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40 Best Nintendo Switch Games

Stop us if you've heard this one before: "The Switch is great, but where are the games?"

Well, they're right here. Nintendo's hybrid console didn't have the most robust launch lineup in history, but all of that has changed in just a few short years. Now the Nintendo Switch is home to some incredible portable experiences, ranging from classic franchises to indie mainstays. Basically, if you can't find a Switch game you like, you aren't looking hard enough

As a home for both Nintendo's signature characters and some of the most interesting, quirky, and inventive smaller games on the market, the Switch can't be beat—and here's the proof.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

You know what people are saying. It's the best "Zelda" game ever. One of the strongest launch titles in history. Quite possibly the greatest video game of all time.

It sounds ridiculous—but what if it's true? By questioning everything that makes "Zelda" what it is, Nintendo managed to breathe new life into a decades-old formula, and "Breath of the Wild" is all the better for it. No, you won't collect new items in every dungeon (this time around, there's really only four of 'em anyway), and you won't find your progress blocked by seemingly insurmountable obstacles. After leaving the game's tutorial section, you can go anywhere and do practically anything. Seriously. If you think of something, go ahead and try it. It'll probably work.

And yet, while the game doesn't play like any title that came before it, "Breath of the Wild" still feels like "Zelda." Of course, exploration plays a big part in that—no other game has so perfectly captured the feeling of delving into a strange new world and uncovering the secrets hidden inside. But ultimately, what makes "Breath of the Wild" work so well is the small things. It's the way ingredients happily bounce around on a frying pan while you're cooking. It's how every non-player character has his or her own name and personality, or how the monstrous Bokoblins seem to have lives of their own, dancing and arguing and napping when the player isn't looking.

Adventuring across a distant land isn't much fun if the world itself isn't interesting, but under Nintendo's guidance, Hyrule feels absolutely alive. In "Breath of the Wild," there's always some new discovery lurking just out of view, making for a game that is very, very difficult to put down.

  • Release Date: March 3, 2017
  • Genre: Action adventure, open world
  • Game modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic Score: 97

Warioware: Get It Together!

Wario is a strange character by any standards. Though he's meant to be an evil foil to Mario, some of his best known qualities — like his love of garlic and passing gas — seem more endearingly strange than wicked. As is only appropriate for such an odd character, Wario got his own series of games starring a lovable group of his weirdo friends beginning in 2003 with "WarioWare: MegaMicrogame$!" From there, things really took off, and the series' popularity gave it license to get weirder and weirder. "WarioWare: Get It Together!" brought the minigame mayhem of Wario and co. to the Switch, which is perhaps the perfect platform for anarchic party games.

Critics generally enjoyed "WarioWare: Get It Together!" when it released, and many considered it a worthy entry to the series. At the very least, the oddball humor of "WarioWare," paired with the portability of the Switch, makes it a solid game to take on the road or play in the quiet moments of a commute. This release is strange, with minigames ranging from mundane activities to action-packed exploits. With several genres of games to choose from, as well as the option to remix all the genres together, "Get It Together!" is a top-tier "WarioWare" title.

  • Release Date: Sept. 10, 2021
  • Genre: Misc., Party
  • Game modes: Single-player, local multiplayer
  • Metacritic Score: 76

New Pokemon Snap

"New Pokemon Snap" wasn't exactly what gamers thought it would be, but the unexpected grind of playing the same levels over and over to unlock things didn't make the game any less satisfying. "New Pokemon Snap" puts players in the shoes of a Poke-photographer, a researcher working closely with a Pokemon Professor to document and learn about the magical Pocket Monsters everyone loves. This is accomplished by snapping pics of Pokemon while riding in a preprogrammed vehicle, which can traverse most terrain. Instead of capturing Pokemon and training them, players observe the creatures in their natural habitats, taking advantage of different tools and times of day to elicit new and exciting poses.

"New Pokemon Snap" is a reimagining of "Pokemon Snap," a cult classic spinoff game from 1999. That being said, the newer version is quite different from the original, and has its own host of quirks. Overall, the experience of researching Pokemon is relaxing and fun, showcasing a different side of a long-established franchise. It's definitely worth a look for both seasoned Poke-pros and newcomers.

  • Release Date: April 30, 2021
  • Genre: Shooter, Misc.
  • Game modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic Score: 79

Mario Party Superstars

Sometimes, the newfangled "Mario Party" titles can feel overwhelming. The Ally Blocks and complex boards of "Super Mario Party" can feel like too much of a divergence from the classic "Mario Party" formula, and players might yearn for the days before motion control. Enter "Mario Party Superstars."

"Mario Party Superstars" takes away the overly sensitive controls and additional board elements, remastering several fan-favorite locations and minigames from parties past. It's a delight to see "Peach's Birthday Cake" or "Horror Land" on the Nintendo Switch, and wild – and sometimes dangerous – games like "Tug of War" make a triumphant return as well. "Mario Party Superstars" takes players young and old back to simpler times, and many critics believed it was one of the freshest entries in the long-running series. "Superstars" even features online gameplay to party with friends all across the globe.

At the end of the day, "Mario Party Superstars" might not be anything new, but it's definitely a versatile, fun pick that the whole family can enjoy.

  • Release Date: Oct. 29, 2021
  • Genre: Party
  • Game modes: Single-player, online multiplayer, local multiplayer
  • Metacritic Score: 80

Luigi's Mansion 3

"Luigi's Mansion" is a series that fans can't get enough of, and even though it launched on Halloween of 2019, "Luigi's Mansion 3" still holds up as one of the best Switch titles available, simply because it's so different from other offerings on the console. Luigi must journey through a haunted hotel with little else besides a flashlight and an elaborate vacuum cleaner, facing off against all sorts of ghosts. While the ghosts aren't friendly, they are awfully cute, and require a good deal of strategy to corral into Luigi's pack.

Ultimately, Luigi has to save Mario and Peach from King Boo, putting a fun twist on the "Mario Bros." formula that typically sees the red plumber brother as the hero. "Luigi's Mansion 3" also introduces Gooigi, a goopy, green shadow of Luigi that opens up a wealth of puzzles and multiplayer options. Working with Gooigi, Luigi can navigate to places that he couldn't reach before. Even though Gooigi's origin is suspicious at best, he's become a beloved character in one of the best games available for the Switch.

  • Release Date: Oct. 31, 2019
  • Genre: Action adventure
  • Game modes: Single-Player, multiplayer
  • Metacritic Score: 86

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

What can be said about "Animal Crossings: New Horizons" that hasn't already been said? As noted by Bloomberg, it arrived as much of the world was shutting down to deal with a pandemic, leaving players inside with hours and hours of free time to arrange their islands, procure the perfect villagers, and island hop to their hearts' content, making the game a smash hit. This slice of life title puts players in charge of their own island, which they must manage alongside Tom Nook in order to make it a hospitable home for adorable island residents. While the base game was phenomenal, "New Horizons" has consistently offered free updates to players, adding in new events, villagers, and furniture to the already expansive game. Plus, developers are clearly tuned in to what the fans want, and even feel free to let things rip once in a while with limited time items like whoopee cushions.

"Animal Crossing: New Horizons" changed the series for the better, and continues to bring joy to many players. The final update to "New Horizons" brought new items and a paid DLC, "Happy Home Paradise," which allows players to become interior decorators and help vacationers create their dream homes. While there won't be another free upgrade to "New Horizons" in the future, there's still plenty for players left to explore.

  • Release Date: March 20, 2020
  • Genre: Life simulation
  • Game modes: Single-player, online multiplayer
  • Metacritic Score: 90

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity

"Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity" is the sequel to "Hyrule Warriors," a musou-styled real time action game that allows players to conduct massive battles as their favorite "Legend of Zelda" characters. What makes "Age of Calamity" more exciting than its predecessor is its focus on lore from "Breath of the Wild." By putting players in the shoes of characters like Purah, "Age of Calamity" helped expound on characters that couldn't feature heavily in a mainline "Zelda" title. Critics generally enjoyed "Age of Calamity," and some fans thought that the game could have implications for "Breath of the Wild 2."

"Age of Calamity" also shines on the Switch because it's simply fun. The chaos of musou style games lends itself well to the universe of "The Legend of Zelda," and while the real-time action is similar to existing "Zelda" games, "Hyrule Warriors" amplifies combat, making it satisfyingly large-scale and putting characters that would never meet in a mainline game on the battlefield together.

  • Release Date: Nov. 20, 2020
  • Genre: Action, musou
  • Game modes: Single-player, local multiplayer
  • Metacritic Score: 78

Yoshi's Crafted World

"Yoshi's Crafted World," imagines what Yoshi would be like if he and his friends were made from household materials. The game itself is relatively simple. It follows the same formula as other "Yoshi" titles, taking players through a series of levels in which Yoshi must find collectible items in an attempt to reconstruct the Sundream Stone. It's a race against the magical Kamek and Baby Bowser to grab Sundream Stone pieces in order to gain a magical wish.

The story isn't what's special about "Yoshi's Crafted World," though. Instead, it's the intricately designed levels, full of cardboard set pieces and paper enemies, that make the game stand out amongst its peers. The game offers players a chance to relax while navigating puzzles and shooting eggs at adorable enemies. Of course, its easy skill level also means that "Yoshi's Crafted World" is suitable for younger players, too, or families that want to game together. Overall, the hodge podge of arts and crafts offers a cute aesthetic and intriguing puzzles for all sorts of players to enjoy.

  • Release Date: March 28, 2019
  • Genre: Action adventure, platformer
  • Game modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic Score: 79

Kirby Star Allies

While "Kirby Star Allies" doesn't have a wild Mouthful Mode like "Kirby and the Forgotten Land," it does have the ability to team up with a friend to travel across familiarly bright landscapes. Polygon's review for "Star Allies" points out that the real core of the game is friendship, and it's true. "Star Allies" insists that Kirby take his cute friends with him wherever he goes, helping him in battle and sharing in his victories when he completes a level.

One of the best parts of "Kirby Star Allies" is the variety of weapons and abilities Kirby can use. At some point in the game, it becomes a secondary task to try all of the different skillsets, like the staff that turns Kirby into a martial arts superstar. Better yet, the combinations of abilities become even more interesting when one considers that the game is available in co-op. By working together – and sometimes giving each other a little kiss – players can journey through each level and save the kingdom.

  • Release Date: March 16, 2018
  • Genre: Platformer, action
  • Game modes: Single-player, couch co-op
  • Metacritic Score: 73

Taiko No Tatsujin: Drum 'n' Fun

"Taiko No Tatsujin" was originally an arcade franchise in Japan, but "Drum 'n' Fun" brought the series to America in full force on the Nintendo Switch, making the taiko drum title available worldwide for the first time in almost a decade. Like all the "Taiko No Tatsujin" games, "Drum 'n' Fun" allows players to drum along to popular songs, challenging themselves to keep specific rhythms and execute elaborate combinations of rim (ka) and drum (don) beats. The game is unapologetically Japanese, which only adds to its charm. Anthropomorphized taiko drums dance alongside traditional festival characters in a chaotic swirl as song notes glide swiftly across the screen. Drumming along is a challenge, but it's worth it, satisfying gamers that enjoy other rhythm games like "Dance Dance Revolution" or "Rhythm Heaven."

"Taiko No Tatsujin: Drum 'n' Fun" has an extensive list of songs available, including Japanese pop songs and songs from various anime. Additional songs are also available to purchase via the Nintendo eShop, meaning that the game can always hold a new experience for players. "Taiko No Tatsujin" is unlike any other game on the Switch, and that alone makes it worth checking out.

  • Release Date: Nov. 2, 2018
  • Genre: Rhythm
  • Game modes: Single-player, local multiplayer
  • Metacritic Score: 78

Nintendo Labo

"Nintendo Labo" is almost impossible to assess. It's not a game, per se, but rather an experience, an activity. Players could buy kits that included various cardboard pieces, which they could then assemble into various physical items. Then, these items could house either the Switch itself or a Joy-Con in order to interact with included software.

In IGN's review of the "Nintendo Labo" bundle, reviewer Ben Bertoli said that the kit was "classic Nintendo silliness with a delightfully crafty feel." Each project is meant to invite further creative exploration, as players can modify the cardboard items as they see fit. Bertoli also explained that the cardboard included in the kit was sturdy, able to stand up to harsh play and hours of use, and that the kit itself had detailed instructions that should keep gamers busy for 8 hours or more.

Overall, "Nintendo Labo" might not be for everyone, but it's definitely a title that gets at the core of Nintendo's gaming ethics, showing that it's okay to have a little quirky fun with peripherals.

  • Release Date: April 20, 2018
  • Genre: Misc.
  • Game modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic Score: 77

Metroid Dread

While audiences eagerly awaited "Metroid Prime 4," Nintendo and Mercury Steam were busy developing another "Metroid" game in secret. This title, "Metroid Dread," was the first all-new 2D "Metroid" game in almost two decades — "Metroid: Samus Returns" doesn't quite count since it's a remake. Even though "Metroid Dread" was announced several months before it released on the Nintendo Switch, the title demonstrated why 2D "Metroid" games are widely regarded as some of the best metroidvania experiences on the market.

"Metroid Dread" starts like any other "Metroid" game: Samus lands on an alien planet and, in order to survive, needs to improve her arsenal with items scattered across the map. Each new piece of equipment improves her combat and traversal options, which opens up even more locations with yet more collectibles. But "Metroid Dread" also leverages and polishes many advances in technology and game design to craft a unique experience.

When it comes to presentation, "Metroid Dread" is no slouch. Beautiful levels and music solidify a sense of isolation; Samus is essentially trapped on this alien planet, and the only other entities there want to kill her. This ever-present sense of dread escalates when players encounter the dangerous E.M.M.I. Even though these robots aren't physically disturbing, the sheer intimidation factor that comes from their invulnerable bodies and impossibly fast speed is enough to terrify most audiences.

"Metroid Dread" was 15 years in the making, and it was worth the wait.

  • Release Date: October 8, 2021
  • Genre: Action, adventure, metroidvania
  • Game Modes: Single player only
  • Metacritic Score: 88

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

"Super Smash Bros." has been synonymous with Nintendo since the N64. Every new console has featured an entry and utilized new advances in technology to make bigger and better experiences. "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" continues this trend to create a must-own multiplayer title for Switch.

"Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" features the same chaotic action as the rest of the franchise, but the latest entry has two major selling points: online play and a gigantic roster of playable characters. While the first is standard for many video games these days, the second is a celebration of the entire "Super Smash Bros." franchise. As the series' library of fighters grew, many were swapped out due to balance issues or hardware limitations. For instance, the Nintendo 3DS couldn't handle multiple Ice Climbers, so the character duo was dropped from a few entries, but the Switch is Nintendo's most powerful console so far. It had no such limitations, so as the tagline states, "Everyone is here!"

Nintendo packed in and balanced every playable fighter from previous "Super Smash Bros." games for "Ultimate." And since audiences could fight other players from around the world, hype was at an all-time high. Every time Nintendo held a Nintendo Direct, audiences tuned in, hoping to see the next batch of "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" DLC. Luckily, these new fighters rarely disappointed. With more newcomers than ever before, many of whom are third-party representatives, "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" is the ultimate party fighter title.

  • Release Date: December 7, 2018
  • Genre: Fighting
  • Game Modes: Single player, local multiplayer, and online multiplayer
  • Metacritic Score: 93

Pokemon Legends: Arceus

The "Pokemon" series is as beloved as it is comfortable. Every mainline entry tasks players with catching as many fantastical creatures as possible, training them, and competing for fame and fortune. However, Nintendo and Game Freak followed this formula a little too reliably, which made many fans wish for a different "Pokemon" experience, preferably with a larger world to explore. "Pokemon Legends: Arceus" is that game, and it's almost everything audiences wanted.

While most "Pokemon" games stick to their turn-based roots, "Pokemon Legends: Arceus" adds a healthy dose of open world-style exploration. Players can now catch Pokemon without ever initiating combat, which is both a time-saver and a new level of strategy. With the proper preparation, audiences can catch some truly powerful creatures with only a berry, a Poke Ball, and patience.

Since "Arceus" doesn't have much in the way of series-standard Trainer battles, the game fills in the gaps with a sense of freedom reminiscent of "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild." This game isn't truly open world, but gamers still have plenty of ground to cover. Moreover, players are free and encouraged to wander around the various maps, complete missions and requests, and chuck Poke Balls at everything. Audiences never know what they will find, and the in-game feedback they receive from discovering something new or special drives them to explore even more.

Many gamers are convinced the upcoming "Pokemon Scarlet" and "Violet" will use a world design similar to that of "Pokemon Legends Arceus." If true, the main series may truly be revitalized by the changes made to "Arceus."

  • Release Date: January 28, 2022
  • Genre: Action, role-playing
  • Game Modes: Single player
  • Metacritic Score: 83

Hades

Supergiant Games entered the indie scene with the critically-acclaimed ARPG "Bastion." Ever since, the studio has introduced one beloved title after another, most of which are available on the Nintendo Switch. The company's latest offering, "Hades," is not only one of the best games available on the Switch, it's also one of the best roguelikes ever.

In "Hades," players take control of Zagreus, the son of Hades, who wants to escape the underworld no matter how many tries it takes. Each run funnels gamers through a different maze of procedurally-generated rooms where they face a variety of enemies, collect boons bestowed by the Greek pantheon, and inevitably die. Every session is action-packed, and even when faced with defeat, players always feel the urge to try one more time.

As with most roguelikes, whenever players die, they can spend gathered resources on permanent buffs to make subsequent runs easier. While players can't pick up new weapons in the underworld maze, they can use collected items to unlock novel arsenals and alternate weapon forms that open up different combat strategies. Unlike similar titles, "Hades" provides a non-linear narrative. Each time Zagreus is killed, he finds himself back in the House of Hades and can talk to different characters, give them gifts, and learn more about them. Each NPC has a story to tell.

"Hades" is available on every platform on the market, but the Switch is the only one that lets audiences play the game on the go. What better way to spend a trip than trekking through the underworld and dying over and over again?

  • Release Date: March 19, 2021
  • Genre: Action, adventure, role-playing, roguelike
  • Game Modes: Single player only
  • Metacritic Score: 93

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Whenever you hear the title "Fire Emblem," you usually know what to expect. "Fire Emblem: Three Houses" is all that and more, which not only makes it one of the best entries in the franchise, but also one of the best RPGs on the Switch.

Combat in "Fire Emblem: Three Houses" is, for the most part, classic "Fire Emblem" strategy. Players move a small army across grid-based levels, and while the game ditches the series' iconic weapon triangle system, it forces players to adopt different battlefield strategies. The result is nothing "Fire Emblem" veterans haven't seen before, but it certainly is polished. However, combat isn't the game's only draw.

In "Fire Emblem: Three Houses," players control a teacher. It's their job to guide his or her students through lessons and combat scenarios. But as the title suggests, players have to pick between one of three houses, each with their own members. Not only does this choice affect which units are available, but also overall story progression. The plot is engrossing no matter what choices players make, but this extra choice of factions adds a ton of replayability, especially since the heart of "Three Houses" lies in the students and their relationships.

At the end of the day, "Fire Emblem: Three Houses" isn't an excellent game because of its amazing combat, story, or mechanics; it's excellent because all these elements combine into an adventure that is greater than the sum of its parts.

  • Release Date: July 26, 2019
  • Genre: Strategy, role-playing
  • Game Modes: Single player only
  • Metacritic Score: 89

Dead Cells

At first glance, roguelikes and metroidvanias seem at odds with each other. One tasks players with running through randomly generated levels, the other asks audiences to revisit old areas after they acquire new abilities and open up secret paths. Motion Twin found a way to combine the two opposing genres and create "Dead Cells."

As players explore the shifting levels of "Dead Cells," they have to run, jump, and slash their way past challenging enemies and insidious traps. The more gamers explore, the more weapons and resources they will find, and if they make it to the end of a level, they can spend their hard-earned collectibles to unlock new items and upgrades for subsequent runs.

Since each session randomizes the loot, map layout, and enemy placement, players never know what to expect. This ever-present feeling of discovery, combined with a steady drip-feed of new challenges and items, scratches that "one more time" itch. Plus, every level includes inaccessible areas that players can only reach with runes that unlock metroidvania-esque abilities, thus encouraging yet more playthroughs. You'll never know what lies beyond the randomly-placed teleportation monolith without the associated rune, which is naturally hidden in a different biome.

Like "Hades," "Dead Cells" is available on many platforms, but with the Nintendo Switch, gamers can play this unique blend of roguelike and metroidvania wherever they find themselves.

  • Release Date: August 7, 2018
  • Genre: Roguelike, metroidvania, action, platformer
  • Game Modes: Single player only
  • Metacritic Score: 89

Monster Hunter Rise

"Monster Hunter World" reinvigorated the "Monster Hunter" formula with large, open hunting grounds that replaced the old map system which divided levels into small sections separated by loading screens. But for all that game's positives, there's always room for improvement. "Monster Hunter Rise" adds to that title's ideas to create an even better experience.

Like virtually every "Monster Hunter" title on the market, "Rise" revolves around the rewarding loop of hunting monsters, building stronger weapons and armor out of their body parts, and using that equipment to hunt even bigger monsters. The underlying combat formula remains unchanged, but "Rise" introduces a few new ideas that add even more layers of strategy and enjoyment.

This time, mobility is the name of the game. "Monster Hunter Rise" adds new traversal options in the form of Palamutes and Wirebugs. The first are dog-like companions that can aid in battle and carry players around the maps at speeds unheard of in "Monster Hunter," while the latter are helpful insects that let hunters Spider-Man their way through the air, use new weapon techniques, and even temporarily control monsters.

But that's not all. "Monster Hunter Rise" also adds new challenges in the form of larger and more aggressive Apex Monsters and defense missions where players have to guard city gates from attacking creatures. "Monster Hunter Rise" doesn't reinvent the gameplay loop as much as "Monster Hunter World" did, but it builds on what came before to create an amazing monster hunting experience.

  • Release Date: March 26, 2021
  • Genre: Action
  • Game Modes: Single player and online multiplayer
  • Metacritic Score: 88

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

Nobody expected the cast of Nintendo's "Super Mario" to cross over with Ubisoft's Rabbids in a million years — not even in "Super Smash Bros." — let alone adopt a tactical combat style that cribs from Firaxis' "XCOM" series. However, that's exactly what happened in "Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle." And the kicker? This insane combination works.

In "Mario + Rabbids," players control a small group of "Super Mario" characters and Rabbid doppelgangers. Each member has unique abilities and weapons, which lets players explore different team builds. Combat is the main draw of "Mario + Rabbids," which produces a fun middle ground between the tense tactics of "XCOM" and the zany speed of "Super Mario." With the right planning, players can body check multiple opponents, leap off an ally into another enemy, and then jump into a pipe that takes them to the opposite side of the map. Enemies can do the same, but that give and take is part of the fun.

On the presentation side of things, "Mario + Rabbids" is a game made for "Super Mario" fans, by "Super Mario" fans. The developers at Ubisoft crammed as much story and comedy as they could into the experience, and most of it works. Add a bangin' soundtrack conducted by Grant Kirkhope, and it's difficult to find any egregious faults with "Mario + Rabbids."

"Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle" is not only a great game on its own, it also combines elements that shouldn't work together and makes them jell almost seamlessly, which elevates the experience even more.

  • Release Date: August 29, 2017
  • Genre: Strategy, adventure
  • Game Modes: single player and local multiplayer
  • Metacritic Score: 85

Dragon Quest XI S - Definitive Edition

When Square Enix initially released "Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age" on the PlayStation 4 and PC, audiences ate up the game thanks to its engrossing story, simple combat, and its, well, Dragon Quest-ness. The rerelease, "Dragon Quest XI S – Definitive Edition" lives up to its name and delivers an even better experience.

In terms of combat and story, "Dragon Quest XI S" is identical to the original release. The game isn't bogged down by additional combat systems; it's just classic turn-based JRPG action at its finest. The same can be said about the narrative, which both channels and breaks genre-standard tropes to produce an engrossing adventure brought to life by memorable characters.

So what makes "Dragon Quest XI S" the "definitive" way to play, you ask? Tons of new choices and quality of life improvements, that's what. The "Definitive Edition" adds a remastered orchestral soundtrack, Japanese voice acting, and 2D pixel art game mode options. Plus, this new rendition includes extra story content and side missions, and the crafting minigame has been reforged (pun definitely intended). In "Dragon Quest XI S," players can access the new Fun-Sized Forge anywhere and purchase missing components from the minigame menu to speed up crafting and cut down on grinding.

The original version of "Dragon Quest XI" gave players an insane amount of content (anywhere between 50 and 120-ish hours), but the Nintendo Switch's "Dragon Quest XI S – Definitive Edition" provides even more bang for your buck. It's no wonder this version was eventually ported over to other platforms.

  • Release Date: September 27, 2019
  • Genre: Adventure, role-playing
  • Game Modes: Single player only
  • Metacritic Score: 91

Shin Megami Tensei 5

Given the popularity of the "Persona" franchise, it's easy to forget that it began as a spinoff of "Shin Megami Tensei." "Persona" had seemingly supplanted "SMT" as Atlus' largest product, but "Shin Megami Tensei 5" reminds audiences where that love originated.

Far too many RPG plots revolve around characters trying to prevent the apocalypse, but in "SMT 5," that's already happened. The world is done and dusted, and the only creatures left are demons and other mythological figures. It's up to players to parlay with these entities and survive long enough to recreate the world as they see fit.

While the story of "Shin Megami Tensei 5" is nothing to sneeze at, the game's main draws are its combat and party systems. Battles are challenging affairs that force players to take advantage of elemental advantages and disadvantages; critical attacks and hitting weak points net players more turns, while missing or attacking with an element enemies absorb reduces turns. This system also goes both ways, as opponents who exploit a player's weaknesses can steamroll a party with their own extra turns. And like in most "SMT" games, players recruit demons by conversing with them and even sacrificing some to summon newer, more powerful allies.

"Shin Megami Tensei 5" isn't exactly the "Dark Souls" of turn-based RPGs, but the game scratches that same itch of providing players daunting, tough-yet-fair challenges that make victory feel that much more satisfying.

  • Release Date: November 12, 2021
  • Genre: Role-playing, strategy
  • Game Modes: Single player only
  • Metacritic Score: 84

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

"Mario Kart 8 Deluxe" is the best "Mario Kart" game and it keeps growing in popularity. That longevity has been helped by 2022's announcement of a Booster Course Pass, which adds even more maps nearly 5 years after the game hit Switch in 2017 — not to mention the fact that "Deluxe" is an extremely polished and enhanced version of an already-excellent Wii U game from 2014. Definitely a weird move (typical of Nintendo), but the final iteration of "Mario Kart 8" remains the pinnacle of a genre-defining series.

Awesome features like anti-gravity racing, Smart Steering for accessibility, a new and improved Battle Mode, and the inclusion of all previous DLC make "Mario Kart 8 Deluxe" race ahead of previous entries. The sheer breadth of tracks, characters, and karts immediately made "Deluxe" the definitive version of the game. Plus, this "Deluxe" port ensured this great game would find a home on a console owned by many more players. With so many classic tracks being added to such a fantastic core, fans might as well start calling this "Mario Kart Ultimate."

  • Release Date: April 28, 2017
  • Genre: Racing
  • Game modes: Single-Player, Online and Local Multiplayer
  • Metacritic Score: 92 

Super Mario Odyssey

A spiritual successor to "Super Mario 64" in a great many ways, "Mario Odyssey" is an earth shattering reinvention of the 3D "Mario" formula. For starters, in 2017, this was the first game to really take the mainline series in a brand new direction since "Super Mario Galaxy." Instead of traditional Stars or Shines earned by completing a level, "Odyssey" introduced players to larger worlds full of Moons, secrets, and plenty of platforming challenges. "Super Mario Odyssey" has been compared to 2017's "Breath of the Wild" (per Kotaku), particularly in terms of how wide-open the game felt in comparison to the rest of its respective series.

The biggest gimmick for "Odyssey" is Cappy, Mario's new cap that allows the former plumber to take on the identity of the enemies and other creatures in the wacky Kingdoms he explores. By collecting hundreds of Moons over the course of the game, Mario will travel from the Cap Kingdom to the Luncheon Kingdom and beyond. "Odyssey" was a real game-changer, and fans have seen Nintendo explore open world concept a bit further in the time since, in the form of "Bowser's Fury."

  • Release Date: October 27, 2017
  • Genre: Platformer
  • Game modes: Single-Player, Co-op
  • Metacritic Score: 97 

Ring Fit Adventure

"Ring Fit Adventure" is unlike any other game on this list, as it's quite possibly the best fusion of fitness apps and genuine video gaming that has ever been released. Upon first glance, it might seem like this is the Switch's approximation of "Wii Fit," but "Ring Fit Adventure" is on a whole other level.

Using the trappings of a standard fantasy setting and RPG progression, "Ring Fit" rewards your gamer brain for working your body. Packaged with the Ring-Con controller and a strap that allows the game to monitor your leg movement, "Ring Fit Adventure" is a full-body affair. You will run in place, as well as focus on plenty of other cardio exercises. But the enemy encounters in "Ring Fit" are specifically geared toward building your strength. As the game progresses, RPG mechanics — like enemies being weak to certain types of moves (i.e. leg or arm attacks) — force you to change up your routine and move-set. Different levels and days of play will target different muscle groups.

"Ring Fit" is great at encouraging healthy havits and giving general wellness tips. Plus, the story mode is littered with bonus games and items that will help you level up quickly and become stronger — both in the game and in real life!

  • Release Date: October 18, 2019 
  • Genre: Fitness, RPG
  • Game modes: Single-Player
  • Metacritic Score: 83

Hollow Knight

It could be argued that "Hollow Knight" is the pinnacle of the Metroidvania sub-genre of action adventure games. While there are plenty of masterpieces to compete with, it's hard to deny "Hollow Knight's" bravado, its striking style, and repeatedly surprising choices. Inspired by "Zelda" games (via MCV UK), you play as a bug in an expansive kingdom of insects.

As it borrows mechanics from games as diverse as "Super Metroid" and even "Dark Souls," "Hollow Knight" creates something entirely its own. The side-scroller boasts an impressive art style and soundtrack that shift the mood of the game constantly, fleshing out its fantastic world. The combat starts slow, but deliberate. The more you explore the world of Hallownest, the more you will discover in terms of game-changing combat and navigation abilities. "Hollow Knight" is an evocative and exciting adventure that pushes the boundaries of how fully immersive a 2D world can feel.

  • Release Date: June 12, 2018
  • Genre: Action, Platformer, Indie
  • Game modes: Single-Player
  • Metacritic Score: 90 

Celeste

Forget "Mario," Celeste is one of the greatest platformers to grace Nintendo's hybrid console. Both are great, but the nail-biting levels in "Celeste" immediately gives players satisfaction that a "Mario" game might take hours to reveal. From the get-go, the controls on Maddy Thorson's challenging pixel art platformer are tight as can be. The objective is simple: Keep moving forward. Speed is everything in "Celeste," so restarting from a checkpoint is just as fast as the controls are responsive. And you'll need those reload times, because you will be dying a lot in this one.

It is a challenging enough game to get through on its own, but the unlockable levels and secrets worlds "Celeste" holds are some of the most blisteringly challenging platforming segments this side of "I Wanna Be the Guy." Seriously, this stuff is punishing.

Also wonderful is the storytelling of "Celeste." Communicated through light touches, the game nevertheless that makes you feel at home with these characters. The metaphor of climbing a mountain to overcome your anxieties is clear as day, but never once feels cliche.This charming and deeply heartfelt tale of identity and self-acceptance is one to which everyone can relate.

  • Release Date: January 25, 2018
  • Genre:Platformer, Indie
  • Game modes: Single-Player
  • Metacritic Score: 92 

Into the Breach

A fantastic blending of rogue-lite with the tactics genre, "Into the Breach" feels more chess-like than many tactics games. In this turn-based game by "FTL" developer Subset Games, you choose your mech team and embark on a journey to save the world from giant invading bugs. Each run has many similar pieces, but the slightly different scenarios will test your mettle and ability to think on the fly. Speaking of things being "on the fly," the game finds itself perfectly at home on the Switch, performing splendidly in portable mode. 

Aside from its gorgeous pixel art and excellent soundtrack, "Into the Breach" is unique in how it gives the player 100% of the information they need. Everything that is going to happen on the next turn is communicated clearly to the player. This can be simultanesouly overwhelming and thrilling, leading to runs that can last 30 minutes or hours, all depending on how calculated and patient your playstyle is.

As you advance through "Into the Breach," you will unlock a variety of mech teams and the ability to mix and match pilots and mechs. Every single unit serves a unique purpose, and this level of customizability gives "Into the Breach" endless replay value. 

  • Release Date: August 28, 2018
  • Genre: Strategy and Tactics, Rogue-lite
  • Game modes: Single-Player
  • Metacritic Score: 89

Slay the Spire

A growing trend in indie games over the last few years has been the rise of "deck-building rogue-likes." This hybrid genre combines two rather inside-baseball shorthand genre descriptions, but it basically boils down to this: procedurally generated run-based games that use cards in some shape or form. "Slay the Spire," a prime example of the genre, was released on Switch in 2019.

Featuring fundamental fantasy elements, like creatures and spells that feel right out of "Magic the Gathering," "Slay the Spire" also takes the structure of rogue-likes like "FTL," which sees you moving through a unique map and choosing various nodes. While many result in turn-based card combat encounters, others give you the chance to find new cards, improve your deck, or even initiate a random encounter. 

The card battling mechanics here are deep, and the core loop of creating your deck and customizing your build throughout a run is a deeply appealing concept. Other games in the genre, such as "Monster Train," would go on to emulate and expand on the core deck-building loop of "Slay the Spire."

  • Release Date: June 6, 2019
  • Genre: Strategy and Tactics, Card Game, Rogue-lite
  • Game modes: Single-Player
  • Metacritic Score: 85 

Tetris 99

"Tetris 99" is arguably the best thing to come out of the Nintendo Switch Online subscription service. But what about the half-decent collection of NES and SNES games, you ask? Or the limited N64 and Genesis offerings that require a premium tier of payment? None of that is as purely entertaining as "Tetris 99," a battle royale take on the classic puzzler.

As the name implies, 99 players compete simultaneously against each other in a high stakes, frantic game of Battle "Tetris." Clearing rows sends rows of blocks to your opponents, making the whole thing a mad dash to the finish. Even living in the shadow of the excellent "Tetris Effect," "Tetris 99" is one of the best modern "Tetris" games, cashing in on a trend in a cheeky, fun way. This online-only game is exclusively available to Switch Online subscribers, and the fact that it's basically an added bonus for the price of your NSO subscription makes it a pretty good deal, too. 

  • Release Date: Feb 13, 2019
  • Genre: Puzzle
  • Game modes: Online Multiplayer
  • Metacritic Score: 83

Undertale

One of the biggest longterm appeals of the Nintendo Switch has turned out to be its seemingly endless stream of great indie games. "Undertale" is one of the best. This metatextual masterpiece is much more than an "Earthbound" homage, although that's certainly a great game to play if you loved "Undertale." This groundbreaking indie RPG features a rocking soundtrack and top-notch storytelling that will make you burst with laughter — and it may or may not make you cry. 

Lead developer and composer Toby Fox created a wacky world full of characters that are both hysterical and sympathetic. The game has become famous for its multiple endings and the variety of ways in which gamers can play through the story to achieve differing conclusions. If you just can't get enough, Toby Fox's pseudo-sequel to "Undertale," "Deltarune," is also now on the Switch eShop. Both chapters of the follow-up have been bundled together for the low price of free.

  • Release Date: Sept 18, 2018
  • Genre: RPG, Indie
  • Game modes: Single-Player
  • Metacritic Score: 93

Dark Souls Remastered

The first true mega-hit from "Elden Ring" developer FromSoftware is also the only one on Nintendo Switch. Not even the multi-platform "Dark Souls" sequels came to Nintendo's hybrid console, but this gussied-up and stabilized version of the game that started it all received an excellent — and portable — remaster here. That alone is reason enough to check out this brutally difficult, magnificent action RPG.

Players will climb and plunge the depths of a dark fantasy world like no other, keeping a watchful eye out for enemies of all shapes and sizes. "Dark Souls" rewards observing and learning, but also requires feats of dexterity against some of its most difficult bosses. But if it clicks with you, "Dark Souls" can be one of the most rewarding action games ever made. It is full of mysteries and secrets that have kept a community digging for years after its release. This port is the perfect opportunity to play one of the greats on the go.

  • Release Date: Oct 19, 2018
  • Genre: RPG, Action
  • Game modes: Single-Player, Online Multiplayer
  • Metacritic Score: 83

Snipperclips: Cut It Out, Together!

A word of warning: "Snipperclips" is going to test your relationships like no other game. Oh, it might look like it's just a casual, family-friendly puzzler. It's cute! It's cooperative! It's all about playing together—it even says so right in the title!

Don't be fooled. In "Snipperclips," you and up to three friends control little paper-made characters who don't have any hands, and can only get things done—throwing a basketball in a hoop, or turning gears, for example—by changing the shape of their bodies. But here's the catch: you can't alter your own character's form. Your friends have to do it for you. That's the genius of "Snipperclips." In order to solve the game's 45 puzzles, many of which don't have clear goals, you'll need to communicate with others, and that way lies madness.

Finishing levels can be hard even when everyone's on the same page, working together to accomplish the same goal. If you disagree over your approach to a puzzle, can't manage to cut the right shapes, or—as tends to happen in large groups—someone decides that they're less interested in solving puzzles than making trouble, it's downright impossible. Thankfully, "Snipperclips" is never boring, and big conflicts end in laughter more often than tears. Honestly, the game's biggest (and perhaps only) flaw is its length—the game can be finished in an afternoon, although everyone who plays will likely agree that it'll be a few hours well-spent.

Metascore: Critics – 81/100, Users – 7.3/10

Shovel Knight Treasure Trove

"Shovel Knight" isn't a new game (despite appearances, it came out in 2014, and not the late '80s), but that doesn't mean that it isn't a perfect fit for Nintendo's latest console. As a throwback to old NES games (in more ways than one—not only does "Shovel Knight" play like a mix between "Mega Man" and "DuckTales," but its graphics are bright 8-bit masterpieces made up of the exact same color palette used in classic Nintendo games), there's more than a little Nintendo in this title's DNA, making the platformer a treat for anyone who yearns for the days when unergonomic controllers gave players blisters, or when you had to blow into a console in order to get a game working.

And yet, "Shovel Knight" isn't really retro. Modern conveniences, like a generous save system, vibrant characters, and a surprisingly touching storyline help make the game more palatable for present-day players, while the "Plague of Shadows" and "Spectre of Torment" expansions (both included in this edition) help extend the game's life beyond the main campaign.

If you want a shot of nostalgia but don't want to deal with older games' less polished features (or if you just can't be bothered to get your NES down from the attic), give "Shovel Knight" a try. You'll be pleasantly surprised.

Metascore: Critics – 91/100, Users – 7.6/10

Blaster Master Zero

If it looks like "Blaster Master," and it sounds like "Blaster Master," and it's on the Switch, then guess what? It's probably "Blaster Master Zero."

Of all the classic video game franchises you'd expect to get a sequel, this isn't very high on the list—the series has been dormant since 1988, when the first and only game graced the Nintendo Entertainment System—but here we are in 2017, and not only is there a new "Blaster Master" on the market, but one that's both a loving, faithful tribute to the original and a solid game in its own right.

As in the original, "Blaster Master Zero" stars a young boy named Jason and his tank, the SOPHIA III, although this time the duo are fighting to squash a mutant revolution and not rescue Jason's runaway frog. Like the first game, "Blaster Master Zero" is split into two parts: a 2D platforming mode, which favors the tank, and top-down "Zelda"-style dungeons, which pop up when Jason unboards the Sophia and dives into caves and other cramped areas.

The game's graphics and music are inspired by its 8-bit predecessor, but like "Shovel Knight," this isn't actually a retro game. "Blaster Master Zero" is less challenging than its ancestor but far longer (especially if you take the time to hunt down some of the Sophia's optional upgrades), while conveniences like save points, better controls, and a co-op multiplayer mode make the game thoroughly modern. Is this the old-school revival fans were clamoring for? Not really, but it doesn't matter. In an industry where surprises feel increasingly rare, "Blaster Master Zero" is a true gem, and well worth adding to your Switch library.

Metascore: Critics – 78/100, Users – 7.3/10

VOEZ

"VOEZ" came out on iOS and Android mobile devices in 2016 and became an instant hit (reportedly, it's been downloaded 10 million times since launch), but the Switch edition marks the game's first appearance on a home console. The reason: "VOEZ" relies heavily on a touchscreen interface. In fact, touch controls are so important to "VOEZ" that it won't work in the Switch's television dock. If you want to enjoy its unique's brand of rhythm-based gameplay, it's handheld mode or nothing.

Don't let that turn you off, however. As critics and fans noted when the game first hit smartphones, "VOEZ" is a polished and addictive spin on the classic "Guitar Hero" formula. You'll need to tap, swipe, and hold your finger on the screen in order to hit notes cascading down various lanes. Unlike other rhythm games, however, the number of lanes and their position on the screen change constantly, requiring you to change your strategy based on where you are in the song.

"VOEZ" is also more plot-heavy than, say, "Rock Band." Finishing daily challenges unlocks an anime-style story about an up-and-coming band (named Voez, of course) and its members' struggles to balance their burgeoning music career with everyday life. The story isn't required, of course, but it's nice to have, and provides some welcome context for the game's rhythmic tapping and sliding.

Oh, and did we mention that, unlike the mobile game, the Switch version of "VOEZ" doesn't have any microtransactions? You can enjoy all of the game's offerings—over 100 songs, each with three difficulty levels—right off the bat. That's a welcome change, and one that should keep "VOEZ" fans happily tapping and sliding away for hours and hours (just remember to take breaks—"VOEZ" can feel repetitive during long play sessions, which is an excellent way to burn out on a very good game).

Metascore: Critics – 81/100, Users – 7.2/10

World of Goo

As a Switch title, the most notable thing about "World of Goo" isn't the game's collection of mind-bending physics puzzles—those are just as good as they were back in 2008 on the Wii—it's how awesome the Switch's Joy-Con controllers are. While we've known all about features like "HD Rumble" and the accelerometer-enabled motion controls for months now, nobody at Nintendo thought it was worth showing off the Joy-Con's pointer functionality. That's a crime, because as a Wiimote alternative, the Joy-Cons are pretty much perfect.

Remember the Wii? In order to use the Wii controller like a pointer, you had to strap a thin sensor bar to the top of your television. The Switch, which thrives on flexibility, doesn't have any such requirement. As a result, after a very quick configuration process, you can point the Joy-Con controller at the screen and use it to tap, drag, and hurl World of Goo's little blob-like creatures around with ease.

Despite the lack of a sensor bar, it just works, and for more tech-minded gamers, that's nothing short of miraculous. If you've already solved all of the game's puzzles, you won't find any new content here (although co-op is a nice addition), but if you want a piece of software to show off just how versatile the Switch is—or you've never played 2D Boy's ingenious puzzler, which should be a crime and needs to be remedied immediately—"World of Goo" will get the job done.

Metascore: Critics – 86/100, Users – 7.2/10

Fast RMX

"F-Zero" is dead and buried, and unless Nintendo has a big surprise up its sleeve, it doesn't look like it's coming back any time soon. Thankfully, there's "Fast RMX". Just look at it. The high-speed anti-gravity vehicles? The streamlined, shortcut-filled courses? The blistering fast speeds? "Fast RMX" is "F-Zero" in everything but name. Stop bothering Nintendo. If you want a sci-fi racer, Shin'en Multimedia has you covered.

Of course, "Fast RMX" isn't a straight-up copy and paste job—well, not exactly, anyway (the game is an updated version of the Wii U's "Fast Racing Neo," with all that game's DLC and a half-dozen extra tracks added to the mix). In addition to zooming around hairpin turns and executing stunt jumps, you'll also need to collect speed-boosting orbs—which come in two varieties, necessitating some quick mid-race adjustments—if you want to survive. You'll need that help, too. Succeeding in "Fast RMX" requires both lightning-quick reflexes and expert knowledge of all of the game's tracks, and if you lack either, your opponents will leave you in the dust.

"Fast RMX" doesn't make a great case for the Switch's multiplayer network (it's one of only two Switch launch games with an online component, and it tends to lag and stutter), but it's early days yet, and that could improve. As a single-player experience or local multiplayer title, however, "Fast RMX" is the high-octane racer that Nintendo fans have wanted for years. If you're one of 'em, make sure to check "Fast RMX" out ASAP.

Metascore: Critics – 81/100, Users – 7.4/10

I Am Setsuna

As an assassin named Endir, players trek across a snowbound fantasy kingdom, guiding a young woman named Setsuna to her doom. "I Am Setsuna" tells a minor, sad story very well, and while the game tops out at around 25 hours—a pittance compared to most JRPGs — it doesn't overstay its welcome. At a time when games seem to getting longer, there's something to be said for that.

And while "I Am Setsuna" isn't tied to any major franchises, it's going to feel very, very familiar to players who cut their teeth on Super Nintendo-era Squaresoft RPGs. Like old-school "Final Fantasy" games, combat in "I Am Setsuna" uses an Active Time Battle gauge, letting players issue commands as soon as their characters are ready. As in "Chrono Trigger," characters can team up to unleash devastating combo attacks. And like all of Square Enix's classic games, "I Am Setsuna" uses its story and its gameplay to explore universal themes—in this case, sadness, sacrifice, and "a moment in time," which is articulated in-game by using a stat-boosting momentum button that must be timed perfectly in order for players to receive its full benefits.

Metascore: Critics – 76/100, Users – 7.4/10

1-2-Switch

Let's get this out of the way early: Most of the minigames in "1-2-Switch" feel more like tech demos than fully fleshed-out experiences, and for every winner like "Wizards," which pits two players against one another in a Harry Potter-esque duel, there's a dud like "Joy-Con Rotation," in which players put the controller on a table and spin it a specified number of degrees (yes, that's the entire game).

That's too bad, however, because while "1-2-Switch" is a hard sell at its price point, it would've slayed as a pack-in title, à la "Wii Sports" and "Nintendo Land." No, there's nothing on "1-2-Switch" that's quite as revolutionary as "Wii Sports" tennis, but as a whole, these 28 minigames do an excellent job of showing off the Switch's capabilities (especially its innovative Joy-Con controllers). Given that the operating system is fairly spartan, especially when compared to previous Nintendo consoles, there should be something that lets players have fun while learning the ins and outs. "1-2-Switch" fits that role nicely—as long as you can justify shelling out the cash. And if you can't, well, "Zelda" still makes a pretty good first impression.

Metascore: Critics – 57/100, Users – 4.8/10

Puyo Puyo Tetris

C'mon. It's "Tetris." That's all you really need to know.

Okay, so "Puyo Puyo Tetris" isn't just another "Tetris" port, although the bare-bones edition of Alexey Pajitnov's block-based puzzler was enough to almost single-handedly move 120 million Game Boys back in the '80s and '90s. Instead, "Puyo Puyo Tetris" fuses the falling Tetriminos that gamers—and pretty much everybody else on the planet—have come to love with the "Puyo Puyo" series, which has been a gaming mainstay since 1991.

By either clearing lines or popping slime-like Puyo, up to four players can compete against one another in five different competitive modes, each of which fuses the two franchises together in a unique way. In "VS," competitors fight by making space on the board and filling up a special attack gauge, which can be used to clutter the opponent's playing field. In "Fusion," players must deal with both Tetriminos and Puyo on the same board, while "Swap" starts players in one game, only to switch to the other after a predetermined period of time has passed.

It sounds more complicated than it is (if you haven't played "Puyo Puyo," it's extremely similar to "Tetris," and there's not much of a learning curve), and if you can scrape together four players, competition gets heated very, very quickly. "Puyo Puyo Tetris" isn't quite as fun alone, but if you're looking for either a raucous party game or something that'll allow you to kick back with a few close friends, it'll get the job done.