Whether you’re a new player, or simply looking to discover more top titles, we’ve rounded up the best Switch games you need to check out.
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Since its release back in 2017, the Nintendo Switch has become one of the most popular gaming consoles of all time – and it’s showing no signs of slowing down.
With more than 4,300 game titles now available across the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Switch OLED Model and Nintendo Switch Lite, there’s tons to choose from whether you’re playing at home or on the go.
If you’re trying to decide which games to snap up though, the wide selection can be somewhat overwhelming.
With this in mind, we’ve rounded up the top 10 best-selling Switch games of all time, as announced by Nintendo in its latest earnings report. We’ve also put our heads together and added a bunch of our own favourite titles (in no particular order) that we just can’t get enough of.
NINTENDO’S TOP 10 BEST-SELLING SWITCH GAMES
It should surprise absolutely no one that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe came roaring into place as Nintendo’s number one best-selling Switch title. Having now sold more than 45 million copies, the popular party game is a re-release of the 2014 Wii U title – only now it comes with extra game modes and additional characters like Splatoon’s Inklings.
With plenty of single and multiplayer fun, all-new tracks and a stack of dirty tricks available to you, this is one to boot up the next time your friends come over.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons might just be the epitome of cosy gaming. More than 38 million of us escaped into our own virtual islands during the worst of the pandemic, which speaks volumes to just how calming and comforting the life simulator is.
With no end to the game and no rush to complete tasks, you can spend as much time as you like building, redecorating, fishing, bug catching, crafting and exploring. You might have to pay a business-savvy raccoon an obscene amount of bells for the pleasure, but it’s worth it for the mental break the game so willingly provides.
Whether you’re playing co-op from the couch or making enemies online, this really is the ultimate Super Smash Bros. Like its predecessors, the brawler uses classic tactical fighting mechanics, but throws in 74 characters from your favourite games, including Splatoon, Legend of Zelda, Animal Crossing and (of course) Super Mario.
The result is a colourful, chaotic and ridiculously fun game that easily makes our top 10 list, as well as Nintendo’s.
If we had to pick the best Switch game of all time, it would absolutely be Breath of the Wild. The action-RPG swaps out its predecessors’ dungeon-exploration structure for a stunning open world that offers players a heap of extra freedom.
Once again the storyline follows Link as he tries to save Hyrule, but this time you can battle, puzzle solve, mountain climb and paraglide through the game at your own pace, discovering hidden secrets along the way.
Pokémon Sword/Shield might just be one of the best games in the Pokémon series. Set in the Galar region, the game features all of the catching and battling we’ve come to expect from the franchise, while offering some great new features like Wild Area.
The big, open landscapes meanwhile give trainers plenty to explore, while post-launch expansion packs, The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra, include new and classic Pokémon to add to your collection.
With an absolute plethora of Mario titles available, it can be difficult to determine which ones are worth it. In terms of Super Mario Odyssey? Absolutely worth it.
The 3D action-adventure platform sees you explore some of the most expansive worlds yet, while taking control of a T-Rex or dispatching enemies with the help of your sentient hat, Cappy. It’s clever, charming and a superb tribute to Super Mario 64. Buy it now.
Feel like ruining a friendship today? Just boot up Super Mario Party. The competitive and strategic title is a collection of hit-or-miss boardgames that takes the series right back to its roots in the best way.
The gameplay feels true to the original games, while the quality is far better than previous versions. It does have its limitations, but the mini-games are great and it’s overall just a lot of fun.
Remakes of the Diamond and Pearl DS games, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl are high-quality, nostalgia-evoking games that are still worth the buy. Like the originals, each version features a handful of Pokémon that can’t be found in the other, including the legendary Dialga and Palkia.
There’s not a lot to offer in the way of updates, but if you’re happy with a faithful and enjoyable remake, this is for you.
Pokémon’s Let’s Go, Pikachu!/Eeevee! really is for everyone. The simple, yet addictive game functions in a similar way to the mobile Pokémon GO game, making it ideal for first-time players and those who want a more relaxing Pokémon adventure.
You will have to choose between the two versions, but the choice essentially boils down to a few different pocket monsters and some version-exclusive moves, so the decision isn’t overly impactful.
If you feel guilty about the time you spend parked on the couch playing games, Ring Fit Adventure is the perfect solution. Disguising exercise as gameplay, the action RPG will have you strapping a Joy-Con to your leg and controlling your on-screen character through the innovative Ring-Con (think ‘pilates ring’ but with a slot for your second Joy-Con).
Explore a huge fantasy world, battle monsters and get a full body workout all from your living room – and ditch the cost of a personal trainer in the process.
OUR FAVOURITE NINTENDO SWITCH GAMES
Whether you’re a fan of the Wii U original or you’re coming to it fresh, Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is a delight to play. It’s challenging, the controls are great and the level designs are impressive, making it a must-have for fans of Super Mario Bros. 3.
It might be a throwback, but it’s still great to dive into regardless of your skill level.
RPG fans are guaranteed to get a lot out of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 with its beautiful landscapes, charismatic characters and elaborate gameplay. The ambitious title is a joy to explore, which is really just as well because you’ll need to set aside a ton of time to complete it.
Despite a few shortcomings, the game is big, bold and a truly worthy successor to the original.
Spiritfarer may be one of the lesser known titles on this list, but it’s definitely worth the mention. The breathtakingly beautiful game takes you from villages to bustling cities as you find spirits that are stuck and need your help moving on.
While the game focuses on death and the afterlife, it incorporates plenty of cosy gaming elements too, as you sail, upgrade and expand your vessel with each new passenger that comes aboard. You’ll also learn more about your companions through wonderfully written storylines and deal with their complex emotions about life, death and everything that comes after.
It’s the age old adage – you are what you eat. In the case of Kirby and The Forgotten Land, this means you could be anything from a vending machine to a car. After being pulled into a strange portal in the sky, our favourite pink puffball sets out on a quest to save the Waddle Dees by inhaling, spitting, hovering and transforming into any number of surrounding objects and absorbing their abilities.
It’s ridiculous, it’s cute, it’s fun and it’s the first Kirby title to feature 3D gameplay, making it an engaging game for players of all ages.
If you feel like raging at your TV screen today, we recommend downloading Cuphead immediately. While its cute, hand-drawn graphics might fool you into thinking the game is child’s play, the title is absolutely brutal in its execution.
Operating on the ‘three strikers and you’re out’ principle, it will take even the most skilled players multiple attempts to master its levels. Nevertheless, there’s plenty to love about it, including its insane artistic design and the elation you feel when you finally prevail over its hellish bosses.
Look, I’m a sucker for games with a gothic-y aesthetic and Hollow Knight delivers it in spades. Set in a sprawling 2D world with classic side scrolling action, you’ll take the form of an adorably creepy bug as you make your way through the expansive subterranean kingdom of Hallownest.
Forge your own path as you avoid intricate traps, battle or befriend fellow bugs and enjoy the stunning hand-drawn artwork and appropriately moody theme music.
Taking place in the expansive Hisui region (later known as Sinnoh), Pokémon Legends: Arceus is set in an older era where Pokémon are still largely feared by humans. The game is the first from the franchise to offer fans proper open world exploration as they set about soothing rampaging “noble” Pokémon and search for the mythical Arceus.
Featuring new battle mechanics, new trainers and new ways to explore, the title offers a different take on the Pokémon games, even if the visuals are a tad lacklustre.
Almost 20 years after the last 2D Metroid, Samus Aran makes her return in Metroid Dread. Step into the intergalactic bounty hunter’s shoes and hit the ground running as you navigate a dangerous new planet filled with E.M.M.I robots and other Big Bads.
As a continuation of the 2D Metroid canon, the game feels familiar, while incorporating enough new elements to keep it exciting and fresh.
Nintendo Switch Sports may be another update of a Wii title, but it does a great job building on the unique charm that made the original so damned fun. Featuring improved graphics, more sports and more precise motion controls, the game will get you off the couch and moving without you even noticing.
While some of the games are a bit of a miss, you can still enjoy classics like bowling along with brand new options like football. Just be sure to secure your wrist straps and prepare to have a dodgy shoulder after a few overly competitive rounds of tennis.
Read our full Nintendo Switch Sports review.
While it isn’t wildly different from the original, Splatoon 2 is one of those rare titles that you can play over and over without getting bored. The team-based game is a colourful mess of weapons and fashion that flips the usually violent first-person shooter genre on its head.
Rather than being a graphic shoot-em-up, the kid-friendly game sees you race to cover battlefields and opponents in ink in either a solo campaign or co-op challenge.
Offering a fresh take on Greek mythology, Hades is a truly impressive roguelike action RPG. Levels are procedurally generated, so no area is the same as the last time you entered it, which makes it fun to play again and again.
With a compelling storyline, great music and interesting characters, it’s a must-have for those into the genre. For those who aren’t, it’s still a hell of a good time.
Simply put, Ori and The Will Of The Wisps is the most visually stunning game I have ever played. Set in a gorgeous open-world that comes to life as you interact with it, Will Of The Wisps is the highly anticipated sequel to 2015’s Ori and the Blind Forest – and it doesn’t disappoint.
Play as little spirit Ori once again as you search for a lost friend through mountainous peaks, lively forests and pitch-black tunnels. You’ll also run into plenty of other friends and foes along the way as you pick up side quests, discover your destiny and help reunite a family.
If you’re a big fan of slaying monsters, look no further than action RPG Monster Hunter Rise. You’ll bite off slightly more than you can chew when you get promoted to Hunter just as the monster-bringing calamity known as “The Rampage” hits your village.
Dare to go it alone as a single player or team up with others online to hunt down the biggest, baddest predators in the game.
If you would place yourself in the midsection of a Venn diagram where one circle is Mario and the other is cats, Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury is the two-in-one game for you. Super Mario 3D World starts things off with a blend of 2D and 3D platforming, well-designed levels, Mario Cat Suits and kid-friendly fun.
The all-new Bowser’s Fury expansion then kicks things up a notch with a new open-world experience that sees you team up with Bowser Jr. to collect the mysterious Cat Shines and save them from a truly colossal Fury Bowser.
The third instalment of the GameCube original title, Luigi’s Mansion 3 is one of the best looking Switch games to date. Delighting Ghostbusters fans everywhere, the game will take you spectre-hunting through a spooky hotel/haunted mansion as you search for Mario and your other kidnapped friends.
You may be a reluctant hero, but at least you have your handy ghost-hunting vacuum and the help of Gooigi – your slimy doppelganger who can be controlled by another player or used to help you solve puzzles along the way.
In our humble opinion, Unravel 2 is a title that doesn’t get recommended nearly enough. Following on from the heart-achingly beautiful original, the game opens with our favourite little ball of wool, Yarny, as he arrives in an unknown land. Untethered and alone, the game flirts with the melancholy of the original for a moment, before taking things in a much more wholesome direction with the arrival of another Yarny.
Tie cords together and forge new bonds as you take control of both characters (or hand control of your Yarny friend to a second player) and puzzle-solve your way through this gorgeous storyline.
Finished binge-watching your favourite spin-offs on Disney Plus? You can get your next Star Wars fix from LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. The amount of effort that has been poured into this game is clear from the outset, as you explore a detailed and thoughtfully designed open world.
Offering a tighter, third-person perspective and more control over attacks than previous LEGO titles, the gameplay is great, the storyline is nostalgic and the whole thing is just a lot of fun.
If you’ve racked up too many hours playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Stardew Valley is the next cosy game on your list. The laid-back role playing game sees you inherit your grandfather’s old farm plot and set out to forge your own path in the countryside.
Fish, farm, restore community buildings, fall in love and even battle monsters as you while away the hours in this open-ended farming sim.
For a cosier take on a Pokémon game, add Pokémon Snap to cart. A sequel to the Nintendo 64 game, Pokémon Snap sees you catch all your favourite pocket monsters on camera, rather than in a Poké Ball.
Featuring gorgeous animations and a super chill vibe, this is one for all the aspiring nature photographers out there.
Full disclaimer: we did not expect to fall in love with Celeste the way that we did. The tiny indie game not only supplies challenging gameplay and impressive level design – it also tells an incredibly real and emotional story about the pressures of modern life.
Exploring the mental health and identity of the mountain-climbing titular character, the top-rated title is one to add to your collection immediately.
Already played Breath of the Wild? It’s time to pick up Link’s Awakening. The masterful reimagining of the Game Boy classic once again takes on the dungeon exploration and puzzle-solving nature of other Zelda games, only this time it’s all in 3D.
It’s not completely without its faults but it does a great job of wrapping up the best parts of the original in shiny new packaging.
If you’re a millennial, Rayman is probably something of a blast from the past. The sequel to 2011’s Rayman Origins, Rayman Legends is a 2D platformer that looks fantastic, has genius level design and is more challenging than the classic Rayman titles for Game Boy and PC, which makes it great to play as an adult.
While the Definitive Edition doesn’t offer many significant additions, the game also doesn’t feel old or obsolete in any way. It’s a great pick for on-the-go Switch players and is one of the best 2D titles that doesn’t include ‘Mario’ somewhere in the title.
The third instalment of Mario’s no-rules football game doesn’t offer a heap of new features, but that doesn’t stop it from being plenty of fun. The five-on-five soccer-like game sees you play as your favourite Mario characters as you attempt to score goals by any means necessary.
While the title has received plenty of mixed reviews, we found it to be a great multiplayer option that actually requires a certain amount of skill and craftiness to play. We are hoping for some free updates in the future to shake things up, but we still got a serious kick out of it.
Read our full Mario Strikers: Battle League Football review.
Tired? Stressed? Give your brain a break and download Unpacking. The game delivers exactly what the title promises, as you take on the familiar experience of unpacking moving boxes and placing their contents into a new home.
In short: real life moving and unpacking? The worst. Virtual moving and unpacking? An incredibly addictive, relaxing experience.
Yeah, yeah it’s just another Switch port but Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy sees the series’ first three games completely rebuilt from the ground up. Filled with new graphics, challenging gameplay and plenty of nostalgia value, it’s a fun throwback experience that looks great, even if the resolution isn’t quite up to par.
Regardless of your age, you’ll get a lot of joy out of SnipperclipsPlus. The game follows the relatively simple premise of cutting out shapes to solve puzzles, but manages to be creative enough to prevent it from being boring.
While you can play single player, you’ll get a lot more out of it as a co-op game, making it a great choice to play with friends or kids.
You can also see a list of new and upcoming games for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Xbox and PC in our full guide to the best game releases for 2022.
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Lauren is news.com.au’s Best Of consumer technology writer. She previously worked at comparison site Finder as the senior shopping writer where she reported on everything from tech gadgets to the latest home products. Prior to cutting her teeth as a journalist, she completed a Bachelor of journalism at the University of South Australia and worked as a media advisor for JB Hi-Fi where she sold the very products she now writes about.