The Nintendo Switch console just had its third birthday at the time of writing and is still going strong. With nearly 50 million units sold, it is already more popular than the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, widely considered to be one of Nintendo’s best consoles ever made.
This massive success and incredibly large install base means that the Switch has also become a hot platform for game developers. Featuring both last-generation ports, current generation multi-platform games and a healthy number of exclusives, the Switch has so many worthwhile games that culling some sort of list highlighting the best ones is essentially impossible.
Yet, that’s exactly what we have to do, because as a (presumably) new Switch owner looking to start your library out strong it can be hard to know which titles are absolutely worthy of your money.
Here we’ve tried to include a good mix of game genres and have not excluded games from consideration because they also exist on other platforms. If a game is on the Switch and is (in our opinion) one of the best games on the platform, it’s eligible to feature here. So here are the 5 top Nintendo Switch games.
Breath of the Wild is both a major departure from Zelda games before and also somewhat of a return to the roots of the series when it comes to the sense of adventure and wonder. Just about everyone seems to agree that BotW is a must-play game for every Switch owner.
Not only is it utterly beautiful, not only does it provide hundreds of hours in an open world, it also tells an epic story of a broken world in need of a hero and offers some truly unique emergent gameplay.
The BotW world feels alive and unpredictable. You really can play it your way, with many puzzles using the physics rules in ways the developers never imagined. Here’s the bottom line: if you love open worlds, fantasy adventure and incredibly fun gameplay and exploration, you should already be playing this.
The Fire Emblem series of turn-based strategy role playing games has always had a hardcore, dedicated fanbase. These games were especially known for having permanent character death. If one of your unique characters dies in a battle – that’s it.
Fire Emblem exploded into the mainstream with the release of the 3DS title Fire Emblem Awakening, which introduced a casual option and added a deep romance mechanic, where players could pair characters and then recruit their children into the fight as well.
Three Houses is the first FE title for the Switch and represents yet another major overhaul of the series’ formula. Gone are the matchmaking mechanics, although your own character can still romance one other character. Instead, Three Houses offers a complex and deep SRPG (Strategy Role-Playing Game) experience and hundreds of hours of play.
You play a mysterious prodigy who becomes a professor at a Hogwarts-esque military academy. You need to choose which one of three houses you will join, which also means swearing allegiance to that house leader and the kingdom, empire or duchy they represent. It’s important not to spoil the game’s plot, but what you do in the first main phase of the game’s story has deep repercussions for the latter phase.
Three Houses is a game you need to play at least four times in order to see every major storyline. Recently, a story expansion has been released that adds a “fourth” house as a side story. If you enjoy SRPGs, there’s no better value for money than Three Houses. This writer has sunk just over 100 hours into the game so far and there’s at least another 50 hours to go.
DOOM 2016 is one of the so-called “Impossible ports” to hit the Switch. Despite a 30 frames-per-second cap, blurrier visuals and less-detailed textures, this is very much the entire DOOM 2016 experience. As a pure shooter, there’s nothing better on the Switch and this is of course the only way to play this game handheld and on the go.
DOOM 2016 is a ripping, tearing, demon-slaying slice of pure fun. If any of that sounds good to you (like the award-winning metal soundtrack) then buy this game today. Also, incidentally, Dooms 1,2 & 3 are also on the Switch, along with DOOM 64 and DOOM Eternal.
You can’t have a list of top Nintendo Switch games without having at least one Mario title. There are plenty of excellent titles featuring the famous Italian plumber, but only Mario Odyssey stands out as the one title to own.
Building on the revolutionary 3D Mario 64 game and the 3D Mario titles that followed, Odyssey shows Mario as you’ve never seen him before. He’s thrust into varied worlds, given incredible powers through a sentient hat that lets you possess enemies and objects.
The level designs are inspired, Mario controls like a dream and the game provides a substantial amount of gameplay. Especially if you’re a completionist collector. This is the pinnacle of 3D Mario game design and if you liked any 3D Marios, this one should be on your list too.
Cuphead is notable for a few reasons. First of all, it used to be a Microsoft exclusive, but is now on the Switch thanks to the weird friendship Nintendo and Microsoft seem to have developed. At least for now. The other reason this game is special is its unparalleled classic animation. If you’re a fan of classic “bendy” animation then Cuphead is going to appeal to you.
Finally, this game is known to be one of the most challenging titles out there,with a focus on boss battles and an excellent two-player mode. The story is essentially a “pay the devil his dues” yarn, where you have to defeat these bosses to save your own soul. Cuphead has plenty of old-school challenges and heaps of polished charms. If you’re not afraid of a little repeated death, Cuphead is an essential title.
Which Nintendo Switch games would you consider to be the essential ones for any Switch owner? Let us know in the comments.