The 10 Best Nintendo Switch Games of All-Time – SwitchArcade Special

Okay, let’s do this. The Nintendo Switch is now in its eighth year on the market, and regardless of whether the millions of rumors are legitimate or not, it’s not hard to imagine we’re in the latter stage of the console’s life. It seems like as good a time as any to look at what we think are the best games that have released on the console, so that’s what we’re going to do. Note that this list will not include indie games, as our pal Mikhail will be doing an indie-focused all-time list of his own. I’ve also opted not to include games that were ported from the Wii U, outside of one weird edge case. Will you be surprised by this selection? Probably not, but that’s the nature of the beast. In no particular order, here they are.

Metroid Dread ($59.99)

Metroid Dread has grown on me a bit over time. The first wholly original Metroid adventure from the folks at Mercury Steam has some elements that don’t click quite the way I’d hoped, but overall I think it does justice to the legacy it carries on its shoulders. The atmosphere is powerful, the EMMIs feel like a natural extension of Fusion‘s SA-X, the secrets are fun to uncover, and perhaps most impressively, it doesn’t feel like a retread of any of the previous 2D Metroid games. I find myself enjoying it more with each playthrough, to the point that I feel it’s worthy of this list.

Super Mario Odyssey ($59.99)

This might be a surprise, but I didn’t pick up the Nintendo Switch at launch. Sure, I was interested in Breath of the Wild, but it wasn’t quite enough to get me to bite the bullet on a new console. Super Mario Odyssey, though? I had to have it. I think both of Nintendo’s approaches to 3D Mario are great in their own right, but it had been a long while since we’d seen a full-on exploratory 3D Mario game. Nintendo had clearly been bottling up plenty of ideas, because Super Mario Odyssey is absolutely overflowing with creative challenges and fun things to do. There’s almost too much to do here, and that’s a great problem to have.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild ($59.99) & Tears of the Kingdom ($69.99)

Regular readers know I always cheat on these lists, and here’s my first one. I can’t really pick between these two games, and realistically I think it’s worth owning both. Breath of the Wild is arguably the game that sold the Switch if any game did, recontextualizing and revitalizing The Legend of Zelda to outstanding success. And then several years later, Tears of the Kingdom came along and somehow threw another couple of scoops on top. You could spend months fully exploring both games, and years experimenting with their interesting, complex mechanics. Some people did, in fact.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate ($59.99)

While I’m not the biggest Smash fan around, you don’t have to be to see what a striking achievement Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is. Video games throw the word ‘ultimate’ around a lot, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one live up to the meaning of that word as well as this does. With more than 80 characters covering gaming icons from Pac-Man to Minecraft Steve, dozens more cameos via Spirits and Mii Fighter costumes, over 100 stages drawn from across gaming history, and some seriously fun gameplay that will please beginners and experts alike, it’s hard to see how Nintendo could ever top this with another installment. Glad that’s not my problem to solve!

Kirby & The Forgotten Land ($59.99)

Kirby didn’t get off to the best start on the Switch with the somewhat tepid Star Allies, but Kirby & the Forgotten Land ended up being the most exciting game in the series in quite a while. This game took Kirby into proper 3D platforming for the first time, and it worked better than one might expect. It turns out that the little pink puff takes to the third dimension rather well, giving more flexibility to his copy powers and allowing the developers to put more fun secrets in the game. Kirby games have a particular pace to them, and it’s unusual to get a 3D platformer with that vibe. A real treat.

Monster Hunter Rise + Sunbreak ($59.99)

This list is mostly full of first party games, but I really couldn’t help that. The reality is that few of the major third party publishers put out full-oomph Switch releases on the level of Nintendo’s extremely strong efforts. Monster Hunter Rise is probably the finest example of one, as it feels like it’s pushing the hardware in good ways while offering up a dense, high-quality experience that will keep you busy for hundreds of hours. Add in the excellent Sunbreak expansion and you’ve got the most impressive full-fat third-party title on the console.

Splatoon 2 ($59.99) & Splatoon 3 ($59.99)

I am cheating! Again! Obviously, Splatoon is one of the silver linings of the rough Wii U years. Who knew Nintendo could do a great online-focused third person shooter? It wasn’t surprising to see the series return early on in the Switch’s life, and the game was a terrific sequel that entertained players for years. I think many of us were a little more surprised to see Splatoon 3, a sequel that felt a lot more iterative in nature. Still, that’s where the bulk of the player base is now, and with the cool goodies the expansion content offers, it’s hard to make a case for buying Splatoon 2 over Splatoon 3 these days. Whichever one you go for, it’s a great time.

Pikmin 4 ($59.99)

A lot of franchises found new life on the Switch, and Pikmin‘s redemption arc has been a heartwarming thing to see. Apparently in the works for several years, Pikmin 4 finally released on the Nintendo Switch and managed to find an excellent middle ground between the previous three games while also being a lot more accessible than any of them. You get a couple new Pikmin types, new features, and the adorable new Oatchi pup. Whether you play it alone or pull in a friend for co-op, this is a huge little adventure that does a great job of fulfilling the promise of this GameCube-born series.

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

Part of the novelty of this miracle port was getting to play a game as cool as The Witcher 3 on a portable device, and that no longer exclusively applies to the Switch version. Still, I wanted to include one of these big-swing Switch conversions, and I think The Witcher 3 is my favorite of the bunch. What you get here is an excellent role-playing game that, despite the clear drop in visual quality, hangs nicely with other games on the platform. Another great world to get lost in on the little hybrid handheld.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 ($59.99)

Looking back at the Switch library from the beginning until now, few games have been as memorable as Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (and the Torna expansion). Sure, we’ve had other entries in the series debut or get re-released on Switch like Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition or the sublime Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Future Redeemed expansion, but Xenoblade Chronicles 2 remains special with its incredible cast, superlative music, memorable story moments, and fantastic exploration. It might lack some quality of life improvements we saw in newer releases, but Xenoblade Chronicles 2 has more heart than anything else in the series, and is the best way to end this article as one of my favorite RPGs ever. Make sure to get the Torna expansion as well if you are grabbing this release, and enjoy one of the most ambitious RPGs yet. – Mikhail Madnani

Thank you, Mikhail, for that last entry. Well, that’s the lot. I’m almost 100% anyone who reads this list will disagree with at least some part of it, so if that’s you and you want to throw out some favorite games of your own, head on down to those comments and let the world know. Thanks for reading!