Before the Nintendo Switch came out, we all wondered whether there would be enough to play on it in the early months. Then we played Zelda and stopped caring what else was coming.
But there’s more than just the astonishing Breath of the Wild to enjoy on Nintendo’s home-or-handheld device, and thanks to a mix of ports and sterling new indie games, the Switch has a rather appealing lineup after just a few months since its release.
So whether you’ve just grabbed the Switch and need a few pointers, or are you just looking for something new to play after conquering Zelda, you’ll find plenty of inspiration in our list of the 10 best games the Switch has to offer.
THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: BREATH OF THE WILD
What, the three mentions in the intro weren’t enough of a giveaway? It’s true: not only is Breath of the Wild our current pick for the best game in the world right now, but it’s also the most essential game on the Switch – one that’s singlehandedly worth buying a console for.
The latest and perhaps greatest-ever Zelda is a sprawling affair set in an open Hyrule not bound by the familiar progression structure of past games: you can freely explore the land, take on challenges in any order you choose, and craft, survive, and experiment in the wilds. Kicking the tried-and-true format to the curb has revitalised the franchise, and the result is absolutely brilliant.
MARIO KART 8 DELUXE
From the best Zelda ever to the best Mario Kart ever? Believe it! While it might just seem like a mere port on the surface, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe takes the excellent Wii U edition and patches its one big deficiency, all while adding the excellent DLC as standard – and then does more.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe packs in a staggering 48 courses and 42 playable drivers, along with an array of vehicles and equipment, and the gravity-defying tracks are some of the series’ most dazzling creations to date. Better yet, it now has a proper Battle mode like the games of old, and the entire experience is playable anywhere. It’s tremendously fun.
MINECRAFT: NINTENDO SWITCH EDITION
Look, Minecraft is Minecraft – and if you’ve already played Minecraft elsewhere, then you’re not going to find anything tremendously new here. But here’s the thing about Minecraft: it’s endlessly replayable and so packed with delight that it’s hard to resist the urge to have it at your fingertips at all times.
And this is easily the best portable edition to date, not only packing in huge worlds on the Switch’s capable screen, but also giving you the full range of controls, featuring eight-player online antics, and bundling in a superb set of Super Mario-themed blocks and skins.
SHOVEL KNIGHT: TREASURE TROVE
We’ve recommended both previous Nintendo versions of Shovel Knight, but we can’t help but do it again with the amazing Switch rendition. In case you’ve missed it, Shovel Knight is a pitch-perfect homage to 8-bit, 2D action games, only now you’re a metal-clad warrior with a rather effective gardening tool.
Treasure Trove is the ultimate edition of the game, not only giving you the original quest but also the Plague of Shadows and Specter of Torment expansions, each with a brand new campaign starring another character. You’ll also get another campaign in the future. And if you already have Shovel Knight elsewhere, at least you can buy Specter of Torment (shown) solo on Switch.
SNIPPERCLIPS – CUT IT OUT, TOGETHER!
Sure, Nintendo’s biggest franchises hog most of the attention on Switch, but the company’s own Snipperclips – Cut it Out, Together! also warrants a look. It’s decidedly smaller in scope, but also a fraction of the price, and it shows the kind of oddball ingenuity we expect from the Big N.
Snipperclips is best experienced in co-op, as you and a pal control paper heroes Snip and Clip, respectively – and use them to trim each other into the perfect shapes needed to complete curious tasks, such as dunking a basketball or sharpening a pencil. It’s compact and clever, and even playable by up to four people if you have extra Joy-Cons handy – or you can go solo, although it shines most with friends.
It’s been more than a decade since the last F-Zero game, but while the series may be dead to Nintendo (at least for now), it’s still alive in our hearts – and those of the makers of Fast RMX. You might have missed the earlier Wii U entry, Fast Racing Neo, but no matter: this is the definitive edition of a pretty great anti-grav racer, and more than just a poor man’s F-Zero.
In addition to driving really, really ridiculously fast, you’ll also need to switch between blue and orange states to make the most of colour-coded boost panels and have a chance against your also-plenty-swift competition. Fast RMX looks great, the sense of speed is remarkable, and with 30 tracks, it’ll keep you steady surging for some time.
TumbleSeed is a tricky game to describe. You play as a seed, you spend most of your time rolling around, and it’s incredibly colourful and attractive. On the other hand, it’s intensely difficult, isn’t the easiest game to learn, and will surely result in many, many seed deaths.
At the very least, it’s one of the most original games we’ve played in a long time – and if you have the patience to stomach its challenge, TumbleSeed can be hugely rewarding. You’ll guide the transforming seed up a mountain filled with gaping holes and vicious foes, with precise timing and careful analog stick nudges needed to survive the roguelike gauntlet. It’s a perfect fit for the Switch and wildly attractive – a serious test worth savouring.
PUYO PUYO TETRIS
Every Nintendo handheld needs a great Tetris game, right? That’s true, but Puyo Puyo Tetris isn’t quite like any Tetris you’ve played before. It’s actually a mash-up, blending the familiar line-clearing action with the color-matching gameplay of Sega’s own puzzle series.
You can play them separately, but what’s most interesting is how they play together: you can play Tetris while battling an opponent with a Puyo Puyo board, or command one board of each in the same game as you alternate between them – and even mix and match on the same board. Everything is wrapped up in a cutesy anime aesthetic and packed with personality, and the games beneath remain rock solid. It’s the best of both puzzle worlds.
WORLD OF GOO
World of Goo is a decade old at this point, true, but it’s still as captivating as it was back on the original Wii. This physics puzzler is an indie classic, tasking you with creating functional structures using only connectable ball creatures. And why would you do such a thing? Well, to help the other gooey ball creatures escape through a tunnel, of course.
The challenge builds quickly and creatively as new types of hazards appear, as well as new kinds of goo balls with fresh abilities—and World of Goo impresses not only with its compelling puzzle design, but also its ample atmosphere. The initially bright and cartoonish look hides a darker, unsettling tone within, with brilliant music to match. And it’s awfully cheap, to boot.
LEGO CITY UNDERCOVER
No, you won’t find Grand Theft Auto on the Switch – but will you settle for a Lego-fied version? Making its way over from Wii U, Lego City Undercover puts an amusing spin on open-world antics, but instead of being an opportunistic criminal, you take the role of a cop. You can still steal cars, however.
Unlike most Lego games, Undercover tells its own story – although it’s peppered with pop culture references throughout, and has the same kind of slapstick tone as the others. Lego City Undercover can be repetitive and it isn’t especially challenging, but the city itself offers up a lot of fun, and this is a big, meaty, and yes, kid-friendly adventure that fits well on the Switch.