Nintendo Switch not only have some great games of their own productions, they also have some great games from other developers. Based on various reviews, we took a closer look at the best Nintendo Switch games. Here we provide a summary of the games that have convinced us and other game sites the most. In the end, we answer some important questions about buying the Nintendo Switch and the information you should have before buying it. Stay tuned!
The Best Nintendo Switch Games in 2021
Below you will find the top 10 best-rated and most famous games for the Nintendo Switch. The placements are based on the ratings on Metacritic, which is a website that aggregates the ratings of professional media and users. We limit ourselves to the ratings of the professional media. Our information and assessments of the game are based exclusively on our own tests and experiences. At the end, we also add our recommendations for and additional four Switch games.
Number 1 – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild stands out not only as the best game for the Nintendo Switch, but as one of the best games overall. With 97 points, the adventure game tops the list on Metacritic. This is no surprise, as the game is considered a successful modern reinterpretation of the well-known Nintendo franchise. You can explore an open world more or less freely. Contrary to earlier parts, there are many ways to reach the target, and in addition, you are not guided every step of the way, but can try things out for yourself.
The length of the game is also impressive: you can spend 50 hours in the main game alone – and then you have only just played through the main story. Should you want to explore every little corner of the world, you will have almost 200 hours to do. If you include the two DLCs that have been released so far, you’ll have more than 20 hours on top of that.
For a Zelda game, the atmosphere is second to none, the graphic style is unique, the characters have a new design but still remind us of the originals. With some dedication, however, even first-time players who haven’t played any previous Zelda can get to grips with it. As is typical for the series, however, Zelda: Breath of the Wild has no multiplayer mode.
- Harmonious Action Adventure
- An Open World with Lots of Freedom
- Lengthy Playing Time
- Can be challenging at the beginning
- Extensive world often empty
- No multiplayer
Number 2 – Super Mario Odyssey
Just behind with 97 points on Metacritic is Super Mario Odyssey, a new 3D Jump’n’Run with Nintendo’s iconic character. An ingenious new feature is Cappy, the living peaked cap that takes possession of other characters and even enemies. Moreover, various “worlds” can be travelled through, each with unique features.
There is also a local co-op mode suitable for the Switch, in which one player takes over Mario and another the character Cappy. Although the latter is not very challenging, the mode is aimed more at parents who want to play with their children. Co-op is less suitable for two players with similar abilities; there is a danger that the second player will get bored quite quickly.
The diversified main story can be played through within 12 hours. Those who want to explore all the corners and don’t want to miss any collectibles can be busy with Super Mario Odyssey for up to 60 hours.
- 3D Jump’n’Run with fun gameplay
- New gameplay possibilities thanks to Cappy
- Co-op not challenging for second player
Number 3 – Divinity: Original Sin 2 Definitive Edition
In third place with 93 points on Metacritic is Divinity: Original Sin 2 Definitive Edition. The download-only title was just released for the hybrid console in September 2019. The game was first released back in 2017, but only for PC at the time.
The role-playing game Divinities: Original Sin 2 challenges you from the very beginning, the game play is very complex, and you are rarely guided. This begins with the character creation: What you choose also influences which stories and quests you will experience. However, almost all paths are open to you in the game. Would you like to defeat an enemy by turning him into a suicidal chicken? No problem! However, the game is less suitable for beginners or people new to the genre.
The scope of Divinity: Original Sin 2 is convincing: if you only care about the main story, you will still spend more than 50 hours in the world. Those who want to explore every corner will even need 140 hours to do that. And since different characters also mean different stories, there is even a high replay value.
- An old school role-playing game
- Infinite possibilities
- Long playing time
- Requires a long learning curve
- Adults only
Number 4 – Hades
In 2020, almost no one expected the immense success of Hades. The game is now in the top 10 on all the bestseller lists – and quite rightly so! Supergiant Games, the developer studio responsible for the game, has already achieved initial success with earlier projects such as Bastion and Transistor. The beautifully staged roguelike adventure Hades, however, goes one step further.
Originally released in 2020, the game puts you in the role of Prince Zagreus, whose father is the ruler of the underworld: Hades. From there, however, you try to escape with the help of the gods of Olympus by fighting your way through randomly generated areas. This is what makes the game so exciting, as every escape attempt is different. The numerous reinforcements from the gods also open up numerous exciting combinations of skills, which makes for even more variety.
But what really makes the game special is the successful balancing act between a great story and absolutely addictive gameplay. Whereas other genre representatives quickly lead to frustration, in Hades you are happy about every death because more and more parts of the story are revealed. The really cleverly implemented “God Mode” can also be switched on at any time should you get frustrated. The game is highly recommended, especially for short breaks between games.
- Great story
- Addictive gameplay
- Perfect for casual play
- High replay value
- Built-in “God Mode” for less frustration
- Crossplay between PC and Nintendo Switch
- Many story aspects are hidden in time-consuming quests
- Challenging boss fights require patience
Number 5 – Undertale
Undertale is a very special game: You can fight countless monsters in this dialogue-based adventure game. However, you can also choose not to fight at all. For this you don’t have to sneak past the enemies, but can also simply make peace with them and become friends. The choice you make has a decisive influence on the further course of Undertale. Gamers were so fascinated by this that the indie game still appears in numerous top lists today. This is also the case on Metacritic, where the game is ranked 4th with 93 points.
Because Undertale is the game of a single developer, its scope is not too large. Between six and twenty hours are required to play the game. However, it is worthwhile to run through the game again afterwards and to decide to go against the first run-through. You get a second, completely different story.
Not all players will like the pixel look and the focus on black and white, which is only sometimes interrupted by splashes of color – one could be mistaken for thinking that this is a game from the C64 era. But those who do get involved will be offered a unique gaming experience that is rarely found in more expensive productions.
- Unique game experience in an interesting world
- Easy to learn gameplay
- High replay value
- Good value for money
- Needs some time to get used to
- Short playing time for each run
Number 6 – Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Ori and the Will of the Wisps builds on the success of its predecessor and improves in just the right places. Furthermore, it seems as if they have been inspired by other exponents of the genre, which can at best be interpreted as positive criticism.
Fortunately, one thing has not changed: The stunningly beautiful graphics of the game as well as the great music. The combat system, on the other hand, has clearly improved in depth through various adjustments and now offers you even more possibilities to creatively fight your way through the winding levels.
Arguably one of the biggest complaints of the previous game were the numerous escape sequences, which required a lot of patience from the players. The newest sequel provides more variety in this respect with numerous boss fights. Nevertheless, the sections have not been completely abandoned. Nevertheless, the respective challenges can now be paused at any time and continued at a later point in time.
- Improved gameplay compared to the previous game
- Unique look
- Great soundtrack
- Online leaderboards
- Escape sequences still cause frustration at times
- Little long-term motivation
Number 7 – Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
The Nintendo’s multiplayer classic Smash Bros. also got a new edition for the Nintendo Switch. However, the basic concept remains the same: Characters from Nintendo games and other developers battle each other on platforms and try to push themselves into the pit in the process. This is completely chaotic and enormously fun. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate offers the most extensive character line-up in the series to date. In addition to the 72 playable fighters from the main game, there are lots of sidekicks, Pokémon and items. If you own the Season Pass, you get another six characters. The game received 93 points on Metacritic.
As is typical of the series, during battles the screen is full to the brim and therefore is quite confusing. Unless you are a pro player, winning requires more luck than skill – however, this makes the game motivating for beginners as well.
Should you want to delve deeper into the gameplay, be prepared for more complex gameplay dynamics. Particularly in online mode, there is no getting around this. For Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the same applies as for many other games: Easy to learn, hard to master. This is what makes the game so motivating. The main story takes 22 hours to complete, but you can spend an infinite amount of time in local co-op or online multiplayer. The game is definitely worth the money.
- Easy to learn, hard to master
- Party fun for up to eight players locally & four players online
- 72 playable fighters
- High luck factor
Number 8 – Celeste
The indie game Celeste may look sweet on the outside. But do not underestimate this downloadable title. Its gameplay is somewhat reminiscent of the genre-related game Super Meat Boy. The gameplay of Celeste is a very challenging jump’n’run. There are deadly threats lurking around every corner; if you can’t pass them, your character dies and you have to start again at the beginning of the region.
The areas are not particularly large, however, so you don’t lose much progress. Thus, Celeste always remains highly motivating, despite the challenging level of difficulty. We also enjoyed this, so Celeste made it into this top list with 92 points on Metacritic.
The game’s story is relatively serious and adult, Celeste is not necessarily aimed at children. The story is about self-doubt and fears that preoccupy main character Madeline as she climbs the eponymous Celeste mountain. The playtime is not exactly extensive at eight hours. But that’s not too bad, since Celeste is an indie game that doesn’t cost too much.
- Low price
- Hard but reasonable level of difficulty
- Emotional story
- Relatively short playing time
- Not suitable for children
Number 9 – Bayonetta 2
For the first time, Bayonetta 2 was released in 2014 for the Wii U. This was followed in 2018 by the Nintendo Switch version. A nice touch: Bayonetta 1 is also included here. You take control of the umbra witch Bayonetta in the action extravaganza, who hunts down enemies as stylishly as possible with her various weapons. The hack-and-slash action game is only suitable for adults due to the stereotyped fantasy violence.
Like the previous game, Bayonetta 2 impresses with its crazy, creative design and successful gameplay. At times, the plot is a little thin. However, if you simply want fun gameplay with an incredible amount of action, you can definitely go for it. Bayonetta 1 is around 11 hours long, Bayonetta 2 a little shorter. With 92 points, the game is ranked 7th on Metacritic.
- Fun action adventure
- Crazy game world
- Prequels included
- Part 2 has weaknesses as compared to its predecessor
- Only suitable for adults
Number 10 – Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Following the Wii U, Nintendo decided in 2017 to release Mario Kart 8 as a deluxe version for the Nintendo Switch. This action racing game was released only two months after the console, making the most of all the pros of the Nintendo Switch. You can enjoy Mario Kart 8 Deluxe both on the TV and in handheld mode. If you connect several consoles wirelessly, twelve players can race against each other. A four-player co-op mode is available on the TV.
All the content of the original, including the DLCs from that time, is available in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, with all characters and tracks unlocked from the start – only the parts for the car are acquired gradually. As a result, you have 36 characters and 12 cups with a total of 48 race tracks at your disposal. Besides classic cup driving, several battle modes are also available, where the aim is not to get through the race tracks as quickly as possible.
The objective is instead to survive the longest or to collect as many coins as possible. As always, however, the heart of the game is the multiplayer mode, which is almost perfect – whether on the couch, with locally linked consoles or via online multiplayer.
In terms of gameplay and graphics, not much has changed compared to the Wii U. This is a good thing, too, since driving the crazy and varied tracks with popular Nintendo characters and wielding all kinds of fun weapons is just as much fun on the Switch as it was on the Wii U and still looks very good. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is also suitable for children, but has a certain tactical underpinning and requires enough skill in higher levels to keep even experienced players motivated in the long term.
From our point of view, Mario Kart 8 is a must-buy for the Switch. On Metacritic, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe was rated with 92 points.
- Easy to play arcade racing game
- Great fun in multiplayer
- High level of continuous fun
- Good for kids
- Hardly any changes to past sequels
Number 11 – Animal Crossing: New Horizons
We can’t have this list without Animal Crossing: New Horizons, because the game is a cultural phenomenon. Originally released in early 2020 at the very start of the Corona Crisis, the title quickly became a million-seller and the perfect virtual haven for fans around the world. You go on an endless holiday on a (not quite) deserted island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, make friends with anthropomorphic inhabitants, collect resources, expand and decorate your home. Due to the co-op feature and online mode, you can easily visit friends and benefit from new resources and items.
There is something to do on the island every day, so you won’t get bored even after weeks. Every little task is rewarded with achievements and valuable Nook miles, which can be spent on new hairstyles or furniture. At Eugen the owl you can hand in paintings you have bought, fish and insects you have caught, fossils you have dug up or sea creatures you have fished out of the water, and thus build up an amazing museum. You can also simply build a lounger and relax with a cocktail on the beach.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is completely non-violent, relaxed, creative and simply lovingly designed from front to back. The game is suitable for children (from approx. 8 years) and adults alike. On Metacritic, the Switch game achieves an average rating of 90 points.
- Lovely island-building simulation
- Months of fun
- New free content on a regular basis
- Suitable for children
- Only one island per console
- Co-op mode on one console is not much fun
Number 12 – Ring Fit Adventure
Want to gamble and get fit at the same time? This is possible. You place one Joy-Con in a leg strap, the other one you let snap into a minimally elastic ring that is about the size of a pizza plate. The strap and ring are included in Ring Fit Adventure, so the price and packaging of the game are a little higher than the normal title. In the game, you let a hero or heroine dash through the area from the chaser perspective by running on the spot.
In reality, the faster you run, the faster you run in the game: the leg belt registers the player’s movements and translates them amazingly reliably on the screen. In turn, collecting items, overcoming obstacles and defeating enemies works with the ring that gives the game its name, which you have to push and pull flexibly.
Several exercises have been programmed into the game that have to be used in combat and are effective in different ways against the numerous monsters – from classic squats to yoga exercises, the execution of which is monitored with the leg strap and ring. If you want, you can also put together your own training programme. A certain amount of strength and stamina is required for the exercises, which is why the game is only aimed at young people and adults.
Its concept works. It couldn’t be better and easier to get rid of a few lockdown pounds quickly and in a sweaty way than with Ring Fit Adventure. The number of exercises possible with this concept and the ring is amazing – you can train almost every part of your body. The game is rounded off with information on muscles, health and nutrition as well as instructions for warming up and stretching and a few mini-games. That the story is arbitrary and a bit silly is beside the point. After all, if you play Ring Fit Adventure, you’ll work up a sweat and even get sore muscles. That is a great achievement for a video game.
The game’s average rating on Metacritic is “only” 83% – but because of the unusual concept, the game still belongs in this list from our point of view.
- Play and exercise at the same time
- Wide range of fitness exercises
- Brilliant ring concept
- Motivating in-game guidance
- Irrelevant story
- Not suitable for children
Number 13 – Immortals Fenyx Rising
If you were to lump Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild together, what would you get? Immortals Fenyx Rising is the correct answer. But the matter is not quite that simple. While the inspiration from other well-known representatives of the genre is clear, Immortals Fenyx Rising, formerly Gods & Monsters, does a few things better and differently.
Located in Greek mythology, the open-world adventure scores points above all for its intuitive combat system. Fenyx, the legendary heroine, has three different types of weapons at her disposal: sword, axe and bow. You can upgrade them bit by bit by collecting resources. The same goes for the divine abilities that you unlock in the course of the game. Ultimately, you are rewarded for skilful play by causing more damage the more hits you can land in succession without interruption. All of this combined makes for a lot of fun!
To balance this, you have a beautifully designed world at your disposal, with fun puzzles, boss fights and other secrets in every nook and cranny. Only the story and the sometimes rather flat humor should probably not be expected too much. Those who are already looking forward to a sequel to Breath of the Wild will find Immortal’s Fenyx Rising the ideal way to pass the time until the time comes.
The planned DLCs in particular sound really promising so far, as they either introduce a completely new hero or even switch from the first-person to the isometric perspective. It therefore remains exciting to see what else the game will have in store in the future. Still, even without the expansions, the game is worth a look.
- Intuitive combat system
- Lovingly designed game world
- Successful mix of exploration, combat and puzzles
- Promising DLCs on the horizon
- Crossplay between PC and Nintendo Switch
- Need to get used to the humor
- Rather shallow story
- Ubisoft account mandatory
Number 14 – Dead Cells
Dead Cells, along with Hades, is likely one of the best representatives of the roguelike genre at the moment. The action platformer has received regular updates since its release in 2018, bringing an already great game to near perfection. So you should have this title on your radar by now if not before. So what makes Dead Cells so special?
When you start playing the game, the wonderful pixel graphics immediately captivates you. Together with the successful combat system and the countless weapons and skills that you unlock little by little, there is definitely no chance of getting bored. Each time you play through the game, the levels are randomly generated and you can also choose different paths – in total, there are over 25 lovingly designed environments at your disposal. This provides the necessary variety on the one hand, and on the other hand you will discover new hints to the story and often funny Easter Eggs almost every time.
Unfortunately, since this is a roguelike game, the death of your character means that you have to start all over again. However, fortunately you only lose part of your progress, because upgrades or weapons that you have already unlocked remain with you permanently. The difficulty level can quickly cause frustration, especially at the beginning. But if you keep at it, you’ll notice that the controls quickly become second nature and you probably won’t want to put the console down.
- Beautiful pixel graphics
- Well-designed combat system
- Countless skills and weapons
- High replay value
- Story only a secondary matter
- Steep learning curve
Nintendo Switch: What games are we waiting for?
One thing 2020 has taught us gamers is that you can’t always rely on release dates. However, we are optimistic and have therefore put together a list of some of the titles that we can expect this year. Particularly in the case of the long-awaited sequels to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild or Metroid Prime, our hopes are not lost, even if a release in 2021 is rather unlikely. However, in that case, we’d be happy to be proven wrong.
- Monster Hunter Rise (26 March 2021)
- Digimon Survive (2021)
- Disco Elysium: The Final Cut (summer 2021)
- Hollow Knight: Silksong (TBA)
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 (TBA)
- Metroid Prime 4 (TBA)
Nintendo Switch: What you should consider when buying the console?
In this section of this article, we want to answer some of your frequently asked questions about the Nintendo Switch game console, so stay tuned.
Nintendo Switch: Who is the console suitable for and what alternatives are there?
No doubt, the Nintendo Switch is the most affordable of all the consoles currently on the market. The console offers games for every age group: parents can play co-op games like Super Mario Odyssey with their children, adult gamers can play games like Dark Souls and The Witcher 3, and even target groups without a gaming context are addressed with Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Jogging and Ring Fit Adventure.
You can connect the Nintendo Switch to the TV or use it in mobile handheld mode. This makes the console just as suitable for gaming in the living room as it is for travelling by train, plane or as a passenger in the car. With its multiplayer function and game modes for up to twelve players, the console is perfect for small and large families and a hit at any party.
As an alternative, there is currently the PlayStation 5 on the market, which has had the most successful sales launch of all consoles to date. From Microsoft, there are currently the Xbox Series X and S. The first is the more powerful model, which is especially designed for 4K gaming with up to 120 FPS. All of these consoles, however, can only be used stationary.
An alternative handheld is the Nintendo 3DS family of consoles. The most recent model here is the New Nintendo 2DS XL. Needless to say, games can also be played on PCs and laptops. However, most games require a new model with a powerful graphics card.
What is the difference between and price of the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite?
By now, three different models of the Nintendo Switch are on the market. You can play the classic version from 2017, which always has a model number beginning with “HAC”, on the TV, as a handheld or in tabletop mode. It works with all Nintendo Switch software and also includes a Joy-Con set consisting of two Joy-Cons. These Joy-Cons have HD vibration and an IR motion camera.
There are two different colors available for the Nintendo Switch. The choice is between the completely grey console and the console with Joy-Cons in neon blue and neon red. In the meantime, additional Joy-Cons can also be purchased in other colors. The combination of neon pink and neon green is particularly popular.
The display is a 6.2-inch LCD, the resolution in handheld mode is 1,280 x 720. When Joy-Cons are connected, the console measures 102 × 239 × 13.9 mm and weighs 398 grams. Its weight is reduced to 297 grams without Joy-Cons. One of the main drawbacks of the old version was the battery life. In the meantime, the console has been replaced in stores by a new version; the old version can only be bought second-hand.
Launched in mid-August 2019, the new version of the Nintendo Switch looks exactly like the old version. Delivery scope and functions are the same, with only minor adjustments. This console, whose model number always begins with “HAD”, is primarily distinguished by an improved battery life. It also uses less power and generates less heat. The Nintendo Switch currently costs between 280 and 320 euros in Europe.
Alongside the classic Nintendo Switch, there is now also a Nintendo Switch Lite. You can only play it in handheld mode. It does not come with Joy-Cons, which have to be purchased separately. You need the Joy-Cons for certain games, so you can’t just play any software on the Switch Lite. To find out which games are compatible with the Nintendo Switch Lite and for which you need additional hardware, visit the official Nintendo homepage.
The Nintendo Switch Lite has a 5.5-inch LCD screen, so it is slightly smaller than the classic console. However, the resolution remains the same. The dimensions of the Nintendo Switch Lite are 91.1 millimetres x 208 millimetres x 13.9 millimetres, and at 275 grams it is considerably lighter than its big brother.
Battery life unfortunately leaves a lot to be desired here as well. This is unfortunate, as the console is actually intended for gaming on the go. However, at 193 to 206 euros, it is significantly cheaper than the classic Nintendo Switch. The Nintendo Switch Lite is currently available in grey, yellow and blue, and there is also a white model with pink and blue elements to match the Pokémon Sword and Shield games.
What is included in the package of the Nintendo Switch?
In addition to the console, the package contents of the classic Nintendo Switch include the following:
- Nintendo Switch Docking Station (for charging & connecting to the TV).
- 2 Joy-Con controllers (either in grey or in neon blue / neon red)
- 2 Joy-Con holders for table mode + wrist straps
- HDMI cable with 1.5 metre length
- Power supply / charging cable
The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller and of course the individual game software are available separately.
Power consumption, battery life and storage capacity of the console
The Nintendo Switch is a very power-saving console. When it is not connected to the power supply, it consumes just 0.2 watts in standby mode, 7 watts in the menu and 11 watts when playing. When charging the console in parallel, the consumption rises to a maximum of 18 watts. To compare: the rival consoles from Sony and Microsoft have a power consumption of 80 to 90 watts. Luckily, the temperature development of the console is also within limits. Normally, it gets up to 40 degrees on the back when you play in handheld mode.
The battery life depends entirely on the model you own. The old version Nintendo Switch (model number with “HAC”) just manages 2.5 to 6.5 hours, the improved model (number with “HAD”) at least lasts 4.5 to 9 hours until it is empty. The battery performance of the Nintendo Switch Lite is similar to that of the old Switch: after 3 to 7 hours, it’s over. How long the console lasts depends not only on the screen brightness but also on the game – the more complex the graphics, the shorter the runtime.
While the PlayStation 5 comes with a hard drive capacity of 825 GB, the internal memory of the Nintendo Switch is just 32 GB. That’s barely enough for 4-5 full-price titles. Zelda: Breath of the Wild alone eats up 13 GB. Fortunately, the memory of the Nintendo Switch can be easily expanded with micro SD cards, the limit here is 2 TB – which goes a long way. You can get 128 GB for a reasonable price, which is enough memory for several Switch titles. The working memory of the console is 4 GB.