10 Essential Top Switch Games Every Gamer Should Play

The Nintendo Switch has captivated gamers with its unique hybrid design and an exceptional library of games. From epic adventures and intense battles to peaceful farming and creative building, the Switch offers a diverse range of experiences suited for all types of players. In this article, we dive into the 10 essential top Switch games every gamer should play, exploring the captivating worlds, innovative gameplay, and memorable moments that these titles deliver. Whether you’re a seasoned gamer or new to the world of Nintendo, these games are sure to provide countless hours of entertainment and joy.

Key Takeaways

  • The Nintendo Switch game library is diverse, featuring a mix of genres to cater to different gaming preferences.
  • The list includes both blockbuster hits and indie gems, showcasing the wide range of experiences available on the platform.
  • Each game on the list offers a unique experience, from the open-world exploration of ‘Breath of the Wild’ to the community-building of ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’.
  • The games are selected based on a combination of personal experiences, critical acclaim, and community popularity.
  • These top 10 games are not just great Switch games, they are also considered some of the best in their respective genres, making them must-plays for gamers.

1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild redefines open-world gaming, offering an unparalleled sense of freedom and adventure. As Link, players are thrust into a vast, breathtaking world where exploration and discovery are as rewarding as the quest to save Princess Zelda.

Released on March 3, 2017, by Nintendo Entertainment Planning & Development, this action-adventure game quickly became a must-have for Switch owners:

Developer Genre Release Date Platforms
Nintendo Entertainment Planning & Development Action-adventure, Puzzle March 3, 2017 Nintendo Switch, Wii U

Breath of the Wild is a testament to Nintendo’s ability to innovate within its storied franchises, delivering an experience that feels both familiar and entirely new.

The game takes inspiration from the original Legend of Zelda and modern open-world RPGs, creating a perfect blend that respects its roots while forging ahead with fresh mechanics and storytelling. It’s a game that invites you to lose yourself in its world, with every hill, forest, and valley offering a new mystery to unravel.

2. Xenoblade Chronicles 3

2. Xenoblade Chronicles 3

Released on July 29, 2022, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 stands as a testament to Monolith’s expertise in crafting expansive JRPG worlds. Building upon the real-time combat system and universe origin stories of its predecessors, this title introduces a new cast of characters and an open world ripe for exploration.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is not just a game; it’s a vast, sci-fantasy odyssey that can easily consume over 150 hours of your time. With its intricate combat and deep progression systems, the game offers an almost limitless adventure.

While the game has been praised for its amazing gameplay and world design, some players have noted a few drawbacks. The combat can occasionally feel repetitive, and the progression system may not satisfy all. Despite these points, the game’s high fantasy world and detailed monsters provide little incentive for exploration, ensuring that players remain engaged.

If you’re ready for a massive action RPG on the Nintendo Switch, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 should be at the top of your list. Its epic narrative and breathtaking environments make it a standout addition to the console’s library, even if its lengthy campaign might be daunting for some.

3. Animal Crossing: New Horizons

3. Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Not many games offer you the chance to build something that will last an entire console generation, but Animal Crossing: New Horizons does just that. After Nook whisks you away to your very own tropical island – for a fee, of course – it’s down to you to build a life there. You’ll invite new residents, grow local business, create a community, and craft an island to be proud of. Running in real-time with the actual world, it’s a game that’s meant to be savored, not rushed.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the perfect game for anyone looking to escape into their own private paradise. Whether you play alone or open your island to visitors online, it offers a unique experience that is both deeply rewarding and ferociously addictive.

Here’s a quick look at the pros and cons of this charming title:

  • Pros
    • Beautiful, adorable, and a joy to look at
    • Deep and rewarding systems
    • Builds upon everything that came before it
    • Remarkably paced
  • Cons
    • Limited daily activities
    • Could benefit from deeper relationships with islanders

While some critics argue that the game is overrated and lacks excitement, the reality is that Animal Crossing: New Horizons has become a beloved part of many gamers’ lives. It’s a testament to the game’s design that even after days of gameplay, players are eager to come back for more.

4. Fire Emblem: Three Houses

4. Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Released on July 26, 2019, Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a tactical RPG that has redefined the series with its strategic turn-based combat and deep relationship-building mechanics. As a mercenary-turned-professor, players are thrust into the heart of Fodlan, where they must navigate complex alliances and rivalries both on and off the battlefield.

The game’s emphasis on choice is paramount; the future of Fodlan hinges on the decisions you make. This isn’t just a game about battles; it’s an intricate dance of strategy and storytelling, where every move can alter the narrative’s course. The social simulation elements are a significant expansion from previous titles, allowing players to bond with a dynamic cast of characters over tea or through combat.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses is not just an evolution of the series; it’s a revolution that prioritizes engaging stories alongside its challenging combat.

While the game has been praised for its depth, some critics have noted that the focus on combat can overshadow the story for certain players. However, for those who value character development and narrative, Three Houses offers these in abundance. If you’re looking for a less intimidating turn-based RPG experience, consider titles like Mario and Rabbids Sparks of Hope, but for a rich blend of strategy and RPG elements, Three Houses stands tall as one of the Switch’s best games of 2019.

5. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

5. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate truly lives up to its name, offering the most comprehensive experience for fans and newcomers alike. With every character from the series’ history, this title is a celebration of gaming’s most iconic figures.

The game’s roster is a testament to its ‘ultimate’ status, featuring an unprecedented 74 characters at launch, and even more through DLC. The variety ensures that every player can find a fighter that suits their style.

The attention to detail extends to the stages and animations, making each battle a visual spectacle. The fluidity of movement and satisfying KO animations enhance the overall gameplay experience.

  • Release Date: December 7, 2018
  • Developer/Publisher: Bandai Namco / Sora Ltd / Nintendo
  • Genre: Brawler

Whether you’re engaging in the surprisingly deep single-player story or battling it out in the eight-player mode, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a must-play title that delivers on its promise of ultimate fun.

6. Metroid Dread

6. Metroid Dread

Released on October 8, 2021, Metroid Dread marks a triumphant return for the beloved franchise. Developed by MercurySteam, this action-adventure Metroidvania game plunges players into the role of Samus Aran, the iconic bounty hunter. The game’s setting, Planet ZDR, is a labyrinth of danger and discovery, brimming with weapons, items, and essential upgrades.

The gameplay of Metroid Dread has been widely praised for its fluidity and design. Players can utilize abilities like the Phantom Cloak to stealthily navigate past the relentless E.M.M.I. machines. The game’s non-linear approach ensures that exploration remains thrilling without the frustration of getting lost, despite the expansive environments.

Metroid Dread stands out with its faultless combat mechanics and visually stunning 3D cutscenes. The vibrant colors and detailed graphics, especially on the Switch OLED, bring Samus and her surroundings to life in a way that captivates players.

While the game offers a challenge that may not be suitable for all, it’s a masterpiece that has been long-awaited by fans of the series. The balance of difficulty, engaging level design, and the satisfaction of unlocking new skills and upgrades make Metroid Dread a must-play title on the Nintendo Switch.

7. Splatoon 2

7. Splatoon 2

Splatoon 2, the predecessor to the vibrant and fast-paced Splatoon 3, remains a must-play title on the Nintendo Switch. Despite the release of its sequel, Splatoon 2 continues to offer a unique take on the third-person shooter genre, swapping out bullets for colorful ink.

The game’s strength lies in its accessibility and engaging gameplay. It’s a title that’s easy to pick up but challenging to master, making it perfect for both casual and competitive players. With a variety of weapons and customization options, players can find their own style of play.

While Splatoon 3 introduced new weapons and features, some fans argue that the essence of what made Splatoon 2 great remains intact, with its solid gameplay and responsive controls.

However, it’s not without its drawbacks. Critics have noted a lack of new multiplayer modes and major changes from Splatoon 2 to Splatoon 3. But these points don’t detract from the fact that Splatoon 2 is an essential experience for any Switch owner looking for a great multiplayer game.

8. Luigi’s Mansion 3

8. Luigi's Mansion 3

Luigi’s Mansion 3 is a testament to Luigi’s ability to headline his own game, delivering a mix of memorable spooks and creative puzzles. Released on October 31, 2019, this adventure game has Luigi tackling a haunted hotel with levels that are as charming as they are challenging.

Luigi’s goo-filled compadre, Gooigi, introduces a novel gameplay mechanic, allowing players to access areas otherwise unreachable. This addition provides a fresh take on the series’ formula.

The game strikes a perfect balance between new and old, ensuring that both newcomers and longtime fans have plenty to explore. With its place well-earned on the best Switch games list, Luigi’s Mansion 3’s design shines whether you’re playing solo or with friends.

  • Release date: October 31, 2019
  • Developer/Publisher: Nintendo
  • Genre: Adventure

9. Stardew Valley

9. Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley is not just a game; it’s a charming escape into a world where the simple pleasures of farming, mining, and community engagement reign supreme. The allure of Stardew Valley lies in its ability to immerse players in a serene, pastoral life, where the rhythm of daily chores becomes a meditative experience.

In Stardew Valley, every day is a fresh opportunity to cultivate your farm, deepen friendships, or uncover the small wonders of the countryside.

The game’s mechanics are straightforward yet deeply engaging, allowing for a personalized approach to village life. Whether you’re focused on perfecting your crop strategy or exploring the depths of local caves, the game offers a variety of activities:

  • Farming and crop management
  • Animal husbandry and care
  • Fishing in rivers and oceans
  • Mining for resources
  • Participating in village festivals

Stardew Valley’s success on the Nintendo Switch is a testament to its timeless gameplay and the console’s versatility. It’s the perfect companion for those long commutes or cozy evenings at home.

10. Persona 5

10. Persona 5

Stepping into the stylish shoes of the Phantom Thieves, Persona 5 Royal is an expanded and enhanced version of the original Persona 5. With new characters, animations, and an additional semester to explore, the game offers a deep dive into the complexities of balancing high school life with the supernatural responsibilities of altering the hearts of corrupt adults.

The average playthrough time for the main story is a whopping 101 hours, ensuring that players will be fully immersed in the game’s rich narrative and strategic combat system.

Persona 5 Royal’s gameplay is a blend of turn-based combat, dungeon exploration, and life simulation. Players will find themselves managing time between battling shadows in the Metaverse and engaging in everyday activities like studying and socializing.

Activity In-Game Time Spent
Combat 30%
Exploration 25%
Socializing 20%
Studying 15%
Other 10%

This table reflects a rough estimate of how a player might divide their time in Persona 5 Royal, highlighting the game’s multifaceted nature. Whether you’re strategizing your next move in battle or deciding which confidant to spend time with, Persona 5 Royal is a testament to the JRPG genre’s potential for storytelling and depth.


As we wrap up our journey through the top 10 essential Nintendo Switch games every gamer should play, it’s evident that the Switch’s library is as diverse as it is captivating. From the enchanting fields of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild to the cozy corners of Stardew Valley, these titles not only showcase the best of what the Switch has to offer but also cater to a wide range of preferences, ensuring that there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re a fan of epic RPGs, cozy life sims, or action-packed adventures, these games are a testament to the Switch’s ability to deliver unique and memorable experiences. So grab your Joy-Cons, and set off on your next gaming adventure with any of these must-play titles!

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild a must-play game on Switch?

Breath of the Wild is lauded for its open-world exploration, innovative physics-based gameplay, and the freedom it offers players to approach challenges in multiple ways. Its vast and beautiful landscape, combined with a compelling story, makes it a cornerstone of the Switch library.

Is Xenoblade Chronicles 3 suitable for newcomers to the series?

Absolutely! While Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is the latest entry in the series, it features a standalone story and introduces new characters, making it accessible for newcomers, while still offering depth and callbacks that series veterans will appreciate.

What can I expect from Animal Crossing: New Horizons?

Animal Crossing: New Horizons offers a relaxing, social simulation experience where you can customize your island, interact with charming animal residents, and enjoy seasonal events. It’s a game that encourages creativity and provides a cozy, community-building atmosphere.

How does Fire Emblem: Three Houses stand out from other strategy games?

Fire Emblem: Three Houses combines deep tactical gameplay with a rich narrative and character development. Players can choose one of three houses and guide their students through a story that branches into multiple paths, making for a highly replayable experience.

What makes Super Smash Bros. Ultimate a unique fighting game?

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is unique for its massive roster of characters from various gaming franchises, its easy-to-learn but hard-to-master gameplay, and its array of stages and music. It’s both a celebration of gaming history and a competitive fighting game that’s fun for all skill levels.

Can I play Persona 5 on the Nintendo Switch?

Persona 5 is not natively available on the Nintendo Switch. However, there are other entries from the Persona series that you can enjoy on the Switch, such as Persona 5 Strikers, which is a spin-off that continues the story of the original game.