With a lot of people stuck at home because of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s no surprise that game console sales have gone through the roof – or at least increased to the point where the supply can no longer keep up with demand. Indeed, the standard Nintendo Switch seems to be sold out near everywhere you look. Part of this is down to interruptions in Nintendo’s supply chain because of the outbreak, but we certainly wouldn’t be surprised to learn that available stock has sold through much faster than anticipated because of various stay at home orders handed down by elected officials.
Whatever the reason, we’re guessing there are a fair number of new Switch owners out there, making this the perfect time to run down some of the best games available for the Switch. If you’re new to the console, these are the games you should consider buying first, but even seasoned Switch veterans may well find it’s time to look at a title they overlooked first time around.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
For many people, Breath of the Wild was the first game they purchased, and it was the reason to buy a Switch for about six months after the console launched. There was a lot of hype heading into the release of Breath of the Wild, and once the game finally arrived, it immediately became clear that the excitement was well-warranted. A masterclass in building an open world action/adventure game, Breath of the Wild took the familiar Zelda formula and turned it on its head in one of the most successful reinventions we’ve ever seen. Breath of the Wild isn’t just one of the best games on the Switch; it’s one of the best games of all time.
Super Mario Odyssey
One has to imagine that at some point, Nintendo would stumble even just a little bit with its mainline 3D Mario series, but as of Super Mario Odyssey, that still hasn’t happened. As with Breath of the Wild, we gave Super Mario Odyssey a 10/10 score when we reviewed it in 2017 and discovered that there just isn’t a whole lot to criticize about this game. Like the 3D Mario games that came before it – Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy specifically – Super Mario Odyssey is on the short list for the best 3D platformer ever made.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
If you want a game that you can really sink your teeth into, Fire Emblem: Three Houses is it. With its tactical turn-based combat that forces you to carefully consider your moves, the action can’t be called fast-paced by any stretch of the imagination. Let it get its hooks in you, though, and you’ll find that Fire Emblem: Three Houses offers an immersive experience that lends itself well to replayability. Along with Super Mario Odyssey and Breath of the Wild, Fire Emblem: Three Houses is one of the Switch’s essential games.
Super Smash. Bros Ultimate
Nintendo’s famed fighting game series landed on the Switch in a big way in 2018, with Masahiro Sakurai and his team at Sora Ltd. putting every single fighter from Smash Bros. history into Ultimate. The result is a roster of characters that will be dangerously close to 100 by the time the game’s next round of DLC is finished. Ultimate makes the list for its impressive roster alone, but the fact that it’s the best Smash Bros. game since Super Smash Bros. Melee on the GameCube certainly helps. Just be prepared to endure some laggy matches if you decide to take your game online, as at-times poor online play is the sole blemish on this otherwise fantastic game.
Super Mario Maker 2
Perhaps we spoke too soon when we said that Fire Emblem: Three Houses was the go-to game if you want to sink your teeth into something. In Super Mario Maker 2, you’ll quite literally never run out of content, as there are always other players creating and uploading new levels for you to play through. That content may not always be great – in fact, Super Mario Maker 2 shows us just how hard good level design actually is – but there sure is a lot of it. The result of everyone making Super Mario levels and uploading them for others to play is a game that only be described as “beautiful insanity.”
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Most of you Switch newcomers probably don’t even need this recommendation because Animal Crossing: New Horizons likely played a role in your decision to get a Switch in the first place. Still, if you haven’t picked it up yet, it’s well worth buying, if only because it offers a relaxing escape from the stress and uncertainty of living during a pandemic. The only thing worth keeping in mind about New Horizons is that it’s definitely a slow burn type of game, meaning that you won’t be able to grind out progression in a matter of hours, days, or even weeks.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Technically, Mario Kart 8 is a Wii U game, but it received a “Deluxe” port to the Nintendo Switch. It’s good that it did, because Mario Kart 8 could very well be the best the series has to offer, and if you missed it on Wii U, it’s well worth getting on the Switch. For that matter, it’s probably still worth getting on Switch even if you’ve already played the Wii U version just because it’s so darn fun.
Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition
If you like RPGs and don’t have an issue with unnecessarily long titles, the Switch port of Dragon Quest XI is definitely worth a look. It doesn’t matter if you’re a longtime Dragon Quest fan or if Dragon Quest XI will be your first foray into the series, because it’s perfect for players of both backgrounds. It’s a fantastic game with an interesting story that will last you quite some time, so for RPG fans, it’s no wonder this ticks so many boxes.
Sonic the Hedgehog is a character that had some rough spots over the past couple of decades. It seems that ever since Sonic & Knuckles on the Genesis, Sonic’s best has merely only been okay (sorry Sonic Adventure 2 fans, but it’s true). That all changed with Sonic Mania, which is easily the best Sonic game since the Genesis era, and perhaps second only to Sonic the Hedgehog 2. If you’re a new Switch owner, Sonic Mania definitely deserves a spot in your library, especially if you’re a fan of 2D platformers or you loved Sonic games back in the day.
What’s with all the Nintendo games?
You may have noticed this list is comprised mostly of games made by Nintendo and its subsidiary studios. Nintendo’s own games are often the reason to own Nintendo’s systems, but in the case of the Switch, that doesn’t mean there aren’t games from other studios worth checking out.
Indeed, the Switch actually makes for a great indie machine as well, particularly when it comes to roguelikes and other genres that are well suited to a pick-up-and-play style. Some indie titles that we think are perfect for the Switch include Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove, Dead Cells, Slay the Spire, Stardew Valley, and Enter the Gungeon. This list could have easily doubled or tripled in size if we included all of the great indie titles that are available on the Switch, so keep that in mind as you make your buying decisions.