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25 best Nintendo Switch games you can buy right now
Zelda, Stardew, Golf Story and 22 other brilliant Nintendo Switch games you absolutely have to own

Sam Loveridge 4/11/19

If you're a Switch gamer, 2019 is going to be particularly great, but it's also worth noting that's it's already been a strong year for the best Nintendo Switch games. We're only a third of the way through the year, but we've already had a tonne of upcoming Switch games revealed, and even been able to add a new game to our pick of the best Nintendo Switch games of all time - the brilliant Tetris 99.

Although it might seem obvious for this list to include the likes of Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, there are also some excellent ports, indie darlings, platformers like Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition or even an RTS or two like Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle.

We're not quite sure how the Nintendo Switch has managed it, but we're not even getting started with all the games that the console has on offer. Overwhelming much? If you're looking to pick up the best Nintendo Switch bundle for you, and want to know which games you should get first, we've listed the best titles available on the switch in ascending order from 25 to the hallowed number one spot.

https://www.gamesradar.com/best-switch-games/

Listed games

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

1.The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (2017)

Genre: Action RPG

What is it? The latest entry in Nintendo's venerable fantasy franchise, which embraces its own history as often as it upends it

Why should you buy it? This is, perhaps more than anything, the biggest showpiece for what the Nintendo Switch can do. Breath of the Wild takes ideas originally introduced in the first Legend of Zelda game along with concepts expanded on by Skyrim and other modern open-world RPGs and Nintendoizes them, distilling them into purest parts, and polishes the hell out of them. It's a world of wonder, and for the first time what feels like ages, it actually lets you experience that wonder without beating you over the head with hours of tutorials and incessant text boxes re-explaining everything you already know. Playing it on the TV is a treat, but being able to lift the Switch from the dock and take a game of this size and scope wherever you want is a perfect summation of the Switch's potential.

Super Mario Odyssey

2.Super Mario Odyssey (2017)

Genre: Adventure

What is it? Mario's biggest 3D adventure yet, taking him all over the globe for some hat-themed adventures.

Why should you buy it? If you're only buying two games for the Nintendo Switch, it has to be Zelda and it has to be Mario. Thanks to Mario's new friend Cappy, Super Mario Odyssey manages to successfully bring the series up to date by gifting Mario a ton of new moves. And by moving out of the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario feels fresh and new while still retaining every ounce of its nostalgia and retro charm - there are still ground pounds and green pipes don't worry. This is very much Mario as his best self so far, and his latest adventure looks absolutely beautiful on the Switch.

Mario Kart 8

3.Mario Kart 8 (2014)

Genre: Racing

What is it? The best version of Mario Kart 8 money can buy.

Why should you buy it? Apart from the telling clue in the line above, the Nintendo experience isn't complete until you've enraged your closest friends by beating them at Mario Kart. It's a rite of passage on every Nintendo console. This immediate, relatable, pick-up-and-play fun is exactly what the Switch was created for. Up to eight people can locally, letting you pretend that you're in a Nintendo lifestyle advert, and it's a novelty that two people can play anywhere using a single console. But best of all, this is the ultimate version of an already amazing game, and perhaps the most clear and brilliant example of how great the Switch could be.

TETRIS 99

4.TETRIS 99 (2019)

Genre: Battle royale

Note: Free with a Nintendo Online subscription

What is it? Tetris, but battle royale. No, I'm not joking.

Why should you buy it? If you love Tetris and think you're better at playing it than anyone else, then you need to try Tetris 99. It's an insane take on battle royale where you play Tetris simultaneously along with 98 other people, but every two or more lines you clear you send as junk to other players, either at random, to the people closest to a KO, to your attackers or to those doing the best so far. It's mad, fast paced and turns the zen Tetris stacking into a frenzy that will have you screaming at your Switch. It might be the best thing ever.

Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu!

5.Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! (2018)

Genre: RPG

Note: Also includes Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee!

What is it? The first ever Pokemon RPG on a home console, blending classic series' elements with mechanics from Pokemon Go.

Why should you buy it? You might have already dismissed Pokemon Let's Go as a sub-par Pokemon Go spin-off, but you absolutely shouldn't. What developer GameFreak has done with Let's Go is actually quite ingenious, blending together elements from the immensely popular mobile game Pokemon Go, with classic RPG features from the core series, all packaged up as a reimagining of the 1998 game, Pokemon Yellow. Sounds good right? Yes, yes it is. Never before has a Pokemon game felt quite so alive or immersive. You throw Poke Balls in the real world to catch Pokemon, using your Joy-Con or the brilliant Poke Ball Plus controller to mime the actual throw, and building a bond with your buddy Pokemon is a core part of the gameplay, just as it was with Pokemon Yellow. It's a surprising blend of old and new, which all works perfectly well and if you have any interest in the Pokemon series, this has to be on your Switch.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

6.Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (2018)

Genre: Brawler

What is it? The latest entry in the Super Smash Bros series - and the first for Switch - delivers more characters and levels than ever before.

Why should you buy it? Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is pulling out all the stops when it comes to characters. With a whopping 74 characters available to unlock, this is definitely the busiest roster of them all. That total includes 11 brand new characters - and that's before you've even started on the DLC. That means a whole new set of fighters to learn in the heat of battle, but thankfully this is the best Super Smash Bros. title yet, both in terms of its glorious good looks, but also in the way the stages are detailed and animated, fighters move much more naturally and with additional flare, and the KO animations are more satisfying than ever. Plus, there's even a surprisingly meaty single-player story to dive into. This is quite the package.

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

7.Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle (2017)

Genre: Strategy

What is it? If you mix Super Mario with XCOM you basically get Mario + Rabbids, a strange strategy hybrid with tons of charm.

Why should you buy it? Don't be put off by the XCOM comment, Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle is a strategy game that works incredibly well even if you're not a fan of strategy games. It features brilliant, polished game mechanics that are introduced in stages to let you get to grips with the game's surprisingly deep tactical gameplay. But it mixes that gameplay with real knowledge of the Super Mario universe and wraps it up in a level of detail and graphical quality that you can regularly mistake it for a Nintendo-made title. It's an absolute joy.

Splatoon 2

8.Splatoon 2 (2017)

Genre: Third-person shooter

What is it? A sequel that brings more multiplayer ink-splatting madness than the Wii U exclusive original and more Splatfests too.

Why should you buy it? If you missed out on the Wii U exclusive that was Splatoon, the sequel, suprisingly named Splatoon 2, is one of the Switch's best games. It again sees you teaming up with your fellow inklings – that's half squid, half human – to try and paint the most of the map your team's colour in the multiplayer. It's easy to pick up and play, and although it doesn't feel totally fresh anymore as it's a sequel, it's still a refreshing take on the traditional shooter. There's also a robust single-player Hero Mode and a new Horde-esque mode known as Salmon Rush that is dangerously addictive and devilishly difficult on the highest levels.

Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition

9.Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition (2017)

Genre: Third-person shooter

What is it? A sequel that brings more multiplayer ink-splatting madness than the Wii U exclusive original and more Splatfests too.

Why should you buy it? If you missed out on the Wii U exclusive that was Splatoon, the sequel, suprisingly named Splatoon 2, is one of the Switch's best games. It again sees you teaming up with your fellow inklings – that's half squid, half human – to try and paint the most of the map your team's colour in the multiplayer. It's easy to pick up and play, and although it doesn't feel totally fresh anymore as it's a sequel, it's still a refreshing take on the traditional shooter. There's also a robust single-player Hero Mode and a new Horde-esque mode known as Salmon Rush that is dangerously addictive and devilishly difficult on the highest levels.

Stardew Valley

10.Stardew Valley (2016)

Genre: Simulation

What is it? A cute, pixel-art farming simulator that has stolen the hearts of most of the GamesRadar+ office.

Why should you buy it? There's a reason Stardew Valley was one of the most highly anticipated titles coming to the Nintendo Switch. This adorable, simple life, farming simulator is the perfect game for taking advantage of the Switch's portability. Farming at home, farming on the go, farming wherever the heck you fancy farming. It's a fantastic game for whiling away the evenings with a spot of farming, mining, animal rearing, fishing and other super relaxed activites. Trust us, you'll soon be as immersed in the world of Stardew as we are.

Octopath Traveler

11.Octopath Traveler (2018)

Genre: JRPG

What is it? A modern turn-based Japanese RPG inspired by old-school graphics.

Why should you buy it? What Octopath Traveler really excels at is scale. Whereas any other game would put all of its focus onto a single protagonist, Square Enix's JRPG tells the story of eight - yes, eight - heroes, and all of their beautifully told stories are given the same gravitas, which is quite the feat. It's a wonderful collection of stories, told in a world that is inspired by JRPGs of old, particularly in terms of art style, and its combat is some of the best turned-based systems the JRPG world has to offer. If any of this intrigues you, then Octopath Traveler needs to be on your wishlist immediately. Or, preferably, under your thumbs.

Minecraft: Nintendo Switch Edition

12.Minecraft: Nintendo Switch Edition (2017)

Genre: Building simulation

What is it? A beautifully blocky, open-world, creative sandbox for you to build, destroy, and mine anything you want.

Why should you buy it? Because even if you’ve played it before, Minecraft on Switch means ultra portable, buildable delight. You can sit down with a friend to play together on the local network, which is ridiculously simple to set up - just put one of their Joy-Cons on your Switch once your world is loaded up, press +, and hand it back to them. You can also play online if you're not eager to go exploring alone, or try out one of its mini-games: Battle (straightforwards PvP), Tumble (a race that involves shovels or snowballs), or Glide (get to the end of the course asap). A plethora of achievements makes for pleasantly directed playing as they give you something to aim for, but when it's comes down to it you never feel like you've quite beaten Minecraft even if you've been playing for tens of hours. It's an exercise in discovery and ambition, with structures that previously only existed in your wildest dreams suddenly viable - as long as you have the resources. Whether you're tenacious, easygoing, or just rabidly curious, think of Minecraft as a gracious host that will make you and anyone you choose to co-op with delirious with happiness. Either that, or you'll get your hands on some TNT and will make everything go bang. Which is also fun.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

13.Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (2014)

Genre: Openworld RPG

What is it? An excellent port of a Wii U exclusive with some brilliant new additions.

Why is it interesting? Aside from the fact you should buy this for the adorability factor of Toad and Toadette alone, it also happens that Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is one of the best Wii U ports available on Switch. It's a fantastic puzzler where every level takes the form of an interactive puzzle box or diorama that you can traverse, poke, prod, pull, push and generally interact with to unlock its secrets and reach the end goal of the golden star. And each one is beautiful, intricate and just perplexing enough to leave you suitably impressed and a tiny bit chuffed when you finish it. Plus, there are additional challenges that you can go back and dive into too, making this little puzzler stretch further than you originally anticipate. Just wait until you see the new, Switch exclusive, levels based on Super Mario Odyssey. Being able to waddle through little box-shaped version of Odyssey's Sand, Metro, Cascade and Luncheon Kingdoms is sheer joy, and they are just as beautifully executed as the other levels available too.

Hollow Knight

14.Hollow Knight (2017)

Genre: Platformer

What is it? An epic, platforming adventure with some of the most beautiful environments we've ever seen.

Why should you buy it? Some are suggesting that Hollow Knight is Dark Souls for beginning. A Dark Souls with stunning hand-painted aesthetics and a colour palette to make you cry, and a stunning orchestral sound track that you just want to bathe in. Now there's a Dark Souls I can get behind. In true Metroidvania style, you'll be exploring a labyrinth of underground areas each more distinct than the last, and all filled with strange creatures to fight, and bizarre bugs to befriend. (Yes, really.) As you progress you gain new abilities, grow in power and more devoted to uncovering all of Hollow Knight's secrets.

Moonlighter

15.Moonlighter (2018)

Genre: Action, Adventure

What is it? An adventure where you spend your days tending a shop, and nights fighting through various dungeons to free the town and find things to sell in said shop.

Why should you buy it? If you're looking for the best pixel graphics you've ever seen, you need to check out Moonlighter. This glorious game channels Stardew Valley with that "just one more day" gameplay loop, but instead of tending a farm you're part time dungeon crawler, part time shop keeper. During the day you're figuring out what price to set for each of your hard-earned items, trying to stop thieves from pinching your wares, and saving up enough dosh to rebuild the town. But by night, you're scavenging items to sell in your shop from the dungeons, and working your way towards beating the boss beast that lurks in each one, whilst trying to stay alive. It's addictive gameplay loop means that it's going to be one of those games that eats evenings for breakfast - sometimes literally - and carves a groove into your Switch library. You don't find many games like Moonlighter.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Switch

16.The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Switch (2017)

Genre: Platformer

What is it? A sprawling, decadent openworld RPG filled with dragons, magic, and a bloody civil war with you right at the centre.

Why should you buy it? Let’s ignore the fact that in Skyrim Nintendo Switch you can fight dragons with your bare hands. Let’s also ignore the stunning scenery that oozes character, whether it’s the dismal, unnerving forest of Falkreath or the golden trees swaying near Riften. Don’t pay attention to the grand total of 244 quests, or the DLCs included in the Switch edition that’ll have you journeying to new lands. Instead focus on the motion controls. They’re damn good, allowing you to raise a hand to your chest to block with a shield, or tilt the Joy-Cons to aim where you’re firing a handful of fire. You can even pick locks with your bare hands now, for Talos’ sake (as long as they’re holding Joy-Cons, that is). While we wait for Elder Scrolls 6, Skyrim on the Switch will make you feel connected to Tamriel’s world like never before, and is essential for any RPG lover.

GRIS

17.GRIS (2018)

Genre: Platformer

What is it? A stunning, watercolour, platformer with a soundtrack that's as smooth as pouring treacle in your ears.

Why should you buy it? Sometimes you just want something a little bit different, and if you're looking to push the indie boat out, then Gris is one for you. In terms of gameplay, it's a wonderful puzzle / platformer that'll have you trying to restore the world of colour, but aesthetically it's one of the most beautiful games I've ever had the privilege to play. The colour spectrum evolves the more you play, and as you unlock colours and move through the game you'll be introduced to different areas and locales that are just so pretty I can't help but spam the screenshot button. This is a glorious little game that utterly shines on Switch.

Golf Story

18.Golf Story (2017)

Genre: Golf RPG (yes really)

What is it? It's a brilliant pixel art RPG crossed with a golf sim, with added tongue-in-cheek comedy.

Why should you buy it? Nintendo and Camelot's Game Boy Color take on golfing was a revelation, even for people who hate golf. Mario Golf GBC combined RPG-lite character upgrades and progression with a simple and intuitive arcadey version of golf - and it happened exactly once. Sidebar Games has clearly taken this to heart, and has made its own full-on golfing adventure, complete with eight unique environments, side-quests, and even a story. I don't even like golf and I'm addicted to this.

Owlboy

19.Owlboy (2016)

Genre: Adventure / Platformer

What is it? A gorgeous old-school platformer that’s a real hoot to play.

Why should you buy it? Owlboy is a platformer with a difference. It’ll still have you exploring Metroidvania-style dungeons, but your mute half-owl/half-boy protagonist Otus doesn’t really have any abilities or upgradeable skills beyond a dash and a spin, oh and the ability to fly. That latter one is key though, as it enables him to carry around various allies, giving him the powers that he’ll need to solve puzzles, defeat the various beasties invading the land and eventually save the world. New skills are dripped through, but used in a way that a Zelda or Mario title would - at specific times and in certain locations. Nothing feels overused or overdone. Owlboy just wants to make sure you want to keep playing, and with gameplay as compelling as this and a masterful use of pixelart graphics, there’s plenty to make you keep coming back for more.

Bayonetta 2

20.Bayonetta 2 (2014)

Genre: Action

What is it? An exhilarating hack ’n’ slash adventure.

Why should you buy it? Originally released as a Wii U exclusive, Bayonetta 2 has now been re-released on Switch, and it means that you now have no excuses not to play it. Although, when the heroine is a witch with magical hair and (literally) killer stilettos, you won’t really need an excuse not to. This Switch release allows you to experience some of the most action-packed, brutal moments from the last decade of gaming wherever you want. Although it’s a shame the resolution is locked to 720p, even on your TV, it doesn’t detract from the fact it’s a better game than it was on Wii U, even if you look at the major frame rate improvements alone. The game looks stunning regardless, and if you’re an action game fan in the slightest you owe it to yourself to play Bayonetta 2. In fact, when you buy Bayonetta 2 you actually go one better, because you get the original game thrown in for free too. Bargain.

The Binding of Isaac

21.The Binding of Isaac (2011)

Genre: Roguelike

What is it? The ultimate edition of the remake of the flash game by the artist behind Super Meat Boy.

Why should you buy it? Get past the aesthetic fuelling the Binding of Isaac's narrative - in which a young, naked boy held captive in his own home attempts to escape his mom's murderous intentions by navigating underground caverns and crying at enemies - and there's one hell of a game here from Edmund McMillen. Each run is a randomly generated dungeon, pulling inspiration equally from games like The Legend of Zelda and Spelunky, and as you take on a menagerie of demons, you'll pick up a variety of mysterious items which can help (or hinder) you on your quest to the bottom. Want laser tears or maps to every level? How about one giant tear droplet to steer around the demonic enemies?

Every run is completely different and always relentlessly, offensively wonderful. Packing in the remake of the original game (now known as Rebirth) along with all of the expansions released so far, The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ is the definitive edition of a roguelike that will gleefully suck away hundreds of hours of your life if you let it. Oh, and in further temptation, hunt down the physical edition now available in the EU for a special retro-style actual manual like one you got in the '90s, and some adorable Isaac stickers.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

22.Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (2014)

Genre: Platformer

What is it? The best Wii U game ever is now on Switch.

Why should you buy it? If you missed out on Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze the first time around thanks to its Wii U exclusivity - which is entirely plausible - you need to catch up on DK's latest adventures. This is a gem of a 2D platformer that's been remastered for Switch, running at 720p HD in handheld mode and at full 1080p HD on the big screen. Donkey Kong has never looked so good. You'll be side-scrolling through a variety of stunning levels, and thanks to a wide range of enemies and challenges, it never feels dull. And if you want our advice, it is best played with the soundtrack on full blast.

Battle Chef Brigade

23.Battle Chef Brigade (2017)

Genre: Action/Puzzle

What is it? Part match-three cooking sim, part action brawler. 100% delightful.

Why should you buy it? Battle Chef Brigade is a strangely desirable mash-up. It mixes match-three gameplay with a side-scrolling action game with fantastic results. As the title suggests, it’s also a blend of monster battling and cooking, but it’s miles away from your mama’s cooking game. Kill the beasts and then use their ‘parts’ as ingredients for your meal, so the onus is on you to become a more efficient fighter so you can gather supplies more quickly. The cooking is the match-three part, whereby matching elements together increases the flavour of your dishes, and therefore impressing the judges. It’s a flavour fusion that’s brilliantly addictive.

Thumper

24.Thumper (2016)

Genre: Rhythm action

What is it? Self described as a 'rhythm violence' game, Thumper sees you hurtling down a track as a giant bug perfectly hammering buttons to the beat.

Why should you buy it? Thumper might initially remind you of something a little gentler like Audiosurf as you glide down slick, stylised pathways with electronica in your ears but don't be deceived, this aural extravaganza requires a calm head and pitch perfect twitch reflexes. Initially your giant bug just requires a tap of A as you go over a light panel or perhaps holding a button as you crash around corners but before long you're tapping, flying, crashing down onto the track and causing tidal waves to destroy enormous floating heads... and that's only the beginning. Utterly unforgiving with a soundtrack that you can't pump into you head loud enough, Thumper is a treat for the senses and potentially RSI inducing for your thumbs.

Night in the Woods

25.Night in the Woods (2017)

Genre: Adventure

What is it? A Nintendo Switch port of one of the best indie hits of 2017

Why should you buy it? If you haven't played Night in the Woods yet, the fact it's now on Switch means you literally have no excuse now. It's high on the list of best indie games of 2017, and although it might look like a cutesy adventure of cats, foxes and crocodiles in a colourful world, it's actually far darker than that. The story flows with sub-currents of mental health issues, concerns about identity and failure, death, mourning, love and all kinds of growing up pains, and it's all utterly brilliant. You play as Mae, as she works out how to come home after dropping out of college to a town that's not quite the same anymore, and is full of her past - both good and bad. Rhythm action, platforming and other gameplay tropes are all roped into telling Mae's story, and thanks to the fact it comes free with the Weird Autumn DLC, the Switch port is the best way to experience her journey. Just be prepared, the scariest monster in the dark woods is you.

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