The best games for Nintendo Switch

The hybrid console already has a stellar lineup.

Nintendo's Switch is on a roll. Now into its second year, the youngest of the games consoles is punching above its weight with a mix of core Nintendo games that have pushed iconic characters like Mario and Link into the modern gaming age. The Switch is also a portable console, which has injected new life into older titles and indie hits that have never made it a Nintendo device before.

The Switch's online store isn't the easiest to navigate, however, so this guide aims to help the uninitiated start their journey on the right foot. These are the games you should own -- for now. We'll be updating these guides regularly.

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild


The Legend of Zelda: BOTW signals the biggest shift in the series since the Nintendo 64's Ocarina of Time, and it might well be one of the best games of the past decade. It pulls the long-running series into modern gaming, with a perfectly pitched difficulty curve and an incredible open world to play with. There's crafting, weapons that degrade, almost too much to collect and do and a gentle story hidden away for players to discover for themselves. Even without the entertaining DLC add-ons, there's simply so much to do here and challenges for every level of gamer. MS

Bayonetta 2

Bayonetta 2

The Bayonetta series fuses together compelling (and different) character design with memorable boss battles, seemingly endless waves of monsters and a smart fighting system that's easy enough to start with, but pulls no punches later. Originally launched on the Wii U, the Switch gives Bayonetta 2 another chance to shine (the original is also available alongside) in a portable console, with nothing lost in transition. Another reason to catch up? A third game for Nintendo's hybrid console is already underway. MS

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe


Mario Kart 8 Deluxe's vibrancy and attention to detail prove it's a valid upgrade to the Wii U original. Characters are animated and endearing as they race around, and Nintendo's made bigger, wider tracks to accommodate up to 12 racers. This edition of Mario Kart included gravity-defying hover tires and automatic gliders for when you soar off ramps, making races even more visually thrilling, but at its core, it's Mario Kart -- simple, pure gaming fun. It's also a great showcase for the multitude of playing modes that the Switch is capable of: Two-player split screen anywhere is possible, as are online races or Switch-on-Switch chaos. For now, this is the definitive edition. MS

Super Mario Odyssey


Super Mario Odyssey might not represent the major change that Breath of the Wild was for the Zelda series, Instead, we got a great Mario game that's been refined across the last two decades. Yes, we got some important modern improvements, like maps and fast travel, and the power-stealing Cappy is a truly fun addition to Mario's usual tricks. But that core joy of Mario, figuring out the puzzles, racing to collect items and exploring landmarks, is here in abundance. MS

Fortnite Battle Royale

Fortnite is a cultural phenomenon, responsible for popularizing a new shooting-game genre and doing it in a way that has millions playing across mobile, PC and games consoles, like the Switch -- you'll see this particular game appear in several of our lists. It all started with a simple idea: survive. (Actually it started with a tower-defense-esque game where you built a fort to protect human survivors against zombies, but hey, it evolved.) Fortnite has a low barrier to entry (it's free!), and the sheer momentum behind the fact that everyone is playing it makes resistance futile. Parachute into the field, grab supplies, guns and ammo, build some defensive protections if you like and make it to the end. Sounds simple, but the best game ideas are. PUBG, Apex and the rest have a tough fight on their hands. MS

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle


The visuals of this Ubisoft-Nintendo collaboration betray a sophisticated, turn-based strategy game. Mario + Rabbids' learning curve is perfect, with the story mode adding new characters and unlocking better, different weapons and skills as the game progresses. Skills (and weapon effects) playfully interact with each other by the middle of the game, adding dimensions to the initial cover-based shoot-out. Each level has a goal (destroy all enemies, get to this area), and you're rated only by the survival rate of your three fighters and the number of turns it takes to fulfill said goal. Parts of the single-player mode are weaker, but the core game is equal parts entertaining and slick. There's also a rich multiplayer mode to add to the longevity. MS

Rocket League

Rocket League

Rocket League could have been a short-lived novelty title, a game that mashed together soccer and vehicular combat to make a few million in its launch year before fading quietly into obscurity. Instead, developer Psyonix has consistently innovated since 2015, and in the process, it's pushed the broader video-game industry toward a more inclusive future. Rocket League was one of the first games to call for and implement cross-console play, and today it's one of just two titles (the other one being Fortnite) to support play among PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Switch. JC

Splatoon 2


The original Splatoon, released on the underselling Wii U, didn't get the love it deserved. On the Switch, the sequel is even better, with plenty to offer both new and returning players. This squid-ink shooter divvies up players into teams of four and asks them to cover as much turf as possible -- by dousing it in paint. Splatoon 2 adds even more weapons, cool clothes and even a few new battle modes, including Salmon Run, which pits your team against a series of unusual sea-creature-inspired bosses. There's always something to do in the game, making it more than worth the Nintendo Online subscription needed to play with your ink-shooting friends (and foes) online. KN

Stardew Valley

Sometimes all you want to do is just water some plants, drink a beer and pet a dog, and Stardew Valley has all that and more. When you escape your mundane office job to the valley, you're given a small farm to shape as you see fit with crops and livestock. If you get tired of that, explore the nearby Pelican Town, get to know your neighbors and hopefully woo one lucky one into marriage. Or, you can take your chances in the caves at the edge of town to mine for gems and metals -- at which point the game becomes more dungeon crawler than simple farming sim. You can play Stardew Valley at your pace, so you can spend hours on it and never get bored, or put it down for months and pick it up again and just start watering your crops again like no time has passed. KN



Celeste is a lot of things. It's a great platformer, but it's also a puzzle game. It's extremely punishing, but it's also very accessible. It puts gameplay above everything, but it has a great story. It's a beautiful, moving and memorable contradiction of a game, created by Matt Makes Games, the indie studio behind the excellent Towerfall. So, Celeste is worth picking up no matter what platform you own, but its room-based levels and clear 2D artwork make it a fantastic game to play on the Switch when on the go. AS

Contributors: Jessica Conditt (JC), Kris Naudus (KN), Mat Smith (MS), Aaron Souppouris (AS)

The best games
Explore our top picks for every system