The best Nintendo Switch games can keep you occupied for months on end, whether you're stuck at home playing on your TV or curling up on the couch in handheld mode.
Nintendo's hybrid console just keeps amassing great first-party hits, from newer releases like Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Pokemon Sword and Shield to mainstays like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. It's also become a great place to play third-party hits both at home or on the go, with everything from The Witcher 3 and Skyrim to Cuphead and Untitled Goose Game available on Switch.
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The Nintendo Switch lineup is set to only get better in 2020, with huge AAA ports such as the Borderlands Legendary Collection and the BioShock Collection slated to release alongside new titles like Doom Eternal.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the ultimate digital escape, providing you with your own getaway island that you'll live in, customize and watch flourish over time. New Horizons builds on the already addicting gameplay of Nintendo's beloved life simulator, allowing you craft your own items and rack up rewarding Nook Miles as you catch bugs, plant trees, interact with your neighbors and find cool clothes and household items for your personal villager.
With tons of creatures to collect, a museum to curate, and new shops and facilities to fund, there's always something to work towards in New Horizons, making every moment feel rewarding as you build up the tropical island of your dreams. Whether you're customizing your ideal home or visiting friends online to trade fruit and gear, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the relaxing, pleasant wind-down game that every Switch owner needs right now.
Pokémon Sword and Shield
Pokémon Sword and Shield have all of the addicting monster catching, battling and exploring that makes the series great while making some significant evolutions to Game Freak's beloved RPG formula. The game's London-inspired Galar region features the most dynamic environments the franchise has seen yet, with open-world-style Wild Areas filled with wild Pokémon that provide a real challenge for seasoned trainers.
Further cementing Sword and Shield as some of the best Nintendo Switch games are Dynamax battles, which allow you to temporarily make your Pokémon giant complete with powerful new moves for epic, large-scale gym battles. You'll also enjoy Max Raids that have you take on giant Pokémon with other players, lots of social online features and some of the best Pokémon designs yet. I mean, how could you say no to Yamper, a Corgi that shoots electricity?
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Fire Emblem: Three Houses is one of the biggest, most expansive entries yet in Nintendo's beloved role-playing series. Three Houses builds on the series' addictive, deeply strategic tactical combat while adding a new twist -- you now play as a professor, who must choose one of three houses and guide their students in both their daily school lives and on the battlefield. With memorable characters, large-scale battles and the first free-roaming hub world in the series, Three Houses is easily one of the best Nintendo Switch games you can buy.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sets you loose in a massive, gorgeous open world, where you can battle through dungeons, solve puzzles, paraglide around the skies or simply cook some food. Breath of the Wild redefines what an open-world game could be, with a truly explorable Hyrule in which every mountain is climbable and every hidden path leads to a new adventure (you can even bee-line it to the boss if you're so inclined. With memorable boss battles, tons of challenging puzzle shrines, a gorgeous art style and some of the most dynamic combat in the series, there's good reason many consider BoTW to be the best Zelda game of all time,
Super Mario Odyssey
Super Mario Odyssey is the plump plumber's most expansive and inventive 3D adventure yet, setting you lose in a series of brilliantly designed sandbox worlds filled with exciting secrets. It's a constant barrage of joyful discovery, whether you're taking control of a T-Rex or a stack of Goombas with your sentient hat Cappy or warping into a wall for some classic 2D Mario gameplay. Odyssey is accessible, gorgeous and wonderfully weird, marrying the pure fun of Mario's best 3D outings with no shortage of awesome surprises. It's easily one of the best Nintendo Switch games out there.
Untitled Goose Game
The hills of gaming are alive with honking. Part stealth game, part prankster heaven, Untitled Goose Game has taken over the internet by placing gamers in the webbed feet of a despicable goose out to ruin the days of everyone in a quaint little suburb. While its amazingly simple controls may trick you into thinking it's going to be a cakewalk, the difficulty ramps up enough to turn this adorably-drawn puzzler into a true challenge. For more, read my full honking Untitled Goose Game review.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Complete Edition
One of the most beloved role-playing games of this generation (and arguably of all-time) has finally landed on Nintendo Switch. As its name suggests, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Complete Edition packs in every bit of content found in CD Projekt Red’s massive open-world adventure, plus all previously released downloadable content (including the popular Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine expansions). While The Witcher 3’s Switch port sacrifices visual quality in the name of playability, it still features the same massive world, gripping story with branching narratives and satisfying combat that make Geralt of Rivia’s third outing so memorable. And now you can take it all on the go.
In a sea of excellent indie platformers on Switch, Celeste stands out as one of the absolute best Nintendo Switch games available. This pixelated, ultra-tight 2D sidescroller is simple yet immensely satisfying, as you'll use your jump, dash and wallgrab to avoid spikes, pits and all manner of spooky spectres in screen after screen of precise platforming challenges. Celeste's best-in-class 2D action is complemented by a touching and cleverly told story about dealing with mental illness, and the whole package is wrapped up in an unforgettable synth soundtrack that alternates between serene and haunting. If you own a Switch, you need Celeste -- period.
Luigi's Mansion 3
Despite being based around a ghost-hunting vacuum, Luigi's Mansion 3 most certainly doesn't suck. The latest installment in Nintendo's spooky ghostbusting series is one of the best Nintendo Switch games you can buy, giving you a toybox of new spectre-slaying tools to play with as you explore a labyrinth hotel that becomes King Boo's latest haunted mansion. With the addition of Gooigi, Luigi's gooey spectral doppleganger, you'll control two characters at once as you work your way through some of the most satisfying environmental puzzles the series has delivered yet. And with new combat moves such as a satisfying ground slam and no shortage of memorable, challenging boss fights, the actual ghostbusting is a blast, too. If you're looking for a breezy adventure game that's as clever as it is charming, Luigi's Mansion 3 delivers big.
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening is a masterful reimagining of the 1993 Game Boy classic, preserving the original game's clever dungeons and puzzles while wrapping it in a gorgeously vibrant new art style (seriously, has Link ever looked more adorable?). While Link's Awakening hews pretty close to the original game's overall structure, it does spice things up with the ability to create your own dungeons. If you're craving some old-school 2D Zelda action or just need something to hold you over until Breath of the Wild 2, Link's Awakening is yet another great Zelda adventure for your Switch.
Super Mario Maker 2
Super Mario Maker 2 improves on Nintendo's beloved Wii U level-creating game in every single way, introducing a ton of new creation tools, a full-fledged story mode with 100 Nintendo-made levels and multiplayer options that let you play co-operatively and competitively with friends. New level parts like slopes, swinging claws and on/off switches allow you to get more creative (and devious) than ever, and a robust new set of online options let you work your way up the leaderboards as both a player and creator. Super Mario Maker 2 is already a great game now, and could serve as an endless supply of great community-made Mario courses for years to come.
Overwatch makes a largely smooth transition to Nintendo Switch, allowing you to experience the game’s frenetic team-based shooting and plethora of game modes and heroes either on your TV or in handheld mode. While you’re limited to 30 frames per second and 900p resolution (720p in handheld), Overwatch’s Switch performance stays solid during heated firefights, and its colorful art style still pops on the small screen. With Switch-exclusive gyro controls for easy aiming in handheld mode and content parity with other versions of the game, Overwatch on Switch is a great port of an already excellent game.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate isn’t just a great fighting game – it’s a love letter to all things gaming. The game’s massive 74-character roster mixes mainstays like Mario, Donkey Kong and Pikachu with newcomers like Splatoon’s Inkling, Metroid’s Ridley, Castlevania’s Simon Belmont and Metal Gear’s Solid Snake, allowing you to create ridiculous dream matches on more than 100 stages from video game history. Ultimate’s multiplayer options run the gamut from insane 8-player brawls to intense 1-on-1 contests, while its robust, RPG-like Spirits mode offers solo players plenty to sink their teeth into. Whether you’re looking for a great Switch party game or a tight competitive brawler, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate truly lives up to its name as one of the best Nintendo Switch games.
One of the best platformers of the decade is finally on Nintendo Switch, and it's as fun, beautiful and brutally difficult as ever. Cuphead marries airtight, extremely challenging bullet-hell 2D sidescrolling action with a delightful jazz soundtrack and hand-drawn 1930s inspired artwork that looks ripped right out of a classic Disney cartoon. The result is a crushingly hard game that you'll feel compelled to push through thanks to its satisfying shoot-em-up action and entrancing aesthetics. Studio MDHR's indie masterpiece feels especially at home on Switch, whether you're taking on the Devil and his cronies with a friend in local co-op or knocking out a few bosses on the go.
Astral Chain is one of the most unique and satisfying action games you can find on the Switch -- or any platform, for that matter. This futuristic anime adventure puts a unique twist on Platinum Games' signature brand of stylish combat, allowing you to create all kinds of crazy combos by controlling both your main character and and array of humanoid Legion companions in tandem with one another. Astral Chain's supremely satisfying fighting is complemented by detective missions, fun environmental puzzles, and a vibrant sci-fi world that comes alive with a thumping techno-meets-metal soundtrack and some of the best visuals of any Switch game.
Resident Evil 4
Resident Evil 4 is one of the greatest survival games of all time, and now you can finally take it on the go on Nintendo Switch. This HD remaster spruces up the 2005 GameCube classic with crisp graphics and improved control schemes, but the core of the game -- the tense third-person action, the clever puzzles and boss fights, the spooky gothic atmosphere, and that chainsaw scene -- all hold up incredibly well today. It's easy to see how RE4 set the blueprint for modern third-person action games, and if you haven't given it a shot (or just want to relive this classic), the Switch version is a great way to do so.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 is a fun fan-service frenzy, allowing you and up to three friends to hack and slash your way through enemies using your favorite Marvel characters. The game's 36-character roster includes iconic heroes such as Wolverine, Captain Marvel and Iron Man as well as deeper cuts like Spider-Gwen, Elsa Bloodstone and Ms. Marvel, which you can mix and match in all kinds of fun ways with different synergy attacks and team bonuses as you attempt to stop Thanos from getting the Infinity Stones. With options for local and online multiplayer and plenty of unlockables and side missions, Ultimate Alliance 3 will scratch your superhero beat-em-up itch in a big way -- especially if you're playing with friends.
Even Tetris has gotten in on the battle royale craze. Tetris 99 has you and 98 other players play Tetris against one another in real-time, clearing lines and sending blocks to enemies' play areas until there's one competitor left standing. There's a surprising amount of strategy here, as you can choose to attack specific players or let the AI decide who gets flooded with blocks as you frantically clear spaces. But most importantly, Tetris 99 is just fun, fast-paced Tetris, and you'll quickly wonder where the time has gone as you tell yourself you'll play just one more game. Tetris 99 is free to Nintendo Switch Online members, though anyone (including non-subcribers) can purchase the $10 Big Block DLC to gain offline play as well as new modes.
Stardew Valley is a serene farming simulator that seems so simple, you'll wonder how you just lost three straight hours playing it. This laid-back role playing game tasks you with turning a messy field into a thriving farm, one filled with vibrant characters, gorgeous pixel art and no shortage of fun activities. Stardew Valley's many townspeople are charming and memorable, and whether you're meticulously planting crops for a big payday or are exploring the mysterious mines, it's easy to get completely lost in developer ConcernedApe's 16-bit world. And thanks to a recent multiplayer update, you can even enjoy the game with friends. If you're waiting for the Switch's upcoming Animal Crossing title or just want a game that's both relaxing and enrapturing, Stardew will scratch your itch.
Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu/Let's Go Eevee
Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu and Let's Go Eevee combine the classic exploration and turn-based battling of Pokémon Yellow with the inviting motion-based catching of Pokémon Go. You'll explore a vibrant reimagining of the iconic Kanto region with your trusty Pikachu or Eevee by your side the entire time, and can even customize your companion with adorable outfits and hairstyles. You can even import your Kanto region Pokémon from Pokémon Go into your Let's Go game, and take your in-game Pokémon for a real-life stroll with the Poke Ball Plus accessory. Let's Go is a charming nostalgia rush for old-school fans, and the most inviting jumping on point yet for folks getting in on the Pokémon craze for the first time.
Splatoon 2 is more Splatoon, and that's fantastic. Nintendo's vibrant online shooter gets even better on Switch, thanks to new weapons and abilities that let you dual-wield pistols, fire barrages of rockets and perform powerful-ground pounds as you race to cover the battlefield in colorful ink. The game's solo campaign serves as an excellent off-the-wall platformer, while the new Salmon Run mode provides a serious co-op challenge for you and up to three friends. And it's just an absolute joy to look at and listen to.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a fantastic re-release of an already excellent kart racer, packing in all of the downloadable content from the original Wii U game and adding new characters such as Splatoon's Inklings as well as much-requested Battle Mode. Mario Kart 8's colorful courses look as gorgeous as ever, whether you're playing on your TV or taking the action on the road in handheld mode.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is a bizarre, unexpected mashup that works exceptionally well. This turn-based strategy game sees Mario teaming up with Ubsioft's mischievous Rabbids to save the Mushroom Kingdom, setting the stage for a series of surprisingly tactical battles that let you chain together attacks and special abilities in all kinds of delightfully satisfying ways. The game's gorgeous, colorful worlds clash with the Rabbids' crude potty humor, resulting in a goofy, charming and strategically deep experience that's unlike any Mario game you've played before.
The addictive soccer-with-cars action of Rocket League feels right at home on Nintendo Switch, which is the only platform that lets you sharpen your ball skills on-the-go. Rocket League packs a ton of modes and arenas that range from hardcore competitive play to all-out chaos, and the Switch version features exclusive Super Mario and Metroid-themed battle cars. The game even supports cross-play with Xbox One and PC players, ensuring you’ll have a healthy online community to duke it out with.