After months of mystery, we can now buy the Nintendo Switch from various retailers in the UK. But while we love the look of the hardware and can’t wait to have a home console that we can also use as a portable, what really matters is the games lineup.
The good news is that while the initial launch selection is slim, there’s plenty more on the way in 2017 to keep Switch owners occupied, with both a great selection of Nintendo’s own games and enough third-party titles to give fans hope that the Switch will have better support than the Wii U did.
So without further ado, here are the Switch games we love so far, and the ones we really can’t wait to get our hands on.
Nintendo Switch podcast discussion
Best Nintendo Switch games
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Originally set to come out a few years ago on the Wii U, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is now not only a Switch launch title, but also the system’s flagship game. It’s a sprawling open world adventure that’s undeniably the biggest Zelda title yet.
New additions to the series include loot drops, crafting, and cooking, while the expansive overworld stretches as far as you can see. The lush cel-shaded graphics feel like a natural evolution from the Wii’s Skyward Sword, while the audio boasts another franchise first: voice acting. This is the best launch title on any console in years, and feels era-defining, reshaping what we expect from open-world games.
Discover more of what we thought of the Switch’s best game in our Zelda review.
The surprise hit of the Switch’s launch window, Snipperclips is the little indie game that could, a brilliant puzzle game that makes the most of the console’s portability and multiplayer features.
You and up to three friends take control of colourful paper creatures. By standing in front of one another you can cut sections out of each other to form new shapes, which you in turn use to solve a variety of environmental puzzles.
It tends to quickly devolve into sheer chaos as you rotate and jump and run around, accidentally cutting each other into the wrong shapes, trying (and usually failing) to explain what you need someone else to do to solve the puzzle.
It’s the ideal game to show off the Switch’s portable Joy-Con multiplayer, and looks great even on the tablet screen – partly thanks to brilliantly memorable animation.
Just like Wii Sports with the Wii, and Nintendoland with the Wii U, the Switch has its own minigame collection: 1-2-Switch. Unlike those games however, this one doesn’t come bundled with any of the launch editions of the console, so you have to buy it separately – though for a slightly lower price than other Switch games have been so far.
There are 28 different games in the collection, ranging from sword fighting and spell casting to plate spinning and cow milking, and almost all encourage you to look your opponent in the eye while you play, ignoring the actual TV. The result is a collection that’s built with parties in mind, and the boozier the better – giggling at the inherent innuendo in ‘soda shaking’ is at least half the fun.
Unfortunately, the games lack the sort of depth you might remember from Wii Sports or Nintendo Land, so 1-2-Switch is unlikely to keep your interest for too long – but for one or two drunken parties it can be a blast.
Find out more of what we thought of the game in our 1-2-Switch review.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
One of the best looking games for the Switch was actually already one of the best games on the Wii U. Mario Kart 8 was the best entry in the racing series in years, and this version is even better.
There are a few new additions to justify the re-purchase: courses and new characters from Splatoon and elsewhere, the return of Battle Mode, all of the original game’s DLC, and eight-player local multiplayer. There are also a few new items and the ability to carry two items at once.
It’s not a major update, and it might be tricky for anyone who already has Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U to justify the upgrade – but if you missed it the first time, this is a great way to get your hands on a brilliant game.
Read more in our review of Mario Kart 8: Deluxe.
The first major new Nintendo IP for the Switch, Arms is a slightly odd cross between a boxing game and a shooter. The core gameplay is essentially boxing, but with a major twist: your arms are extendable.
Using the Joy-Con motion controls you can punch, block, grab, and dodge, as well as use a powered up super attack. If you’re not a fan of flailing, you can also use buttons, either on a pair of Joy-Cons, one on its own, or using the Switch Pro Controller.
There are ten colourful characters, ranging from an Egyptian mummy to a sentient green blob, and each comes with three different types of weaponised arms meaning there’s plenty of variety in abilities and fighting styles from launch, with Nintendo planning to add even more as free DLC.
The single-player content is pretty light so far (just an arcade mode and some mini-games) but multiplayer is where Arms really shines, with Nintendo proving once again that it can take a longstanding genre and find a way to shake it up.
Read more in our full Arms review.
Splatoon 2 release date: 21 July 2017
Splatoon was one of the surprise hits for the Wii U, and a welcome reminder that for all of its reliance on big hitters like Zelda and Mario, Nintendo is still capable of creating brilliant original games when it wants to.
Nintendo’s take on the online multiplayer shooter is very… Nintendo. That means quirky character design, a fun setting, and a brilliant new twist on tired shooter mechanics. Instead of shooting bullets, you fire ink, which can hurt your foes, but more importantly covers the arena. The team with the most ink wins, but it also gives you advantages like faster travel and refilling your ammo as you go.
This sequel is mostly like more of the same (though boasts a new co-op horde mode), but that’s no bad thing, and it includes new weapons, maps, outfits, and music. We’re sold.
Find out more in our Splatoon 2 review.
Pokkén Tournament DX
Pokkén Tournament DX release date: 22 September 2017
The fighting game, developed by Bandai Namco Studios who also publish Tekken, has previously been playable in Japanese arcades, before arriving on the Wii U in early 2016 and set to come to the Switch in September.
The game sees Pokémon go head-to-head in multiplayer battles that are lots of fun, and if the game’s trailer is anything to go by we expect it’ll be a popular new game for the Switch.
We expect to find out more about Pokkén Tournament DX during E3 2017, where it’ll be playable to the conference’s visitors.
NBA 2K18 (Switch)
NBA 2K18 release date: September 2017
There hasn’t been a huge amount of major third party games announced for the Switch yet, but a few of the big sports titles have been confirmed, and one of the first to hit the market will be NBA 2K18 in September.
We don’t know much about exactly what to expect from the game, or how it will compare to other versions on the market. NBA 2K17 came out on the PS3 and Xbox 360 in addition to the the more recent consoles, and it’s possible that if 2K18 does as well then the Switch release could be in line with those versions, given that it’s lacking the sheer horsepower of the PS4 and Xbox One.
Either way, this would be the first NBA game on a Nintendo console since NBA 2K13 on the Wii U, so we’re sure basketball fans will be excited about the prospect.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Switch)
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim release date: Autumn 2017
Sure, Skyrim first came out more than five years ago, and even the HD re-release has been on the PS4 and Xbox One for months. But you know what you can’t do with any of those versions of the game? Play them on the train. Or a plane. Or in a café. Or basically anywhere except your living room.
For anyone who’s lost hours of their life to an Elder Scrolls game before, the idea of getting to take Skyrim with you anywhere you go is pretty undeniably appealing – and even better if you can then seamlessly carry on your game in 1080p on the TV at home.
Bethesda revealed more details about the upcoming game at E3 2017, including the fact that players will be able to dress up like Link in Breath of the Wild. The company also confirmed that Skyrim for Switch would feature three official add-ons; Dawnguard, Hearthfire and Dragonborn, and would be compatible with the system’s motion controllers.
FIFA release date: 2017 TBA
After pretty much sitting the Wii U out, Electronic Arts has made a point of coming back to the Nintendo fold and promising support for the Switch, though all the company announced at Nintendo’s launch event was the return of FIFA to Nintendo hardware.
It’s going to be “custom built for Nintendo Switch,” and EA is billing it as “the most immersive, social, and authentic sports game ever created for Nintendo players.” No matter what, FIFA is one of the world’s biggest gaming franchises, and plenty of players will no doubt love the idea of a full version of the game that they can also take with them on the go.
Super Mario Odyssey
Super Mario Odyssey release date: Christmas 2017
After recent Mario titles have focused on small, contained levels (much like the original games), Super Mario Odyssey is a return to the Italian plumber’s 3D debut: Super Mario 64. Like that game, and the Gamecube’s Super Mario Sunshine, Odyssey promises expansive worlds for the Nintendo icon to explore, giving players plenty of freedom along the way.
What’s new this time is the look of those worlds. Mario is breaking out of the Mushroom Kingdom and into unfamiliar territory. That’s most obvious in ‘New Donk City’, an unexpectedly realistic looking take on New York, but a Mexico-inspired desert area looks similarly fresh for the franchise.
Add in the new sentient hat, which Mario can apparently throw and use as a platform itself, and Super Mario Odyssey looks like it could be a killer app. It’s just a shame we’ll be waiting until Christmas to get the chance to play it.
Monster Hunter XX
Monster Hunter XX release date: TBC
One of Capcom’s biggest franchises (in Japan at least) is finally making its way to the Switch. Monster Hunter XX (‘Double Cross’) is a port of a 3DS title that so far hasn’t come out in the west though.
It’s an expanded version of Monster Hunter X, which did come out in the UK and US as Monster Hunter Generations, and was one of the most popular titles on the 3DS.
It’s pretty exciting news either way, and both fans and analysts seem to agree – Nintendo’s stock shot up by over $2 billion dollars during the day the game was announced for the Switch.
Nintendo Switch Kirby release date: 2018
Everyone’s favourite ball of pink cuteness is coming to the Nintendo Switch in 2018 – hooray! It’s the first Kirby game since Planet Robobot on Nintendo 3DS.
Nintendo’s Spotlight introduced Kirby battling using melee weapons, changing shapes – including a curling stone – and employing his traditional Kirby powers and abilities like inhaling enemies.
This time, Kirby will also have up to three teammates to solve puzzles. This will work in the form of either three other players in co-operative play, or by recruiting enemies to his side by tossing hearts at them.
Nintendo has also shown Kirby combining copy abilities to create combo attacks with the entire team.
Nintendo Switch Yoshi release date: 2018
Not only is Kirby coming to the Switch, the much loved Yoshi is, too. This game was also announced during Nintendo’s Spotlight at E3 2017 with a look at the gameplay.
We enjoyed playing Yoshi’s Woolly World and this looks similar except that the wool has been replaced with cardboard – slightly less cute, but it still looks good.
Playing as Yoshi, players can solve levels how they like trailing eggs behind the lovable character and interacting with papier-mache items like a dragon train.
Metroid Prime 4
Metroid Prime 4 release date: TBC
One surprise for Nintendo’s Spotlight at E3 2017 was the early announcement of Metroid Prime 4.
Fans understandably got really excited until they discovered there was next to no details available for the new game. Nintendo has not given a release date or even an attached studio.
We do know that the original trilogy’s creator, Retro Studios, isn’t on the project but series producer Kensuke Tanabe is back on board.
All that was given was a title screen for the first-person view edition of the franchise. We’re still excited, though.
Fuze Code Studio
Fuze Code Studio release date: Q2 2018
Popularity in coding, especially for young people, has grown significantly since the launch of devices like the Raspberry Pi. Nintendo Switch owners are going to get the chance to try it out, too.
Fuze Code Studio is coming to the console next year and will enable gamers as young as six to learn to code. It’s dubbed the perfect stepping stone between visual coding simulators and real-world languages like Python, Java and C++.
The software allows users to create their their own games then play them on the big screen with friends and family – all with the ability to take advantage of the excellent tech inside the Joy-Con controllers.