best nintendo switch games

Top 25 Best Nintendo Switch Games to Play Right Now

As a seasoned aficionado of the anime and gaming world, let’s delve into this captivating list of the best nintendo switch games. Our rankings have seen a significant shift lately, with “Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom” soaring to the coveted top spot. This achievement has caused “Breath of the Wild” to descend to third place, while “Super Mario Odyssey” maintains its strong hold on second place.

It’s remarkable to note that since the launch of the Switch six years ago, the original “Breath of the Wild” has remained unshaken, making it fitting that its sequel has now dethroned it. Additionally, we’ve welcomed the arrival of “Pikmin 4,” which just missed the top 10 but is certainly a game worth your attention.

Top 25 Best Nintendo Switch Games

It’s important to mention that not all the games on this list are exclusive to the Switch, but they truly shine when experienced on Nintendo’s latest console. Our objective here was to curate a diverse list of the best Switch games, catering to a wide range of tastes, whether you’re a fan of JRPGs or a dedicated follower of Super Mario.

For those interested in the future of gaming on the Switch, we’ve got you covered with our comprehensive list of upcoming Switch games for 2021. And if you’re contemplating purchasing a Nintendo Switch OLED, be sure to explore the enticing bundle deals available.

1. Pokemon Scarlet and Violet

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet
(Image credit: Nintendo)
Release dateNovember 18, 2022
Developer/PublisherGameFreak / Nintendo / The Pokemon Company

The inclusion of “Pokemon Scarlet and Violet” on this list sparked intense debates, but its unique charm and appeal secured its place as one of our top Switch game recommendations, albeit at the tail end. While it may not fulfill every expectation, there’s an undeniable allure that sets it apart.

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2. Kirby and the Forgotten Land

Kirby and the Forgotten Land
(Image credit: Nintendo)
GenrePlatformer / Adventure
Release dateMarch 25, 2022
Developer/PublisherHAL Laboratory / Nintendo

Kirby and the Forgotten Land” embarks on a remarkable adventure brimming with enchanting features, formidable challenges, and captivating new elements. Set in a mysterious world featuring creatively crafted stages, every level conceals numerous secrets and captivating vistas waiting to be explored. The platforming experience is more open, granting players the freedom to traverse and fully enjoy Kirby’s first foray into the 3D realm.

Alongside epic boss battles, intricate puzzles, and an array of adversaries to confront using Kirby’s versatile copy abilities, “Forgotten Land” introduces the innovative Mouthful Mode skill, allowing you to transform into various forms like a car, cone, water balloon, and more to advance through the game. And when you’re in the mood for a breather from the platforming action, Waddle Dee Town offers a plethora of mini-games and side activities to enjoy. If you’re seeking a game that will bring a smile to your face and brighten your day, look no further than this delightful adventure.

3. Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury
(Image credit: Nintendo)
GenreAdventure / Platformer
Release dateFebruary 12, 2021

“Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury” bundles a wealth of Mario excitement into one delightful package. On one hand, you have the re-release of the Wii U classic, “Super Mario 3D World,” featuring a collection of inventive platforming levels that can be tackled solo or with up to three companions. This is the game that introduced the beloved Cat Mario power-up, and it’s a whimsical and imaginative journey through its various worlds.

On the other hand, there’s the compact new adventure known as “Bowser’s Fury,” which channels the spirit of “Super Mario Odyssey” and unveils a fresh narrative for players to explore while teaming up with Bowser Jr. to confront Fury Bowser. It also incorporates elements from “Super Mario 3D World,” making it just as endearing. This bundle is truly a remarkable offering.

4. Bayonetta 2

Bayonetta 2
(Image credit: Nintendo)
Release dateFebruary 16, 2018
Developer/PublisherPlatinumGames / Nintendo

Initially an exclusive title for the Wii U, “Bayonetta 2” has made its triumphant return on the Switch, giving gamers no excuse to miss out on this captivating experience. When your protagonist is a witch wielding magical hair and lethal stilettos, you hardly need a reason to dive into the action. This Switch version allows you to relish some of the most action-packed and intense moments from the past decade of gaming, all on the go. Although it’s a bit disappointing that the resolution is capped at 720p, even when played on a TV, this doesn’t diminish the fact that it’s an improved game compared to its Wii U counterpart, especially considering the significant frame rate enhancements.

The game’s visuals remain stunning, and if you have even a hint of affection for action games, playing “Bayonetta 2” is a must. Plus, when you acquire “Bayonetta 2,” you receive the original game as a bonus, making it an exceptional deal.

5. Moonlighter

(Image credit: Nintendo)
GenreAction, Adventure
Release dateNovember 5, 2018
Developer/PublisherDigital Sun / 11 Bit Studios

For those seeking the epitome of pixel art, “Moonlighter” is a must-see. This enchanting game draws inspiration from “Stardew Valley” but adds a unique twist with its “just one more day” gameplay loop. Rather than tending to a farm, you’re a part-time dungeon crawler and part-time shopkeeper in this standout addition to the best Switch games lineup.

By day, you’re managing item prices, fending off thieves, and saving up to revitalize the town. By night, you’re venturing into dungeons to collect merchandise for your shop, all while tackling formidable bosses and striving to survive. Its addictive gameplay ensures that “Moonlighter” will consume your evenings, carving a special place in your Switch library. Such games as “Moonlighter” are a rare find.

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6. Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons
(Image credit: Nintendo)
Release dateMarch 20, 2020

Few games offer the opportunity to construct something that endures an entire console generation, but “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” does just that. After being whisked away by Tom Nook to your personal tropical island (for a fee, of course), the task falls to you to build a life there. You’ll invite new residents to join your sandy paradise, develop local businesses, create a community, and shape an island to be proud of. Synced with real-world time, “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” is not a game to be rushed; rather, it offers the ideal escape we all crave.

7. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
(Image credit: Nintendo)
Release dateJuly 13, 2018

Beyond the inherent charm of Toad and Toadette, “Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker” stands out as one of the finest Wii U ports available on the Switch. It’s a delightful puzzle game where each level takes the form of an interactive puzzle box or diorama, encouraging you to explore, manipulate, and unlock secrets en route to the golden star at the end.

Every level is exquisitely crafted, intricate, and just challenging enough to leave you both impressed and slightly pleased upon completion. Moreover, there are additional challenges to revisit, including new, Switch-exclusive levels inspired by “Super Mario Odyssey.” Navigating miniature versions of Odyssey’s Sand, Metro, Cascade, and Luncheon Kingdoms is pure joy, and these levels maintain the same exceptional quality as the rest. All of these elements contribute to its well-deserved place on our list of the best Switch games.

8. Minecraft

(Image credit: Nintendo)
GenreBuilding simulation
Release dateMay 11, 2017

Even if you’ve experienced it before, “Minecraft” on the Switch offers a supremely portable and endlessly creative delight. You can team up with a friend locally with ease, simply by attaching one of their Joy-Cons to your Switch once your world is loaded, press +, and hand it back to them. Online play is also an option if you’d rather not embark on solo adventures, and there are entertaining mini-games like Battle (PvP combat), Tumble (a shovel and snowball race), and Glide (a race to the finish).

The abundance of achievements adds direction to your playthrough, but at its core, “Minecraft” always retains an element of uncharted exploration and ambition. Structures once confined to your wildest dreams can become reality, provided you have the resources. Whether you’re persistent, laid-back, or simply insatiably curious, “Minecraft” is a gracious host that promises to bring you and your co-op partners unbridled joy. And if that doesn’t suffice, there’s always the option to get your hands on some TNT and set off a spectacular explosion, which can be equally enjoyable. “Minecraft” is undoubtedly a worthy inclusion on our list of the best Switch games.

9. Octopath Traveler

Octopath Traveler
(Image credit: Nintendo)
Release dateJuly 13, 2018
Developer/PublisherSquare Enix

“Octopath Traveler” truly excels in the realm of scale. While most games focus on a single protagonist, Square Enix’s JRPG weaves the tales of eight heroes, endowing each story with equal significance—an impressive feat. This game presents a captivating collection of stories set in a world inspired by classic JRPGs, particularly in terms of its art style. Its turn-based combat system ranks among the finest in the JRPG realm. If any of these elements intrigue you, “Octopath Traveler” is a must-add to your wishlist or, preferably, your gaming collection. It’s a remarkable addition to the best Switch games roster.

10. Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley
(Image credit: Nintendo)
Release dateOctober 5, 2017

There’s a reason why “Stardew Valley” was one of the most eagerly awaited titles on the Nintendo Switch and now claims a prominent spot on our list of the best Switch games. This endearing and relaxing farming simulator is perfectly suited to take advantage of the Switch’s portability. You can farm at home, on the go, or wherever you please. It’s an ideal game for unwinding during evenings, as you engage in farming, mining, animal husbandry, fishing, and various other laid-back activities. Trust us; you’ll quickly become as engrossed in the world of “Stardew Valley” as we are.

11. Hollow Knight

Hollow Knight
(Image credit: Nintendo)
Release dateFebruary 24, 2017
Developer/PublisherTeam Cherry

Some liken “Hollow Knight” to “Dark Souls” for newcomers, but it’s “Dark Souls” with breathtaking hand-painted visuals, a tear-inducing color palette, and an orchestral soundtrack that immerses you in its melodies. It holds its place on our list of the best Switch games for good reason. In the true spirit of Metroidvania, you’ll explore a labyrinthine underground world, each area more distinct than the last, teeming with peculiar creatures to battle and bizarre bugs to befriend—yes, you read that correctly. As you progress, you’ll acquire new abilities, grow in strength, and become increasingly determined to uncover all of “Hollow Knight’s” secrets. It stands as one of the greatest Switch games to date.

12. Paper Mario: The Origami King

Paper Mario: The Origami King
(Image credit: Nintendo)
Release dateJuly 17, 2020
Developer/PublisherIntelligent Systems / Nintendo

While “Paper Mario: The Origami King” may not deliver the RPG experience some fans hoped for, it is unquestionably special. Nintendo has captured the whimsical and lighthearted essence that has always defined the Paper Mario series, while introducing innovative features like a ring-based battle system. This system challenges players to manipulate and position enemies before attacking them with hammers or stomping on them. Boss battles take a darkly amusing turn as well. Ultimately, this game offers a delightful, lighthearted celebration of the Super Mario universe, complete with a compelling narrative, excellent humor, and memorable characters.

13. Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
(Image credit: Nintendo)
Release dateSeptember 20, 2019

If you yearn for a taste of classic, dungeon-focused gameplay on the Switch, “Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening” is a must-have. It revives the Game Boy Color classic, “Link’s Awakening DX,” with a fresh art style that imparts a chibi-like toy village vibe, making it one of the most visually appealing games on the Switch. This fresh perspective revitalizes the game, preserving its quirky essence and narrative. Without a doubt, “Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening” deserves its place among the best Switch games.

14. Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope

Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope
(Image credit: Nintendo)
Release dateOctober 20, 2022

Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope” is a strategy game that excels even if you’re not typically a fan of the genre. It boasts polished and ingenious gameplay mechanics gradually introduced to help players grasp its surprisingly deep tactical gameplay. Coupled with an impressive understanding of the Super Mario universe, the game exhibits a level of detail and graphical quality that can often be mistaken for a Nintendo-made title. This game is an absolute joy and unquestionably merits its spot on the list of the best Switch games, especially as it expands upon the original game with more freedom, creativity, and quintessential Super Mario charm.

15. Pikmin 4

Pikmin 4
(Image credit: Nintendo)
Release date:July 21, 2023

As it turns out, the fourth installment in the Pikmin series is also the best. With numerous improvements to the classic strategy formula that make it more accessible and enjoyable, it’s a substantial game brimming with content. New additions like the space-dog Oatchi, ice and glow Pikmin, and more contribute to a memorable strategy gaming experience that extends well beyond the credits. “Pikmin 4” secures its place among the finest Switch games with ease.

16. Luigi’s Mansion 3

Luigi's Mansion 3
(Image credit: Nintendo)
Release dateOctober 31, 2019

Luigi’s Mansion 3” is proof that the green-clad plumber can indeed take the spotlight. This haunting adventure is filled with memorable specters, clever puzzles, imaginative level designs, and charm that radiates from every corner. Not to forget, the introduction of Gooigi, Luigi’s gooey companion capable of slipping into places his human counterpart can’t reach, adds a delightful twist to the Luigi’s Mansion formula. Whether you’re a newcomer or a long-time fan, you’re in for a treat exploring all the eerie delights the haunted hotel has to offer.

17. Xenoblade Chronicles 3

Xenoblade Chronicles 3
(Image credit: Nintendo)
Release dateJuly 29, 2022
Developer/PublisherMonolith Soft / Nintendo

For those in search of a JRPG that will utterly immerse them in its world, “Xenoblade Chronicles 3” is the game to play. With the vastness of its world and an epic sci-fantasy narrative, you can easily invest over 150 hours in this adventure. Its combat system, the most intricate in the series, combined with engrossing gameplay mechanics, offers nearly limitless progression. While not without its flaws, this game’s exceptional qualities more than make up for any shortcomings.

18. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
(Image credit: Nintendo)
Release dateDecember 7, 2018
Developer/PublisherBandai Namco / Sora Ltd / Nintendo

“Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” raises the bar when it comes to character diversity. With a staggering roster of 74 characters, including 11 newcomers and additional DLC fighters, it offers an unprecedented variety of brawlers to master. The game not only looks stunning but also features intricately detailed and animated stages, smoother character movements, and more satisfying KO animations. Furthermore, it boasts a surprisingly robust single-player story mode. This game is the ultimate package for fans of the series.

19. Pokemon Legends: Arceus

Pokemon Legends: Arceus
(Image credit: Nintendo)
Release dateJanuary 28, 2022
Developer/PublisherGame Freak / The Pokemon Company / Nintendo

“Pokemon Legends: Arceus” marks Game Freak’s venture into the realm of open-world Pokemon adventures, and it has achieved something truly remarkable. Transporting players to a bygone era when the Sinnoh region was known as Hisui, the game eschews traditional cities, Pokemon Gyms, and trainers. Instead, it offers a quest to unravel the region’s mysteries and create its very first Pokedex. You’ll capture, battle, and train wild Pokemon encountered in the overworld while collaborating with both humans and Pokemon to solve the enigma. This game introduces a fresh and unique approach to the core Pokemon mechanics, making it an excellent addition to the series.

20. Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Fire Emblem: Three Houses
(Image credit: Nintendo)
GenreAdventure / Strategy
Release dateJuly 26, 2019
Developer/PublisherIntelligent Systems / Koei Tecmo / Nintendo

The fate of FĂłdlan hinges on the choices you make, and that’s a compelling selling point in itself. But beyond that, “Fire Emblem: Three Houses” is the best entry in the series to date. It charts a new, narrative-focused direction for the franchise, where storytelling takes precedence over combat. While the challenging, turn-based combat remains, it’s not the sole focus anymore. This represents an epic evolution for the series.

21. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
(Image credit: Nintendo)
Release dateApril 28, 2017

Apart from the obvious hint in the previous sentence, your Nintendo experience isn’t truly complete until you’ve incited the wrath of your closest friends by outperforming them in “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.” It’s practically a rite of passage on any Nintendo console. This immediate, accessible, pick-up-and-play fun epitomizes the essence of the Switch. Up to eight players can enjoy local multiplayer, allowing you to recreate the scenarios seen in Nintendo’s marketing campaigns. Notably, it supports two-player gameplay on a single console, making it a versatile choice. Moreover, this is the ultimate edition of an already fantastic game and epitomizes the Switch’s potential.

22. Splatoon 3

Splatoon 3
(Image credit: Nintendo)
GenreThird-person shooter
Release dateSeptember 8, 2022

As the title suggests, “Splatoon 3” is the third installment in Nintendo’s quirky multiplayer shooter series. It manages to strike a balance between family-friendly gameplay, using ink blasters and rollers instead of firearms, and being a genuinely competitive title. The action is consistently fast-paced, and the game offers a compelling single-player campaign to complement its multiplayer experience.

23. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
(Image credit: Nintendo)
GenreAction RPG
Release dateMarch 3, 2017

“Breath of the Wild” takes the foundation laid by the original Legend of Zelda game and builds upon it with inspiration from modern open-world RPGs like Skyrim. Nintendo has distilled and polished these influences into their purest forms, resulting in a breathtaking world that encourages exploration without overwhelming players with tutorials and excessive text boxes. Playing it on the TV is a treat, but being able to detach the Switch from the dock and take on a game of this scale and scope wherever you desire epitomizes the Switch’s potential.

24. Super Mario Odyssey

Super Mario Odyssey
(Image credit: Nintendo)
Release dateOctober 27, 2017

Thanks to Mario’s new companion, Cappy, “Super Mario Odyssey” breathes new life into the series by bestowing Mario with a slew of fresh moves. By venturing beyond the Mushroom Kingdom, the game feels revitalized and contemporary while still retaining the nostalgia and classic charm of the series, complete with familiar elements like ground pounds and green pipes. This is Mario at his absolute best, and his latest adventure looks stunning on the Switch.

25. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
(Image credit: Nintendo)
Release dateMay 12, 2023

Following the monumental success of “Breath of the Wild,” “The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom” stands as a testament to what the Nintendo Switch is capable of—perhaps even more so than its predecessor. This game revolves around creativity, offering players the tools they need to combine and manipulate objects to create new weapons, vehicles, and inventive contraptions for solving puzzles and facing off against adversaries. Hyrule returns, grander and richer in secrets than ever before. It’s a source of genuine joy and an experience well worth the wait.

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