Nintendo consoles always seem to be in a league of their own. With proprietary series like Donkey Kong and Super Smash Bros, Nintendo has been the reigning champion of party games. On the flip side, Nintendo's exclusive nature has kept away some of the most popular multi-platform titles from other consoles. The Nintendo Switch, however, has helped usher in a new era of cross-platform titles, giving Switch owners access to some of the most popular games in the world. From these cross-platform titles to Nintendo exclusives, here are some of the most popular games for Switch players right now.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
It's hardly an exaggeration to say that the early success of the Nintendo Switch was directly tied to the phenomenal success of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Much more than just another Zelda game, Breath of the Wild completely revamped the already-successful Nintendo mainstay. By featuring an impressive new game engine and an open-world design, the magic of Breath of the Wild lies in its willingness to let the player decide the progression of the story. Instead of the regimented, linear structure of previous entries in the Legend of Zelda series, Breath of the Wild allows the player to explore an immersive world filled with unique items, creative enemies, charming side characters, and all sorts of surprises. With the obvious amount of thought and work put into this game's development, it's no wonder it's one of the most popular games for Switch players of all ages.
To cap it all off, Breath of the Wild earned 2017's Game of the Year honors from multiple outlets, cementing it as the crown jewel of the Switch in its first year.
Hollow Knight is a uniquely creative fast-paced Metroidvania platformer, and one of the most unexpectedly great action games to come to the Switch so far. Featuring a deceptively cute main character, this game offers a surprisingly vast world in the forsaken subterranean kingdom of Hallownest. This game can be frustratingly difficult, but that's just part of its charm. Finally, one of the biggest advantages Hollow Knight has is its extremely low price. Produced by an independent Australian studio, Hollow Knight is sold as a digital download for a fraction of the cost of most Switch games.
Super Mario Odyssey
It simply wouldn't be right for Nintendo to release a new console without a slew of games featuring their star character, and the Switch delivers on that front big time. Super Mario Odyssey is the next great game in the storied Super Mario lineage, featuring an exciting open world design and gameplay that can best be described as simply fresh. Super Mario Odyssey is also a great introduction to the Switch, as it takes full advantage of the many new features the console has, such as the HD Rumble feature of the Joy-Con controller.
On its critical acclaim alone, Super Mario Odyssey is quickly rising up the ranks of the best Super Mario Bros. games ever created.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Like many of the most popular games for Switch players, Mario Kart 8 was actually first released on Nintendo's underperforming console, the Wii U. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe represents the enhanced and definitive Switch version of the latest entry in Nintendo's widely-successful line of racing games. The Mario Kart series has always produced the best party games, and this edition is no exception. Featuring a new battle mode that is just as entertaining, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe offers hours upon hours of fun for groups of Switch players. Perhaps most impressive are the game's simple controls, which allow two players to race head-to-head in handheld mode using a single controller by splitting the Joy-Con in two.
Splatoon 2 is the Switch's sequel to the original Wii U-based third person shooter. Like many Nintendo games, this third-person shooter is popular with players of all ages thanks to its creative design. Unlike shooter games from most other consoles, the characters in Splatoon 2 are armed with weapons that shoot paint. The creative campaign is complemented by a widely popular online battle mode, allowing Splatoon players across the globe to compete in recreational matches as well as ranked competitions.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Skyrim is Bethesda's widely successful fifth entry in The Elder Scrolls series. Originally released in 2011, the game has remained so successful that it has been continuously ported to new consoles to the point where it has become something of a meme that Bethesda will continue to re-release Skyrim instead of developing a sequel. Regardless, this port is a notable mainly for being the first Elder Scrolls game to be available on a Nintendo console. Nominated for several "Best Video Game Remake" awards, this version takes advantage of the Switch's Joy-Con motion controls.
Mario Tennis Aces
Mario Tennis Aces is an incredibly surprising game in the vein of Wii Sports. One of the most recent Switch releases on this list, Mario Tennis Aces plays more like arcade fighting games than like other sports games, and I mean that in the best way possible. The gameplay is dynamic and well-designed, allowing for trick shots and other fun twists and turns. Monthly tournaments are offered, and new characters are added as rewards for each tournament. Mario Tennis Aces offers several diverse gameplay modes, from an online battle mode to a "swing mode," in which players can use the Switch's motion control capabilities to swing the Joy-Con like a tennis racket.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
One of the most surprising runaway successes of the Switch, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is a turn-based, positional tactics strategy RPG, and one of the most popular games for Switch players. Produced by Ubisoft with support from Nintendo's talented development team, this game combines Nintendo's iconic characters like Mario, Luigi, and Peach with Ubisoft's surprisingly charming mascots, known as "Rabbids." The game consists of short, ten-minute rounds that are easy to play on the go, making Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle a perfect fit for the Switch's handheld mode. This well-polished game has a particular addictiveness to it that will keep you coming back for more.
Rocket League is another game that was already widely successful before it came to the Switch. Originally an award-winning online PC game, Rocket League is in a class all its own, combining customizable "Battle-Cars" and team-based online play with a soccer-inspired arcade ball game. There are many reasons why Rocket League is underrated, but the true charm of the game lies in its impressive physics-based gameplay that keeps the game entertaining for hours upon hours of play time. With a enhanced port now available on the Switch (with cross-platform online play supported!), Nintendo purists can finally get a piece of that sweet soccer pie.
Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove
If you love a good 2-D platformer but the dour aesthetic of Hollow Knight isn't really your style, then Shovel Knight is for you. Originally released on older Nintendo consoles like the Wii U and 3DS, Shovel Knight was one of the top titles in 2014. The 8-bit retro-inspired adventure series was created by indie developers Yacht Club Games, and it wasn't long before Shovel Knight's success inspired two DLC expansion packs. Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove is the new Nintendo Switch version of the game, and includes both expansions: Plague of Shadows and Specter of Torment.