Skip to main content

The best Nintendo Switch Multiplayer Games in 2021

Four Inklings in Splatoon 2, one of the best Nintendo Switch Multiplayer Games in 2021
(Image credit: Nintendo)

Trying out all of the best Nintendo Switch multiplayer games can send you into a lot of different situations. You might be in the mood for some online multiplayer where you can show off your skills against players from around the world. Perhaps you fancy some light-hearted co-operative fun with friends sat on the couch beside you. The games on this list will satisfy both these moods and more.

The Switch provides access to some of the most popular multiplayer games in the world, such as exclusives like Super Smash Bros. or Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, or cross-platform giants like Fortnite or Rocket League. And while these are excellent games, but don't forget about smaller titles such as Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime and Overcooked! These titles offer just as much fun in fresh and innovative ways, and for a smaller price tag too.

While the Nintendo Switch OLED is the latest and greatest Switch, the original Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite are just as capable when it comes to playing these top titles. But without any further ado, here are the best Nintendo Switch multiplayer games you should be trying.

What are the best Nintendo Switch multiplayer games?

If you want our recommendation for a multiplayer game that lets you play against your friends with minimal explanation needed, try Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. It's not hard to understand your objective in this racing game, and with power-ups helping keep less-skilled drivers in the running for the podium, it's less likely that one person will dominate the tournament. Super Mario Party also fits these criteria, but the board game-style presentation and focus on minigames isn't always as compelling.

For something more co-operative, Overcooked! All You Can Eat puts everyone in the same boat (sometimes literally), helping run a particularly chaotic kitchen. Again, the controls are simple enough for anyone to pick up and play, but the ridiculous situations you come across during the game's campaign should mean there won't be any heated moments if you don't meet your goals.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the game you'll want to try if you don't mind a more complicated head-to-head game that offers intense action. It's an entertaining way to settle a grudge too — there's a reason why "Final Destination, No Items, Fox Only" are known as fighting words across the internet.

The best Nintendo Switch multiplayer games that you can buy today

Mario, an Inkling, Donkey Kong and Link throw down in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, one of the best Nintendo Switch Multiplayer Games in 2021

(Image credit: Nintendo)

1. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the pinnacle of Nintendo’s beloved all-star fighting franchise, with 74 characters and 100 stages that allow you and your friends to create the chaotic brawls of your dreams. The game’s massive roster is a love letter to all things video games, with newcomers like Simon Belmont, Ken Masters and Incineroar mixing it up with Nintendo mainstays like Mario and Link and returning favorites like Solid Snake and Ice Climbers.

Ultimate is brimming with ways to play with friends, whether you want to have crazy 8-player brawls with items galore or get competitive with 1-on-1 matches. And with local and wireless support for up to 8 players, compatibility with everything from single Joy-Cons to Pro Controllers and a bevy of online options, you’ll be able to settle those Smash grudge matches anytime, anywhere.

Diablo III Eternal Collection

a massive fight in Diablo 3 Eternal Collection, one of the best Nintendo Switch Multiplayer Games in 2021

(Image credit: Nintendo/Blizzard)

One of the most legendary action-RPGs of this generation feels more at home than ever on Nintendo Switch. Diablo III: Eternal Collection packs in all previously released content for Blizzard’s addicting loot-collecting slash-em up, allowing you and up to three friends to slay your way through both the core game and Reaper of Souls collection as one of 7 different classes. 

Speaking of teaming up, there’s no shortage of ways to play Diablo III with friends, whether you’re playing locally on the same TV, over local wireless with up to four Switches, or online with fellow demon hunters all over the globe. You even get some sweet Switch-exclusive gear inspired by The Legend of Zelda's Ganondorf.

A skeleton Koopa takes the lead in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, one of the best Nintendo Switch Multiplayer Games in 2021

(Image credit: Nintendo)

3. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the biggest installment in the series yet, with tons of characters, dynamic track design and highly customizable vehicles. Pick your speed, specify your power-ups and get racing with opponents either locally or online.

Best of all, Battle Mode is back. The fan-favorite game type that had all of us pulling all-nighters at our middle school sleepovers returns in Deluxe, after a brief absence in the original Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U, and it's a much better party game for it.

A brawl on the subway in Capcom Beat 'em Up Bundle, one of the best Nintendo Switch Multiplayer Games in 2021

(Image credit: Capcom)

4. Capcom Beat 'Em Up Bundle

If you and your friends have fond memories of mindlessly mashing away at hordes of bad guys at your local arcade, the Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle is a must-have. This collection packages together seven Capcom arcade classics, from staples like Final Fight and Captain Commando to more obscure cuts such as The King of Dragons, Armored Warriors and Battle Circuit. 

The Beat ‘Em Up Bundle features save states, an art gallery and both online and local multiplayer support for every game. All of these features combine to allow you to relive the arcade experience both on your couch and on the road — while taking breaks when you need to.

heavily armed-fighters throw down in Arms, one of the best Nintendo Switch Multiplayer Games in 2021

(Image credit: Nintendo)

5. Arms

You need two sets of Joy-Cons to get the most out of Arms, a bizarre fighting game that incorporates motion controls. In this competitive title, you'll take control of a warrior with inexplicably stretchy arms. And no, it doesn't make any more sense in context. 

As you punch, dodge and block by actually moving your own (hopefully) nonspringy arms all around, you'll notice that the game packs a surprising amount of depth. Will you play defensively or go for broke with long combos and dangerous grapples? Either way, Arms is decent enough to play alone but an absolute blast with a partner.

Mario smashes the ball in Mario Tennis Aces, one of the best Nintendo Switch Multiplayer Games in 2021

(Image credit: Nintendo)

6. Mario Tennis Aces

If you like how Nintendo serves up its tennis games, you'll like Mario Tennis Aces. It has Joy-Con motion control support so you and up to three friends can go at it, just like you did back when Wii Sports was hot to trot. Its deep roster even includes Boo, also known as the best character (Editor's Note: this is highly debatable) in the Mario franchise. And, most importantly, it's a blast to play. 

Mario Tennis Aces is a fun, simple tennis game with a few neat mechanical gimmicks, such as trick shots and final-smash-esque special shots, thrown in to set it apart from the usual tennis game riffraff. But don't think that's a backhanded compliment: Aces' simplicity is its biggest strength, hence why it's so easy to lob this game into a party setting and get right to volleying.

Chefs at culinary war in Overcooked, one of the best Nintendo Switch Multiplayer Games in 2021

(Image credit: Team 17 Digital)

7. Overcooked! All You Can Eat

One of the most popular local multiplayer games on any platform, Overcooked is a co-op kitchen simulator in which you and up to three friends work frantically to prepare dishes in a busy kitchen. With tons of tasks to juggle at once, Overcooked sessions often fail in grand, hilarious fashion — but that's part of the fun. 

This "All You Can Eat" edition of the game combined both the first and second Overcooked, all their DLC, plus new add-on content, with everything receiving a graphics overhaul to boot. This is definitely the best way to play this game if you're interested.

Mario, Yoshi and Rosalina on a board in Mario Party, one of the best Nintendo Switch Multiplayer Games in 2021

(Image credit: Nintendo)

8. Super Mario Party

You can’t have a Nintendo console without Mario Party, and Super Mario Party is one of the best entries yet in the iconic friendship-ruining multiplayer series. Super Mario Party mixes up the classic four-player Mario Party experience with character-specific dice, freely explorable boards and all kinds of wacky new rules. 

The game’s 80 mini-games use the Joy-Con’s HD rumble and motion controls in wildly inventive ways, whether you’re flipping steak on a pan or shaking candy out of a virtual jar. Factor in an online mini-game marathon mode and a special set of games that you can play across two separate Switch screens, and you’ve got the ultimate package for a long night of raucous, controller-throwing fun.

A truly Tex-Mex car revs its engine in Rocket League, one of the best Nintendo Switch Multiplayer Games in 2021

(Image credit: Psyonix)

9. Rocket League

Three words: soccer with cars. The Switch is home to one of the craziest multiplayer sensations in gaming, which has two teams of cars pushing a massive ball toward each others' goals. 

The automotive thunderdome leads to crazy stunts, near misses and adrenaline rushes. While the concept is simple, the game takes a while to master, making each goal feel like a true achievement. When you take your skills online, you'll face challengers of all skill levels, making each match memorable.

Spaceship action going down in Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime, one of the best Nintendo Switch Multiplayer Games in 2021

(Image credit: Asteroid Base)

10. Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime

One of the finest couch co-op games out there, Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is a gorgeous and charming 2D space shoot-'em-up in which communication is key. 

You and up to three pals control various parts of a spherical spaceship, managing things such as weapons, shields and engines as you try to traverse the game's entrancingly colorful but increasingly deadly levels.

two-player action in Puyo Puyo Tetris, one of the best Nintendo Switch Multiplayer Games in 2021

(Image credit: SEGA)

11. Puyo Puyo Tetris

You hear the phrase "perfect for the Switch" bandied about a lot, but if it's actually true of any genre, it's true of puzzle games. These titles have relatively simple gameplay, so splitting up a couple of pairs of Joy-Cons among four players is no big deal. Plus, Nintendo's hybrid system lets you take the fun on the road with you. Fortunately, the two most timeless puzzle games ever aren't just available for the Switch; they're also on the same cartridge.

Puyo Puyo Tetris offers a plethora of game modes that mash up the two series in a variety of clever ways, where mastery of both blobs and bricks is equally crucial to success. Of course, you could play the two titles independently, but where's the Joy-Con-throwing fun in that?

A grizzled young Inkling in Splatoon 2, one of the best Nintendo Switch Multiplayer Games in 2021

(Image credit: Nintendo)

12. Splatoon 2

Splatoon 2 is Nintendo multiplayer at its finest: easy to pick up and surprisingly hard to master. This vibrant online shooter is all about covering the battlefield with colorful ink, putting a refreshingly accessible spin on the genre and packing in plenty of hidden depth as you work your way up the ranks. 

Splatoon 2 also introduces an excellent four-player, co-op, horde mode called Salmon Run, which you can enjoy both online and over local wireless when you have multiple Switches.

Mario fires at a Rabbid in Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, one of the best Nintendo Switch Multiplayer Games in 2021

(Image credit: Nintendo)

13. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

Although the main campaign in Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle is a single-player affair, you can still get in some co-op action. The game's cooperative missions become available early on, so you and one of your friends can collaborate to take on the tactical challenges within the Buddydome. 

Each player grabs two characters — choose from among Mario, Luigi, Peach, Yoshi and all of their Rabbid counterparts — and then you set forth to tackle increasingly difficult maps, full of foes from the campaign. The only downside is that you won't earn anything that carries over into the single-player game — but the game did recently receive a multiplayer battle mode for more local fun.

Two characters ready themselves to cooperate in the colorful Snipperclips, one of the best Nintendo Switch Multiplayer Games in 2021

(Image credit: Nintendo)

14. Snipperclips

A couch co-op game all about communication, Snipperclips challenges you and a friend to cut each other's characters into unique shapes in order to solve puzzles. Between the core two-player game and its four-player party mode, Snipperclips is a perfect fit for puzzle fans craving something quirky and multiplayer-friendly.

Drop in from the skies in Fortnite, one of the best Nintendo Switch Multiplayer Games in 2021

(Image credit: Epic Games)

15. Fortnite

If you want to be one of the cool kids who wears bulbous tomato masks while shooting strangers and constructing walls a la Minecraft, Fortnite is the free-to-play 100-person battle royale game for you. It's got everything: easy to play, hard to master shooting-building hybrid gameplay, a wealth of unlockable content (don't forget to buy some V-bucks with real-world money if you want the best costumes) and a wacky color palette so scattered and intoxicating that it's basically a living Jackson Pollock painting. 

It's not the easiest game to follow given there are so many limited-time events to keep track of and constantly refreshing "Battle Passes" that lock up most of the content. However the size of the community and the quality of the basic gameplay means you can still enjoy this as a casual fan too.

Star-Lord raises into the sky in Marvel Superheroes 2, one of the best Nintendo Switch Multiplayer Games in 2021

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

16. Lego Marvel Superheroes 2

Lego Marvel Superheroes 2 is one of the most charming and robust Lego games yet, and it has no shortage of local multiplayer options. Up to two players can enjoy the main game, whether you and a friend want to breeze through the story or freely explore the massive world of Chronopolis as the likes of Iron Man, Star-Lord and Spider-Man. 

There's also a four-player battle-arena mode to try if you don't want to fight through the campaign. It also makes a perfect venue for settling those debates over which of the game's 200-plus superheroes is best.

Bowser and Bowser Jr. attack Mario in Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury, one of the best Nintendo Switch Multiplayer Games in 2021

(Image credit: Nintendo)

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

Sitting somewhere between the traditional 2D Mario and the newer 3D titles, Super Mario 3D World (yes it's a confusing title) lets you and three other local players run and leap around the colorful worlds you'd expect from a Mario title. New this time is the Super Bell power-up which equips you with a wall-climbing Cat Suit.

Make sure to try out the two-player Bowser's Fury expansion too. This part of the game takes place on one massive map that you unlock piece by piece, with dynamic moments of extreme peril when Bowser shows up. It's almost like getting two Mario games in one.

A mass of players have assembled for Minecraft, one of the best Nintendo Switch Multiplayer Games in 2021

(Image credit: Mojang)

18. Minecraft

There are a lot of ways to play this famous blocky building game, but the Switch is just as good as any. You can enter a fresh world and set up a home for yourself, crafting better and more effective items, or go into creative mode and just build without limits.

If you play online, you can cross-play with owners of other consoles, a rare and valuable feature for playing with friends with different hardware. If you want some more content, then take a look at the Mash-Up packs with their special themed content like skins and maps.

How to choose the best Nintendo Switch multiplayer games for you

There are no real tricks with picking good multiplayer games for the Switch, you just need to know what you want and see if the games offer it.

For example — do you want to play online or locally? All these games offer one or the other, and a few offer both. However also keep in mind how many players are supported for both, and if you're playing in the same room as people, make sure you have enough of the best Nintendo Switch controllers around for them to use.

The other key thing to look for is genre and age rating. We imagine that some of you reading this are looking for games to try with younger players, so keep them in mind before choosing something particularly scary or violent. As for genre, that's simply a case of understanding what you'll be doing in game. Platformers like Super Mario 3D World are all about jumping around, whereas Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, despite starring the same characters, is a turn-based strategy game. But by doing a little research into a game's features, you'll know whether it sounds right for you or if it will probably leave you cold.

Richard Priday

Richard is a Tom's Guide staff writer based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, gaming, audio and whatever else people need advice on. He's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.