5 Of The Best Nintendo Switch Games You Can Play Offline

Ever since its 2017 debut, the Nintendo Switch has solidified its position as the gaming handheld to beat, threatened only by the rise of powerful smartphones and experimental systems like the Steam Deck. As awesome as those other options are, you can only find certain franchises on Nintendo's flagship product.

The Switch revolutionized handheld gaming by giving you a unit that can double as a home console simply by dropping it into its dock. That gives you the flexibility to play it on your big TV while relaxing at home and then grabbing it for a day in bed or a long commute. Some of these commutes make it hard to play online, such as while you're on an airplane or dipping into cellular dead zones that make it difficult to connect to a hotspot. Thankfully, there are many games on the Nintendo Switch that you can play without any connection whatsoever, whether you buy the physical copy from the store or download it from the Nintendo eShop ahead of your anticipated blackout period

Super Mario Odyssey

We'll start with one the whole family can enjoy. "Super Mario Odyssey" isn't just for kids — our favorite plumber hits the scene in this fully 3D platformer that can scratch the same itch you got when you were playing "Mario 64" back in the day.

"Super Mario Odyssey" was one of the first Nintendo Switch games available, but it's proven to be an ageless title thanks to its open-world environment, fun gameplay variety, intuitive controls, and a familiar cast filled with series favorites that take you back to your childhood. It's also accessible enough for any little ones in your care, and as a bonus, you can play cooperatively with them to solve certain puzzles in the game.

In classic Mario fashion, he can wield new abilities with the help of magical apparel. In "Odyssey," you'll encounter Cappy, which gives Mario new fighting powers, access to new areas, and effectively serves as a charming companion throughout the campaign.

Persona 5 Royal

Many people consider "Persona 5" to be not just one of the best role-playing games ever made, but one of the best games ever, period. You'll have to play it to truly understand why.

As Joker, you assume the role of leader of the Phantom Thieves, a tight group of high schoolers who stumble upon a parallel universe rife with dastard enemies that manifests as a representation of the hearts of the corrupt adults in their lives. You battle these circumstances using Personas, which are supernatural beings and entities that each boast unique powers and abilities.

The premise alone of this turn-based RPG won many of its fans over, but it's the sum of all its parts that takes it over the top. It has a memorable cast, an authentic Japanese setting, an eye-popping art style, and deep gameplay mechanics that make every encounter and mission feel unique. There's also something to be said about the jazzy soundtrack, which many believe is the best in video game history.

Stardew Valley

Looking for something a little more relaxing? We can't think of many offline games for the Nintendo Switch more fitting than indie darling "Stardew Valley." This farming simulator originally launched on PC but made its way to Nintendo Switch and other platforms after achieving great success. "Stardew Valley" doesn't have the rich 3D graphics boasted by similar titles such as "Story of Seasons," but the 2D sprite fest has an inviting and warm charm of its own. And it's this approach that allowed the developers to create a world that you can manipulate with much more variety.

Farming sim buffs will immediately feel at home with its familiar tropes: you're tasked with building up a long-lost relative's farm that they've let fall by the wayside for one reason or another. You'll get a little help at first, but it's your job to toil the land through various seasons and restore it to former glory, enough so that you can live almost exclusively off of your homesteading. It's up to you whether your crops flourish or wither as you learn how to prepare for the seasons ahead.

But "Stardew Valley" goes leagues beyond the norm. You can build meaningful relationships with the dozens of characters in the game — you can gift them on birthdays, interact at regular events, and wed anyone you want — and there are even some supernatural influences to discover as you explore the town's mysterious underpinnings.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

We'd be shocked to learn you haven't played — or at least heard of – "Skyrim" by now, considering it's persevered across three different console generations starting from the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in 2015. However, we understand not everyone plays everything all at once, and that some of you may even be relatively new to gaming.

Fret not: anytime is a good time to jump into this sprawling ancient land filled with dragons, ghouls, giants, and miscreants, plus a merry consort of companions to help you make sense of and face it all. While the main story quest itself is relatively short, some people have found ways to spend thousands of hours in the world of Tamriel through a glut of side quests and activities.

"The Elder Scrolls" lore runs deep, and "Skyrim" was the richest with it yet before the massively multiplayer game "The Elder Scrolls Online" hit the scene. In addition to figuring out how magical dragons, once thought extinct, returned to the realm, you'll also get a front-row seat to the battles between local powers that be, all of whom claim absolute dominion above their rivals. It might remind you of George R.R. Martin's "Game of Thrones" in that regard, so if you're a fan of that universe of novels and shows, you'll likely love this game.

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet

We'd be remiss not to include a Pokémon game on this list, albeit with one asterisk: you'll probably need to connect online at least once in order to download the latest patch. If you can manage that, then you can play "Pokémon Scarlet" and "Pokémon Violet" completely offline without missing many features.

One key exception is the optional co-op modes, which won't hinder the activities you can participate in except you'll be doing them with AI compadres. You also won't be able to trade Pokémon with others or battle online, though there are plenty of battles to sink your teeth into around Paldea, which is the first fully open-world region in a Pokémon game. It's a huge expanse teeming with Pokémon across various locales and biomes, including big cities, cozy villages, and nature-filled countrysides.

You can explore nearly any part of the map you see, including mountaintops accessible via the legendary Pokémon you get access to early in the game. In fact, the game is so freeing that you can wander into territory with Pokémon much stronger than yours just after you receive your first Pokémon, so be careful! Other than that, it's Pokémon as you know and love it: catch them all (there are 400, including 107 new ones), collect all the gym badges, and battle the elite four in a story that'll tug at your heartstrings just a bit.