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After hitting a couple rough patches, Nintendo has come firing back with the definition of a game-changer. Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the "Top 10 Best Nintendo Switch Games."
For this list, we’re taking a look at the absolute best games that’ve been released on the Nintendo Switch as of January 2019. While it’s only been around for about two years, this hybrid console has already assembled a phenomenal library of first-party exclusives and third-party titles that are ideal for playing on the go.
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#10: “Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle” (2017)
We’ll be the first to admit that Mario’s entourage and the Raving Rabbids make for an unusual mashup to say the least. Of course, the Rabbids were already a pretty strange addition to the Rayman series, but we digress. As if this pairing wasn’t random enough, these characters are brought together in an XCOM-style turn based strategy game, taking both franchises out of their comfort zones. Though it was a crossover that virtually nobody asked for, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle emerged as one of the most absorbing titles on the Switch with its inventive turn-based battles, surreal visuals, and surprisingly high difficulty curve. The developers fully embrace the insanity of the game’s premise, resulting in a campaign that’s chaotic and compelling.
#9: “Hollow Knight” (2017)
You might purchase a Switch for its big-name titles, but you’ll quickly find that one of the console’s greatest draws is the treasure trove of indie gems capable of rivaling the AAA giants. One such game is Hollow Knight, which was funded in part through a successful Kickstarter campaign. Assuming the role of the titular knight, this Metroidvania game drops the player into an underground world overrun with insect-like creatures and secrets grounded in rich lore. While this setting is weird and even creepy at times, it’s also abundant with charm, atmosphere, and mystery. As a result, players won’t rest until they defeat every boss, acquire every upgrade, and explore every inch of the ever-expanded map, even when they’re not entirely sure where to go next.
#8: “Sonic Mania” (2017)
There was a time when we thought Sonic the Hedgehog would never again reach the heights of his glory days. Then again, there was also a time when we thought he’d never appear on a Nintendo console. While Sega’s mascot has changed a lot over the decades, it feels as if no time as passed in Sonic Mania. With director Christian Whitehead at the helm, the Blue Blur was brought back to his roots in this wonderful homage. The colorful 2D graphics, energetic music, and fast-paced gameplay will transport nostalgic gamers back to the days of the Genesis, as if it never went out of style. If developers continue to draw inspiration from the past, the future just might be bright for Sonic.
#7: “Xenoblade Chronicles 2” (2017)
For JRPG fans, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a story-driven adventure that’s as addictive as a binge-worthy anime. Taking place in a vivid open world, the game follows a ragtag group of distinctive characters on a journey to a Garden of Eden of sorts known as Elysium. With well over 60 hours of gameplay, your party eventually starts to feel like close friends, making the journey all the more personal. The delightful characters and gripping narrative aside, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 sucks you in with its unique combat system, which starts off rather straight-forward, but in time evolves into something much more involving. A Driver is nothing without a Blade by their side, requiring the player to think less like an individual and more like a unit.
#6: “Splatoon 2” (2017)
Perhaps the most tragic thing about the Wii U is that it actually had several ambitious exclusives that not nearly enough people got to play. Even if you missed out on the original Splatoon, that shouldn’t turn you off from its equally enjoyable follow-up. While Nintendo has often strayed away from shooters, both Splatoon games put a colorful spin on the genre, playing out like paintball on steroids. Between Hero Mode and the “Octo Expansion” DLC, Splatoon 2 offers a wild single-player experience that’s as fun as it is messy. Even after completing these solo campaigns, the game will keep you and friends coming back with its array of multiplayer modes. It’s everything that the first game was and more: A splatter fest for all ages.
#5: “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” (2017)
Another game that had the disadvantage of being released on the Wii U, Mario Kart 8 was thankfully given a second life on the Switch. Rather than just being a simple port, however, Nintendo gave us the whole package with the original game’s DLC tracks, plus several new racers like Splatoon’s Inklings. The racing tracks are as slick as ever with the introduction of anti-gravity gameplay, not to mention vehicles that can drive underwater and glide through the sky. Deluxe also completely overhaul’s the game’s Battle Mode with a wider variety of challenges. Although many continue to stand by Mario Kart 64 as the gold standard … MIKE!!!!, we all need to accept that the torch has been passed to the series’ latest installment.
#4: “Celeste” (2018)
Celeste describes itself as “a game about climbing a mountain.” On one hand, that short synopsis hardly does this indie title justice. On the other hand, it perfectly sums up the game’s themes of battling your inner demons while also learning to co-exist with the insecurities that make us human. Writer/director Matt Thorson has crafted a deeply personal tale that should prove particularly therapeutic for anyone who’s struggled with depression and anxiety. At the same time, Celeste is a masterpiece of platforming with gameplay distinguished by its mid-air dash mechanic. The levels are forgiving enough for casual players to conquer, but still pose a legitimate challenge for the more hardcore crowd. Either way, it’s a mountain that every gamer should climb at least once.
#3: “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” (2018)
Although we’ve yet to come across a bad Super Smash Bros. game, it was starting to look like the crossover fighting franchise had officially peaked with Melee. That’s all been called into question thanks to Ultimate. Whether or not this is the definitive Smash Bros., it’s definitely the meatiest with every playable character from all previous installments and newcomers we’ve waited years to see join the fight. The fact that you begin the game with only eight characters gives you the drive to keep playing until the whole lineup is assembled. What really distinguishes Ultimate, however, is its World of Light adventure mode, which commences with a cutscene that makes Infinity War look like child’s play. In short, this is Nintendo at its most epic.
#2: “Super Mario Odyssey” (2017)
In recent years, we’re gotten several Mario games in the spirit of his early side-scrolling days on the NES and Super NES. This vibrant title, though, draws inspiration from the free-roaming, open world gameplay Nintendo revolutionized in Super Mario 64. Super Mario Odyssey feels like the next evolutionary step for the iconic plumber, taking him to a plethora of diverse lands with nearly 1,000 Power Moons to collect. The game’s greatest innovation is Cappy, an anthropomorphic hat that allows Mario to take control of various creatures and items. Currently holding the record for the best-selling Switch game, Odyssey is more than worthy of its success. This is a loving celebration of everything Mario, reminding us why he is and always will be a Nintendo icon.
Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Octopath Traveler (2018)
- Undertale (2015)
- Stardew Valley (2018)
- Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (2014)
- New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe (2019)
#1: “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” (2017)
It’s practically a cliché to rank a Zelda game #1 on any Nintendo-related list. Breath of the Wild is not only the Switch’s best offering so far, it’s also likely one of the best games of all time. Taking a nonlinear approach to the established Zelda formula, Breath of the Wild allows players to travel through the gorgeously-rendered kingdom of Hyrule however they choose. While the franchise has always put an emphasis on adventure, this game truly makes you feel like an explorer as you voyage from one lively environment to another, uncertain what awaits next. As a launch title, Breath of the Wild demonstrated what the Switch was capable of, giving players the power to hold an open world in their hands.