1 of 43 Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET
The Nintendo Switch is still amazing!
The Nintendo Switch is still one of the best consoles on the market.
With PS5 and Xbox Series X shortages still an issue, the Switch is the most easily accessible console out there.
The Nintendo Switch has one of the best, most varied and deepest libraries of any console out there. In short: There’s a lot to choose from.
Here are our choices for the best games on Nintendo Switch.
2 of 43 Nintendo
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Still the daddy.
Breath of the Wild was only the consensus best game of 2017. The game many believe is the best ever made. The game that somehow managed to actually outsell the Nintendo Switch itself on launch.
Still no idea how that actually happened, but it did.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a legitimate masterpiece that strips back the open-world genre to its core elements and rewrites its DNA for pure adventure.
It’s a world alive with surprise and dense with detail. An incredible, milestone achievement.
3 of 43 Nintendo
It’s not every day — or even every year — we get a brand new Metroid game, so we need to appreciate Metroid Dread for the unicorn it is.
A continuation of the 2D Metroid canon that includes classics like Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion, Metroid Dread is a fantastic entry into a legendary franchise. It looks especially slick on the new OLED Switch. Get on it!
4 of 43 Nintendo
Super Mario Odyssey
Here is a list of trash words that don’t come close to describing Super Mario Odyssey: inventive, dazzling, smart, seamless, joyful, creative.
Super Mario Odyssey is a Nintendo game that continues in the spirit of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. All bets are off, everything you thought you knew about Mario has been reinvented. But here’s what remains: perfectly tuned, precision gameplay that feels incredible every second your hands are on the controller.
5 of 43 Annapurna
Neon White is maybe the strangest genre mash-up ever. A first-person speed runner with card-game elements, it’s a game that shouldn’t make sense on paper, but in practice it’s already one of the best games of 2022. If you’re looking for something extremely cutting edge, unlike anything you’ve ever played, you need to check out Neon White.
6 of 43 Nintendo
Portal: Companion Collection
This brand new collection pairs up the first two Portal games into one collection. If you haven’t played either of these games, head directly to your Nintendo Switch and buy them immediately.
Both are peerless classics, but Portal 2, especially, is one of the best video games ever made. It might even be the best period. A mind-bending puzzler with genuinely hilarious comedy elements, this is genuinely as good as video games get.
7 of 43 Nintendo
Pokémon Legends: Arceus
Imagine Breath of the Wild crossed with Pokémon and that’s pretty much Pokémon Legend: Arceus. It’s the first properly open world Pokémon game fulfilling the wishes of many a fan. The visuals — both the aesthetic and the execution — are pretty lacklustre, but there’s something incredibly compelling about Pokémon Legend: Arceus. It’s different, and a unique leap forward for the series.
8 of 43 Nintendo
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Mario Kart 8 was initially released on the Wii U. It was great then. It’s even better now with all the additional content.
Not too much has changed, but Mario Kart 8 is about as definitive as it gets. It’s stacked with playable characters, inventive tracks and brand new features. It remains the most compelling multiplayer game on the Nintendo Switch.
9 of 43 Witch Beam
A game about unpacking boxes and moving into a series of new house and apartments doesn’t sound like game of the year material, but it somehow is. Unpacking is brilliantly made and perfectly executed. It’s also… surprisingly emotional. Get on it.
10 of 43 Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Folks, in these dark and troubled days, it’s time to disappear into a new world, get a virtual mortgage and work your ass off to pay that sucker off quick smart.
It’s Animal Crossing time, my friends.
11 of 43 Team Cherry
Hollow Knight might be one of the best games available on the Nintendo Switch. It’s a disturbingly well-designed platformer in the vein of Super Metroid. But it’s more than that. The atmosphere, the audio design, the visuals…
Dear Lord, this game is a stone-cold classic. Play it now.
12 of 43 Lucas Pope
Return of the Obra Dinn
Return of the Obra Dinn is the most recent game from Lucas Pope, the man behind Papers, Please.
It’s a genuine, proper masterpiece. An investigation story, essentially — you arrive on the Obra Dinn, a ship where almost all the crewmates have died. Via flashbacks you try to piece together the story of what happened. It’s strange, innovative and completely unforgettable.
13 of 43 Nintendo
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury
In my humble opinion, Super Mario 3D World is probably the greatest game for young kids ever made. Particularly if you’re a parent who wants to play alongside them. It’s simple, no reading required. The levels are well designed, open and forgiving.
It also rules in every possible sense.
But when you add Bowser’s Fury — an experimental Mario title that could give us an insight into where Nintendo will take the series next — this package is unbeatable. Play Super Mario 3D World with your kids, play Bowser’s Fury when they go to bed. Perfect.
Luigi’s Mansion 3
Luigi’s Mansion 3 is legitimately one of the best games of 2019. It is a video game clearly made with love: gorgeous environments, pitch-perfect animations. Everything about it feels tactile and precise. Maybe the best Nintendo-made game of the year.
15 of 43 Nintendo
Celeste is a video game that makes you want to lodge your controller in your TV — in a good way.
Featuring incredible level design and flawlessly tuned precision platforming, Celeste is one of the best games of its type ever released. It’s smart, charming and dense with content.
It’s also perfect for the Nintendo Switch. You’ll be hurling obscenities at this game on public transport, and you’ll love every second of it.
Into The Breach
A very good turn-based strategy game by the creators of Faster Than Light. An intricate, intelligent creation that demands problem solving from the player in interesting ways.
The traditional words used to describe Dead Cells are “rogue-like” and “metroidvania.” Both common genres, but Dead Cells is a game with a unique conceit: You will play, you will die. But in Dead Cells you get to keep your upgrades and then restart with those upgrades, meaning you slowly progress through the game more easily as you play. Very cool.
18 of 43 Nintendo
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is here, and it is very, very good. Featuring the biggest lineup of characters yet (hence the “Ultimate”), it also has almost certainly the best single-player “campaign” mode of any Smash Bros. game to date. Also — it’s Smash Bros.
How are you going to own a Nintendo Switch and not pick up this game?
19 of 43 The Game Awards
Hades, an isometric rogue-like from Supergiant Games, came out of nowhere in 2020 and is now a very strong contender for Game of the Year.
Why? Part of it is the combat — which is fluid, weighty and tactile — but its evolving storyline, which ties the idea of constant death into Hades’ narrative, really pushes it over the edge. This is a rogue-like that people who don’t like rogue-likes can enjoy.
20 of 43 Nintendo
Kirby and the Forgotten Land
Ever wanted to swallow a car and then — as a result — transform into that car and absorb the abilities of a car? Boy do I have a video game for you…
Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a recent addition to this list. It rules. It’s the first game to feature 3D gameplay and it might be the best Kirby game ever? Definitely worth checking out. A great game for young kids especially.
21 of 43 House House
Untitled Goose Game
Untitled Goose Game is a game about being a goose.
And not just any goose, a horrible goose. An asshole goose that makes life extremely difficult for everyone around it. Untitled Goose Game has absolutely taken the world by storm. Even Chrissie Teigen got obsessed with it.
But is it good? Yes. Very good. This one should absolutely be on any and all Nintendo Switch consoles.
22 of 43 Nintendo
Baba Is You
Baba Is You is a puzzle game that will break every part of your brain. It’s a puzzle game that forces you to literally rewrite the rules of the game in order to complete tasks.
If that sounds complicated, it’s because it is complicated. In a good way.
It’s also the kind of game that will haunt you, sort of like The Witness. You will be thinking about puzzles while you do the dishes, while you’re driving the car. You’ll scream “eureka!” Then maybe break a dish or crash your car.
This game is dangerous for your health.
23 of 43 Nintendo
Stardew Valley is the perfect example of why the Nintendo Switch is a game-changing device.
Here is a game that is perfectly good on all the platforms it’s available on (PC, Xbox One, Vita, PS4), but on the Switch it’s just elevated.
Because of the nature of the Switch (and how it allows you to just passively play while watching TV, or on public transport) it’s perfect for a game like Stardew Valley — which is the digital equivalent of knitting a scarf.
Actually all games are just better on the Switch. All of them.
24 of 43 Roll 7
The OlliOlli series has been low key fantastic for years now, but OlliOlli World is its final form. 2022 has already been fantastic for video games and OlliOlli World is up there with the best of them.
25 of 43 Capcom
Monster Hunter Rise
Monster Hunter Rise is perhaps the most accessible Monster Hunter yet. It’s also very good.
And at this point, the game is only available on Nintendo Switch. Get on it.
26 of 43 Chucklefish
Enjoy games like Zelda: A Link to the Past and Earthbound? Of course you do. You’re a reasonable adult with great taste.
In that case you have to try Eastward, a new top-down game in the vein of every 16-bit RPG you ever loved. It’s slow-paced and takes a while to get going, but it’s well worth the investment.
A quirky 2D slasher game with a retro aesthetic. But here’s the twist: The Messenger begins as a simple hack and slash game in the 8-bit style, but later you get to travel to the future, where the game evolves into a 16-bit style metroidvania.
Pokemon Sword & Shield
Look, regardless of controversy, Pokemon is Pokemon, and Pokemon Sword & Shield is a good Pokemon.
Don’t believe the online hype: This is one of the best games in the series so far. It’s also great to see Pokemon being available on Nintendo’s premium console. Definitely check it out.
You know when you’re playing a video game, and you’re like, “Man, this story is really interesting and well written… for a video game”?
With Oxenfree you don’t really need to make that distinction.
Oxenfree is a spooky mystery wrapped in teen drama. It’s like Riverdale for video games. It also features a really deft and perfectly implemented dialogue system that rewards multiple playthroughs.
30 of 43 Nintendo
Super Mario Maker 2
Super Mario Maker 2 doesn’t quite feel made for the Nintendo Switch in the way it was perfect for the Wii U, but it’s still a fantastic piece of software. It makes level design accessible for everyone and has a massively beefed-up single-player mode.
That’s not to mention the endless replay value that comes with the insane user-created levels. Check Super Mario Maker 2 out for sure.
31 of 43 Nintendo
Splatoon 2 is very similar to the first Splatoon. It’s barely a sequel in the traditional sense, but, much like Mario Kart 8, that doesn’t make it any less essential.
Splatoon’s high concept is pure genius and extremely Nintendo. It takes the first-person shooter, traditionally a violent genre, and flips it on its head. You’re shooting paint, not bullets. You don’t score points for shooting enemies, you score points by shooting the environment itself.
32 of 43 Polytron
Fez first came out on the Xbox 360 in 2012, which is just insane.
It speaks to the quality of the game that people got excited when it was ported to the Nintendo Switch nine years later.
But it’s also testament to the power of the Nintendo Switch as a device. It’s simply a super fun and convenient way to play video games, particularly indie games like Fez, which are well suited to the smaller screen.
And if you haven’t played Fez, you absolutely should. It’s a genius, mind-bending thing that playfully messes with video game tropes. One of the best games of the last decade.
33 of 43 Nintendo
New Pokemon Snap
In our review we call New Pokemon Snap the most chill game since Animal Crossing. So if you need a game like that, jump on in.
We’ve been waiting literally decades for a new Pokemon Snap. Thankfully this one lives up to the hype.
34 of 43 Nintendo
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
We called The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword the third best Zelda on the Nintendo Switch. That’s called damning with faint praise, but the competition is stiff.
Skyward Sword may feel old-fashioned in the wake of the paradigm-shifting Breath of the Wild, but it’s a fond look back at a different type of Zelda, complete with a number of upgrades that make it more palatable for a modern audience.
35 of 43 Ubisoft
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is just so goddamn stupid. I can’t believe it even exists.
I also can’t believe how good it is. It doesn’t even make sense. Everyone had a good ol’ chuckle when Mario + Rabbids was announced. Then it was released, and it turned out to be one of the best games on the Nintendo Switch.
It’s Mario meets XCOM, which is to say it’s a turn-based tactical role-playing game. Except you battle killer rabbits with laser guns.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
It’s overpriced, but if you love Zelda, and you loved Link’s Awakening, you have to play this faithful, lovingly adapted remake. It’s not perfect, but it gets the job done.
37 of 43 Nintendo
Cadence of Hyrule
Are you ready for some video game buzzwords?
Cadence of Hyrule is an indie rogue-like rhythm game based on the Legend of Zelda. In regular speak: a game that crosses Zelda with Dance Dance Revolution.
Which sounds like a completely bizarre proposition, but Cadence of Hyrule works! It really works. And you should play the hell out of it.
38 of 43 Bethesda
Doom rules. This is known.
Playing Doom on the Nintendo Switch also rules. Sure, it’s a little compromised compared to the versions you might play on the PS4, Xbox One or a decently spec’d PC…
But yeah, good luck lugging one of those on the train.
39 of 43 Nintendo
Paper Mario: The Origami King
If you’ve played a Paper Mario game before, you probably know the drill. The series is set in a 2D “paper” version of Mario, a theme used to create all sorts of hyper-stylized mechanics and slick visual elements. It’s all laced up with a self-awareness and charm that make the series irresistible to Nintendo fans.
Paper Mario: The Origami King is no exception. Well worth a look.
40 of 43 Nintendo
Mario Tennis Aces
Mario is pretty good at sport. As is Nintendo when it puts its mind to it. Mario Tennis Aces gives us what we haven’t had for a remarkably long time — a good tennis game.
Dark Souls Remastered
Who wouldn’t want to play one of the best video games ever made on public transport?
Dark Souls isn’t perfect on the Nintendo Switch, and, at this point, you could make a strong argument the best version is the remastered version on the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X. That being said, you can’t play either of those on the toilet.
Check and mate.
42 of 43 Nintendo
On the Nintendo Switch.
Rocket League is awesome. You know this.
43 of 43 Sega
Sonic Mania is just…
[chef kissy fingers]
I mean imagine being an adult, growing up with Sonic. They announce a new game, and you expect it to be bad because Sonic has been bad for like 20 years.
Then they drop Sonic Mania. A game that takes everything good about Sonic, preserves it and then updates it perfectly in a seamless modern interpretation that has no right being this good.