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The best Switch OLED games

Metroid Dread screen shot
(Image credit: Nintendo)

The Nintendo Switch OLED is a premium variant of Nintendo's handheld hybrid, featuring a sturdy kickstand, a robust set of speakers and an Ethernet port in the dock. However, the Switch OLED's biggest advantage is its seven-inch OLED screen, which displays games in more detail, and with much richer colors. While the Switch OLED's screen still caps out at 720p resolution and a 60 Hz refresh rate, it's still a striking way to play some of our favorite Switch games.

For the most part, the best Switch OLED games are the same as the best Nintendo Switch games. The Switch OLED has exactly the same game library as the base Switch and the Switch Lite, after all. However, the Tom's Guide staff has picked 10 of our favorite Switch games that emphasize deep blacks and vibrant colors, both of which will put the OLED screen through its paces. From first-person shooters to survival/horror games and racers, here are some games that excel on the Switch OLED.

Alien: Isolation

alien isolation

(Image credit: Sega)

Alien: Isolation is perhaps the very best video game based on the Alien franchise. (That's admittedly a low bar to clear, but we'll leave that aside for the moment.) While most Alien games take inspiration from the action-packed Aliens, Alien: Isolation hearkens back to the creeping horror of the first film. You play as Amanda Ripley (Ellen Ripley's daughter), who finds herself evading a deadly xenomorph on a creaky old salvage ship. Using only your wits and a variety of improvised weapons, you must survive and escape before the titular alien gets you. With lots of blacks and grays, Alien: Isolation looks great on an OLED screen. 

Bayonetta 2 

bayonetta

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Perhaps the best straight-up action game of the last decade, Bayonetta 2 was originally a Wii U exclusive, but got a second life on the Switch. You take control of the titular protagonist as she battles a variety of angels and demons using her guns, her other guns, her fists, her legs, her arsenal of weapons, her shapeshifting abilities and her hair, which can literally devour enemies whole. Bayonetta 2 takes place in a variety of colorful environments, from crowded cityscapes to trippy alternate dimensions, and an OLED screen makes them look even better than before. 

Catherine: Full Body 

Catherine: Full Body (PS4)

(Image credit: Atlus/Sega)

Catherine is one of those games you might want to check out, simply because there's nothing else like it. You play as Vincent Brooks, an average guy who finds himself attracted to two women with extremely similar names. On the one hand, there's Katherine, his steady girlfriend, and on the other hand, there's Catherine, a free-spirited beauty whom he meets by chance. To sort out his feelings, Vincent solves a variety of block puzzles and platforming challenges that beset his recurring nightmares. Catherine is a weird game, to be sure, but it's also a colorful one, bursting with pinks, whites and browns that pop on the Switch OLED's screen. 

Doom (2016) 

steam summer sale

(Image credit: Steam)

The excellent Doom reboot from 2016 takes place on Mars. As a result, a lot of the game is red — and nothing displays reds like an OLED screen. You take control of the Doom Slayer, an ancient soldier who's become a one-man army in order to quash a demon invasion. In this game's meaty campaign, you'll eviscerate any demon that even looks at you funny, using a variety of satisfying weapons and gory executions. This is one game where the Switch OLED's slightly larger screen comes in handy, since it can be difficult to play first-person shooters on handheld devices.

Hollow Knight 

hollow knight

(Image credit: Team Cherry)

Among Metroidvania fans, Hollow Knight needs no introduction. Sort of "Dark Souls meets Castlevania," Hollow Knight is a minimalist adventure with a memorable art style, a haunting soundtrack and a number of creative gameplay mechanics. Equal parts exploration and combat, Hollow Knight casts you as a taciturn adventurer who explores a dying kingdom of bugs. (It's as weird as it sounds, but the insectophobic need not fear; they all look kinda cute.) With rich blues, grays and blacks, an OLED screen brings Hollow Knight to life in a way that an LCD screen can't quite manage. 

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 

breath of the wild

(Image credit: Nintendo)

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is arguably the best game on the Nintendo Switch, so it stands to reason that it should be the best game on the Switch OLED as well. Breath of the Wild is an incredibly colorful game, from the verdant fields south of Central Hyrule, to the white mountains of Hebra, to the blue oceans of Faron. While Breath of the Wild is arguably best experienced on a large TV screen, if you do want to play on-the-go, the Switch OLED gives you a somewhat bigger and more colorful canvas than either the base Switch or the Switch Lite. 

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe 

mario kart tour

(Image credit: Nintendo)

The Switch can facilitate impromptu multiplayer sessions, and it's one of the system's coolest features. Mario Kart 8 is an ideal choice to show off this feature, with its "pick-up-and-play" mechanics, its extensive roster of colorful characters and its short, focused races. However, competing against friends can be difficult on a small screen. That's where the Switch OLED's seven-inch screen comes in handy. On the Switch OLED, it's much easier to see your racer and the obstacles in front of you, particularly when split-screen mode gives you only a few inches of space to work with. 

Metroid Dread 

Metroid Dread screen shot

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Metroid Dread launched on the same day as the Switch OLED, essentially making it the console's flagship title. After only a few minutes with Metroid Dread, you'll see why. This game follows intergalactic bounty hunter Samus Aran as she explores the eerie Planet ZDR. From the very first level, the Switch OLED renders the blacks, grays and blues of the cavernous levels beautifully. But as you progress, you'll also encounter red lava, green forests and golden statues — not to mention a variety of colorful, deadly enemies to defeat. It's been 19 years since the last new side-scrolling Metroid game, but Metroid Dread was worth the wait. 

Octopath Traveler 

octopath traveler

(Image credit: Square Enix)

If you like old-school Japanese RPGs, then Octopath Traveler should be an easy sell. In this open-ended adventure, you'll take control of eight different party members, each of whom is pursuing his or her own personal quest. As you explore the quaint towns and dangerous dungeons of Orsterra, your party members will interact in unexpected ways as each one gets a little closer to his or her goal. The highly strategic battle system is one big draw in Octopath Traveler; the "HD-2D" art style is another, which marries retro design with modern depth effects. It looks good on a standard Switch, and great on a Switch OLED. 

Splatoon 2 

Splatoon 2

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Splatoon 2 may be the best competitive multiplayer game on the Switch. That's a bold claim, considering the Switch also hosts titles like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Rocket League and Overwatch. But something about Splatoon's bizarre premise, combined with its creative visuals, makes the game impossible to resist. In Splatoon 2, you take control of an Inkling: a kid armed with a paint gun. After covering an area in paint, you can dive in, transform into a squid, and traverse the battlefield much faster. It's a profoundly weird game — and a profoundly colorful one, thanks to all the paint. The experience looks even more vibrant on a Switch OLED. 

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.