Top 10 Best Nintendo Switch Games to Play This Year

Picked up everyone’s favorite pocket console recently but no idea where to start? Let’s have a glance at some of the top tier offerings available on the ultimate travel console. Here is out list of 10 best Nintendo Switch games. 

February 10, 2020

The Nintendo Switch is not only an incredible portable game system but is also the successor to the Nintendo franchise, allowing owners to explore some IPs they otherwise wouldn’t be able to experience. Likewise, the console enables one to experience some triple AAA games from the comfort of their hands. In this article we listed what we believe are the best Nintendo Switch games to play this year. 

As a long time Xbox/Playstation player, I have never had the joy of exploring the Xenoblade or Fire Emblem universes, and I have found there to be a new stream of endless possibilities for me to try out.

For those who have been lucky enough to pick up the new console, choosing your first games may seem overwhelming, especially if you are not familiar with some of the franchises that are available to Nintendo. Therefore, we have pulled together the best Nintendo Switch games to be found on this incredible console.

Author’s Note: To keep the list as concise as possible, some of the placings on the list are personal choices, and we will have a selection of ‘honorable mentions’ at the end of the article.

Also, if you’re specifically looking for an RPG, check out our list Best 15 RPGs for the Nintendo Switch.  

10. Warframe

Initial Release DateMarch 25, 2013
PlatformPlayston 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, and Nintendo Switch
Developer:Digital Extremes
Publisher:Digital Extremes

Warframe is the game that broke the rules of the free-to-play games and has remained one of the most popular 3rd person shooters of the past 6 years. You are a Tenno, a member of an ancient cadre of warriors who were scattered after an old war. Now you have been reawakened to face a new threat that has risen out of the Ashes of the old war. 

Warframe on Nintendo Switch

Warframe, Image Source: Digital Extremes

Warframe’s gameplay cycle is one of the most addicting of the genre; you enter a mission to level your weapons, frames, and gather materials. With more advanced levels you unlock blueprints for an ever-growing collection of weapons and Warframes. Each Warframe is bristling with character and powers as well as so vastly different from the next that it makes Destiny’s class system look so underwhelming. 

Digital Extreme has been adding quality content year on year, to the point where the game is massive and contains hundreds of hours of content. What started as a simple ship raiding game has expanded into a deep RPG experience, with powerful story moments that will rival some of the very best moments of Mass Effect. ‘Ninja’s play free!’, so there is no reason to dive into this deep and rewarding experience.

9. Stardew Valley

Initial Release DateFebruary 26, 2016
PlatformPlaystation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, iOS, Android, and Nintendo Switch
Developer:ConcernedApe
Publisher:ConcernedApe

Stardew Valley is a game casual couch game that you can pretty much enjoy no matter where you, as you take up the mantle of a newly minted farmer. Essentially a farming simulator, you are the recipient of a plot of land in Pelican Town that you will transform from an overran patch of grass to a fully functioning farm.

Nintendo Switch Games Stardew Valley

 Image Source: Stardew Valley, Image Source: Concerned Ape

Pelican Town, where the game is set, is not just a background art asset but is also an interactable location with NPCs that you can talk to and even marry and bring them on to the farm to help you tend to crops on the farm.

Aside from clearing your land of rubble and choosing what crops to invest in, there is also an exploration aspect to the game; the player can go fish, explore caves and take on quests. All of these optional activities allow you to garner additional materials and rewards, as well as experience another facet of the game.

  • games like stardew valley Here’s Our Top 10 Games Like Stardew Valley - Looking for a good farming sim to fill the void left behind by Stardew Valley? We got you. Here's our list of games that are mechanically and thematically similar to Stardew Valley.

8. XenoblaDe Chronicle 2

Initial Release DateDecember 1, 2017
PlatformNintendo Switch
Developer:Monolith Soft
Publisher:Nintendo

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a story-driven adventure set in the world of Alrest, where humans exist within giant beings known as Titans. As the player, you will jump into the shoes of Rex, a driver of a ‘Blade,’ powerful lifeforms that are linked to their Drivers. Each titan is its own world, with its own culture and lore. This makes the world a joy to explore, with enough depth and exploration that will keep fans obsessing for hours.

Xenoblade C 2 - games for Nintendo Switch

Xenoblade 2 – Best Nintendo Switch Games, Image Source: Monolith Soft

Part of the draw of the game is the ‘blades’ themselves; some will be added to your roster as a part of the story, however, you can still create a tonne of new ‘blades’ by collecting resources (crystals) to fill your squad. While there are three main archetypes (tank, heal, and damage), you will find yourself wanting to collect as many ‘blades’ as possible, as this will give you more options…and they are totally bad-ass.

The combat may initially appear overwhelming at first, however, it does have a great flow to it, once you understand how to build your parties. The art style is a slight shift from the previous entries in the series, moving from art to anime. However, this does not compromise the scope and beauty of the incredible landscapes of the Titans, which will take your breath away. The Soundtrack, the acting, and the story will draw you in for hours…many, many happy hours.

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7 Luigi’s Mansion 3

Initial Release DateOctober 31, 2019
PlatformNintendo Switch
DeveloperNext Level Games
PublisherNintendo

The 7 best Nintendo Switch Game in our opinion is Luigi’s Mansion 3. If you are like me, you have often longed for a Ghostbuster / Mario Brothers cross over game. Well, we are in luck as Luigi’s Mansion 3 continues the greatest haunted house series of all time. Peach, Mario, Toad, Luigi, and his faithful Polterpup pull up to the glamorous ‘Last Resort’ (hmm) Hotel for a much-needed holiday. Yet this doesn’t go quite as planned; after a quick nap, Luigi wakes up to find the hotel deserted and his friends missing.

Luigi’s Mansion 3, Image Source: Next Level Games

Once again, our reluctant, nervous ghost-hunter to strap on his vacuum and face the terrors on all 17 floors of the hotel. While exploring each of the beautifully designed floors, you are free to hoover away, looking for coins, extra health, and collectibles. After the prologue, Luigi will find himself in the lobby, where the portraits of his friends are as a reminder of his goal; to save his friends.

Luigi doesn’t need to face these terrors alone. Luckily for him, he can deploy a ‘Googi’ – a ‘goo’ doppelganger of Luigi. When in command of the Googi you are free to explore more of the sprawling hotel as your double slides through security grates and pipes. The game doesn’t let you have a dull moment as each floor is full of charming encounters and fun puzzles to solve, even some genuinely ‘scary’ moments.

6 Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Initial Release DateJuly 26, 2019
PlatformNintendo Switch
DeveloperIntelligent Systems
PublisherNintendo

Fire Emblem: Three Houses combines its signature strategy turn-based combat with a Persona ‘like’ RPG elements, that results in an immersive and unforgettable experience. The early part of the game is an incredible introduction to the world and the many memorable characters. The first part of the game takes place almost entirely within a school where you are a professor and you will get to set curriculum, motivate, and mentor your pupils over a calendar month.    

Fire-Emblem-Three-Houses - Nintendo Switch Games

 Fire Emblem top 10 best Nintendo Switch games, Image Source: Intelligent Systems

Your school experience entirely depends on the titular ‘Three Houses’, which operate as one of the three houses of the school and represent one of the factions of the further world. At the onset of the game, you will choose one of the three houses to represent and, as a result, you will be mentoring the group of students that fall under that house. This dynamic adds a strong level of the replayability of the game, as you will build different relationships each time.

It behooves you to build these relationships and be a good mentor to your house students because as they learn and grow, their prowess in battle also strengthens. If you have a tight-knit bond with your roster, then it assists you in combat. The combat is what you would expect from a fire emblem game; a grid and turn-based combat that rewards the strategic and thoughtful player. That is the shallowest summary of what is a top-class and worthwhile purchase, this game is worth every penny and potentially will provide hundreds of hours of gameplay.

5 Super Metroid

Initial Release DateMarch 19, 1994
PlatformSuper Nintendo, Wii, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS
DeveloperNintendo, Intelligent Systems, Nintendo Research and Development
PublisherNintendo

One of the founding fathers of the Metroidvania genre and one of the greatest of the same, Super Metroid is a classic game that is free for subscribers of Nintendo Switch Online. That alone is a reason to pick it up, alongside the fact that the game is still as enjoyable and repayable as it was over 20 years ago. Samus is, once again, called to action to defeat the Space Pirates and track down a stolen Metroid.

Super Metroid - Games for Nintendo Switch

Super Metroid, Image Source: Intelligent Systems

The memorable opening to the game, where Samus witnesses the theft of the Metroid and the destruction of the Ceres Space Station, still holds up today even with the dated nature of the game. This was the installment that established the foundations of the type of interlined exploration that we see in Dark Souls and is a testament to how influential the game is even to this day. A surprising entry in our list, but without a doubt one of the best Nintendo Switch games to date.

The gameplay is slicker than many platformers that you’ll find today and the progression via upgrade and exploration is as addictive as it was in 1994. Time to suit up, check your weapons and take on the space pirates, in what is perhaps Samus’ greatest hour.

4 Pokemon: Sword and Shield

Initial Release DateNovember 15, 2019
PlatformNintendo Switch
DeveloperGame Freak
PublisherNintendo & The Pokemon Company

When people think of games that make you pay for a console, they will think of God of War for the Playstation, Gears of War for the Xbox and, most likely, Pokemon for Nintendo. It’s hard to compare the nostalgia us 90’s kids feel when we talk about Pokemon Red and Blue; classic RPGs that gave us an early taste of that Pokemon magic. The music, the Gym badges, and the joy of trading a Kadabra and watching it transform into an Alakazam (best Pokemon of all time btw) are hard to replicate.

Best Games for Nintendo Switch

Pokemon, Image Source: Game Freak

Fast forward over 20 years later and the series is still going strong with the newest entries; Sword and Shield. If you are new to the series, no sweat; the Pokemon game series is known for its slow introduction and tutorials. Yet for veterans, one quality of life change is that we can finally skip the same instructions we have played over a dozen times. As always, Sword and Shield bring new Pokemon to the table, whilst some recognizable classics will still be available for you to catch and train. 

The game has a lot of improvements, which is expected given it is the first Pokemon game to release on a console. The game also doubles down on cutscenes that help build up characters and give some depth to the cast; something that was certainly missing in Red and Blue (with a few notable exceptions). Aside from this, the experience is that same winning Pokemon formula; catch some beasts, train them up and become the best. It is a formula that is still hard to beat, 20 years later.

3 Divinity 2: Original Sin

Initial Release DateSeptember 14, 2017
PlatformPlaystation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows and Nintendo Switch
DeveloperLarian Studios
PublisherBandai Namco Entertainment

Divinity 2 is an action RPG where the replayability is nearly limitless, where you can play solo or join a party of up to 4. Divinity picks up after many years after the events of Divinity 1, in the land of Rivellon where the player has a vast array of options when creating their Avatar. On my first playthrough, I ended up settling for one of the many incredible pre-set characters: The Red Prince. Each character is well designed. They all have their backstories and awesome designs – the Red Prince is a lizard noble who has been exiled from their homeland.

Divinity 2 - Nintendo Switch Games

Divinity 2, Image Source: Larian Studios

However, you are free to forge your destiny and roleplay whatever character you want and once you’ve spent the requisite hour creating a character you are finally ready to jump into the adventure. In Divinity 2, the world of Rivellon has been taken over by the creatures of the void, who begin persecuting Sorcers; beings who can control Source energy and the only threat to their rule.

What you will experience over the next 60 – 80 hours of gameplay is a classic D&D RPG that has meaningful choices, colorful and well-acted characters, and a compelling storyline. The combat is like classic D&D turn-based classics, relying more on party composition and strategy over timing. For those who prefer a classic RPG experience, with lots of profound writing and party-based combat, this is the ultimate experience. Divinity 2, is in our opinion, one of the best Nintendo Switch Games. 

2 Super Smash Bros Ultimate

Initial Release DateDecember 7, 2018
PlatformNintendo Switch
DeveloperBandai Namco Studios
PublisherNintendo

What is the best-selling fighting game of all time, you ask? Mortal Kombat? Tekken? Soul Calibur? All are good guesses, but all are incorrect as it is the one and only Super Smash Bros Ultimate that has taken that position, which is even more incredible given that it is a Nintendo exclusive. There is a good reason for that; Smash Bros caters for all types of players; pro to casual. Part of the attraction of the game is the colorful cast of characters that you can choose as your fighters: From Pokemon trainers to Joker and a dynamic selection of arenas. 

Nintendo Switch Games - Super Smash Bros

Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Image Source: Bandai Namco

It also differentiates itself from the usually grounded fighting games like Mortal Kombat. Super Smash Bros is faster based and more aerial. The game can often ride one whether you can knock your opponents into the abyss below and your survival can depend on your platform dominance. These elements keep every match exciting, no matter who as winning because at any moment the game can turn on its head. 

Smash Bros’ popularity is illustrated by a competitive pro scene that is growing in popularity year on year, in significant events such as the Evo 2019 Smash Grand Finals in Vegas last year. These events are exciting for us casual players to watch, but the game is just as, if not more fun to play casually with your friends. Nothing quite beats the feeling of hearing your friend roar in disbelieve when you juggle their Charizard off the edge of the platform.

1 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Initial Release DateMarch 3, 2017
PlatformNintendo Switch and Wii U
DeveloperNintendo Entertainment Planning & Development
PublisherNintendo

You will be hard-pressed to find a game that has seen such unanimous and critical acclaim in the past 3 or 4 years as Zelda: Breath of the Wild has. Hailed by some as an ‘Epic Masterpiece’, BoTW takes Link to a Hyrule that is different in so many ways but most importantly it is open world. BoTW takes a beloved masterpiece and subverts expectations by bringing fans a game that is so vastly different than its predecessors and so much better. Although unsurprising, in our opinion, the Legend of Zelda is one of the best Nintendo Switch games. If not THE best. 

Nintendo Switch Games

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Image Source: Nintendo

Link has awoken from a century of slumber, Zelda discovers that Hyrule is much changed and far more wild than it had been before. Our protagonist must travel across the open plains of Hyrule to unite the races of the world, purge Ganon’s corruption and seal away the villain for good. 

While this remains your main goal, the world before you is expansive and full of opportunity for non-linear gameplay. Hyrule is full of secrets and optional quests that can grow Link’s arsenal; by solving certain puzzles, or Shrines, you can earn ‘Spirit Orbs’ that can be used to upgrade your health and stamina. Managing Link’s arsenal is a new consideration to the game, as your starting equipment and weapons will not be enough to overcome the challenges before you.

Aside from this new depth and complexity, the world itself is magnificent and it feels special that we can explore the nooks and crannies of Hyrule after all these years. Hyrule is ‘open,’ and that is a reason to pick up this spectacular epic that gives the likes of The Witcher a run for its money.

Honorable Mentions: The Witcher 3, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Super Mario Odyssey and Minecraft

Time to Switch Off

The Switch is coming into its own with some unique and ground-breaking games that aren’t available to experience anywhere else. Any of these games is worth a console purchase and the fact the ‘Honourable Mentions’ section is so packed shows how lucky Switch Owners are.

Before you know it you’ll just be stepping into Hyrule for 5 minutes on a Tuesday night and only turning it off before your morning shower. Trust me.

 

Geoff SmoughTown

Geoff SmoughTown

Contributor

My grandfather was a man way ahead of his generation, owning his first PC in the early ’90s. When I and my sister came to visit he would fire up ‘Rabbit Reader 2’, and I was transported to the world of ‘Wordsville’. Since then my tastes have developed finding myself attached to Lore rich games; the Souls series, Dead Space and any RPG with a good story. For me, Games can be forms of art to be dissected, analyzed and appreciated.

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