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The best Nintendo Switch games in 2021
From multiplayer fun to epic first-person shooters and everything in between.
When you first get a new Nintendo Switch (or even if you’ve had one for years), the sheer number of games in stores and on the Nintendo eShop can be pretty overwhelming. From blockbuster adventures to short but sweet indie titles, it’s easy to sink hours and hours into scrolling through new releases, best sellers and sale items.
Well, lucky for you, we’ve done all the hard work of sorting the trash from the treasure. Whether you’re after an epic RPG packed with hundreds of hours of gameplay or a relaxing game you can pick up whenever, we’ve got you covered with our picks for the best Switch games.
- : Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
- : Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
- : Breath of the Wild
- : The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
- : Hades
- : Fire Emblem: Three Houses
- : DOOM
- : BioShock: The Collection
- : Super Mario Odyssey
- : Yoshi’s Crafted World
- : Animal Crossing: New Horizons
- : Stardew Valley
- : Ring Fit Adventure
- : Fitness Boxing 2: Rhythm & Exercise
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Best multiplayer Switch game
4 to 12 (via multiple Switch consoles)
|See it at Amazon|
It’s been the best racing game on every Nintendo console since the SNES, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe proves the franchise is only getting better. After all, who doesn’t love yelling obscenities at their loved ones for red shelling them? It’s kind of a Switch staple, and I’ve yet to meet a Switch owner who didn’t have MK8. Yes, it’s essentially the exact same game that debuted on the Wii U in 2014, but hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Next best multiplayer Switch game
1 to 8 (via multiple Switch consoles)
|See it at Amazon|
If your idea of multiplayer fun is more action-packed than a few laps around a racetrack, might I suggest Super Smash Bros. Ultimate? Play as one of 76 characters (including Bowser, Charizard, Kirby, Link, Pac-Man and even the Wii Fit Trainer) as you fight it out with friends locally or via online co-op in the ultimate battle royale, where the last one standing wins. Also, there’s something so enjoyable about seeing Animal Crossing’s Isabelle tear the big bois a new one.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Best open world Switch game
I may be a little biased here, given Breath of the Wild is not only my favourite open-world Switch game but my favourite video game ever. I literally can’t hype it up enough, and if you have a Switch but no BOTW, you’re missing out. You don’t need to have played any Zelda games previously (you definitely still should, though) to be sucked into BOTW - the visuals are stunning, the story is simply perfect, and there’s just so many little details and secrets that it’ll keep you going for hundreds and hundreds of hours. Plus, when you're done, you can keep the good times rolling with Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Next best open world Switch game
Yes, it’s been out for years now, but The Witcher 3’s 2019 Switch port is damn amazing. The 2015 Game of the Year winner follows Geralt, a monster killer searching for his missing adopted daughter Ciri before she's captured by the ghoulish Wild Hunt. The story has three possible endings, depending on your choices throughout the game, and there are tons of sidequests, contracts and treasure hunts to keep you busy as you traverse your way through the beautifully realised open world.
Best Switch RPG
After a couple of years in early access, roguelike dungeon-crawler Hades finally became available to the rest of us plebs in late 2020, and thank the gods it did. Playing as Zagreus, son of Hades (the ancient Greek god of death), you must use the gifts bestowed upon you by the 12 Olympian gods to escape the Underworld and make your way to Mount Olympus. It won’t take long for you to understand why it’s been dubbed many critics’ 2020 game of the year, plus the soundtrack is absolutely killer.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Next best RPG for Switch
Prefer your RPGs more tactical and turn-based than hack-and-slash mayhem? Fire Emblem: Three Houses is for you. The 16th game in the Fire Emblem series, Three Houses sees you playing the newest professor at Garreg Mach Monastery, which houses students from each of the continent’s three nations. You must choose which house (aligned to one of the three nations) you want to teach, guiding your pupils through a series of increasingly difficult battles.
Best FPS (first-person shooter) on Switch
1 - 12 (online)
|See it at EB Games (Preowned)|
There’s a lot of buzz at the moment surrounding its sequel, DOOM Eternal, but you simply can’t go past 2017’s DOOM. Much like the DOOM games before it, you play as an unnamed space marine (a.k.a. Doomguy) tasked with battling the demons unleashed at a Mars research facility through a portal to hell. It’s gory, intense, super fast-paced, and a whole lot of fun.
BioShock: The Collection
Next best FPS on Switch
It’s over 13 years old, but biopunk shooter BioShock is still well and truly alive and kicking. Released for the Switch in May 2020, BioShock: The Collection features remastered versions of all three titles: BioShock, BioShock 2 and Bioshock Infinite. The first two games are set in the dystopian underwater city of Rapture in the 1960s, while Infinite takes place in the flying steampunk US city of Columbia in the 1910s. The visuals are beautiful, the battles challenging and the stories rich and multifaceted.
Super Mario Odyssey
Best Switch platformer
Our favourite little plumber has come a long way since the 8-bit days of Super Mario Bros. on the NES. Easily one of the best games in the series - and one of the best Switch games - Super Mario Odyssey is much the same story-wise (save Princess Peach, defeat Bowser etc.), but the nonlinear gameplay style, scope for exploration and clever use of the Joy Cons feels totally unique. It’s easy enough that anyone can play, but just the right level of challenge to still be interesting.
Yoshi’s Crafted World
Next best platformer on Switch
Undoubtedly one of the cutest Switch games available, Yoshi’s Crafted World is also the best Yoshi game since Yoshi’s Island on the SNES. In this side-scrolling 3D platformer, you control Yoshi through a series of levels as he attempts to restore the Sundream Stone, whose gems become scattered all over the world after an attempted theft from Baby Bowser and Kamek. There’s plenty of hidden goodies to find along the way, and I highly recommend grabbing a mate and playing two-player mode - it’s loads of fun.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Most relaxing Switch game
1 - 8 (online)
|See it at Kogan|
Ahh, Animal Crossing. How would we have gotten through 2020 without you? The fifth instalment of the series, New Horizons is easily the most relaxing Switch game you could hope to find. There are no scores, no pressure, and no real end to the game. It’s all about making cute animal friends and designing your island exactly the way you want it, whether that’s a Japanese-style town, cottagecore paradise or something else entirely.
Next most relaxing Switch game
RPG, management sim
1 - 4 (online)
|See it at Amazon|
A PC favourite since 2016, Stardew Valley is one of those games you can replay time and time again without getting bored. There’s as much or as little to do as you like in this open-ended farm life sim, in which you take over your late grandpa’s old farm, located in the charming and mysterious town of Stardew Valley. You can grow crops, mine for ore, craft goods, go fishing, marry one of the NPCs and even have children. It’s the perfect escape for those days when the real world drags you down.
Ring Fit Adventure
Best Switch fitness game
1 - 2 (taking turns)
|See it at Amazon|
Like most people, my workout routine took quite a hit during the pandemic. After gyms closed, flocks of fitness enthusiasts turned to online classes and workout apps. As someone who is decidedly exercise-averse, I (and many, many others) turned to a game: Ring Fit Adventure. Get your blood pumping by running through various levels, playing minigames and battling exercise equipment-themed monsters along the way (using the included Ring Con and leg strap to track your movement), as you attempt to defeat Dragaux, your arrogant body-building dragon foe. Check out our review here.
Fitness Boxing 2: Rhythm & Exercise
Next best fitness game for Switch
1 - 2
|See it at Catch.com.au|
The follow-up to Nintendo’s unexpected hit, Fitness Boxing 2 is a fun way to get in a quick workout without really feeling like you’re working out. There are nine virtual trainers to choose from, multiple difficulty levels, and you can even play with a friend for a bit of added competition. It’s easy to follow and features 23 tunes to help you box to the beat - and yes, before you ask, ‘Sandstorm’ by Darude is one of them.
They didn’t quite make it onto our best-of list, but these Nintendo Switch games are too good not to mention.
- Untitled Goose Game: Play as an annoying goose and wreak havoc on the inhabitants of a quaint English village. Honk!
- Overcooked 2: The sequel to the best-selling co-op cooking game that’ll put your relationships to the test.
- Pokemon Sword & Shield: The Switch’s first native (non-remake) Pokemon game with some adorable new additions (Yamper and Wooloo must be protected at all costs).
- Luigi’s Mansion 3: When Mario and his mates go missing in a haunted hotel, it’s down to Luigi to save the day.
- Dragon Quest XI: If you like turn-based RPGs and hundreds of hours of gameplay, DQXI is for you. Oh, and do try the free 10-hour-long demo.
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Yes, it’s available on basically every platform known to man, but if you haven’t played it before, Skyrim is well worth a look at on the Switch.
- Just Dance: I purchased the 2020 version of this popular dance game simply because it was on sale, and now it's my main mode of exercise. Addictive AF.