The 22 Best Games For The Nintendo Switch

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An illustration of the Nintendo Switch is seen with the words The Bests: Nintendo Switch above and below it.

More than six years after its release, the Nintendo Switch is still dutifully chugging along, and still without the long-rumored Switch Pro. Compared to its supercomputer competitors, Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Sony’s PlayStation 5, it’s by no means the most powerful place to play games today. But it’s still the most versatile, allowing you to play console-quality games from almost anywhere, from your couch to the bus. If you’re just now hopping on the Switch train—it’s still regularly one of the best-selling machines on the market—here are the best games to start with.

The cast of Mario is seen under the Nintendo Switch Online logo.

Nintendo, unwilling to fully commit to making a backward-compatible handheld/console hybrid, has been slowly adding games from older systems to the Switch through its Nintendo Switch Online service. While it’s frustrating that so many classic games are locked behind a subscription service, at least their actual emulation is pretty great. Here are a few classic games, now available through Nintendo Switch Online, that are worth checking out:

Nintendo Entertainment System: 

  • Dr. Mario
  • Legend of Zelda, The
  • Metroid
  • Ninja Gaiden
  • Punch-Out!!!
  • Super Mario Bros.
  • Super Mario Bros. 2
  • Super Mario Bros. 3

Super Nintendo:

  • Donkey Kong Country
  • EarthBound
  • Kirby Super Star
  • Legend of Zelda, The: A Link to the Past
  • Star Fox
  • Super Mario Kart
  • Super Mario World
  • Super Metroid

Game Boy and Game Boy Color: 

  • Kirby’s Dream Land
  • Legend of Zelda, The: Link’s Awakening
  • Legend of Zelda, The: Oracle of Ages/Seasons
  • Metroid II: Return of Samus
  • Pokémon Trading Card Game
  • Tetris

Nintendo 64:

  • Banjo-Kazooie
  • Harvest Moon 64
  • Legend of Zelda, The: Majora’s Mask
  • Legend of Zelda, The: Ocarina of Time
  • Mario Kart 64
  • Paper Mario
  • Pokémon Snap
  • Pokémon Stadium
  • Pokémon Stadium 2
  • Star Fox 64
  • Super Mario 64

Sega Genesis:

  • Castlevania: Bloodlines
  • Contra Hard Corps
  • Golden Axe
  • Phantasy Star IV
  • Sonic Spinball
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  • Streets of Rage 2
  • Virtua Fighter 2

Game Boy Advance:

  • Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade
  • Golden Sun
  • Kirby & The Amazing Mirror
  • Legend of Zelda, The: The Minish Cap
  • Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga
  • Metroid Fusion
  • WarioWare, Inc: Mega Microgames
Samus is seen in full armor looking at something off-screen.

Revisiting Samus Aran’s GameCube debut on Switch is delightful, because it shows just how timeless the original Metroid Prime was when it launched in 2002. The modern tweaks added in the Switch remaster do a lot to modernize the control schemes of the first-person action-adventure game, but beyond those and some visual polish, much of Metroid Prime Remastered remains the same. Even with its 21st anniversary coming up, Metroid Prime shines with its excellent design and atmosphere, and now that it controls more like a modern action game, it feels better than ever to play this classic adventure on your Switch.

A Good Match For: Anyone who wants an atmospheric, sci-fi adventure game with light horror elements

Not A Good Match For: Side scroller purists

Read Kotaku’s review.

Get some tips before jumping into the game.

Purchase From: Nintendo eShop | Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | Target

A trainer is seen talking to Professor Turo in an elevator.

Because of their extremely buggy nature, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are a contentious duo of RPGs. Even so, Pokémon’s ninth-generation games are full of ambition and feature some of the series’ best writing in the franchise’s 27 years. The premise of finding your own bliss in the Pokémon world feels like a childhood dream fully realized, especially when you can travel around the Paldea region with your friends and little restriction. On top of an unprecedented amount of freedom and community, Scarlet and Violet’s character writing is the strongest the series has seen, up there alongside Pokémon Legends: Arceus. Its different routes deal with grief and a nuanced take on a schoolyard bullying narrative, and these stories all culminate in one of the darkest, most mind-bending endgames the series has ever served up. They’ve got problems, even beyond the bugs, but Scarlet and Violet take some admirably big swings in between the framerate drops and occasional crashes.

A Good Match For: Anyone who wants to see Pokémon reach its narrative potential

Not A Good Match For: Those with little patience for bugs

Read Kotaku’s review.

Learn more about the games’ upcoming DLC.

Purchase From: Nintendo eShop | Amazon | Best Buy (Scarlet / Violet)| GameStop (Scarlet / Violet)| Target (Scarlet / Violet)

A pokémon trainer shows another pokémon trainer an electronic device while a third pokémon trainer looks on in Pokémon Legends: Arceus.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus isn’t your typical Pokémon game. Set way in the past—right around when pokécitizens started creating pokécities, before the first pokédex even existed—Legends: Arceus is technically a distant prequel to Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, but that’s the only real overlap it has with the mainline iterations. The game is built around a hub-and-spoke structure for missions, à la Monster Hunter. The battle system, too, is less strictly structured than in previous games, with stats dictating which pokémon get to move first, and how many times they can attack in a row. Also, pokémon can mess you up. Beware!

A Good Match For: Pokémon diehards. Fans of Monster Hunter.

Not A Good Match For: Anyone craving a more traditional, mainline entry. (Eternal observation: You’ll get one soon). Folks hoping for top-tier visuals.

Watch it in action.

Study our tips for the game.

Purchase From: Nintendo eShop | Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | Target

Samus Aran superhero landings after defeating a giant monster in Metroid Dread.

There’s a reason why “metroid” is in “metroidvania.” Metroid Dread, the first mainline Metroid game in nearly two decades, is the latest to prove why this series earned its spot in the gaming pantheon. You probably know what the genre usually entails: tight platforming, densely-packed levels, lots of upgrades, lots of backtracking. Dread doesn’t lack any of the genre staples, and in fact packages it all together in a greatest hits of Metroid references. It’s tough but not relentless, confusing but not confounding, and ultimately a satisfying romp through one of Nintendo’s long-untouched series. Metroid’s back, baby, and Switch players are all better for it.

A Good Match For: Fans of platformers, and anyone who missed the heck out of Samus Aran.

Not A Good Match For: Players who aren’t comfortable with the idea of getting lost, and with burning potentially hours on a single conundrum.

Read Kotaku’s review.

Watch Metroid Dread gameplay.

Purchase From: Nintendo eShop | Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | Target

rabbid hiding behind cover on a green level in mario rabbids kingdom battle on nintendo switch - best switch games

It’s easy to look at this game and think, oh, an XCOM strategy clone with a cuter skin. But that would be wrong! First off, they gave Mario a freakin’ gun. The game also treats the original genre as a jumping-off point, adding a number of original mechanics that make the game stand apart. You can extend your turns in elaborate ways via dashing, jumping on enemies, and traveling through pipes. If you play your cards right, a single character can take a tour around the entire map in one go, causing havoc everywhere. The game is also a giant love letter to all things Mario, which is why the Rabbids based on the popular Nintendo characters work so well—they’re parodying something that Ubisoft understands deeply. By the end of the game, you might even find yourself kicking out the original Mario characters in exchange for the Rabbids. Coupled with an extensive challenge mode and many a secret hiding about, Rabbids is a surprisingly meaty game. Then, of course, there’s DLC that introduces more characters, like Donkey Kong, more challenging levels, and new mechanics. Have we mentioned that the Luigi Death Stare is an actual move?

A Good Match For: Fans of tactical games like Fire Emblem.

Not A Good Match For: Players looking for a carbon copy of XCOM.

Read Kotaku’s review.

Watch Mario + Rabbids gameplay.

Purchase From: Nintendo eShop | Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | Target

Splatoon 3 with a character firing yellow ink from a bow.

If Splatoon 3 doesn’t win you over to Nintendo’s take on the world of competitive shooters, nothing will. This third game in the ink-splattering sequel has something for everyone, from an endearing single-player campaign, to raucous showdowns against giant enemy salmon. It improves or expands on just about everything from the previous game without getting too overwhelming or losing its soul in the process, still focused on two teams trying to coat a location in their color of ink. The online connectivity can still be a mess, but the amount of character customization and player self-expression takes the social shooter to a whole new level. There’s even an in-universe collectible card game. It’s Splatoon 3’s world, we’re just living in it.

A Good Match For: People who like squirting goo and marveling at internet-pilled billboard art.

Not A Good Match For: Anyone who hates fun or getting disconnected in the middle of an online match.

Read about how it feels good to be a ninja.

Find out why everyone cares.

luigi poking his head around a door looking all scared in luigis mansion 3 for the nintendo switch

Do you love the Halloween season? Do you love spooky stuff? But are you also maybe a bit of weenie and don’t like all the blood, gore, and fear that comes with popular horror games? If so, you should play Luigi’s Mansion 3, a delightful third-person adventure filled with satisfying combat and fun puzzles. The combat is worth mentioning for its satisfying ghost slamming via Luigi’s vacuum pack. Plus, Luigi doppelganger Gooigi is in this game. Enjoy a perfectly paced adventure set in a gorgeous haunted hotel.

A Good Match For: Fans of cute ghosts, silly and spooky games, fun puzzles, Luigi, and Halloween.

Not A Good Match For: People wanting a big, long 80-hour game, folks who dislike any references to ghosts or death, people who hate Luigi or his gooey-clone, and those looking for online PVP action.

Read Kotaku’s review.

Watch Luigi’s Mansion 3 gameplay.

Purchase From: Nintendo eShop | Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | Target

donkey kong jumps in the air in donkey kong country tropical freeze - best switch games

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is a fantastic platformer that had one major drawback when it was released on Wii U in 2014: true to the series’ tradition, it was very difficult. It could be hard to appreciate the abundance of verve and creativity jammed into each of the game’s levels when you were constantly dying. Tropical Freeze’s Switch port addresses that problem with a new “Funky Mode” that offers several ways to make things easier, all without losing the colorful playfulness that makes it such an unusually appealing game. There are a lot of good platforming series out there but none quite like Donkey Kong Country. Tropical Freeze is a more than worthy entry in the series.

A Good Match For: Fans of the DKC series, people who like a challenge, and those who love really good music.

Not A Good Match For: Those who hate difficult games. Even on its easiest setting, Tropical Freeze can still be challenging. Expect to die a lot.

Read Kotaku’s review of the WiiU version, and some thoughts on the Switch port.

Watch Donkey Kong Country gameplay.

Purchase From: Nintendo eShop | Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | Target

a woman raises a ring to launch fire at evil balls in ring fit adventure for the nintendo switch - best switch games

In the early throes of the pandemic, Ring Fit Adventure took the world by storm—and for good reason. Not only did it offer an alternative to IRL exercise (particularly when gyms from coast to coast shuttered their doors), but it also happened to be a genuinely fun game. You perform exercises shown on the screen while wearing a Switch accessory known as a Ring-Con. Doing so allows you to progress along the map, take down enemies, and collect coins. Throw in some role-playing elements and a story that was more compelling than necessary, in which you take down a muscle-bound dragon creature, and you can understand why it was impossible to get a copy of the game for months on end. Though Ring Fit remained sold out for much of the pandemic, the exercise game is more attainable these days. It’s well worth checking out, even if your gym has reopened.

A Good Match For: Time-crunched folks looking for a fun and easy way to get a workout in.

Not A Good Match For: Bodybuilders (the Ring-Con is, like, less than a pound).

Read Kotaku’s review.

Watch Ring Fit Adventure gameplay.

Purchase From: Nintendo | Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | Target

Steel Titan vs Religious Chicken in the ULTIMATE BATTLE.

Originally released in 1994 for the Nintendo Famicom, Live A Live’s 2022 remake was quite the surprise. It came about after original designer Takashi Tokita worked on Octopath Traveler, and realized that game’s HD-2D tech would be the ideal way to re-realize his first project. Live A Live now lives in our heads rent-free as one of the best games of 2022. Its seemingly disparate seven chapters never overstayed their welcome and its turn-based action was equal parts challenging and fulfilling. Plus, its colorful cast of characters let loose a cavalcade of swears and witty clapbacks that made the whole experience a rare pleasure.

A Good Match For: Players who giggle whenever foul-mouthed characters “say a swear” on their family-friendly Nintendo Switch.

Not A Good Match For: Players who don’t want to sink hundreds of hours anime AF storylines.

Read Kotaku’s review.

bowser breathing fire at mario in bowser fury for the nintendo switch

At first glance, Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury might look like something you’ve played a thousand times, and you may have even played this 2.5D Mario platformer when it first came out on the WiiU. It’s fun enough alone, but the main draw is the local co-op, which allows up to four people to play as Mario, Luigi, Peach, or Toad, each of whom have different advantages (Peach can float, Toad’s fast as hell, Luigi isn’t Mario, etc.). And then there’s Bowser’s Fury. Unlike Super Mario 3D World, Bowser’s Fury is entirely new. You’re dropped in a small open world neatly divided into regions (the ice area, the invisible walls area, and so on) and tasked with completing platforming puzzles to collect golden whatsits called Cat Shines. In the center, you’ll see a Kaiju-sized Bowser. Collect enough Cat Shines, and you’ll be able so supersize yourself to take on Bowser in increasingly challenging boss fights. It’s not as long as a “full” Mario game—like Super Mario Odyssey—but it’s an effective showcase for what an open-world Mario game might look like.

A Good Fit For: Mario fans. Anyone hungry for an engaging, accessible local co-op game.

Not A Good Fit For: People who played Super Mario 3D World to death when it first came out. Bowser’s Fury, while terrific, isn’t a full-sized game.

Read Kotaku’s review, and some deeper thoughts about Bowser’s Fury.

Watch Bowser’s Fury.

Purchase From: Nintendo eShop | Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | Target

zagreus and demeter in hades on the nintendo switch

There are roguelikes, and then there’s Hades. The latest from Supergiant Games has many of the trappings of a traditional roguelike—tight action, randomized battles, a never-ending cycle of failure and incremental progress—but distinguishes itself by being a narrative tour de force. Set in the underworld of ancient Greece, you play as Zagreus, the obstinate son of Hades. All of your favorites, from all-powerful Olympians like Zeus and Athena to human legends like Achilles and Eurydice, show up in some way or another. Supergiant cleverly reimagined these millenia-old characters in modern fashion, fully fleshing out dozens of characters as if they existed in an extremely dark rom-com. Every death pushes the story forward, but not linearly. The story is told in how you slowly get to know members of the Greek mytheme a bit more with every bloody, brutal Sisyphean failure. Also, everyone’s hot as hell.

A Good Fit For: People who love roguelikes. Fans of Supergiant’s previous hits (Bastion, Transistor, and Pyre)

Not A Good Fit For: People who love roguelikes, because Hades will tarnish the rest of the genre for you. Anyone who needs their narratives ordered in a neat, three-act structure. The easily frustrated (Hades will kill you a lot).

Read Kotaku’s review.

Study our tips for Hades, and our advice for Hades’ endgame.

Learn what your favorite weapon.

Purchase From: Nintendo eShop | Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | Target

link gliding in the legend of zelda breath of the wild on the nintendo switch

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a monumental artistic achievement, a video game so creative and full of surprises that we’ll be talking about it for years to come. It’s also unlike any Zelda game before it. For years, Zelda games were defined by “no.” You can’t reach this place until later; you can’t solve this puzzle until you get the right item. Breath of the Wild is the best Zelda game to date, and it accomplishes that simply by saying yes. You can climb any tree, cliff, or dungeon wall you see. You’re let loose in an open world and issued four main objectives, which you can tackle in any order you see fit. Or, if it pleases you, you can just beeline for the final boss. You’ll probably lose, but the game won’t stop you from trying.

A Good Match For: Anyone who likes games that let you explore and make your own fun. Horse lovers.

Not A Good Match For: Anyone who preferred the strict structure of other recent Zelda games.

Read Kotaku’s review.

Study our tips for BOTW.

Watch The Legend of Zelda: BOTW gameplay.

Purchase From: Nintendo eShop | Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | Target

mario link daisy pikachu pit ridley inkling and cloud fighting in super smash brothers ultimate on the nintendo switch

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate perfects the long-beloved Super Smash Bros. formula for both the button-mashing seven-year-old and the single-minded competitive gamer. It’s the old platform fighter we’ve been obsessed with since 1999, but this time, with a leviathan roster of 76 fighters. Mastering one could eat up a year, but it’s more fun to sample them all. Smash Ultimate is a museum of Nintendo celebrities, a gaming fandom WrestleMania. Everything is customizable: the rulesets, fighter balancing, stage hazards. With all that stuff, and so many ways to manipulate it, Smash Ultimate is a crowd-pleaser that doesn’t discriminate between a middle school birthday party and a stadium of screaming pros.

A Good Match For: Anyone with a competitive bone in their body. People who have at any point loved Nintendo. Anyone who hosts parties or fans of any of the previous Smash games.

Not A Good Match For: People who hate conflict or primarily enjoy gaming alone.

Read Kotaku’s review.

Watch Super Smash Bros. gameplay.

Study Kotaku’s tips for Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Purchase From: Nintendo eShop | Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | Target

Neon White's creepy-ass characters embraced in what might be romance?

First-person shooter, dating simulator, puzzle game, platformer-thing Neon White is a beautiful monster, crawled out of some portal of golden light and 4chan jokes. Indie developer Ben Esposito’s game is crude at times (the dating sim dialogue can be too corny to sit through) but you’ll never get tired of its primary gameplay’s whip-fast pace. Actually, zooming through Neon White’s pearlescent, circuitous platforms as fast as you can, shooting down pumpkin-shaped monsters with unwavering precision, all while coasting off the bubble high of electronic artist Machine Girl’s independently fantastic score will energize you. The game incentivizes you in all these ways—visually, sonically, through the satisfaction of blowing up your enemies—to complete each of its short, challenging levels better. Faster. Without hesitating.

A Good Match For:  Doom fans, speedrunners, Rate Your Music account owners, anyone on a time crunch that needs a tiny game with a big upper swing.

Not A Good Match For: Visual novel aficionados, people that prefer a slow pace and low stakes.

Find out why Neon White is as good as everyone says it is.

Watch Neon White in action.

a boss fight in hollow knight on the nintendo switch

Hollow Knight is a tiny epic that jams an extraordinary amount of secrets, challenges, and rewards into its sprawling subterranean kingdom. It’s a little bit Castlevania and a little bit Metroid, with a roomy map and remote regions you can only access after unlocking one of many character upgrades. It’s a little bit Dark Souls, with its forsaken kingdom, tough bosses, shortcut-strewn maps, and threat of losing progress upon death. And it shares platforming DNA with games like Ori and the Blind Forest and Super Meat Boy, all wall-slides and air-dashes. It bakes up those ingredients before frosting on a layer of its own distinct vibe, and those who choose to brave the buried insect realm of Hallownest will be rewarded with one of gaming’s great spelunking expeditions. Surprising, challenging, rewarding, and unexpectedly funny, Hollow Knight is absolutely worth your time, and works particularly well on the Switch.

A Good Match For: Those who like a challenge. Metroidvania fans. Anyone looking for a deep, rewarding game to really sink their teeth into.

Not A Good Match For: The easily frustrated; Hollow Knight can be a brutal, unforgiving game, and it throws players into the deep end early. It contains bosses and platforming challenges that may have you tearing your hair out.

Read Kotaku’s review.

Study our tips for Hollow Knight.

Watch Hollow Knight gameplay.

Purchase From: Nintendo eShop | Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | Target

a bunch of yoshis driving motorcycles in mario kart 8 deluxe on the nintendo switch

Ah, the blue shell. There may be no better metaphor for the bleakness of life. One minute you’re cruising along, on top of the world, and then bam, you’re totally hosed. Just when you thought you had it in the bag, life throws a blue shell. Mario Kart 8 isn’t really all that philosophical, of course. It’s the same Mario Kart formula re-tuned and polished to an absurd degree, easily one of the most fun party games you can play on the Switch or any other console. Best of all, the Deluxe version on Switch includes all the DLC maps and characters from the Wii U game and also completely overhauls that version’s woebegone battle mode. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the definitive version of an already great game.

A Good Match For: People who like moving really fast. People who like seeing Luigi look really mean.

Not a Good Match For: People who don’t like Mario Kart? Do those people exist?

Read Kotaku’s review of the WiiU version, and of the Deluxe Switch version.

Watch Mario Kart 8 gameplay. 

Purchase From: Nintendo eShop | Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | Target

villagers sitting around a table in animal crossing new horizons on the nintendo switch

You might think that Animal Crossing: New Horizons isn’t for everyone, but Nintendo’s adorable life sim apparently is for everyone. It’s impossible to ignore the fact that this game launched in the midst of a global pandemic. As citizens around the world ramped up social distancing measures, New Horizons provided a pastel-colored paradise for gamers of all skill levels to collectively get lost in. The gameplay is simple enough: Pick fruit, catch bugs, and hunt for expensive seashells, all in the interest of earning enough dough to build up an idyllic island community. Everything progresses in real time, so there’s impetus to play a little (or a lot) every day. Oh, and did we mention that all the characters are talking animals?

A Good Fit For: Anyone seeking a digital hangout. People who like peace, placidity, or cute things. Travel influencers.

Not A Good Fit For: Anyone with burning impatience, commitment issues, or a need for games to offer stern direction.

Read Kotaku’s review.

Study our tips for ACNH.

Watch Animal Crossing: New Horizons gameplay.

Purchase From: Nintendo eShop | Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | Target

claude in fire emblem three houses on the nintendo switch

Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a tactical role-playing game by way of Dawson’s Creek, as much a challenging game of chess as a matchmaking service for a camp of teenaged anime screw-ups. As much as Three Houses hews to Fire Emblem traditions (spear-sword-axe, anyone?) and plays tropes of Japanese role-playing games straight, it also takes necessary departures in its plot and mechanics. By the end of the game you’ll want to play it again immediately—not just to replay the puzzling tactical battles, but to see the narrative and characters from a new perspective. There are multiple outcomes, each of which ends up at a completely different place. Completionists, eat your heart out.

A Good Match For: Anyone who loves romance and brain-tingling logic puzzles.

Not A Good Match For: Anyone who hates anime, heartbreak, and playing a game three times (or more).

Read Kotaku’s review.

Study our tips for Fire Emblem: Three Houses.

Watch Fire Emblem gameplay.

Purchase From: Nintendo eShop | Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | Target

baba in baba is you on the nintendo switch

You’ve never played anything like Baba Is You. You might never play anything like it again. It’s a simple block-pushing puzzle game, except the blocks you’re pushing are actually the rules of the game themselves. Push blocks reading “Door,” “Is,” and “Open” together, and all the doors in the level open up. The puzzles quickly scale up in difficulty, and you have to wrap your brain around the concept that everything, including you, can be redefined on the fly. A triumphant puzzle masterpiece.

A Good Match For: People who, in the words of Mike Selinker and Thomas Snyder, “solve puzzles because they like pain, and they like being released from pain, and they like most of all that they find within themselves the power to release themselves from their own pain.”

Not A Good Match For: People who immediately run to GameFAQs every time Nathan Drake has to align three spinning wheels or whatever.

Read Kotaku’s impressions.

Watch Baba Is You gameplay.

Purchase From: Nintendo eShop | Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | Target

mario in super mario odyssey on the nintendo switch

Super Mario Odyssey is all about freedom, and it is glorious. Unlike recent Mario games, the red-hatted plumber no longer must move forward in a straight line. The timer is gone, and each level—from the glorious wilderness of Fossil Falls to the bustling metropolis of New Donk City—is a toy box filled with platforming challenges, surprising secrets, and all kinds of goofy fun. You can also dress Mario up as a pirate, a cowboy, a clown, or a ‘20s-era mafia enforcer. When you beat the game, there’s still no shortage of Moons to collect and things to jump on (or off of). It’s one of the best-feeling, most charming games we’ve played in ages.

A Good Match For: Platforming fans, Mario 64 and Sunshine fans, and people who like hats.

Not A Good Match For: People who hate 3D platforming. People who hate hats.

Read Kotaku’s review.

Learn how to jump really far in Super Mario Odyssey.

Watch Super Mario Odyssey gameplay.

Purchase From: Nintendo eShop | Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | Target


How has this list changed? Read back through our update history:

3/10/2023: We added Scarlet and Violet, Metroid Prime Remastered, as well as a selection of Nintendo Switch Online classics

10/5/2022: The list keeps growing. We’ve rather cruelly plucked out Mario Golf: Super Rush as it just hasn’t lodged in our hearts, and Grindstone has slipped off the bottom despite still being great. New arrivals are Splatoon 3, Live A Live, and Neon White.

5/5/2022: After much debate, we’ve cut Undertale and Stardew Valley. Joining the party is Pokémon Legends: Arceus.

7/26/2021: Why cap things at 12? We’ve expanded the list to 18, adding Mario Golf: Super Rush, Ring Fit Adventure, Grindstone, and Luigi’s Mansion 3. Also, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze are back on the menu.

3/22/2021: Celeste, an airtight platformer you can get on a whole bunch of platforms, jumps off the list to clear room for the two-in-one Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury.

10/2/2020: We gave Super Mario Maker 2 the boot to make room for Supergiant’s Hades.

4/2/2020: We’ve removed Platinum Games’ Astral Chain and swapped in the biggest—or at least cutest—launch of early 2020: Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

12/9/2019: Switch had a huge 2019, which means it’s time for a huge update. We’ve added Super Mario Maker 2, Baba Is You, Astral Chain, and Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and removed Splatoon 2, Into the Breach, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, and Bayonetta 2.

1/14/2019: We’ve added Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and taken off Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle.

11/7/2018: We’ve added Into the Breach and Undertale and taken off Dragon Quest Builders and Darkest Dungeon.

6/28/2018: We’ve added Hollow Knight and taken off Steamworld Dig 2.

5/17/2018: We’ve added Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and removed Golf Story.

3/1/2018: We’ve added Celeste, Dragon Quest: Builders, Darkest Dungeon and Bayonetta 2 while removing Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove, Overcooked, Skyrim, and Arms.  

12/6/2017: We’ve added Super Mario Odyssey, Overcooked, and Skyrim and taken off The Binding of Isaac, Puyo Puyo Tetris, and Thumper.

10/12/2017: We’ve added Golf Story, SteamWorld Dig 2 and Stardew Valley and taken off Jackbox Party Pack 3, Minecraft, and Snipperclips.

9/14/2017: We’ve added Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle and removed Cave Story +.

8/9/2017: We’ve added Splatoon 2 and bumped off Disgaea 5.

6/28/2017: Time for our first update, and it’s a big one. We’ve added Minecraft, Arms, Cave Story+, Disgaea 5, Jackbox Party Pack 3 and Thumper, and removed I Am Setsuna and Mr. Shifty. The list will remain capped at 12 games from here on out.

5/3/2017: And lo, the Switch Bests list was created! No updates yet. Expect more in the near future as we add more games, eventually capping the list at 12.


Want more of the best games on each system? Check out our complete directory:

The Best PC GamesThe Best PS5 GamesThe Best PS4 GamesThe Best Games On PlayStation NowThe Best Xbox Series X/S GamesThe Best Xbox One GamesThe Best Games On Xbox Game PassThe Best Wii U GamesThe Best PC Virtual Reality GamesThe Best 3DS GamesThe Best PS Vita GamesThe Best Xbox 360 GamesThe Best PS3 GamesThe Best Wii GamesThe Best iPhone GamesThe Best iPad GamesThe Best Android GamesThe Best Mac GamesThe Best Browser GamesThe Best PC Mods

Note: If you buy any of these games through the retail links in this post, our parent company may get a small share of the sale through the retailers’ affiliates program.

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