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The best Nintendo Switch games to play in 2024

Here are some of the best Switch games to try out.

Image credit: VG247
Update: For a surprisingly lean bit of kit, the Nintendo Switch has an expansive library of games for you to play either handheld or hooked up to your TV. As a result, we've spent some time updating this list, adding new entries and updating existing ones to help you determine which of the best Switch games you'd like to settle down with next.

When you’re dealing with a hybrid console, the best Switch games have to be just as brilliant on the bus home from work as they are on a 65 inch OLED.

That’s why we’ve combed the entire catalogue for the top titles from every genre, including first-party instant classics from Nintendo, incredible indies and a few huge games that required nothing short of technical wizardry to fit them onto a portable device.

Despite Nintendo’s family-friendly association, there’s something for everyone across the Switch’s diverse lineup of fantastic games, whether it’s intense action, open-world exploration, idyllic world-building or a deep visual novel you’re looking for.

However, while we have tried to focus on the Nintendo Switch’s impressive slate of exclusives, we have also included a selection of multi-platform games that are most at home on the Switch and best show off the hybrid console’s unique roster.

But also, for the sake of brevity, we can’t include every single awesome Switch game, there are just so many. What are some of your favorite games to play on the Nintendo Switch? We’ll add the best deep cuts we’ve forgotten as they come in, so do let us know!

In no particular order, these are the best Switch games:

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet and Pokemon Legends: Arceus

  • Developer: Game Freak
  • Released: 2022 (Legends: Arceus), 2022 (Scarlet and Violet)

Pretty much all of the Pokemon games on Switch are great, but the two most recent ones, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet and Pokemon Legends: Arceus combine the best elements of all of them, along with novel ideas, to create a fantastic fresh experience.

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet is great fun, despite some performance issues.

Updating the series’ core formula with brand-new mechanics and a historical spin on a well-loved region, Legends: Arceus was an exciting next step for Pokemon, which some fans felt was taking a bit too much inspiration from Ash Ketchum and not progressing as it aged.

Catching Pokemon now has an action edge, as you track and battle new creatures in wide open areas with real-time movement.

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet on the other hand were more classic Pokemon RPGs, but in a large, fully open world for the first time. Despite the technical performance leaving something to be desired, seeing Pokemon roaming a vast, open world is a dream come true for many long-standing fans.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Released: 2017

This wouldn't really be a list of the best Nintendo Switch games is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe didn't make an appearance. Admittedly, it's not Mario Kart Wii, but it is great fun. This game is great to play solo but arguably shines in multiplayer; you can play locally or online with friends, racing eachother from across the globe or from the comfort of your couch.

When you finally finish unlocking characters and karts, those with a Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pass subscription can dive into the Booster DLC for the game, which adds all-new tracks to the game to keep things feeling fresh. At the time of writnig, there's even more to come. Only God knows what Nintendo will actually do with Mario Kart 9.

Super Smash Bros Ultimate

  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Released: 2018

Super Smash Bros Ultimate is true to its name, in that it is an ultimate experience of Smash Bros' finest. Every single character that has been present as a fighter throughout the series is in this game, meaning you can fight as Pichu, Kirby, Link, Samus, and so many more. If you enjoy fighting games, this is the Nintendo Switch staple that you need.

That said, Super Smash Bros Ultimate also makes a great multiplayer game; clash with friends both online and locally, and if you don't mind going easy on any newbies, it makes a great party game too.

The Witcher 3

  • Developer: CD Projekt Red
  • Released: 2015

The Witcher 3 is one of the best games ever, period. And not only does the impressive Switch version squeeze the massive RPG onto a smaller screen, but the package comes with all of the fantastic story DLC as well.

Step into the shoes of legendary Witcher, Geralt. | Image credit: CD Projekt Red

There aren’t enough superlatives to sum up Geralt of Rivia’s third outing - which you don’t need to have played the previous games to thoroughly enjoy - so whether you’ve just seen the Netflix series, have already played the base game elsewhere, or are coming to the series for the first time, this is one of the Switch’s best experiences.

Danganronpa Decadence

  • Developer: Spike
  • Released: 2021

Wild and wonderfully weird, the Danganronpa series is one of the best visual novels around and the whole core series is now on Switch for you to binge.

All of the students at Hope’s Peak Academy are the best in the world at something, whether it’s baseball, cooking, martial arts or being an idol star. But when they’re trapped inside the school by the malignant monochrome teddy bear, Monokuma, they’re only given one option to escape: murder one of their classmates and get away with it.

Twisty, irreverent and filled with fun, Danganronpa Decadence is perfectly suited to a portable, pick-up-and-play console.

Monster Hunter Rise

  • Developer: Capcom
  • Released: 2021

A fully-fledged Monster Hunter game filled with different biomes, over-the-top weapons and expressively realised creatures, Monster Hunter Rise and its expansion, Sunbreak, are must-plays on the Nintendo Switch.

There's plenty of four-legged friends to make along the way, too.

While the action has been condensed for the smaller screen, it’s lost none of its complexity and intensity, effectively stringing together dozens of boss battles across the varied levels.

The monsters themselves are undoubtedly the star of the show, with each unique creature having its own lush animations and personality.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild + Tears of the Kingdom

  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Released: 2017 (Breath of the Wild), 2023 (Tears of the Kingdom)

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a generation-defining game that brings an unparalleled sense of adventure to the Nintendo Switch. Its sequel, Tears of the Kingdom, only expands on this in every way imaginable.

Both Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom are great games worth checking. | Image credit: Nintendo

If a huge, beautiful world to explore, an epic storyline and intuitive combat that encourages explosive experimentation isn’t enough for you, then the dozens of optional brain-teasing puzzles will keep you going long after the sun has set on the main quest.

The land of Hyrule is filled with secrets, treasures and many intricately crafted systems to discover across a truly special experience, and sequel, Tears of the Kingdom, only has more systems for you to learn. This might seem daunting, but believe me, these systems help you be even more creative across Hyrule.

Super Mario Odyssey

  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Released: 2017

Joyfully designed to be pure, engrossing escapism, Super Mario Odyssey is the Switch’s showpiece 3-D Mario, and flaunts every inch of why Nintendo’s main mascot’s solo outings are so revered.

Collect many moons!

With literally hundreds of secrets and stars to uncover across tons of varied, memorable and eye-popping levels, Odyssey is a shining example of how perfectly implemented mechanics can seem simple at first, but have huge depth and a massive amount of applications in different scenarios.

What’s more, it’s as beautiful to look at as it is to play, so it’s no wonder this is a game that’s extremely easy to recommend and every Switch owner should consider adding to their collection.

The House in Fata Morgana

  • Developer: Novectacle
  • Released: 2012

Some of the best narrative games going are as at home on Nintendo Switch as they were on their original platform, and can now be enjoyed by an even wider audience.

Image credit: Novectacle

The House in Fata Morgana is considered an all-timer, with a dark, gothic story set across multiple time periods that’s venerated by fans for its strength and memorable impact.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Released: 2020

Capturing the cultural zeitgeist like never before as much of the world went into lockdown, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is an idyllic island getaway where you build a thriving community of anthropomorphic animal villagers in a tropical paradise.

Create a gorgeous island and celebrate events with your animal neighbours.

From a deceptively simple roster of mechanics you can create beautiful towns that express your personal style, with houses to decorate, gardens to tend to and friends to share the scenery with.

For a gentle experience where the biggest jeopardy is whether the mischievous art dealer has passed you a fake or not, there’s almost nothing better.

Stardew Valley

  • Developer: ConcernedApe
  • Released: 2016

And the reason we say there’s almost nothing better is because of Stardew Valley, an awesome pixel-art farming sim that really gives Animal Crossing a run for its bells.

A player tends to their Stardew Valley farm.
Restore this simple farm and uncover the secrets of Pelican Town.

In Stardew Valley, you revive your Grandfather’s farmstead and make a new life for yourself in a rural community, looking after livestock, fighting slimes, growing crops, taking on an encroaching megacorporation, and settling down to marry the person you love - you know, normal farm stuff.

A game for all seasons thanks to the changing biomes and yearly festivals, this fantastic game - principally built by just one person - definitely isn’t as basic as its art style might have you believe.

Luigi’s Mansion 3

  • Developer: Next Level Games
  • Released: 2019

Mario might have most of the fun, but the hapless handyman Luigi’s spooky showpiece series is also a must-play on Nintendo Switch.

You can start this series with Luigi's Mansion 3. It's the best of the bunch.

Equipped with the custom spirit-sucking vacuum cleaner, the Poltergust 3000, this time Luigi’s cleaning up an ghost-infested hotel, floor-by-floor, on his way to defeating the nefarious King Boo.

Like a lot of first-party Nintendo exclusives, you’re here for the unmistakable style and mechanical genius, so you’re not missing out too much just turning up for Luigi's Mansion 3.

Slay the Spire

  • Developer: Mega Crit
  • Released: 2019

Indie-roguelike deckbuilder Slay the Spire is another sleeper hit whose understated art style belies the true depth of its mechanics.

Choose from an array of characters, each with their own unique cards and playstyle, and plot your path forward through randomised encounters in a dark world in true choose-your-own-adventure style.

Near-endlessly replayable, with a huge amount of strategy to master, Slay the Spire stands out from the pack.

Shovel Knight

  • Developer: Yacht Club Games
  • Released: 2014

A retro-inspired 2D platformer that stacks up with the best of them, Shovel Knight updates the classic Mega Man boss level formula with smooth modern gameplay and a deep world filled with secrets.

Packed with instantly iconic characters, great music and devilishly difficult challenges, Shovel Knight is a perfect Switch game both docked and on-the-go.

New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe

  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Released: 2018

While Odyssey has all three dimensions covered, you have to look into Nintendo’s back catalogue of rereleases for a traditional Mario to really sink your teeth into. It’s lucky then that they have a lineup of underappreciated first-party games to pilfer from the unloved Wii U console to port over and realise their full potential, including New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe.

Mario and Luigi try to avoid some Pirahna Plants by flying over them in the co-op mode of New Super Mario Bros U.
Have some 2.5D platforming fun in New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe.

Because it’s such a staple franchise, it’s hard to truly appreciate the peerless design that goes into the practically perfect gameplay of a classic, 2D Mario until you sit down, get stuck in, and quickly realise it’s anything but flat.

This “deluxe” package upscales the main game to full 1080p HD resolution and adds the New Super Luigi U campaign to the mix too.

DOOM Eternal

  • Developer: id Software
  • Released: 2020

Portable first-person shooting doesn’t get much better than this. The rebooted DOOM series is as bloodthirsty as ever, but this time combines pounding ultraviolence with a knowing sense of tongue-in-cheek humour to crank the entertainment factor higher than Heaven itself.

This rhythm-shooter is satisfying, funny, and incredibly entertaining.

With Earth overrun by the demonic legions of Hell, the Doom Slayer returns to do what he does best: blast everything with one of gaming’s most satisfying shotguns until he’s the only one left standing.

Catherine (Full body)

  • Developer: Atlus
  • Released: 2011

Atlus can deliver an immensely characterful anime setting better than almost anyone else, and Catherine is a unique blend of that signature worldbuilding with genuinely difficult platforming puzzles.

Catherine is the supernatural story of Vincent, a thirty-something slacker chafing against the expectations of growing up, settling down, and getting serious about his relationship with his long-term girlfriend, Catherine. Just as he begins to get his priorities straight, someone new walks into his favourite bar: a younger, more exciting woman, also named Catherine, who quickly threatens to turn Vincent’s life upside down.

Effortlessly stylish in the same way as Atlus’ other Persona and Shin Megami Tensei serieses, Catherine is a quotable, story-rich romp that offers something very different in the puzzle genre.

Celeste

  • Developer: Maddy Makes Games
  • Released: 2018

An essential indie platformer that blends mechanical challenge with an intensely personal and affecting story, Celeste is an exceptional game and one of the best retro-inspired adventures out there.

This platformer tells a touching story of self-discovery.

Sometimes it can feel like an either/or choice between difficult, reaction-testing gameplay and an involving narrative, but the sparkling caves, rugged peaks and lush valleys of Celeste nail an uncompromising mix of the two in perfect harmony.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

  • Developer: Adam-Robinson Yu
  • Released: 2019

A slightly less well-known name on Nintendo’s slate of exclusive franchises, but no less stellar is Fire Emblem, and although there’s a brand-new entry that came out at the start of 2023, Fire Emblem: Three Houses is an excellent place to start with the series.

Not the best of the Fire Emblem series, but a great instalment on the Switch.

It’s a tactical RPG, with turn-based battles that incorporate a massive array of characters and classes in a chivalric anime style.

A Short Hike

  • Developer:
  • Released:

A Short Hike is just that. A beautiful, peaceful adventure where you explore the varied environs of the Hawk Peak Provincial Park, climbing, hopping and gliding your way to the top of the trail.

It’s a game you can finish in a lazy afternoon, but often goes on sale for less than a fancy coffee and will leave you feeling just as warm and cosy.

Bayonetta

  • Developer: PlatinumGames
  • Released: 2009 (Bayonetta), 2014 (Bayonetta 2), 2022 (Bayonetta 3)

The first Bayonetta was directed by Devil May Cry series creator Hideki Kamiya, and to the surprise of no-one, gameplay unfolds similarly to Devil May Cry. Though, you’re thrust into the shoes of the badass, shapeshifting Bayonetta. She’s capable of devastating magic attacks and uses her hair to summon demons, and ultimately, it all shapes up for a ludicrous, effortlessly sexy time that is packed with action.

The demons that Bayonetta can summon in Bayonetta 3 are some of the best yet.

What’s better is that you can play Bayonetta, Bayonetta 2, and Bayonetta 3 on the Nintendo Switch, so you’ve no shortage of hair-fuelled chaos to be a part of. Bayonetta 3 is arguably one of the best in the series, being louder, better, and dumber than its predecessors.

Death’s Door

  • Developer: Acid Nerve
  • Released: 2021

Death’s Door is an isometric adventure game from indie developer, Acid Nerve, and should be applauded for its creativity. It tells the story of a little crow who takes on larger-than-life battles while collecting souls for the Reaping Commission HQ. Though, not all is as it seems when it comes to his seemingly simple job.

Play as a lone crow reaping souls and uncovering secrets.

His adventure ultimately sees him try to make his way to Death’s Door as he unveils more information about the Reaping Commission along the way. He’ll meet fellow crows, acquire new items, and you - the player - will go on a journey that teaches you about the never-ending cycle of life and death. It’s great.

Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition

  • Developer: Monolith Soft
  • Released: 2020

If you’re in the mood for a massive, sprawling RPG, then Xenoblade Chronicles has you covered. It’s best starting with Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition, which sees you battling it out in worlds forged on the frozen bodies of titans, Bionis and Mechonis. Throughout the game, you’ll forge your own party using characters with their own distinct styles and traits, and then use them to take part in real-time action-based battles.

The good news is that the Nintendo Switch is home to Xenoblade Chronicles, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, and Xenoblade Chronicles 3, so if you find yourself enamored with the battle system or exploration of the open-world, you’ve plenty of games to sink your teeth into over time.

Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen

  • Developer: Capcom
  • Released: 2016

A criminally underrated series, Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen is an awesome open-world fantasy RPG with all the requisite goblin squishing, dragon slaying and magical malarkey you’d expect from one of the best games in the genre.

Image credit: Capcom

The best way to describe Dragon’s Dogma is that it was made by a Capcom team featuring staff who’d previously worked on the hell and hair gel hack ‘n’ slash Devil May Cry series, but taking heavy inspiration from blockbuster western RPGs like The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion.

The result is an unmistakably Japanese-feeling game, with all of the epic boss battles and gritty challenge Capcom is known for, but with a more Western twist of greater player-led progression and exploration.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

  • Developer: Retro Studios
  • Released: 2014

Despite predating a certain world-famous plumber, Donkey Kong often gets forgotten about when it comes to Nintendo’s slate of iconic mascots.

His latest 2.5D outing, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, however is just as worthy of your attention, as it dials up the challenge compared to other Switch platformers to create a tough, reflex-testing test with tons of characterful levels to monkey around in.

Donkey Kong is followed by Dixie Kong at the beginning of a level in Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze.
Platform away solo or in multiplayer as the Kong family.

Tropical Freeze is another ported Wii U game with added extras, including Funky Kong joining as a playable character alongside the classic team of Donkey, Diddy, Dixie and Cranky.

This is a brilliant game to play in co-op, with each player controlling a different character to get the most out of their unique abilities. And let’s face it, when it’s this difficult, you’re going to need to draft in some help.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land

  • Developer: HAL Laboratory
  • Released: 2022

Kirby and the Forgotten Land marks the pink puffball’s first true 3D adventure. In this day and age, it might come as a surprise that Kirby - the giant bubblegum boi who sucks harder than the Teletubbies’ hoover - hasn't made their three-dimensional debut sooner, but no one knows how to neglect a beloved mascot better than Nintendo, so it’s not that much of a shock, really.

Kirby is capable of morphing into endless amounts of objects.

The chilled vibe makes this perfect to sit back and unwind with, but adding an extra dimension to the platforming breathes more life into Kirby and his cohort of friend-shaped buddies than ever before.

Whether you're looking for something to play with family, or fancy a relaxing, heart-warming action game to waddle through in your own time, Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a fantastic, wholesome pick.

Baba is You

  • Developer: Hempuli
  • Released: 2019

In Baba is You, the rules are written right in front of you - but they don’t stay that way for long.

By manipulating objects in the world you can twist the laws of the game to your advantage, evading obstacles and finding an unlikely path to victory. From that relatively simple premise, hundreds of brain-teasing puzzles arise to test your lateral thinking.

Image credit: Hempuli

The whimsical 2-D art style and matter-of-fact statements of the game rules make the characters of Baba and Keke feel instantly iconic, and the different worlds of puzzles mean you can always go in a different direction and take on a new challenge if you get stuck - a vital addition that keeps you invested and coming back for more even when your brain inevitably overheats.

Super Mario Bros. Wonder

  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Released: 2023

Super Mario Bros. Wonder is the latest of Mario's 2D adventures, and it's just as delightful as you might expect. It provides the same, 2D side-scrolling fun that New Super Mario Bros. always did, but brings in plenty of new additions to make you every bit nostalgic and amazed by this wonderful game. These additions include improved multiplayer with more characters to play as, including Princess Peach, Daisy, and even the mysterious Nabbit.

Mario and Peach cross a bridge made of primary-coloured blocks in Super Mario Wonder.
These particular blocks will sing a little tune as you, or enemies, walk over them! | Image credit: Nintendo

There's also the titular Wonder Seeds, which can flip any level on its head for a brief period of time, turning the Mario levels you know and love into quite the trip. Pair this with new Power-Ups, including one that sees your favourite characters transformed into an elephant, and what more could you want? Even Toad and Yoshi can join in on the fun!

The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood

  • Developer: Deconstructeam
  • Released: 2023

The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood is a tantalising narrative adventure about a witch who has been exiled to live in solitude when her tarot cards read of an unpleasant future for her coven. As a result, she makes a bargain with a God-like creature to regain her powers, reunite with her friends, and protect those that she cares about. It's quite the risk, but as the narrative unfolds, it becomes clear that it was a risk worth taking.

The player speaks with Dahlia following their centuries-long exile from their coven in The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood
Image credit: Deconstructeam

The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood is just beautiful, both in style and narrative. The companions of our witch are so wonderful that I wish they were real-life friends, and getting to know them as we craft new tarot cards and read their fortune is something that - if you enjoy it - will result in many a sleepless night.

It does get very political and philosophical at times, but remains engrossing and touching nonetheless as you strive to determine a pleasant future for your coven, and your friends within it.

Pikmin 4

  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Released: 2023

Fans were waiting on Pikmin 4 for quite a while, with the last game in the series - Pikmin 3 - having released back in 2013. That said, these fans were not disappointed when Pikmin 4 arrived, providing a rewarding experience for veterans and an equally satisfying time for newcomers to the series. It's great fun, teaches you a lot about playing games strategically and making the most of your time, and will generally put a smile on your face as you listen to your Pikmin huff and puff while they follow your every demand.

The game introduced new features such as alien-pup, Oatchi, who can help you with your expeditions and combat, as well as some new Pikmin types. These are Ice Pikmin and Glow Pikmin, with the latter being particularly helpful for the all-new Night Expeditions that the game featured. No longer must you and your Pikmin fear the night, as you can go about collecting treasure and exploring caves whenever you please.

Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe

  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Released: 2023

Kirby's Return to Dream Land was initially a game for the Nintendo Wii that released in 2011, but during 2023, Nintendo decided to give the game a new lease of life for the Nintendo Switch. It's the same game with a fresh coat of paint, and iconic characters such as Kirby and King Dedede look more vibrant than ever. There's also new Copy Abilities, with Mecha, Sand, and Festival Kirby making an appearance in the game.

The 2.5D side-scrolling game also supports multiplayer, and packs a good few sub-games (and an extra mode involving Magalor!) for you to try out when you're tired of traditional gameplay. There's new additions such as Booming Blasters and Samurai Kirby 100, as well as returning mini-games, Ninja Dojo and Smash Ride. Ultimately, there's a lot to do in this jovial, relaxing adventure and you should check it out if you fancy spending time with Nintendo's pink puffball mascot.

Honourable Mentions

Dead Cells, 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, Metroid Dread, Metroid Prime Remastered, Hollow Knight, Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, Nintendo Switch Sports, Mario Party Superstars, Splatoon 3, Cuphead, Hades, Tetris Effect, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney Trilogy, Octopath Traveller II, Fire Emblem Engage, Gris, Moonlighter, Link's Awakening, Pikmin 1+2

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