The Nintendo Switch is the hottest game system right now -- here are its 18 best games

The Nintendo Switch is barely a year old, yet there’s already a killer line-up of games available.

Super Mario OdysseyNintendoWa-hoo!

Whether you’re looking for Nintendo staples like “Mario” and “Zelda,” fast-paced first-person shooters like “DOOM”, or narrative-driven indie RPGs like “Golf Story,” there’s something for everyone on the Switch.

Good news! We’ve put together a list of the best games to enjoy on Nintendo’s latest console:


1. “Super Mario Odyssey”

Nintendo

The pure joy of playing “Odyssey” is hard to convey. It’s the best Mario game in years, and easily one of the best Mario games ever made. It’s certainly the best game on the Nintendo Switch, which is really saying something.

Read our review of “Super Mario Odyssey” right here.


Check it out in action right here:


2. “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild”

Nintendo

“The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” is a rare gem.

It’s the kind of game that changes player expectations – what they expect of themselves and what they expect from games.

Read our review of “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” right here.


Check it out in action right here:


3. “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe”

Nintendo

Whether you’ve been playing “Mario Kart” games for years or you’ve never touched one, “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” is a tremendous delight.

It’s the definitive “Mario Kart” experience, with a ridiculous number of courses and playable characters. Best of all, the Switch becomes a portable “Mario Kart” machine if you take the console in portable mode – each Joy-Con becomes a gamepad, and the Switch is the screen. Being able to casually challenge a friend to “Mario Kart” by simply having the Switch with you is pretty incredible.

Read our review of “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” right here.


Check it out in action right here:


4. “DOOM”

Bethesda Softworks

Even if you’ve never played any games in the “DOOM” franchise, the latest entry is an insanely fast, clever, genuinely funny first-person shooter that puts a premium on gameplay above all else.

It’s also a surprisingly violent and bloody game for the Nintendo Switch – a welcome aberration from the usual kid-friendly affair, aimed squarely at the many adults who are buying Switch consoles for themselves. Mario is a blast, no doubt, but so is ripping through thousands of demons.

Read our review of “DOOM” right here.


Check it out in action right here:


5. “Minecraft”

Nintendo

Think of “Minecraft” as virtual LEGO.

It’s a system for fitting pieces together to create something – sometimes amazing somethings – from nothing. “Minecraft” provides endless building blocks and a blank canvas. It’s up to you to create something incredible, or silly, or referential, or whatever, using the tools it provides. The tools are blessedly user-friendly, as are the systems for employing those tools.

Read more about “Minecraft” right here.


Check it out in action right here:


6. “Cave Story+”

Nicalis

Some of the best indie gems of the past 10 years have pulled beloved franchises from the past, like “Metroid” and “Castlevania,” into a gloriously updated modernity.

“Cave Story+” is takes the side-scrolling puzzle worlds of classic game franchises and updates them with modern advances like save points, complex animation, and procedurally-generated worlds – games where the levels are new every time because they’re created by algorithms on-the-fly. Smaller, more personal games like “Cave Story+” round out the Switch’s strong blockbuster line-up – it’s the perfect game to play in the Switch’s handheld, portable mode.


Check it out in action right here:


7. “Axiom Verge”

Nintendo used to be known for games like “Metroid” and “Castlevania” – games that offered deeply challenging experiences, often in sci-fi or fantasy realms. Games like “Axiom Verge” are helping to restore that status.

Like the franchises mentioned above, “Axiom Verge” features a large 2D world that’s unlocked through exploration. It’s got the 16-bit graphics to match the games it pays homage to, yet it evolves many of the concepts that made its predecessors so great.


Check it out in action right here:


8. “Snipperclips”

Nintendo

Aside from having a goofy name, “Snipperclips” is a charming two-player game that utilises the Nintendo Switch gamepad – the “Joy-Con” – in a smart way.

Each player gets one Joy-Con, and you use them as miniature gamepads (held sideways) to control one of two aggressively-silly characters on screen. You can “cut” each of the two characters into various shapes, which can then be used to solve whatever puzzle is in front of you.


Check it out in action right here:


9. “Fast RMX”

Shin’en Multimedia

Similar to “Snipperclips,” the futuristic arcade-style racing game “Fast RMX” provides a much-needed alternative to “Zelda.” On a console otherwise bereft of high-speed racing games, “Fast RMX” stands out as a great racer that evokes nostalgia for the days of “F-Zero” on the SNES, “Wipeout” on the original PlayStation, and even some light touches of “Mario Kart” thrown in for good measure. It’s also a stark graphical showcase for the notably tiny Switch console.


Check it out in action right here:


10. “The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+”

Nicalis

The “Binding of Isaac” games are an homage to an era of gaming that’s long passed.

You play as young Isaac, who’s dealing with some pretty serious personal demons that manifest in the form of actual demons. The long and short is that it’s a top-down shooting game, but that’s really underselling the level of depth in this game. If you haven’t already played it on one of the many other platforms it’s on, scooping it on the Switch is a solid choice.


Check it out in action right here:


11. “Golf Story”

Sidebar Games

“Golf Story” takes the whimsical delight of old-school role-playing games and spins it into an endearing, charming game that’s focused on – yes, of course – golfing.

Don’t worry: “Golf Story” is far from a simulation-style golf game. It’s focused on storytelling and world exploration, like so many RPGs before it, with relatively simplistic golfing as a means to an end. If you’ve ever played an NES or SNES golfing game, you’ll be familiar with the kind of gameplay in “Golf Story.” And even if you haven’t, it’s a cinch to pick up.


Check it out in action right here:


12. “L.A. Noire”

Rockstar Games

“L.A. Noire” is unlike most games, both in its style and its gameplay. Though you’re able to careen around an open-world, 1940s Los Angeles in a car, the vast majority of the game is focused on detective work: investigating crime scenes, speaking with witnesses, and deciphering suspects. It’s a thoughtful, unique game that offers something completely different than everything else on the Switch.

Check out our preview of “L.A. Noire” on the Nintendo Switch right here.


Check it out in action right here:


13. “The Jackbox Party Pack”

Jackbox Games

The “Jackbox Party Pack” – any and all entries in the series – is 100% worth your money.

These are killer party games that turn your Switch into an entertainment device that involves whole groups of people. If you’ve ever played the delightful, silly, irreverent “You Don’t Know Jack,” you’re already aware of the kind of game I’m talking about.

It’s a trivia game that’s been a hit for decades across dozens of different devices, from PC to (now) the Switch, but it’s support by a slew of excellent games like “Fibbage” and “Drawful.” The packs of games take simple board game concepts and turn them into more guided, often more fun experiences.


Check it out in action right here:


14. “Battle Chef Brigade”

Trinket Studios

In its first year, Nintendo Switch has become the new home to indie games. Stuff like “Golf Story” and, now, “Battle Chef Brigade,” stand out as highlights among an excellent selection of smaller, less expensive, often more interesting stuff.

“Battle Chef Brigade” merges match-three gameplay (think “Bejeweled” or “Candy Crush”) with side-scrolling battles (think NES- and SNES-era beat-’em-ups), and throws in a very silly, surprisingly deep story to boot.


Check it out in action right here:


15. “Skyrim”

Nintendo/Bethesda

“Skyrim” is still an excellent game.

It’s an action-RPG epic with dragons, magic, and a massive world to explore. It’s got dramatic music that pumps you up while you fight dragons. It’s got silly characters and endless side-stories and everything else you could want from a fantasy epic.

And now, on the Switch, it’s got some sweet “Zelda” gear (seen above). Bonus!


Check it out in action right here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7980ZPK8Dg


16. “Celeste”

Matt Makes Games

“Celeste” is a perfect blend of nostalgic gameplay – classic platforming, in the style of “Super Mario” – with modern technology.

Though the game looks like it was made in 1992, it’s actually a brand-new game with a retro-future feel. It takes the pixel-perfect, sharp platforming of classic 2D platformers and marries it with the power and capability of modern tech like the Nintendo Switch. The result is a game that feels reminiscent of classics while also embracing modern game design techniques.

If there’s one non-Nintendo game that you can’t miss on the Nintendo Switch, it’s “Celeste.”


Check it out in action right here:


17. “Stardew Valley”

Farming is tough, but digital farming can be a delight – take it from fans of the “Harvest Moon” series, who extol the delights of animal husbandry and crop management.

If you’re part of this group – the folks who enjoy the relaxed pace of a digital farm life – then “Stardew Valley” is the game you’ve been looking for. It’s full of charming characters, delightful minigames, and – yes – lots of farming.


Check it out in action right here:


18. “Steamworld Dig 2”

Image & Form International AB

Like some of the best games on this list of bangers take inspiration from the past and forge an entirely new path forward. “Steamworld Dig 2” is part of that crème de la crème, merging the exploration of “Dig Dug” with the progression of “Metroid” and the modern artistry of “Braid.”

And all those comparisons, while intended as flattery, fall short. “Steamworld Dig 2” is special in its own way.


Check it out in action right here:

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