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The best Nintendo Switch games in 2020

Best Nintendo Switch games
(Image credit: Future)

With the best Nintendo Switch games, you'll never get bored at home. Nintendo's hybrid console is packed with great games, whether you're looking to build the ultimate island escape in Animal Crossing: New Horizons or want to save Hyrule in Breath of the Wild. 

You have a few options when it comes to getting hooked on the latest Mario, Pokemon and Fire Emblem games. The base Nintendo Switch lets you play games either on your TV or in handheld mode, while the Nintendo Switch Lite is a dedicated handheld device for playing on the go (or while laying in bed; we won't judge). They're both on our list of the best handheld gaming consoles.

And with the best Nintendo Switch deals constantly popping up, you can often save big on some of our favorite games for Nintendo's popular system. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games to play now.

What are the best Nintendo Switch games?

We're still completely obsessed with Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which has allowed us to escape reality for our own customizable island getaways. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild remains one of the best Nintendo Switch games ever thanks to its incredibly expansive scope and gameplay freedom, and pretty much all Switch owners need to pick up essentials like Super Mario Odyssey and Pokemon Sword and Shield.

The Switch is a superb multiplayer machine, and titles such as Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Rocket League and Overcooked are all must-haves if you plan on playing with people either locally or online. We also love Streets of Rage 4, which delivers nostalgic multiplayer beat-em-up action with a modern touch. And if you need more fighting action, Mortal Kombat 11 is still a great pick, especially thanks to the new story content and fighters that have arrived with the Aftermath expansion.

If it's meaty RPGs you're after, you can't go wrong with the likes of Fire Emblem: Three Houses, The Witcher 3 or The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Nintendo's console has become the de-facto indie games machine, with off-kilter hits such as Untitled Goose Game, Cuphead and Ape Out standing out as some of our favorites. Want to get competitive online? Overwatch, Splatoon 2 and Arms will scratch that itch for you.

There are also plenty of exciting Nintendo Switch games on the horizon for 2020, including the Borderlands and BioShock collections and Crysis Remastered. The Paper Mario franchise is finally coming back in July with Paper Mario: The Origami King, which looks to modernize the adorable RPG series with a gorgeous art style and mysterious new villain.

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. Animal Crossing: New Horizons

best Nintendo Switch games: animal crossing new horizons

(Image credit: Nintendo)

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. 

2. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 

legend of zelda: breath of the wild

(Image credit: Nintendo)

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

3. Pokémon Sword and Shield

Best Nintendo Switch Games - Pokemon Sword and Shield

(Image credit: Nintendo)

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?

4. Fire Emblem: Three Houses

fire emblem: three houses

(Image credit: ‎Intelligent Systems‎/Koei Tecmo )

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. 

5. Super Mario Odyssey

super mario odyssey

(Image credit: Nintendo)

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.

6. Untitled Goose Game

untitled goose game

(Image credit: Epic Games)

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.  

7. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Complete Edition

the witcher 3: wild hunt

(Image credit: CD Projekt)

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.   

8. Celeste

celeste

(Image credit: Matt Makes Games)

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.

9. Luigi's Mansion 3

(Image credit: Nintendo)

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.

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.

11. Final Fantasy 7

Final Fantasy 7

(Image credit: Square Enix)

The gorgeous new Final Fantasy 7 Remake isn't on Switch, but you can play the original version of Square's iconic role-playing game in all its classic glory on Nintendo's console. This enhanced port preserves the sprawling, blocky adventures of Cloud Strife and crew, complete with its satisfying turn-based combat system and emotional storyline that's still loved by fans today. New features include enhanced graphics, a triple speed mode and the option to turn battle encounters off, allowing you to play through this classic at your own piece. If you just finished the remake and want to go back to where it all started, you can't go wrong with Final Fantasy 7.

12. Super Mario Maker 2

super mario maker 2

(Image credit: Nintendo)

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.

13. Overwatch

overwatch

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

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.  

14. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

super smash bros. ultimate

(Image credit: Nintendo)

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. 

15. Cuphead

cuphead

(Image credit: Studio MDHR)

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.

16. Astral Chain

astral chain

(Image credit: PlatinumGames)

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.

17. Streets of Rage 4

Streets of Rage 4

(Image credit: DotEmu)

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.

18. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3

marvel ultimate alliance 3

(Image credit: Team Ninja)

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.

19. Tetris 99

tetris 99

(Image credit: Nintendo)

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.

20. Stardew Valley

stardew valley

(Image credit: Sickhead Games)

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.

21. Mortal Kombat 11

Mortal Kombat 11

(Image credit: NetherRealm Studios)

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.

22. Splatoon 2

Splatoon 2

(Image credit: Nintendo)

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.

23. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

mario kart 8 deluxe

(Image credit: Nintendo)

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.

24. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

mario + rabbids Kingdom battle

(Image credit: Nintendo)

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.

25. Rocket League

rocket league

(Image credit: Psyonix)

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.