Best Nintendo Switch Games in 2021

Must-Have Nintendo Switch Games 2020 Our Top Picks

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Table of Contents

When it comes to Nintendo and the Nintendo Switch there is a huge variety of titles to satisfy your specific genre itch. Whether it be the open-world exploration of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild or the tactical role-playing of Fire Emblem: Three Houses, the quality on offer in our opinion, is far superior to that of some of the previous generations of Nintendo consoles (we’re looking at you Wii U).

As previously mentioned, the Nintendo Switch does cater to such a large audience, so in this list will be the absolute must-have games that you need to play on this multifaceted console. These might not be your personal favorites due to genre, or the fact you just don’t want to play a remastered title, but that’s for you to decide!

If you want some top accessories for the Nintendo Switch check out our top picks for the best Nintendo Switch accessories.

How We Choose

As the Nintendo Switch library is so diverse, we’ve aimed to pick some stand out entries that we think cover a variety of bases. This includes some fan favorites as well as some hidden gems that some of your Nintendo Switch fans might not have even thought of picking up.

To ensure that we aren’t recommending poor quality titles, we’ve selected Switch games that we’ve tried and tested ourselves. Without further ado, let’s get into the best Switch games for 2021.

Best Switch Games

Best PokemonPokemon-Sword-Nintendo-SwitchPokemon Sword and Shield
Best MarioSuper-Mario-Odyssey-Nintendo-SwitchSuper Mario Odyssey
Best Open WorldThe-Legend-of-Zelda-Breath-of-the-Wild-Nintendo-SwitchThe Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Best RacingMario-Kart-8-Deluxe-Nintendo-SwitchMario Kart 8 Deluxe
Best FightingSuper-Smash-Bros-Ultimate-Nintendo-SwitchSuper Smash Bros. Ultimate

Best Nintendo Switch Pokemon Game​

Pokemon-Sword-Nintendo-Switch

Pokemon Sword and Shield

Pros

  • RPG elements
  • An all-time franchise favorite
  • Replayability

Cons

  • Online aspects can be laggy

Yes, yet another Pokemon game to add to the franchise. But don’t think that it’s a carbon copy of previous generations, Pokemon Sword/Shield may actually be the most radical departure to the series yet. Like many Nintendo console generations before, Pokemon is a main staple, and should almost always be a necessary pick up for gamers of all ages. This new entry features a new social wild area in which you can share catching the also newly introduced ‘Dynamax’ Pokemon with up to 4 friends, as well as a whole new set of pocket monsters in the Galar region. Additionally, the Max Raid battles, which are also a newcomer to the series, provide it with an MMO boss element, giving you the opportunity to fight with Pokemon trainers around the globe. 

We do think however that this isn’t the greatest Pokemon game ever made, it is lacking a little in difficulty and doesn’t include the full 151 Pokemon that the fans are rabid for. However, this is rectified in DLC (yes, Pokemon is getting DLC…). The release of both Crown Tundra and of Isle of Armor showcases previous generations of legendary Pokemon to catch and offers up some fresh, new story elements for you to enjoy. With this added DLC content, the game as a whole come become a fan favorite for generations to come.

Best Nintendo Switch Mario Game​

Super-Mario-Odyssey-Nintendo-Switch

Super Mario Odyssey

Pros

  • Long story mode
  • Fantastic new take on a Mario entry
  • Child-friendly

Cons

  • Single player only

Many Mario fans out there have been scrambling to receive an entry that is up there with Super Mario 64. As Super Mario Odyssey is the first 3D Mario title since 2011 there were compounded expectations that this should be one of the best Mario games ever made. Thankfully, Nintendo has managed to pull it off. Super Mario Odyssey introduces a new friend Cappy which in itself brings a whole new dynamic to the style in which you play this game. The amount of content available as well as the diverse number of planets you get to explore make for hours of pure entertainment that some may argue rival that of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, thus ensuring its place as one of the best Nintendo Switch games.

Nintendo does try to push those motion controls made famous by the Wii but thankfully, they’re not required to play this game. You can, and maybe should play this on the big screen, potentially with a Pro Controller for maximum immersion and seeing those tiny details you might just miss playing in handheld mode. All in all, this is the most polished Mario game in a long time and a certain must-buy for any Nintendo Switch owner out there.

Best Nintendo Switch Open World Game​

The-Legend-of-Zelda-Breath-of-the-Wild-Nintendo-Switch

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Pros

  • Open world
  • New take on a Zelda game
  • Lots to do

Cons

  • Some Zelda fans might not like the new direction

Any Legend of Zelda title is almost an instant buy for any Nintendo fan and Breath of the Wild is certainly no exception. Similarly to Pokemon Sword/Shield, it is the most radical departure from previous games, dropping Link into the entire land of Hyrule to freely explore. It brings in fresh, new survival elements like cooking and utilizing different clothing to keep Link alive alongside entirely optional boss battles in which some require some Dark Souls level exploration. Speaking of boss battles, they never seem samey. The different mechanics coupled with the wide variety of weapon combinations make for a challenging experience even on a second playthrough. The story elements are also stellar with the introduction of a run down Hyrule where Ganon has been running rampant for over 100 years, creating a world that needs to be saved.

Even though The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is widely regarded as one of, if not the best entry ever, it fails to include the most Zelda like element; Dungeons. Therefore, while this game is absolutely fantastic, it’s not for those looking for the traditional experience we’ve come accustomed to. We think that while you may be wanting these dungeon elements, Breath of the Wild is one of the best Nintendo Switch games, an absolutely essential pick up, and a must-play.

Best Nintendo Switch Racing Game

Mario-Kart-8-Deluxe-Nintendo-Switch

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Pros

  • Multiplayer
  • Online play
  • Lots of vehicle customization

Cons

  • Can almost be classed as a 'remake'

Some of you might be thinking ‘wasn’t Mario Kart 8 a Wii U game?’ well, you’d be correct. However, in true Nintendo fashion they have repurposed the game for the Switch, hence the ‘deluxe’ element of the title. Nevertheless, this entry to the Mario Kart franchise is the most complete yet. Many skipped the Wii U generation so you may have not played the original but even if you did, this version includes all the DLC released coupled with the fact you can play it anywhere in handheld mode. There are also a couple of new features such as 200cc time trials and that third-tier boost from intense drifting.

If you’re not a fan of Mario Kart in the first place then you’re not going to get in now. It is more of the same classic Nintendo themed racing along many of the reused track from the franchise. Some argue that this is just a Wii U game just on the Nintendo Switch, and while it’s hard to provide a counter-argument, it does offer a brand new experience on a brand new console, with some added extras sprinkled on top making it one of the best Nintendo Switch games.

Best Nintendo Switch Fighting Game​

Super-Smash-Bros-Ultimate-Nintendo-Switch

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Pros

  • Lots of fighters to unlock
  • A good 'party' game with friends
  • Snappy controls

Cons

  • Online experience could be better

As alluded to by the name, this is the ultimate Super Smash Bros. game Nintendo has ever released. It is also the most ambitious, featuring over 70 characters and introductions of new fan favorites through the fighter passes. While Super Smash Bros. is predominantly a party/multiplayer game, the single-player experience of Ultimate really makes this new addition to the franchise head and shoulders above the rest. The introduction of the Spirits mode within single-player gives the game a new dimension and something that hasn’t been done before. In conjunction with the vast single-player experience, the unlockables are some of the best we’ve seen. The amount of music available to be unlocked is an almost unprecedented and welcome addition to those die-hard Smash Bros. fans. Moreover, when looking at the online multiplayer aspect, it scales you by how well you do and it works great both docked and in handheld mode, making for a great multiplayer experience no matter your skill level.

The only real downside to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the actual online functionality. Yes, as stated previously it does match to your skill level but the core Nintendo Online service is lacking. You are going to need a strong internet connection and even with that, you may encounter some lag. The amount of online modes is also a little lackluster and the amount of customization is very limited. But, if that’s all we can say for the bad points about this Smash Bros. addition then it is essentially one of the best Nintendo Switch games out there and one you should purchase as soon as you can.

Honorable Mentions

Below are some honorable mentions that we think you should definitely think about picking up to play on your Nintendo Switch. These are a selection of the best of the rest but are more tailored to specific tastes, such as the side-scrolling platformer Cuphead, or the party board game simulator Super Mario Party, as well as the ever-popular Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

animal crossing new horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

The-Legend-of-Zelda-Links-Awakening-Nintendo-Switch

The Legend of Zelda: Links Awakening

Super-Mario-Party-Nintendo-Switch

Super Mario Party

Dark-Souls-Remastered-Nintendo-Switch

Dark Souls: Remastered

Things To Consider

Type of Game

With the Nintendo Switch primarily being targeted at a younger audience, there are a whole host of games that can be placed in a wide range of game types such as Dark Souls that we’ve listed above.

When considering which Switch games to pick up, this is a good thing to keep in mind. If you’re a parent looking to pick up more simplistic games for your kids, something like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe could be right up your alley. But, something more complex might be out of their skill level so Cuphead is a game you might stay away from.

Multiplayer

As online gaming has grown, even though Nintendo are a little behind, not all Switch games are single player and soeom offer some rpretty great online play.

This is something that should definitely be considered when picking up some Switch games and will certainly increase their appeal to those that want to get a bit more life out of them after completing the single player aspect of the title. Additionally, local multiplayer is something Nintendo are certainly known for so if you’re looking out for some good party games, you’re going to want them to be not just coop play but to allow for a bunch of players to get all your friends involved.

FAQs

Why are Switch games so expensive?

When it comes to game prices, there is a lot that goes into it. Number one, the development of the games costs a significant amount due to how long it takes to create the worlds, mechanics, character models, and more. This, therefore, means you need to pay a number of different salaries to a variety of experienced employees.

In the Nintendo Switch's case, one specific reason why it's games cost more is due to the fact that they come on cartridges rather than discs. These cartridges cost much more to manufacture and need custom making for the hardware.

What games are free on Nintendo Switch?

There are a whole host of different Switch games that are free for the system. These can be found and download from the Nintendo eShop.

Here are some examples:

  • Pokémon Café Mix
  • Paladins
  • Warframe
  • Pokémon Quest
  • SMITE
  • Brawlhalla
  • Arena of Valor
  • Color Zen

Why is Animal Crossing so popular?

Animal Crossing has been an extremely popular franchise for Nintendo and this is down to a number of factors.

First, it enables you to go on a journey with your character, building a whole town from scratch into something that you can be truly proud of.

Secondly, in the latest entry; Animal Crossing: New Horizons, it was released at the 'perfect' time as many saw themselves in lockdown, providing an escape from the real world, multiplying the already great foundations of a game to more fans around the world.

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