The best Nintendo Switch games have helped Nintendo’s handheld/console hybrid become one of the most successful systems ever. Released on March 3rd, 2017, the Switch has sold over 132 million units as of September 2023. It is the third best-selling console of all time, behind the PlayStation 2 and Nintendo DS.
So then, what are the best games for Switch? Our list of the top 25 Switch titles will cover just that, from first-party classics to third-party gems.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
A launch title for the Nintendo Switch, Breath of the Wild was in development for quite some time following 2011’s Skyward Sword. The Legend of Zelda franchise actually skipped the Wii U console entirely because of Breath of the Wild’s development time.
The wait was worth it.
Breath of the Wild is a work of art that invites players to craft their own story in the world of Hyrule. Its open world is accessible, encouraging experimentation without holding the player’s hand. It has left its mark on the game industry, inspiring many acclaimed titles since its release.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
Tears of the Kingdom’s biggest accomplishment is making Breath of the Wild look out and outdated. A direct sequel taking place in the same world, Nintendo’s developers found a way to greatly increase the game’s size and scope. One way this is accomplished is by adding to the world’s sky and creating underground caverns for exploration.
The other and more impressive way is the constant tinkering and crafting that exists in the game. It’s a minor miracle that the game’s crafting mechanic functions and does so exceedingly well.
As we said in our review, “Tears of a Kingdom is an incredible experience that gives the player an impressive amount of power and control to guide them on their adventure through Hyrule. Building upon the foundation of Breath of the Wild while addressing its criticisms, Nintendo has found a way to make one of the most well-received games of all time feel inadequate and outdated.”
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Is it a perfect Animal Crossing game? No, but it was perfect for 2020. Releasing during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Animal Crossing: New Horizons lets us relax, unwind, and escape the harsh realities of the world. The game’s biggest issue was a lack of content catering to longer play sessions, but that’s never the point of Animal Crossing. It’s instead meant to serve as a small distraction and lends itself better to seasonal play. The game’s post-release free updates only reinforce this.
Despite the game’s flaws, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is still a good time and worth picking up, especially if you’re looking for a cozy Nintendo Switch game.
Celeste represents the best indie gaming has to offer. Charming visuals, challenging and enjoyable gameplay, and an emotional story. Celeste has you screaming in frustration one moment and reaching for the issues before you realize it. It’s an unforgettable experience that everyone needs to play. Not just so they can conquer the literal mountain in the game but also the figurative one.
Super Mario Odyssey
While the Super Mario franchise saw a handful of releases on the Wii U, we lacked a true 3D experience. That all changed with 2017’s Super Mario Odyssey, one of the best Nintendo Switch games you can still play today.
Mario Odyssey is a celebration of the Super Mario Bros. franchise and gaming as a whole. It’s constantly throwing new ideas your way without being overwhelming. The game refuses to rest on its laurels and continually aims to one-up itself. It’s impossible to play Super Mario Odyssey without a smile on your face.
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury
Arguably the best Wii U Mario game, Super Mario 3D World is a throwback to the classic games we saw on the NES and Super Nintendo. It’s an enjoyable experience, but one can’t help but feel like it’s lacking compared to the Mario Galaxy games.
Enter Bowser’s Fury, the new add-on for the Nintendo Switch release. This “expansion,” for lack of a better term, is worth the price of admission alone. Like Odyssey, Bowser’s Fury throws a barrage of new ideas and innovation at the player, only instead adhering to the gameplay formula of 3D World’s fixed camera versus the true open-world level experience Odyssey provides. It doesn’t matter to me, though. This game is an absolute delight.
Super Mario Wonder
Nintendo truly didn’t miss when it comes to Mario games on the Nintendo Switch. Super Mario Wonder is one of the best Mario games since Super Mario World on the Super Nintendo.
In our review, we said the following:
Super Mario Wonder is “a culmination of everything Nintendo has learned from making Mario games in one big love letter to the franchise and platforming genre. Every aspect of the game is a love letter to everything you know and enjoy about the Super Mario franchise. Pick up Super Mario Wonder as soon as possible; you won’t regret it.”
Super Mario Maker 2
Might as well knock out all the best Super Mario games for Nintendo Switch.
The original Super Mario Maker was a hidden gem for the Wii U, partially because no one bought the Wii U console.
Super Mario Maker 2 would have been good enough by just existing on the Nintendo Switch, but it improves on the original in every possible way. Whether it’s creating your own levels or playing through the crazy inventions of others, Super Mario Maker 2 is one of the best platforming experiences you can play today. It’s an easy inclusion on our list of the best Nintendo Switch games.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Everybody’s here, indeed.
If this truly is the end of the Super Smash Bros. franchise, then it goes out with a bang. From the complete roster of every Smash Bros. character to the impressive and surprising DLC additions, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the perfect party-fighting game. There’s a reason why gamers went crazy for it upon release and still do today. It may not be the best or most technical fighting game on the market, but it’s still an absolute blast.
Thanks for everything, Sakurai.
Otherwise known as Watermelon Game, Suika Game is the cheapest option on our list of best Nintendo Switch games. At $2.99, it packs a punch when it comes to value. I also cannot stop playing it.
Not since Threes has a puzzle game been this addictive and this much fun. Its gameplay is simple, the song is catchy, and the game is surprisingly difficult despite its simplicity. I cannot stop playing this game, and neither will you once you pick it up.
The roguelike dungeon crawler from Supergiant Games won several Game of the Year awards in 2021.
It perfectly combines the fast-paced action of a dungeon crawler, complete with intense action and brutal boss battles, and the challenge of a roguelike. You may not complete a dungeon run every time, but you’ll improve your stats, level up your weapons, and get better each and every time. It will make the time you finally complete a dungeon run much better.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3
Nintendo’s flagship JRPG franchise is also one of the best games to play on Nintendo Switch. Since the series debut on the Nintendo Wii, Xenoblade Chronicles has delivered gorgeous, expansive worlds, intriguing stories, and satisfying combat.
These are meaty games, too, that will require you to devote hundreds of hours of your time to see and do everything. It’s an impressive amount of content that lets Xenboblade Chronicles 3 stand toe-to-toe with the biggest names in the genre, including…
Persona 5 Royal
One of the greatest JRPGs ever made is finally on Nintendo Switch. Persona 5 is already an incredible achievement in video games. Persona 5 Royal, the game’s definitive edition, does the impossible and improves an already nearly perfect game.
Persona 5 Roayl is a culmination of everything that makes the Persona franchise great: an engaging story, wonderful characters, and gameplay that can convert even the biggest turn-based combat skeptics. If you are mildly interested in RPGs, you need to play this game.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
For whatever reason, Nintendo has been neglecting the Donkey Kong Country franchise. We’re not sure why, as Tropical Freeze is one of the best platformers on the market today. It blows the New Super Mario Bros. games out of the water thanks to vibrant and varied environments, challenging gameplay, and tons of character.
Developer Retro Studios has shown they’re more than capable of delivering a solid platforming experience. The Nintendo Switch is better for seeing this Wii U classic ported over.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
One of the best-selling games of all time, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a Nintendo Switch launch title that brings together the base game of Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U and all of its DLC. Since then, it has continued to develop a loyal audience and even generated a new batch of DLC, with Nintendo releasing new tracks and playable characters.
Mario Kart 8 is easily the best game in the Mario Kart series. The collection of new and old tracks represents the best Mario Kart has to offer. Combined with a roster that rivals Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, you have the recipe for a game that has been one of the Nintendo Switch’s best since launch.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
The Fire Emblem series first debuted for Western audiences in 2003 for the Game Boy Advance. It’s had its ups and downs over the years, but the release of 2019’s Fire Emblem Three Houses helped make the series a tentpole for Nintendo.
The games have always featured strong strategical turn-based combat, with recent titles diving further into character development and relationship building. Three Houses takes things further by featuring the most fleshed-out story yet in a Fire Emblem game.
Super Mario RPG
The game no one expected to see get remade is one of the best Nintendo Switch games. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars is a cult classic RPG from Square for the Super Nintendo. It stars the Mario characters you know and love alongside new party members, such as Geno and Mallow, as you embark on a Mario adventure unlike anything seen before.
Despite Super Mario RPG showing its age, especially when compared to its spiritual successor series, Paper Mario, it’s still an enjoyable time that will delight players both familiar with the original and new to the game as well.
With the exception of the 2016 spin-off Federation Forces, it had been over a decade between releases in the Metroid franchise. 2010’s Metroid Other M left a bad taste in people’s mouths, and for good reason.
Enter Metroid Dread, developed by MercurySteam (Metroid: Samus Returns), returning the franchise to its 2D side-scrolling roots. Metroid Dread is the breath of fresh air the franchise so desperately needs, especially with the development of Metroid Prime 4 currently in limbo. It offers the classic Metroidvania experience we all know and love combined with the challenge we expect from modern gaming.
Metroid Prime: Remastered
When it came to game releases, 2023 was a banner year for the video game industry. For me, one game stood above the rest: Metroid Prime Remastered.
The biggest flaw with the original Metroid Prime, released on the GameCube in 2002, was the somewhat awkward control scheme. The remaster overhauls the controls to feel more modern and fluid, resulting in an incredibly refreshing experience to play through once again. Combined with the improved visuals of an already beautiful game and gameplay that holds up remarkably well, you have one of the best Nintendo Switch games you can play today.
Originally an Xbox and Windows exclusive, Cuphead was released on the Switch in 2019. It was then that Nintendo Switch owners got a first-hand look at how insanely difficult the game’s bosses are.
That doesn’t mean we gave up in frustration, though. Cuphead’s charming, old-school cartoon visual style is a beauty to look at and helps keep us coming back for more punishment.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
Another Wii U classic ported to the Nintendo Switch, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a wonderfully charming puzzle platformer.
Spinning off from bonus levels in Super Mario 3D World, Nintendo accomplishes what few developers can: fully flesh out some side missions into a full game worth the price of admission.
Mario Party Superstars
Super Mario Party was the anticipated Mario Party debut on the Nintendo Switch. It was…adequate.
Enter Mario Party Superstars, a collection of boards and mini-games across the Mario Party franchise. Not only are the originals some of the best in the series, thanks to a perfect combination of randomness and strategy in the boards, but the mini-games are brutally difficult as well. It’s as much fun as I remember from back in the day, only without the blisters.
One of the newest Nintendo franchises, Pikmin has enjoyed success on the GameCube and Wii U. With the release of Pikmin 4 on the Nintendo Switch, it’s a high mark for the series.
The best the series has to offer, Pikmin 4 is a completionist’s dream: completing the story, returning to each mission, and picking up everything you missed. As always, introducing new Pikmin opens up new gameplay avenues, but the true start of the show is Otchi, a dog-like creature that you can’t help but fall in love with.
Pokemon Legends: Arceus
If there’s one franchise that has not seen commercial success for Nintendo Switch, it’s Pokemon. While Scarlet and Violet and Sword and Shield have sold well, you can argue that they’re some of the worst Pokemon games in these series, held back by technical limitations or a lack of innovations and new ideas.
Pokemon Legends: Arceus is all about new ideas and innovation. Acting as a prequel, calling back to the days before humans and Pokemon lived in harmony, opens up a treasure trove of gameplay ideas that are an absolute blast to play. It’s not perfect, but it’s an adventure worth experiencing. We hope we get to see a sequel in the near future.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land
The Kirby franchise has sort of floundered for a while with some good, not great, releases. Games like Kirby’s Epic Yarn and Kirby’s Canvas Curse are great but aren’t “traditional” Kirby titles.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land is that, and a whole lot more. The first fully 3D Kirby platform, Forgotten Land brings the Kirby gameplay formula into the modern era of gaming, complete with new ideas, challenges, and platforming adventure. Plus, who doesn’t love Car Kirby?
I am the Editor-In-Chief of BossLevelGamer. I’m also a lover of video games, food, and beer.
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