Skip to main content

30 best Nintendo Switch games in 2021

best Nintendo Switch games
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

With this selection best Nintendo Switch games, you'll experience the best of what Nintendo and other game devs have to offer for the hybrid console. Having the freedom to play basically anywhere you want, unlike a traditional home console, is an underappreciated joy and it's great you don't have to pick and choose between big and small games because of it.

From Nintendo staples like Mario and Zelda to essential multiplayer games to engrossing AAA and indie fare, we've done the hard work of playing lots and lots of video games to help you pick out the very best that Nintendo's console has to offer.

No matter what you're in the mood for, here are the best Nintendo Switch games to play now.

What are the best Nintendo Switch games?

The newest addition to this list is Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury. The main part of the game is a refreshed version of the already excellent 3D World from the Nintendo Wii U, but the new expansion is an unexpected treat, offering a whole new way to experience the classic Nintendo platforming formula.

Speaking of Nintendo classics, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is also on our list, because it’s simply an incredible game that offers a huge world to explore, most notably by climbing everything, as well as a vast amount of puzzles to solve. It’s one of the greatest games of all time. 

If you want something more relaxing, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is arguably one of the best ways to shake off blues caused by coronavirus pandemic lockdown and restrictions. New Horizons basically gives you an island to customize and build up over tens to hundreds of hours. And it fits the Switch from perfectly as a game you can just dip in and out of, or plow hours into at once. 

With 30 titles making up our best Nintendo Switch games, there’s a healthy list of excellent games to keep you entertained for years to come. Read on for our picks for the best Nintendo Switch games to play right now.

The best Nintendo Switch games to play right now

1. Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury

A combination of remaster and expansion, this two-in-one package offers all the usual smooth, joyous platforming you expect from a game starring the spritely plumber and his friends. The twist this time around is you can play in co-op with up to four players, and as well as normal platforming, you have fun side-missions playing as Captain Toad.

One of the highlights is the new cat power-up that adds new unique moves to help you navigate and fight. And you'll need it when you start up Bowser's Fury, a brand new addition to the game. This pits you against an even more dangerous version of the King of the Koopas in an open-world map that slowly unfolds over time. 

Best Nintendo Switch games: Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury

(Image credit: Nintendo)

best Nintendo Switch games: Heaven's Vault

(Image credit: Inkle)

2. Heaven's Vault

Heaven's Vault is an archeological adventure across an open world that tasks you, as researcher El, to translate an ancient language as you explore ruins across the moons of The Nebula.

You get a lot of freedom in exploration, but also in translation. There are always several options to choose from, and those decisions pile up to give you different dialogs with the other characters, and eventually one of several potential outcomes to the story.

It's a slow-paced game with lots of time spent pondering different meanings of words, and you certainly won't be fighting anything as you traverse the ruins of the Ancients. The perfect title to try out if you want something cerebral and slower-paced to play. While this is also available on PS4 and PC, the Switch version means you can take the game with you as you travel and easily dive in if you suddenly get curious or have a major realization.

best Nintendo Switch games: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game - Complete Edition

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

3. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game - Complete Edition

After being unavailable for over six years, the beat-em-up based on the popular comic series and movie is finally on sale again.

This being the Complete Edition, you also have access to the DLC packs that let you play as Wallace Wells and Knives Chau as well as the basic cast of Ramona, Kim, Stephen and Scott.

Just like the series, you're tasked with defeating Ramona Flowers' seven evil exes in order for Scott to date her. Each of the characters has a unique moveset that grows as you gain experience, but they can also use weapons and assist characters to supplement your offensive capabilities. There are secret modes and items to unlock too, which means you'll still be motivated to play even after you've felled the final boss.

Available for $14.99 at Nintendo Game Store

best Nintendo Switch games: Hyrule Warriors Age of Calamity

(Image credit: Nintendo)

4. Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity

This prequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, shows us the world before it all went to chaos. Instead of adventuring around solely as Link, in this game you can play as all the kingdom's heroes as you take on vast armies controlled by Calamity Ganon.

If you're aware of the Dynasty Warriors series, or the original Hyrule Warriors game, you will know what this involves. You, alongside friendly soldiers and an optional co-op partner, have to take to various battlefields across Hyrule, completing specific objectives in each area. It's a different pace to the open-ended RPG that this version of LoZ first appeared in, but if you want to learn more about the history of the setting, or want to try a more spectacular form of combat, it's worth checking Age of Calamity out.

best Nintendo Switch games: animal crossing new horizons

(Image credit: Nintendo)

5. 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. 

best Nintendo Switch games: legend of zelda: breath of the wild

(Image credit: Nintendo)

6. 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

best Nintendo Switch games: Super Mario 3D All-Stars

(Image credit: Nintendo)

7. Super Mario 3D All-Stars

Super Mario 3D All-Stars packs three of the most beloved 3D platformers of all time into a single, highly nostalgic package. This collection gets you Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy, allowing you to experience the evolution of 3D Mario games from the Nintendo 64 all the way to the more modern Wii era.

Thankfully, these genre-defining platformers largely hold up today. Triple-jumping through the Mushroom Kingdom is just as much of a blast now as it was in 1996, and Super Mario Sunshine's unique water-based gameplay holds up especially well on the Switch Pro Controller. Super Mario Galaxy evolved the formula even further in 2007 with its unique gravity-defying platforming, and it's still a joy to play today with both motion and touch controls. Rounding out the package is access to the full soundtrack for every game, so you can rock out like it's 1996. 

Best Nintendo Switch Games: Pokemon Sword and Shield

(Image credit: Nintendo)

8. 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?

best Nintendo Switch games: Hades

(Image credit: Supergiant Games)

9. Hades

One of the breakout hits for the Switch, Hades is a punishing-yet-satisfying roguelike action game that has you strategically hack your way through a stunningly fresh take on Greek mythology. Every run through Hades is different, as you encounter new challenges and abilities while piecing together the kind of story that only Supergiant Games (Transistor, Bastion) can tell.

Hades is beloved by delivering a more engrossing (and slightly less punishing) take on the roguelike genre, putting a big emphasis on its compelling story and giving newcomers of the genre plenty of options for easing them in. And it's all wrapped in an addictively fluid combat system that pops off of the screen via vibrant, hand-drawn art.

best Nintendo Switch games: fire emblem: three houses

(Image credit: ‎Intelligent Systems‎/Koei Tecmo )

10. 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. 

best Nintendo Switch games: super mario odyssey

(Image credit: Nintendo)

11. 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.

best Nintendo Switch games: untitled goose game

(Image credit: Epic Games)

12. 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 our full honking Untitled Goose Game review.  

best Nintendo Switch games: the witcher 3: wild hunt

(Image credit: CD Projekt)

13. 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.   

best Nintendo Switch games: celeste

(Image credit: Matt Makes Games)

14. Celeste

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.

best Nintendo Switch games: Luigi's Mansion 3

(Image credit: Nintendo)

15. 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.

best Nintendo Switch games: legend of zelda link's awakening

(Image credit: Nintendo)

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.

best Nintendo Switch games: Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics

(Image credit: Nintendo)

17. Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics

Clubhouse Games is a virtual treasure trove of classic board, card and sports games, packing dozens of titles you probably grew up playing — and some you haven't. From staples like chess, checkers, poker and air hockey to international hits like Mahjong and Shogi, Clubhouse Games offers a staggering amount of great multiplayer content for just $40. You'll find generic takes on beloved games like Connect Four, Uno and Rock 'em Sock 'em robots, surprisingly solid golf and bowling games, and a whole lot more. 

Games like darts and fishing make smart use of the Joy-Cons, and there's even a unique Mosaic Mode for playing certain games across multiple Switch systems. Clubhouse Games offers a ton of local and online multiplayer options — and even allows for limited wireless play across up to four systems with just one copy of the game.

best Nintendo Switch games: super mario maker 2

(Image credit: Nintendo)

18. 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.

best Nintendo Switch games: super smash bros. ultimate

(Image credit: Nintendo)

19. 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. 

best Nintendo Switch games: cuphead

(Image credit: Studio MDHR)

20. Cuphead

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.

best Nintendo Switch games: astral chain

(Image credit: PlatinumGames)

21. Astral Chain

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.

best Nintendo Switch games: Streets of Rage 4

(Image credit: DotEmu)

22. Streets of Rage 4

A glorious comeback for the beloved Sega beat-em-up series, Streets of Rage 4 preserves the joyfully nostalgic action of the original games while masterfully modernizing things for a new generation. Classic characters like Axel and Blaze are joined by newcomers Cherry and Flloyd, as you punch and kick your way through Wood Oak City with up to four players locally or two online. 

Streets of Rage 4's gorgeous hand-drawn art style is complemented by an absolutely bumping soundtrack that expertly remixes the iconic tracks from the original trilogy. Factor in a satisfying combo system and tons of unlockable characters from the series' past, and Streets of Rage 4 is the ultimate beat-em-up package for fans new and old.

best Nintendo Switch games: marvel ultimate alliance 3

(Image credit: Team Ninja)

23. 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.

best Nintendo Switch games: tetris 99

(Image credit: Nintendo)

24. Tetris 99

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.

best Nintendo Switch games: stardew valley

(Image credit: Sickhead Games)

25. Stardew Valley

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. 

best Nintendo Switch games: Mortal Kombat 11

(Image credit: NetherRealm Studios)

26. Mortal Kombat 11

The Nintendo Switch has become quite the formidable fighting game machine over the past few years, and the Switch port of Mortal Kombat 11 delivers a full AAA brawler experience that you can play on the go. Mortal Kombat 11 is absolutely dripping with content, including a robust cinematic story mode, a suite of online modes and a massive roster that lets mainstays like Scorpion and Sub-Zero mix it up with guest stars like Spawn and The Terminator. 

And with the arrival of the new Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath expansion, the game has even more to offer with additional story content and new characters including fan-favorites Fujin and Sheeva as well as guest fighter Robocop (yes, Robocop). And while the Switch version of the game isn't quite as pretty as its PS4 and Xbox One counterparts, it still runs at a smooth 60 fps for fluid fighting. If you're looking for a fighting game you can pour dozens of hours into both in single-player modes and competitively, MK11 is as good as it gets.

best Nintendo Switch games: Splatoon 2

(Image credit: Nintendo)

27. Splatoon 2

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.

best Nintendo Switch games: mario kart 8 deluxe

(Image credit: Nintendo)

28. 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.

best Nintendo Switch games: mario + rabbids Kingdom battle

(Image credit: Nintendo)

29. 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.

best Nintendo Switch games: hollow knight

(Image credit: Team Cherry)

30. Hollow Knight

Hollow Knight takes a traditional Metroidvania game design and mixes in a sprinkle of Dark Souls to create a sprawling 2D world that’s both exciting and formidable to explore. What starts as a game that has you take on the role of an insect-like being exploring a world full of sentient and feral insects, expands into a deeply engrossing adventure fueled by mysteries that unfold from conversations with characters, exploration and inference from the design of the overall world. 

If Hollow Knight was just a simple platform game with a deep interconnected world it would be very good. But a deceptively deep set of combat mechanics, buffs and upgrades sets it a country mile ahead of many other platformers, Souls-likes, and Metroidvania games. It’s also a game that balances being hard but never frustratingly too tough. People who really want a challenge can find a whole lot of them as the Switch version comes with all four DLC packs bundled in, introducing some fiendishly difficult boss fights. So if you want a truly engrossing game that looks, sounds, and plays beautifully and will keep you engaged for tens of hours, make sure to check out Hollow Knight.