Date: December 7, 2018
Copies Sold: 15.71 Million
The switch game, the party game, the ultimate game. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is perfection, (well it’s not, add The Subspace Emissary Mode, Nintendo!) with an incredible roster of characters that is ever-expanding, stunning graphics, tight gameplay, near endless content.
Ultimate is Smash Bros at its best! The only let-down is Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s Adventure mode. While fun, it does start to drag after the first few hours. Also, The Subspace Emissary from Super Smash Bros Brawl is far superior. In conclusion, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is everything it needs to be. I could probably play it forever, and I hope I do! (At least until the next one comes out…)
Stardew Valley: One of the calmest, smoothing and most addictive games I have ever played, and an absolute must buy. Combined with 4 player co-op and the recent 1.4 update, this game is still alive and well. If you have ever played Harvest Moon or are just looking for a relaxing time, Stardew Valley is the perfect game.
Splatoon 2: What’s this? A third-person shooter made by Nintendo? The sequel to the popular Wii U game was a huge success, selling over 9 million copies. If the game had local co-op, it would be near perfection. I’m not sure if the game still has an active player base. If it does it’s worth a buy.
Octopath Traveler: A turn-based RPG made by Square Enix with SNES style graphics. Instant buy, but just not on the Switch. However, you should buy the game on the PC, as it has a significantly higher frame rate than its console counterpart.
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe: The best 2D Mario game running at 1080p 60fps with 4 player co-op? Yes, please!
Tetris 99: It’s Tetris, but you play against 99 other players. Need I say more?
Yoshi’s Crafted World: A beautiful and charming adventure only let down by its lack of challenge.
Mario Tennis Aces: A huge step up from the dreadful Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash on the Wii U. A blast to play with some friends. Enjoy the chaos.
Kirby Star Allies: Another delightful game, however just like Yoshi’s Crafted World the drawback is the lack of difficulty.
Sonic Mania: The best Sonic game since Sonic Generations. Buy it, but just not on the Switch.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening: I haven’t had time to finish this game yet, but from what I have played, it’s amazing. Consider this game the number 11 on this list.
Did you agree with my Top 10 Best Nintendo Switch Games? Leave a comment below and tell me what game I missed out on.