10 Best Free Nintendo Switch Games You Can Download Right Now

Everyone loves a freebie. It doesn't matter whether it's free food or an added bonus you weren't expecting, getting something without paying for it is always a nice surprise. The same is true of video games as well. Of course, consoles like the Nintendo Switch aren't exactly known for their free-to-play games. These types of titles have traditionally been more widespread on mobile devices and PC rather than home systems, but that is now starting to change.

The Nintendo Switch may well be home to impressive premium experiences such as "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild" and "Pokémon Legends: Arceus" but it also has a growing collection of free games that players can download right now without having to spend a single penny. Some of them are games that are also available on other platforms, while a few are first-party exclusives that you can't play anywhere else.

Whatever the case, these 10 free Nintendo Switch games are almost certainly worth checking out for every owner of the hybrid console.


What initially began as a sort of advanced tower defense game where players would defend spaces against hordes of zombie-like creatures has evolved into the worldwide phenomenon that is "Fortnite." Epic Games' battle royale game popularized the genre and has grown to the extent that it now has hundreds of millions of registered users and has generated billions in revenue. The player-versus-player title allows up to 100 players to battle it out on a large map as they try to be the last remaining survivor. Along the way, they fight opponents, build structures, and collect additional weapons or items to give them an advantage.

Having originally been available on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, "Fortnite" has subsequently been ported to almost every platform, with a release on the Nintendo Switch coming in the summer of 2018. Running smoothly at 30 frames per second, the Switch version of the battle royale game is just as fun and exciting as its counterparts on other systems. It also fully supports cross-platform play and gives users the opportunity to carry over their progression from other platforms.

Perhaps most interesting is that "Fortnite" players on the Nintendo console can get access to motion control support. It is easily one of the best shooters on the Switch and it can be fully enjoyed without spending a penny, although significant microtransactions are available in the form of a seasonal Battle Pass and cosmetic items. With Epic Games continually updating "Fortnite," it's an experience that always feels fresh and gives players plenty of reasons to keep coming back.

Arena of Valor

In many ways, "Arena of Valor" is a fairly unique game even among the free titles available on the Nintendo Switch. Only released on Android, iOS, and the Nintendo console, it is an international port of the Chinese game "Honor of Kings" — a hugely popular MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) that has been available in the country since 2015. Like other MOBAs, the game revolves around players fighting as a specific hero as part of a team against an opposing team. With gameplay that is very reminiscent of "League of Legends," there are a variety of game modes available such as 1v1 and 5v5 battles.

With over 100 heroes to choose from across a range of different classes — including mages, tanks, assassins, and support characters — every user should be able to find the perfect match for their own strengths and weaknesses. Once in a match, players can level up their heroes to unlock new abilities and skills to help turn the tide in their favor, although this progression resets at the start of every game. "Arena of Valor" also supports ranked matches, an arcade mode, and two-player deathmatches featuring five teams.

With a limited number of MOBA titles available on consoles, the fact that one of the most popular mobile releases can be played on the Switch is a big deal. Throw in the fact that it has a fairly simple control scheme and is more accessible than most other MOBAs, and "Arena of Valor" is a great game to try out for those unfamiliar with the genre.

Fall Guys

"Fall Guys" is easily one of the most unique and thrilling games of the last few years. Originally released as an exclusive game for PC and PlayStation 4, it has since been ported to every major system, including Xbox consoles and the Nintendo Switch. Developed by Mediatonic, the game is essentially a video game version of television shows such as "Wipeout" and "Takeshi's Castle." Typical matches see 60 players compete against each other across multiple rounds in game show-like challenges and obstacle courses. At the end of each randomly selected mini-game, a large number of contestants are eliminated until there is just one remaining player who is crowned the winner.

Meeting with immediate success upon its release and the game has proved a hit on other systems since it has been ported as well. Since shifting to a free-to-play model, "Fall Guys" has continued to see frequent updates to add new levels, ensuring that there is a lot of variety when it comes to playing matches. Noted for its fun gameplay, colorful characters and environments, and chaotic energy, this is a game that can be fully enjoyed alone or with friends. The simplicity of the controls also makes it highly accessible, while "Fall Guys" is an ideal game to pick up and play in short sessions for a round or two. This makes it a brilliant addition to the Switch as a portable console that can be played on the go.

Super Kirby Clash

Nintendo might not be known for its free-to-play games, but it has released a number of titles in recent times that gamers can jump into without paying. One of the standout examples is "Super Kirby Clash," a spin-off of the long-running platform series that has been a staple of Nintendo consoles for several decades. It was first released in 2019 and follows "Team Kirby Clash Deluxe" as the franchise's second free-to-play game.

"Super Kirby Clash" switched the gameplay focus from platforming to role-playing, with players able to choose from four classes — Sword Hero, Hammer Lord, Doctor Healmore, and Beam Mage — as they battle against a series of bosses. Supporting single-player action or co-op play through local and online multiplayer, the title offers a wide variety of rewards that are awarded based on how well the team performs in each stage. There's a lot of replay value in the game as well, although there is a limit on the amount of time you can spend playing without spending real-life currency to unlock Gem Apples.

There have been some complaints about online issues that can plague the multiplayer experience, with Nintendo Life noting that players can expect to be disconnected from matches on a regular basis. But that shouldn't take away too much from the chaotic fun that is "Super Kirby Clash" and it is well worth at least trying for fans of the "Kirby" series or those who want to try out a surprisingly deep RPG.

Apex Legends

With battle royale games such as "Fortnite" and "PUBG: Battlegrounds" dominating the world of gaming in recent times, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that EA would eventually enter the fray with a release of some sort. That happened with Respawn Entertainment's "Apex Legends," a free-to-play battle royale based on the "Titanfall" franchise. Like most titles in the genre, gameplay revolves around trying to survive in a large arena against dozens of other players as the play area begins to shrink. However, "Apex Legends" differentiates itself thanks to the various characters that players can select, each with their own unique abilities and personalities.

The other way that "Apex Legends" stands out is that it has a definite focus on teamwork, with all the game modes involving either three or two-person teams. Along with its battle royale mode, it also has a smaller team deathmatch variant where only two teams of three players compete directly against each other. Having originally launched for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in 2019, it eventually came to Nintendo Switch in 2021 with a limited framerate of 30 frames per second.

Undoubtedly one of the best battle royale games on offer, it offers exciting and dramatic gunplay in rounds that are often more tactical than other similar games. Of course, being able to play it in handheld mode is a nice option to have as well. The regular updates from Respawn Entertainment ensure that the action never becomes stale and maintains a steady stream of new heroes and items.

Fallout Shelter

Following in the footsteps of a number of other free-to-play spin-offs of already established franchises, "Fallout Shelter" is a management simulator set in the world of the RPG series "Fallout." Developed by Bethesda, the game first became available in 2015 when it launched on mobile devices. Ports for PC and Xbox One followed the next year, with PlayStation 4 and Switch versions finally arriving in 2018.

Unlike its predecessors, this game tasks players with managing their own Vault, keeping all of its inhabitants happy and safe. As the Overseer, all aspects of the shelter come under your direct control. That means players are responsible for everything from providing food, power, and clean water to training guards and building defenses against possible outside threats. It is also possible to rescue new dwellers from the wasteland and increase the stats of all residents by having them train in special rooms, which can be built to expand the size of the Vault.

Although "Fallout Shelter" doesn't have the depth of many other management simulators, it has a satisfying gameplay loop and is accessible enough to be enjoyed by a more casual audience than the genre is usually associated with. The only real downside to the title is the lack of endgame content or a narrative. However, even those issues don't take away from what is a novel take on the "Fallout" series and a nice change of pace from the standard RPG gameplay fans will be familiar with.

Color Zen

"Color Zen" is a very different type of game from many of the other entries featured here. First released in 2018 and developed by Large Animal Games, it is a relaxing puzzle game that has a far slower pace than the battle royale and action games that make up most of the free offerings on the Nintendo Switch. This makes it a great choice when you want to unwind rather than jump into a stressful multiplayer game or try to tackle a difficult boss in that single-player game you are engrossed in.

The gameplay of "Color Zen" utilized the touch screen of the Switch console, with players having to move shapes around the screen to get their colors to match the outer frame of the level. It can be played entirely at your own pace and doesn't feature any penalties for failing a level, allowing you to freely experiment and not have to worry about getting everything right the first time. Later levels ratchet up the difficulty as more shapes are introduced and colors are layered on top of each other but the game never becomes anything other than a peaceful and meditative escape.

The game also features a wonderful soundtrack from composer Steve Woodzell, which makes playing it all the more pleasurable. For those who really dig the gameplay, publisher Cypronia has even made additional levels available via DLC packs. These three mode packs add a variety of additional content at a relatively low price of less than $1 each, expanding the base game to an impressive 460 stages.

Pokémon Quest

At first glance, "Pokémon Quest" might look like nothing more than a weird mash-up of "Pokémon" and "Minecraft." But there is a lot more to this charming game for those who take the time to explore it properly. Featuring the original creatures from "Pokémon Red" and "Pokémon Blue," it has several distinctive parts that involve the player completing different tasks. For example, there is a base camp management section that involves acquiring new Pokémon and boosting your stats along with expeditions that are based around defeating wild Pokémon in sets of levels.

Any Pokémon that joins the player's party can be leveled up through training to learn new special moves as well as to increase their attack and defense stats. Many elements will be recognizable to fans of the wider "Pokémon" series, but this is a very different overall package that has a less strategic battle system and no traditional capturing mechanics.

First released in 2018, "Pokémon Quest" is available on Nintendo Switch as well as mobile devices. Despite rather mixed reviews from critics, it was downloaded more than 8 million times in the month following its launch. For those who want a "Pokémon" fix without having to buy a brand new game, this free-to-play title may well be the way to go.


Fighting games have always been one of the most popular and successful types of games. However, the world of fighting is largely dominated by just a few big series, such as "Street Fighter" and "Mortal Kombat." Nintendo even has its very own AAA franchise in the form of "Super Smash Bros." that has held a tight grip over the platform fighting market for decades. "Brawlhalla," which was developed by Blue Mammoth Games and published by Ubisoft, is a relatively new addition to the genre and first came to PC and consoles back in 2018.

Like "Super Smash Bros.," this game sees players try to knock their opponents off the stage to defeat them. As they receive more damage, they'll fly further into the air when hit, making it harder for them to remain within the safety of the stage and avoid the blast zones. It features the same sort of fast-paced furious gameplay of other platform fighters and features a range of crossover characters from many series, including "Rayman" and "The Walking Dead" — although players usually have to pay to get access to these extra fighters.

With a variety of game modes, ranging from one on one matches to team-based 2v2 encounters, "Brawlhalla" is a great choice for those who want to experience a great fighting game without spending any money. Even those who don't have a lot of exposure to fighting games should find its accessible control system a breeze to understand so that they can jump straight into the action.

Tetris 99

When you think of the battle royale genre, puzzle games don't usually come to mind. In fact, the vast majority of these popular multiplayer titles are shooters of some sort, where players can battle it out in massive environments to come out on top. "Tetris 99" takes a different approach entirely that may sound odd on paper but actually works spectacularly well. Exclusive to the Switch, the game sees 99 players facing off against each by playing the classic "Tetris" game in one massive multiplayer game.

Yet, there are a few extra elements that involve sending junk to other players' boards, pushing up their pieces closer to the top. Special combination moves, known as T-spins, send even more lines of trash to opponents, who can be targeted using a selection tool that involves either pre-set options or allows players to manually choose who to focus on. As more and more players are eliminated, badges are awarded to the remaining competitors to boost their ability to attack opponents.

"Tetris 99" is easily among the best free games on any console, never mind the Nintendo Switch. It is as competitive and intense as any shooter-based battle royale game and can be picked up and played by anyone who is familiar with the original "Tetris." The base game is completely free-to-play, although there are paid DLC add-ons available and users will need an active Nintendo Switch Online subscription.