With nearly 93 million units sold, Nintendo’s Switch is on track to surpass the Wii as the company’s best-selling home console of all time. If Switch has proven anything, it’s that a platform is truly defined by what you can play on it, and with such a large library of outstanding games, narrowing it down to just 25 of the best Switch games has proven challenging.
This list was compiled by the entire IGN content team, including our resident Nintendo experts, the NVC podcast crew, and reflects what we believe are the best games to play on the Switch right now, whether you’re buying one for the first time or have been a platform enthusiast since day one. So, without further ado, here are our best 15 Nintendo Switch games.
The Top 15 Switch Games (Fall 2022 Update)
1. Ring Fit Adventure
Sure, exercise is beneficial for you, but it has two major drawbacks: one, it’s expensive to join a gym, and two, it’s kind of dull. Ring Fit Adventure solves both of these issues by gamifying fitness and allowing you to work out from home while still making the whole thing feel like a fun, casual RPG. Ring Fit encourages you to use your entire body to battle monsters, collect coins, level up, and push past your personal bests by strapping the Nintendo Switch Joy-Con to your leg and using the strange, brilliant new Ring-Con peripheral — all while giving you a serious workout within the confines of your living room. It demonstrates that working out can be enjoyable — especially when it’s thousands of dollars less expensive than employing a personal trainer.
2. Link’s Awakening
The huge island of Koholint in The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening has never looked better than it does on Nintendo Switch, with its whimsical, toyetic visual design and curiously somber overtones. Link’s stranded voyage on a secret island teeming with colorful characters and sprawling dungeons has long been one of Zelda’s odder adventures, and its recreation lets new audiences and aging fans alike appreciate it on a modern machine. It updates the old adored Zelda game with a fresh coat of paint, some amazing quality of life enhancements, and a slew of new hidden collectibles, but its biggest achievement is keeping the strange, frightening, and beautiful vibe of the original Game Boy game.
3. Astral Chain
Astral Chain epitomizes PlatinumGames at its best. It has everything: a unique tale; comprehensive character customization with a range of play styles; and, of course, power-armored robot companions. On top of that, it has some of the Nintendo Switch’s most gratifying, tough, and fast-paced action. If you enjoy PlatinumGames titles such as Bayonetta, Vanquish, or Nier: Automata, Astral Chain will not disappoint.
4. SteamWorld Dig 2
SteamWorld Dig 2 is the epitome of what a sequel should be: bigger, smarter, and just plain more fun. Guiding Dorothy through the labyrinthine caves of SWD 2 in pursuit of loot and upgrades is a challenging and amusing variation on the classic “Metroidvania” style, with a gameplay loop that will definitely keep you up late at night for “just one more run.”
5. Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate
Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate for the Nintendo Switch allows you to have the best of both *worlds*. You may play with a comfy pro-controller, or you and your pals can battle its more than 100 monsters in person. Aside from the insane amount of content, you may also play as a lovely cat and pet alpacas.
6. Splatoon 2
Splatoon 2 is one of those rare games that you can play for almost a year and not get weary of. Many gamers hoped for a quick conversion to Switch so they could get started right away, but instead we received an impressive sequel with an all-new single-player campaign and tonnes of incredible, and free, post-release content.
7. Paper Mario: The Origami King
Paper Mario: The Origami King isn’t a flawless game – or even the best in the Paper Mario series – but it is one of the most endearing experiences on the Nintendo Switch. While much of the RPG trappings of the franchise’s early editions have been removed in Origami King, it is more than compensated for by an intriguing new take on the battle system and one of the funniest, stupidest tales in any game to date.
8. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Retro’s second instalment in the Donkey Kong Country series is as fun and hard as Rare’s SNES trilogy. The Switch port of the Wii U original includes an easy mode with Funky Kong but retains all of the white knuckle platforming that helped Tropical Freeze become a hit in 2014. It’s a must-have for Nintendo Switch, with some of the best boss fights and most creative challenges in a platformer in the previous decade, as well as a lovely Saturday morning cartoon art style.
9. Pokemon Sword & Shield
Pokemon Sword & Shield finally brought mainline Pokemon games to home consoles – albeit by default, given that the Switch is both a handheld and a home console. Sword & Shield brought with it a plethora of beneficial adjustments, including various quality of life enhancements, the removal of random encounters, and Gigantamaxing, which basically gave your favorite Pokemon the Stay Puft treatment.
It’s also the first game in the series to contain post-launch expansion packs, The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra, with new and iconic Pokemon to add to your collection.
10. Xenoblade Chronicles 2
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 by Monolith Soft is widely regarded as one of the best JRPGs ever created. Even after spending 100+ hours exploring Alrest’s vast open environment, you’ll never want to leave.
You take on the role of Rex, a salvager turned hero and “Driver” for the renowned Blade Pyra. The characters are superbly written, there are dozens of Blades to unlock, each with their own distinct appearance and personality, and the battle system is both satisfying and challenging.
It’s not simple to create a cheerful, colourful game based on such a difficult subject, but Spiritfarer manages to conduct very real dialogues about life and death with a warm grin and plenty of reassuring hugs. This charming town manager has you ferrying pleasant souls to their eternal rest, constructing them homes and growing close to them as you do so. It’s a stunning combination of a building game and a platformer that’s unlike anything else on the Switch or elsewhere.
12. Stardew Valley
Stardew Valley is a fantastically open-ended farming simulation. With fishing, battling, farming, and falling in love, you’ll carve your own country route. Furthermore, being able to use the Switch’s sleep mode alleviates some of the stress of not being able to save in the midst of the day, even if a few minor flaws in the port remain to be fixed.
13. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
Before its release, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle was met with plenty of scepticism. However, Ubisoft Milan’s comprehensive strategy game established itself with some very hard stages and accessible but complicated turn-based gameplay, while also finding a way to combine the Rabbids’ and Mushroom Kingdom’s senses of humour into a single, charming experience.
14. Super Mario Maker 2
Super Mario Maker 2 enabled us to realise a boyhood fantasy of creating our own Super Mario levels. Okay, technically, the first game did this as well, but the sequel took everything that was fantastic about the first and made it even more delightful and amazing. Not only are its 100+ storey mode levels extremely excellent, but its usability as a legitimate game design tool is second to none – future game designers will almost surely credit Super Mario Maker 2 as one of the motivations for their careers. SMM2 is without a doubt one of the best Switch experiences: a hard platformer that meets your creative needs and provides a seemingly endless supply of delights.
Celeste is an unexpected masterpiece. Its 2D platforming is among the best and most difficult since Super Meat Boy, with levels that are as difficult to figure out as they are rewarding to complete. But Celeste’s greatest accomplishment is that its best-in-class jumping and dashing is masterfully integrated with an essential and honest storey and an incredible soundtrack, making it a genuinely emotional game even when your feet are firmly planted on the ground.
Upcoming Nintendo Switch Games
Following the Switch debuts of Life Is Strange: True Colors and 12 Minutes on December 7, Nintendo’s 2021 release calendar has dried up.
With games like Metroid Dread, Monster Hunter Rise, Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury, and many more, 2018 was a fantastic year for Switch users. Check back in January as we spotlight all of the major Switch titles set to release in 2022.