The Best Free Nintendo Switch Games

The best free Switch games offer the rare opportunity to get something for nothing. You can play some of the top Switch games without having to spend a penny, with the Switch's unique design letting you try them out either at home or on the move in handheld mode.

While the Switch's free game selection is a bit thin, it contains a few gems that absolutely deserve a slot in your library alongside Mario and Zelda. Here are our favorite freebies so far.


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The hottest game in the world right now is completely free-to-play and feels especially at home on Switch. The Switch version of Fortnite is the same addicting battle royale experience you've probably played before on PS4, Xbox One or PC, as you and 99 other players battle and build on a colorful island until one player or team is left standing. And, thanks to the Switch's portability, you can now enjoy Fortnite in your bed, bathroom, vacation home or wherever else you choose to take your console. Best of all, Fortnite supports crossplay and crossprogression across Switch, Xbox, PC and mobile — meaning you can play with pals on other platforms and retain all of your precious skins and V-bucks.

Download Fortnite

Pokémon Quest

Credit: The Pokemon Company

(Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

You'll have to wait until Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! arrive this fall to get the full Pokémon experience on Switch, but Pokémon Quest will help scratch your monster-catching itch in the meantime. This simple action game has you explore Tumblecube Island, where you'll collect and battle adorable polygonal versions of such classic Pokémon as Pikachu, Charizard and Snorlax. The game basically plays itself combatwise, but if you're looking for a relaxing (and free) way to catch 'em all, you can't go wrong with Quest.

Download Pokémon Quest

Fallout Shelter

Credit: Bethesda

(Image credit: Bethesda)

The free-to-play mobile hit that dominated smartphones in 2015 is finally on the Switch, and it's still as addictive as ever. Fallout Shelter is a management sim that tasks you with overseeing your very own nuclear fallout shelter, which entails keeping your dwellers happy, leveling up their skills and keeping them from meeting certain death. Manage your vault properly, and you'll have a thriving and constantly growing shelter, creating an addicting gameplay loop that's made even better by the game's gorgeous, cartoony art style.

Download Fallout Shelter

The Pinball Arcade

Credit: FarSight Studios

(Image credit: FarSight Studios)

Whether you're a pinball purist or just want to knock a few balls around for free, The Pinball Arcade is well worth a download. This pinball simulation aims to deliver authentic recreations of real-life pinball machines and has the satisfying physics to match (you can even digitally "call the attendant" if your ball gets stuck. The Pinball Arcade lets you play on one table for free, with a variety of table and ball packs available for purchase that include machines based on Star Trek, Doctor Who, Ghostbusters and more. Pinball junkies can also check out Stern Pinball Arcade (real-world tables) and Pinball FX3 (digital tables inspired by Fallout, The Walking Dead and more), which follow the same free-to-play format.

Download The Pinball Arcade

Kitten Squad

Credit: PETA

(Image credit: PETA)

Brought to you by PETA (yes, you read that correctly), Kitten Squad is a top-down, twin-stick shooter that has you and up to three feline friends team up to save various forms of wildlife. It's surprisingly fun and robust for what's essentially a playable piece of PETA marketing, and has such charming characters as Pirate Pug and Olivia the Orca.

Download Kitten Squad

Coming Soon: Warframe

Credit: Digital Extremes

(Image credit: Digital Extremes)

One of the hottest free-to-play shooters out right now will soon make its way to Switch. Warframe is an online co-op shooter that essentially lets you play as a badass space ninja, commandeering various suits (dubbed Warframes) that pack all kinds of awesome abilities. Warframe gets big praise for its melee and weapons-based combat as well as for its constant flow of new, free content, so be sure to keep an eye out for it if you're craving an addicting, Destiny-esque experience on the Switch.

Michael Andronico

Mike Andronico is Senior Writer at CNNUnderscored. He was formerly Managing Editor at Tom's Guide, where he wrote extensively on gaming, as well as running the show on the news front. When not at work, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter, devouring Twitch streams and trying to convince people that Hawkeye is the best Avenger.