The 10 Best Open World Games on Nintendo Switch – SwitchArcade Special Edition

Open world games have been flying high since Grand Theft Auto III popularized the concept more than twenty years ago, and they show no signs of slowing down with the likes of Elden Ring continuing to chew up the sales charts. While the Nintendo Switch’s slimmer specs compared to its peers may make it more difficult to bring these sprawling worlds to the system, that hasn’t stopped it from playing host to many fantastic open world games. We’ve gathered up ten of the best for your consideration. Note as always that this is merely our own list of favorites, and they are presented in no particular order or ranking. Let’s go!

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild ($59.99)

The least surprising entry on this list, to be certain. While the game was originally developed for the Nintendo Wii U, it got the nod to be Nintendo’s premiere first-party launch title for the Nintendo Switch. It’s hard to say where the Switch would be today if it weren’t for Breath of the Wild, which reinvented the Zelda series, brought countless new players to the open world format, and did a fantastic job of showing off what Nintendo’s latest hardware had to offer prospective buyers. It is adventure in the purest sense, and while it has a number of years under its belt now it remains a must-have title for the system.

Immortals Fenyx Rising ($59.99)

In some ways, Immortals Fenyx Rising comes off as “the Breath of the Wild we have at home". I won’t deny that. But while it may not be the most original thing in the world, it’s well-made and polished enough that you can’t help but find plenty to enjoy about it anyway. The dungeon puzzles in this one are well-designed, and the overworld is a joy to explore, particularly as you expand your capabilities. You can regularly find this game on deep discount these days, and it’s a real steal if you don’t mind its somewhat corny personality.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Complete Edition ($59.99)

One of the Nintendo Switch’s “impossible" ports, The Witcher 3 is an incredible game with a story that is not to be missed. There are a lot of things to praise about this game, but I’d specifically like to call out how well it handles its towns. They feel like actual settlements, and when you come riding into town after completing a quest there’s an immersion to it that is hard to match. The only real weak point in this game is in its combat, and that’s more bland than bad. It’s still amazing to load this one up and just marvel at the fact that Saber Interactive actually pulled it off.

LEGO City Undercover ($29.99)

Okay, let’s step away from the fantasy stuff for a bit and get into an open world game where you cause mayhem all across a huge modern city. Yes, it’s LEGO City Undercover, and it is as hilarious as it is fun to play. It’s fascinating to see what the LEGO game developers can do with a virtually original property. As much joy as they obviously have with their licensed fare, they seem to been free to explore a lot of other interesting ideas in this game that may not have fit in any other titles. If you have a love of cheesy old cop movies, you’ll really appreciate this one.

Minecraft: Nintendo Switch Edition ($29.99)

Sandbox? Open world? Action-adventure? Minecraft is pretty much whatever you need it to be, I suppose. There are a lot of reasons why people love open world games but if you’re into them for the sense of exploration and discovery, it’s hard to find much better than Minecraft. Every new seed is a whole new world full of surprises, and every cave or cliff is a chance for new adventures. It’s amazing how a game most of us have probably played to death can still suck you into its reality, but Minecraft has that power and likely always will.

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim ($59.99)

Here’s another one that is getting a little long in the tooth, but the magic of having Skyrim in a portable form is still something to behold. Indeed, its rougher elements are sometimes part of the fun of playing Skyrim. You can mess around with an awful lot and get some very funny results. Or you can just play it straight and dig your hands into a massive adventure set in a gorgeous world. People have been playing this game for more than ten years now, and if you haven’t played it yet you need only give it a try to see why.

Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen ($29.99)

It’s hard to believe there was a time where Capcom thought it was a good idea to have the Devil May Cry team take a break from that series in order to make a WRPG-style game. But you know what? It was a good idea. It was a really good idea! It’s such an odd hybrid of elements that it still has a singular flavor to it after so many years. As you might expect given the team’s pedigree, the combat in this game is particularly strong compared to similar titles. If you’re looking for an open world game with slightly deeper and more stylish battles than the norm, give this one a shot.

Burnout Paradise Remastered ($29.99)

Cars can do open worlds, too. Burnout Paradise may have been the last big hurrah for this series, but it says something that Electronic Arts can rerelease it more or less as-is on new consoles and it doesn’t feel very egregious. Explore Paradise City and get into a variety of races and other activities, or just enjoy a nice drive while listening to some tunes and seeing the sights. Or, you know, do that Burnout thing and cause massive crashes for fun and profit. It’s up to you how you want to spend your time in this paradise.

Dying Light: Platinum Edition ($49.99)

Alright, we were all getting a little too relaxed there. Time for something a bit more intense. Dying Light is an open world zombie survival game that made the transition to Switch surprisingly well. It’s a mix of parkour, survival, and exploration. Most open world games have day-night cycles, but few of them draw such an intense line between the light and dark as this one does. There’s a beauty in some of the locations in the daytime, but at night you really have to focus on surviving. If you stop and smell the roses, you probably won’t live to see the morning. This Switch version is loaded to the gills with content, giving you plenty to see and do in this grim world.

A Short Hike ($7.99)

Let’s end this list with something a little smaller and more personal. A Short Hike is exactly what the title promises, tasking you with making your way to the top of the mountain. You know, whenever you want to. There’s a lot of things to see, characters to meet, and side things to do if you just want to enjoy yourself and take it easy. And you should, really. Trying to go directly to the goal won’t take you very long, but if you take your time and really absorb the atmosphere of this little game, you’ll find it sticking with you for quite a while.

And that’s the list. It’s a shame a certain publisher biffed a certain rerelease of a certain trilogy of games as I would have loved to have them on here, but there’s nothing we can do about that. Do you have a favorite open world game on the Switch that you don’t see on this list? Hit those comments below and let me and the rest of the room know. You can never have too many recommendations!

Interested in more lists? Check out our other Nintendo Switch recommendations!