After the failure of the Wii U, Nintendo bounced back with perhaps its greatest console all of time – the Nintendo Switch, a home and handheld system melded into one. Its massive success stems from this miracle – that you can play games as magisterial as Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the go is nothing short of mind-blowing for a generation who have been around since Nintendo’s first Game Boy. We love the Switch and here, in our humble opinion, are its greatest games.
1. Legend of Zelda
Forget the greatest Switch game, this Zelda game is in the conversation for the greatest game of all time. Sensing that Zelda’s linear formula had grown stale in comparison to Bethesda and Rockstar-esque open-world offerings, Nintendo went back to the proverbial drawing board and totally reimagined its flagship series. And as is often its want, they created the greatest open-world game of all time. Bask in the glory of open-world Zelda!
2. Super Mario Odyssey
The second of Nintendo’s twin pillar franchises is also a whopper. Super Mario Odyssey follows in the vein of its Super Mario Galaxy series – using the pinnacle of control in video games, guide Mario through landscapes of boundless imagination. Odyssey is notable for its incorporation of 2D gameplay – you get a mix of Super Mario 64 platforming and Super Mario Bros side scrolling. What’s not to love?
3. Smash Bros Ultimate
The definitive Smash bros, and the best entry since Melee. If you’re not familiar, you get all your favourite Nintendo characters and bash on each other in various famous Nintendo settings. Set up your favourite battles: Mario vs Link, Pikachu vs Mewtwo, Bowser vs Peach. Like most fighting games, Ultimate is easy to pick up and play but fiendishly deep. Get brave smashing your friends’ heads in, then take the fight online and get destroyed.
4. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
You know the score with this one, surely? Imagine Smash Bros but with karts – drive your favourite Nintendo characters around your favourite Nintendo locales, and finish up on the infamous Rainbow Road. In what has become a theme for the Switch, Mario Kart 8 is the definitive entry in the series. Particularly excellent is the new and improved battle mode, where you can fire shells at your hated competitors.
5. Stardew Valley
The less experienced video game connoisseur might insert a joke here about how it’s a surprise that a farming simulation is addictive and brilliant, but the genre has been thriving for many years now, with Harvest Moon and FarmVille (as well as the more hardcore Farming Simulator). Stardew Valley adds a bit of Final Fantasy-esque role-playing into the mix – players rack up 1,000s of hours and the Switch is the perfect console to play it on.
6. Tetris 99
It’s Tetris, but battle royale: it sounds impossible, but it’s incredible fun. The clue is in the title: you and 98 other players play a fast-paced game of Tetris until one player is left standing. You get upgrades to attack other players. Mayhem ensues. Extremely addictive and extremely popular, this has been a coup for Nintendo as a Switch exclusive. It's free-to-play, but you need a Switch Online subscription to play. Unless you really like NES games, Tetris 99 is the best reason to get one.
7. Bayonetta 2
Bayonetta is a wonderfully ludicrous hack and slash action-adventure, in the Devil May Cry genre of games. Gamespot gave it a perfect 10, saying that “Bayonetta 2 never strives to be anything less than the purest, rarest kind of action-game experience, one that values skill, reaction times, and sheer spectacle over all else-realism and storytelling be damned.”
8. Okami HD
If there were a list for the most beautiful games of all time, Okami would be up there. This is what makes this new HD remake so appealing. Gameplay-wise, imagine Zelda, but you play as a wolf (actually just imagine Zelda: Twilight Princess, where you also play as a wolf). The entire game is painted in extraordinary watercolours – if you’re finished with Zelda, buy this.
9. Diablo III: Eternal Edition
This top-down action role-playing game came to the Switch for the first time in November 2018. A console reboot of the 2012 PC-only release of Diablo III, players hack and slash their way through the dark fantasy world of Sanctuary, investigating ancients texts that prophesize an ominous series of events.
10. Super Mario Maker 2
The original Super Mario Maker was a brilliant idea sadly marooned on the colossal failure that was the Wii U. But it's back and it's on the Switch, where many a Wii U game has found a second life. As the name suggests, it's all about building your own Mario levels based on assets from numerous previous games, and playing those made by others. It includes local and online competitive modes, a co-op level making mode for two players, and a Story Mode with 100 levels to complete.
11. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
This action-adventure first-person shooter was first released on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One at the end of October 2017 before coming to the Switch in June 2018. Set in an alternate history where the Nazis have won World War II, the game follows a war veteran and his efforts to fight against the new fascist regime in America. Thanks to some brilliant work, it runs surprisingly well on the Switch’s limited hardware, which is a real testament to what’s possible on the little hybrid handheld.