The best Nintendo Switch games in 2018: 11 must-have games to play at home or on the move
The Nintendo Switch is now more than a year old, and it boasts some of the best games around.
What was once an incredibly underserved console, the follow-up to the rather embarrasing Wii U, is now overflowing with games to pick up and play. Trying to find titles on the eShop can be an absolute farce, but don’t worry, we’ve got your back with our guide to the best Nintendo Switch games around.
You’ll see mainstays like the absolutely incredible Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild make our roundup, but there’s lots more to play besides that and Super Mario Odyssey. Instead of listing each and every game we love here, we’ve put together a list below for your perusing pleasure. To keep it at a manageable number, we’ve had to kick some games we love to the curb, but you should totally still go and find them and play them – we’ve included past entrants in a tidy list at the end too.
We’re constantly updating this list to reflect the newest Switch games. If you think we’ve missed something, let us know by tweeting @Alphr.
The best Nintendo Switch games: The Switch games you should own
Despite the swathes of changes to the Zelda template, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild still feels very much like a Zelda game. It’s more challenging than ever before, putting both your combat and puzzle-solving skills to the test, and every square inch of this ruined Hyrule aches to be explored. It has to be known that this is not only the best Zelda title ever, it’s one of the greatest games ever made. Not since The Witcher 3 made open-world games feel fresh again has something come along and blown the template out of the water.
Unsurprisingly, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe plays exactly like Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U. Not only does it include all DLC from Mario Kart 8 but it has a slew of new battle game modes – something sorely missing from the Wii U original. And, thanks to Switch’s fantastic different form factors, multiplayer Mario Kart has literally never been as fun nor as instant. 100% an essential purchase.
3. Bayonetta 2
Ahead of Bayonetta 3, PlatinumGames’ first two entries in the frenetic action series have been given the Switch makeover. The sequel in particular is a polished, madcap spectacle, and makes a perfect fit for short bursts during your commute or lunch break. This isn’t one for the kids – there’s plenty of violence, sexual references and swearing – but it’s a stellar adult game on a console otherwise buoyed by family-friendly fun.
4. Splatoon 2
Playing very much like the original, Splatoon 2 takes what made its Wii U debut so much fun and turns it up to 11. The motion controls are still a little tricky to get used to, but the addition of the dual-wielded Splat Dulies (along with a set of new weapons, arenas and fashions) really helps keep it feeling fresh. The new co-op, wave-based Salmon Run is absolutely fantastic and the allure of being able to play absolutely anywhere makes Splatoon 2 a must-have.
ARMS is a peculiar fighting game with a difference. Holding a Joy-Con controller in each hand, you trade blows with a foe by literally swinging your fists. Playing with Joy-Cons in each hand is surprisingly accurate, but pro-players can opt for a standard pad scheme instead. The inclusion of same-screen, local and online multiplayer is also a nice little bonus and Nintendo continually updates ARMS with new fighters while balancing its old roster so you’re never short of stuff to do.
6. Octopath Traveler
Shrouded in mystery despite its rather open development, Octopath Traveller comes from the team behind the fantastic Bravely Default RPGs for Nintendo 3DS. Playing out as a tale split across eight individual characters whose paths cross over time, Octopath Traveller certainly isn’t your standard fare of JRPG, but it’s one that pushes the focus onto the characters themselves. Gaining universal critical acclaim – sitting with an 84 on Metacritic at time of writing. An essential Switch purchase for any RPG fan, then.
7. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
Having taken literally everyone by surprise at this year’s E3, the Ubisoft-developed Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle is the game nobody asked for but everybody needs to play. Boiled down to its essence, Mario + Rabbids is XCom for the Nintendo fan. It’s a tactical turn-based strategy game dripping with charm and oozing charisma. Despite being developed by Ubisoft, it’s Nintendo to its core, with Ubisoft’s typically annoying Rabbids showing a more endearing side. Don’t let this aesthetic fool you though, it may seem like Xcom-lite, but a truly deep and tactical shooter lies at its core.
8. Sonic Mania
Honestly, I was a little worried about Sonic Mania. SEGA and Sonic Team have burnt me in the past, perhaps one too many times. I needn’t have worried though. Sonic Mania is a stunning return to form for the blue hedgehog. While playing on the Switch doesn’t really put Nintendo’s console through its technical paces, the crisp sprites and bright colours of Sonic really help show off just how vibrant and crisp the Switch’s 720p display is. It’s perfect portable gaming magic.
Having released on PS4, PC and Xbox One in 2016, Furi‘s arrival on Switch may be late but, like it’s siblings, it’s absolutely essential for anyone who loves a challenge. For those that don’t know, Furi is a neon-soaked, techno-futuristic action shooter that pits you against increasingly difficult boss fights as you break your way out of a maximum-security space prison. Visually, it’s as if Afro Samurai and Far Cry: Blood Dragon had a lovechild with a synthwave backing track. Brilliant.
10. Super Mario Party
Super Mario Party really is an absolute gem of a game. It embraces everything that makes a modern Nintendo game just so great. It oozes personality and charm, and when playing with three other people it’s an absolute blast and a must-have for anyone who loves madcap fun with friends. You’d be hard pressed to find a better game to play with friends or to bring to parties.
At first glance, Gorogoa doesn’t seem like much more than your average point-and-click puzzle game. However, within minutes of starting and peering through into its wonderful hand-drawn world, it evolves and becomes a multi-layered journey of music and art. It certainly has aspects of both The Room and Monument Valley in its puzzle mechanics, but it’s unlike either of them. Cost of entry may seem a little steep for an adventure that doesn’t last particularly long, but as a total work, it’s more than worth it.