15 Best Single-Player Games On Nintendo Switch, Ranked

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In the six years since the Nintendo Switch first launched, it has accrued a truly impressive library of games. From high-octane action games to complex strategy games and relaxing puzzle games, there's something for everyone.

The Switch has plenty of great multiplayer-focused experiences, including the likes of "Splatoon 2" and "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate". However, the system is arguably a more single-player focused platform, and it sets itself apart from living room consoles such as the PlayStation 5 by allowing you to dive into digital experiences even when you don't have a power outlet or a big screen TV available.

While Nintendo's own exclusive collection of prestigious franchises, such as Mario and the Legend of Zelda, stand out as key reasons to own a Switch, many third-party games from studios, both big and indie are ideally suited to the portable design of this console. The best single-player games for the Nintendo Switch allow for both bite-sized fun on the bus or commuter train, and for deep dives into beautiful digital worlds at home.

15. Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Nintendo's excellent game about building a town on an island, "Animal Crossing: New Horizons" is one of the titles that has defined the Switch. In "New Horizons" you create your character and travel to a deserted island, and alongside talking animals, you get to work. "New Horizons" is a game the genre of which is somewhat hard to pin down. It's somewhere between a city builder and a survival sim, albeit without any chance that you won't survive. 

You'll start out by doing a lot of resource gathering and crafting to make tools so you can gather more resources to build new tools. Over time you'll progress as you continue to craft, trade, and complete tasks. You get to pick where shops are placed, where the various cute animals that arrive on the island will live, and various other aspects as the mayor of a growing community.

There's a ton to do and customize, and "Animal Crossing: New Horizons" is a perfect, charming game for the Switch. It's available for $49.94 from Amazon.

14. Dungeon of the Endless

Lead a band of adventurers through a hostile maze of underground passages on an alien world while managing scarce resources and fighting ever-increasing waves of enemies. In "Dungeon of the Endless", one wrong move can spell immediate doom, or kick off a domino effect that leaves you helpless later in the game. In each level you traverse you need to harvest various materials, collect equipment, and build defenses to protect the crystal which essentially functions as your power source and home base. If the crystal is destroyed, it's game over.

The wide roster of upgradeable characters creates an interesting team-building element, and the last turn of every level is a nail-biting experience as one character must carry your crystal laboriously to the exit point while being chased by ravening monsters. Despite the pixel art style, "Dungeon of the Endless" manages to conjure dread at the thought of what might be lurking behind each closed door. The addictive turn-based gameplay is ideally suited for snatching little bits of fun when you happen to have a brief moment of downtime.

A physical copy of "Dungeon the Endless" is available for $42.46 on Amazon, but you can also get it for just $19.99 for the digital version on Nintendo's online store.

13. Pokemon Sword and Shield

Arguably the best Pokemon game to launch on the Switch, "Sword and Shield" transports players to the U.K.-themed Galar region where both new and old pokemon await, some of them with a distinctly British appearance. The overall aesthetic helps elevate Sword and Shield above other recent Pokemon games, and its polished gameplay offers a distinct advantage over more recent entries in the franchise, which have suffered from bugs and game design issues.

"Sword and Shield" include both the traditional Pokemon level design with more open areas and Dynamax Pokemon to add some extra drama and excitement to battles. "Sword and Shield" is a must-play experience for Pokemon fans, and it's the standout title in the franchise on Switch.

"Pokemon Sword and Shield" is available for $47.95 from Amazon, and while serious Pokemon fans choose to buy both Sword and Shield, even though both versions are nearly identical the average gamer won't miss much by simply buying one or the other.

12. Metroid Dread

Returning the classic Metroid series to its 2D roots, "Metroid Dread" is widely considered one of the best entries in the franchise. It's the first 2D Metroid game in 20 years, and it fully recaptures everything fans loved about this fast-paced Sci-Fi adventure series.

If you played "Metroid Fusion" on the Gameboy Advanced, "Dread" picks up right where that game left off, but you don't need to be well-versed in Metroid lore to enjoy the fantastic gameplay that "Dread" has to offer. As in other Metroid games, you start out with only a few basic weapons and abilities and gather many more as you progress. New weapons and abilities unlock new places to explore. Secrets abound to discover and claim, and the combat is satisfying and fun. Boss fights can be extremely challenging, as are other portions of the game.

"Metroid Dread" is a game every Switch gamer should play, and it's available for $52.13 on Amazon.

11. Cuphead

Animated in the style of early 20th-century cartoons, "Cuphead" is renowned for its incredible aesthetic and punishingly difficult boss fights. This game is a true labor of love, with its gorgeous visuals perfectly evoking the era of the first Mickey Mouse cartoons, and is worth experiencing for the visuals alone. You play as Cuphead, a guy with a literal cup for a head, who suffers from a crippling gambling addiction that has placed him heavily in debt with the actual devil. Your goal then as Cuphead is to beat up everyone else who owes the devil money, shaking them down to pay the devil and thus work off your debt.

That might seem like kind of a dark premise for such a bright and cheerful-looking game based on kids' cartoons, but if you've watched classic cartoons you know that they too can be remarkably dark and violent.

In this platform shooter, victory is all about analyzing the complex patterns of the various bosses you face, and it's these boss fights that make up the bulk of the game. These include such bizarre entities as evil carrots, pirates, a German rat who lives in a soup can, sentient poker chips and dominoes, and many more crazy creatures. As difficult as it is, "Cuphead" is worth the effort it takes to master this unique game. It's available for $38.97 on Amazon.

10. Ori and the Blind Forest

A beautiful 2D platformer with great storytelling, "Ori and the Blind Forest" will tug on even the most hardened heartstrings. The visuals are the star of the show here, with absolutely gorgeous backgrounds that glow with vibrant colors, and it's accompanied by a particularly excellent score. Combat is well-designed and satisfying, while not being overly complex and getting in the way of the narrative. You gain powers as you go along, and can customize your play style by leveling up through a skill tree.

Traversal of the world is a big part of what makes Ori and the Blind Forest so much fun to play. As with other games of this type, there are plenty of secret areas to find, powerups to acquire, and achievements to earn. "Ori and the Blind Forest" doesn't do anything particularly unique, but the sheer beauty of its environment sets it apart and elevates it to one of the best games you can play on Switch. It's available from Amazon for $30.94.

9. Slay the Spire

This single-player card battler game is ideal for either killing small amounts of time or diving into long, tense gameplay sessions where every decision you make can have huge consequences. "Slay the Spire" is all about fighting your way up through the eponymous Spire in order to destroy its heart. You do this by building a deck of playing cards as you ascend while fighting various bizarre monsters as you go.

Multiple characters are available, each with wildly different styles of gameplay. The game weaves a story as you go, with various encounters and incidents either doling out valuable loot or terrible curses and disasters. "Slay the Spire" evokes elements of "Magic: The Gathering" and classic board games, and is tremendously well-balanced so that it's always a challenge, yet never so unfair as to be discouraging.

"Slay the Spire" is both one of the best card battlers on any platform, and one of the best games to play on the Switch. It's available for $24.99 as a digital download on Amazon.

8. Dorf Romantik

A relaxing and highly satisfying cozy puzzle game where you construct an idyllic landscape that comes to life as you place tiles, "Dorf Romantik" is incredibly engaging despite its laid-back atmosphere and low-stakes gameplay. With every tile featuring patches of forest, rivers, and quaint little cottages, churches, and ponds, the rural scene comes to life. Birds glide over green fields, deer graze in secluded woodland glades, boats putter down an ever-expanding network of meandering streams connecting a tapestry of little lakes, and trains steam their way between cozy communities.

"Dorf Romantik" can be played either in an endless freeform building mode or with a limited pool of tiles that may only be expanded by achieving various milestones defined by connecting different types of landscapes. It's all very laid back, but it can also be very challenging if you're aiming to achieve the highest score possible. Doing so requires careful forward planning. It's available for $14.99 on the Nintendo online store.

7. Diablo 3: Eternal Collection

The Switch is the best way to play "Diablo 3" in 2023, and "Diablo 3: Eternal Collection" is one of the best games on Switch. The somewhat dated graphics of "Diablo 3" aren't as noticeable on a smaller screen, and while this game was originally intended as a mouse and keyboard experience, it's perfectly suited to be played on a portable device.

"Diablo 3" is a dark fantasy adventure through a world positively oozing atmosphere and containing almost absurd quantities of loot. There are many classes of characters to choose from, and a gripping story campaign to experience. The "Eternal Collection" includes both the "Reaper of Souls" expansion and the "Rise of the Necromancer" expansion, as well as a bunch of Switch-exclusive extras. You could easily sink hundreds of hours into this classic dungeon crawler, and with "Diablo 3: Immortal Collection" available for just $28.96 on Amazon, it's not only one of the best games on the Nintendo Switch, but it's also a compelling bargain.

6. Into the Breach

A turn-based battle game pitting mechs against bug-like aliens, "Into the Breach", is great for bite-sized gameplay sessions. You control three units at a time, and all the action takes place on tiny little maps, each unit having a unique moveset. It's somewhat similar to chess because you need to plan your moves many turns in advance and winning hinges on anticipating how the enemy will react.

"Into the Breach" allows for a lot of customization of mechs, with plenty of unlockable mechs and characters, all with unique abilities. The game takes place in a sci-fi scenario, not unlike the Tom Cruise time travel movie "Edge of Tomorrow". Every time you die, you go back to the beginning of the game. However, you get to choose a character to survive and travel back with all their experience intact. This adds an extra level of strategy and tension, as losing an upgraded character means the next run will be all the harder.

"Into the Breach" is available on Amazon as a digital download for $14.89.

5. Death's Door

This game could be described as a combination of Zelda and Dark Souls with an adorable crow protagonist. That adorable protagonist is also a Reaper who works in an office as part of a bureaucratic organization that harvests souls and does an awful lot of paperwork. Things have clearly gone very wrong in this organization, as well as in the various lands you explore on your quest to discover what's going on.

In "Death's Door", you traverse a number of desolate, crumbling worlds that, combined with the dark subject matter of the plot, give the game a distinct Dark Souls vibe, if Dark Souls was passed through a cuteness filter. There's humor in the writing and characters, which prevents the game from becoming too grim. The combat is fun and very challenging, and you pick up many different weapons and spells along the way. Its puzzles and overall design are very much Zelda-esque. It's a brilliantly put-together game that's ideally suited to the Switch, and it's available for $38.40 on Amazon.

4. Super Mario Odyssey

Full of wildly varying landscapes and challenges, "Super Mario Odyssey" strikes a masterful balance between accessibility and challenging, rewarding gameplay. "Odyssey" takes players on a balloon journey between one unique kingdom and another, from a sandy desert with ancient Egyptian-themed ruins to a Jurassic Park-style island, to New Donk City where you're running around as Mario alongside realistically proportioned people.

One major new tool available to players in "Odyssey" is a sentient talking hat companion, who just so happens to be able to take control of hostile creatures to solve puzzles or fight enemies. Each location is full of hidden secrets and collectibles, and while the whole experience is decidedly kid-friendly, it's nonetheless a must-play experience for gamers of any age, regardless of normal taste in games.

"Super Mario Odyssey" is available on Amazon for $48.96. Nintendo fans know that it's always okay to buy first-party Nintendo games at launch because they rarely decline significantly in cost.

3. Enter the Gungeon

This bullet-hell roguelike shooter offers lots of firearm-themed action that remains fresh and engaging even after hundreds of attempts to fight your way through every level of "Enter the Gungeon". Choose from a roster of different characters and fight your way down from level to level collecting a huge variety of weaponry while fighting various sentient bullets. The bullets are armed with guns that fire more bullets, and while this state of affairs is odd and perhaps a little troubling if you think about it too much, it makes for an entertaining premise.

Gameplay is tightly designed, and very difficult, though it's not as punishingly unfair as some other games in the "bullet-hell" genre. It'll take practice and perseverance, but you don't have to have superhuman reflexes to beat it. "Enter the Gungeon" is the kind of game where every time you die and get sent back it's an almost irresistible temptation to try just one more run. It's not quite as deep an experience as "Hades", but it's still got more than its fair share of things to unlock, as well as secret levels and nearly endless piles of esoteric weaponry to test out. It's $49.88 on Amazon for a physical copy or just $14.99 for a digital download from Nintendo.

2. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the wild

This game revolutionized both open-world games as well as the Legend of Zelda franchise. "Breath of the Wild" is likely the first game new Switch owners pick up, and thanks to its huge and vibrant world that's jam-packed with things to do, it'll certainly keep you entertained for many hours as you explore the colorful landscape of Hyrule.

"Breath of the Wild" changed the stale habits of open-world games by not merely relying on huge amounts of meaningless busywork. Often open-world games such as those in the Far Cry franchise tend to get tiresome and repetitive since there are only so many identical radio towers you can climb before the experience is somewhat tarnished. "Breath of the wild" puts care and attention into every corner of its expansive world, so exploring it never gets old.

Players have a wide range of options for transporting themselves across Hyrule, including riding horses, hang gliding, and surfing down snowy mountains on a shield, among others. There are also more traditional Legend of Zelda dungeons to explore and bosses to fight, and the game gives you immense freedom to choose what you do and when.

"Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild" will still set you back $48.98 on Amazon, despite being an older title at this point. That really speaks to the quality of the experience, as well as to the way Nintendo games rarely go down in price so long as they're still selling the console.

1. Hades

"Hades" has earned its place as one of the best games of all time on any system, and the Nintendo Switch might be the best way to experience this incredibly deep and addictive rogue-like game. Follow the journey of Prince Zagreus, Son of the Greek God Hades, as you fight your way from the pits of Tartarus through fiery Asphodel to Elysium and the Temple of Styx.

While on the surface "Hades" seems like a simple hack-and-slash, that's just the tip of the iceberg. Combat is intense and varied, with a wealth of customization options available that allow you to hone your play style, and randomized elements of the game make each run through the underworld feel fresh and exciting. The story is just as deep as the combat, with dozens of well-written and fascinating characters to interact with. It's so well written in fact that it was the first video game to ever win a Hugo award. It's extremely engaging, and the addictive gameplay loop remains entertaining for dozens of hours.

"Hades" is ideally suited to on-the-go gameplay due to the structure of its levels, making it ideal to play on the Nintendo Switch while traveling. It's available for $24.99 digitally or $34.99 for the physical copy on the Nintendo store, or $44.50 for the limited edition on Amazon.