Top 10 Must-Play Nintendo Switch Games of the Year

As the Nintendo Switch continues to captivate gamers around the world, the ever-growing library of games makes it hard to decide which titles to dive into. With a mix of epic adventures, strategic battles, and high-speed races, the Switch offers something for every type of player. This year has been particularly exciting for Switch owners, with a plethora of must-play games gracing the console. From the enchanting landscapes of Hyrule to the adrenaline-fueled arenas of Super Smash Bros., here are the top 10 must-play Nintendo Switch games of the year that you shouldn’t miss.

Key Takeaways

  • The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom leads the pack with its immersive open-world and captivating storyline.
  • Fire Emblem Engage offers a deep tactical gameplay experience that is both challenging and rewarding.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3 continues to impress with its expansive world and complex character development.
  • Splatoon 3 brings back the beloved ink-splatting action with new modes and weapons that enhance the multiplayer experience.
  • Long-standing favorites like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe remain essential for competitive play and casual fun.

1. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

1. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

Embarking on a new journey in the vast lands of Hyrule, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom stands as a testament to Nintendo’s ability to craft immersive and captivating experiences. Players are once again called to adventure with Link, exploring a world filled with mystery, ancient technology, and a narrative that deepens the lore of the Zelda series.

With its innovative gameplay mechanics and a world that feels alive, Tears of the Kingdom is a title that both honors the legacy of its predecessors and charts new territory for action-adventure games.

According to player testimonials, Tears of the Kingdom has quickly become a favorite, with many dedicating numerous hours to uncovering all its secrets. Here’s a glimpse at how it stacks up in terms of playtime against other popular Switch titles:

  • Tears of the Kingdom: 85+ hours
  • Breath of the Wild: 155 hours
  • Splatoon 3: 135 hours
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: 110 hours

As the reviews suggest, Tears of the Kingdom is not just a game; it’s an experience that resonates with players, often described as an ‘outstanding toy‘ and a ‘fantastic piece of art’. It’s clear that this title is not only great in all the ways the previous game was but also pushes the boundaries even further in immensely satisfying ways.

2. Fire Emblem Engage

2. Fire Emblem Engage

Following the success of its predecessor, Fire Emblem Engage continues to captivate players with its strategic gameplay and immersive story. The game perfectly balances periods of intense action with quieter moments, offering players the chance to interact with characters, enjoy minigames, and explore new features.

Fire Emblem Engage offers a deep tactical experience that is both challenging and rewarding, with a variety of characters and classes to choose from, each with their own unique abilities and growth paths.

The community has shown great enthusiasm for the game, with many players dedicating substantial hours to mastering its complexities. Here’s a quick look at how Fire Emblem Engage stacks up against other popular titles in terms of playtime:

Game Title Hours Played
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 280
Fire Emblem: Three Houses 230
Fire Emblem Engage 90

While it may not have the highest playtime among the community, the engagement and passion for Fire Emblem Engage are undeniable, making it a must-play title on the Nintendo Switch.

3. Xenoblade Chronicles 3

3. Xenoblade Chronicles 3

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 stands as a testament to the series’ growth, offering an engrossing narrative and deep character development that has resonated with fans worldwide. With players reporting hundreds of hours of gameplay, it’s clear that this title has captured the hearts of many, becoming a staple in their gaming libraries.

The game’s expansive world and intricate combat system provide a rich and satisfying experience that keeps players coming back for more. The emotional climax of the story, in particular, has been highlighted as a moment of exceptional writing, showcasing the game’s ability to weave a compelling tale.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 not only delivers on expectations but exceeds them, setting a new benchmark for what an epic JRPG can offer.

For those looking to dive into this immersive world, here’s a quick snapshot of playtime dedication among fans:

  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3: 280 hours
  • Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition: 285 hours
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2: 215 hours

These figures are a clear indication of the game’s lasting appeal and the community’s dedication to the Xenoblade universe.

4. Splatoon 3

4. Splatoon 3

Splatoon 3 continues to make waves as a standout title on the Nintendo Switch, offering a vibrant and engaging multiplayer experience. It is one of the best multiplayer online games on the Nintendo Switch and a must-have for all of the fans of this colorful franchise. With its unique blend of ink-based combat and stylish aesthetics, it’s no surprise that players have dedicated hundreds of hours to climbing the ranks and customizing their Inklings and Octolings.

Splatoon 3’s appeal is not just in its competitive play; it’s also a social hub where players can show off their fashion sense and artistic creations. The game’s community is as lively and diverse as the gameplay itself.

Here’s a quick look at how much time players are investing in Splatoon 3 compared to other popular titles:

Game Hours Played
Splatoon 3 250 Hours
Animal Crossing: New Horizons 215 Hours
Super Smash Bros Ultimate 300 Hours
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe 130 Hours

As the numbers show, Splatoon 3 holds its own among the heavy hitters of the Switch library, proving its lasting appeal and the dedication of its player base.

5. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

5. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

A quintessential title for any Nintendo Switch library, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate stands as a testament to the platform’s versatility and Nintendo’s legacy. With a roster that spans the entire history of video games, players can engage in epic battles that are both nostalgic and thrilling.

  • Roster Size: Over 70 characters
  • Modes: Single-player, Multiplayer, Online
  • DLC: Multiple packs adding characters, stages, and music

The game’s longevity is remarkable, with players dedicating hundreds of hours to mastering characters and competing online. It’s not just a fighting game; it’s a celebration of gaming culture.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is more than a game—it’s a battleground where legends meet and stories are made.

Whether you’re looking to play casually with friends or dive into the competitive scene, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate offers an experience that caters to all levels of play. Its impact on the gaming community is undeniable, making it a must-play title on the Switch.

6. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

6. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

With its vibrant tracks and exhilarating races, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe remains a staple on the Nintendo Switch. Players around the world continue to enjoy the game’s competitive and fun-filled nature, as evidenced by the hours logged by dedicated fans.

Here’s a glimpse at how much time Switch players have invested in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe:

  • Vortexeo: 185 hours
  • OctolingKing13: 130 hours
  • A casual player: 70 hours

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is not just a game; it’s a vibrant community that brings friends and family together for endless fun.

Whether you’re racing for the gold trophy or battling it out in the revamped Battle mode, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe offers a polished experience that’s hard to put down. Its longevity is a testament to the game’s quality and the joy it continues to bring to players of all ages.

7. Animal Crossing: New Horizons

7. Animal Crossing: New Horizons

In the tranquil world of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, players find a haven of creativity and relaxation. This charming life-simulation game has not only been a fan favorite but also a comforting companion during the challenging times of 2020 lockdowns. Even years later, its appeal hasn’t waned, with players still dedicating hours to their island paradises in 2024.

The game’s enduring popularity is a testament to its engaging content and the continuous updates that keep the community coming back for more.

Here’s a glimpse at how Animal Crossing: New Horizons stacks up in playtime against other popular titles, according to recent player testimonials:

  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons: 215 hours
  • Splatoon 3: 170 hours
  • Minecraft: 160 hours
  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: 130 hours
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: 120 hours

It’s clear that Animal Crossing: New Horizons holds a special place in the hearts of Nintendo Switch gamers, offering an escape to a world where the only limit is one’s imagination.

8. Pokemon Violet

8. Pokemon Violet

Embarking on a new adventure in the Paldea region, Pokemon Violet offers a fresh take on the beloved Pokemon series. With its open-world exploration and the introduction of new ‘Terastal’ Pokemon, players can experience a unique twist to the classic Pokemon battles.

  • Open-world exploration
  • New ‘Terastal’ Pokemon phenomenon
  • Unique gym challenges

While some players have reported technical issues, the game’s innovative features and engaging gameplay have solidified its place as a must-play title on the Nintendo Switch. The community’s playtime data reflects the game’s popularity:

Game Title Hours Played
Pokemon Violet 60 hours

Despite some glitches, Pokemon Violet’s expansive world and novel mechanics make it an unforgettable journey for Pokemon enthusiasts and newcomers alike.

9. Persona 5 Royal

9. Persona 5 Royal

Stepping into the stylish shoes of the Phantom Thieves once again, Persona 5 Royal offers an expanded version of the critically acclaimed RPG. With new characters, storylines, and gameplay enhancements, it’s a must-play for both newcomers and veterans of the series. The game’s blend of social simulation and dungeon-crawling is as compelling as ever, providing a deep and engaging experience that can easily consume hundreds of hours.

Persona 5 Royal allows players to experience the story they already love in a new way without losing any of the beauty from the original game. This enhanced edition adds a third semester to the school year, providing even more content and a greater challenge for players. The game’s art style, soundtrack, and intricate turn-based combat system have all received high praise, making it a standout title on the Switch.

With its rich narrative and captivating gameplay, Persona 5 Royal is a journey worth taking for any RPG fan.

10. Monster Hunter Stories 2

10. Monster Hunter Stories 2

Rounding out our top 10 is Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin, a title that diverges from the traditional Monster Hunter formula. It’s definitely not your average Monster Hunter game, but its mix of RPG and Pokemon-like elements make it its own kind of wonderful. This game offers a unique blend of storytelling, turn-based battles, and monster-raising that has captivated players around the world.

In Monster Hunter Stories 2, players can expect to engage in a deep narrative experience, with a focus on building bonds with the monsters. The game’s mechanics encourage strategic thinking, as you’ll need to select the right companions and gear for each encounter.

The vibrant world of Monster Hunter Stories 2 is filled with challenges and adventures that will test your skills as a rider. Its engaging gameplay and expansive content ensure that it stands out as a must-play title on the Nintendo Switch.

Whether you’re a long-time fan of the series or a newcomer looking for a rich RPG experience, Monster Hunter Stories 2 delivers an adventure that’s both familiar and fresh.


As we wrap up our journey through the top 10 must-play Nintendo Switch games of the year, it’s clear that the console continues to offer a diverse and compelling library of titles. From the epic adventures in Tears of the Kingdom to the strategic depths of Fire Emblem Engage, there’s something for every type of gamer. Whether you’re looking to get lost in a fantastical world, battle it out in competitive multiplayer, or just enjoy some casual fun, the Switch has you covered. We hope this list helps you discover your next favorite game or rekindle your love for an old classic. Happy gaming!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top 10 must-play Nintendo Switch games of the year?

The top 10 must-play Nintendo Switch games of the year are: 1. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, 2. Fire Emblem Engage, 3. Xenoblade Chronicles 3, 4. Splatoon 3, 5. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, 6. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, 7. Animal Crossing: New Horizons, 8. Pokemon Violet, 9. Persona 5 Royal, and 10. Monster Hunter Stories 2.

Which game is considered the best for multiplayer experiences on the Switch?

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe are widely regarded as some of the best multiplayer experiences on the Nintendo Switch, offering both competitive and cooperative play.

Are there any new entries in long-standing Nintendo franchises this year?

Yes, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Splatoon 3 are new entries in their respective long-standing Nintendo franchises.

Can I still enjoy these games if I’m new to their respective series?

Absolutely! These games are designed to be accessible to newcomers while also providing depth and continuity for long-time fans.

Are there any role-playing games (RPGs) in the top 10 list?

Yes, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 and Persona 5 Royal are role-playing games that offer deep narratives and complex gameplay mechanics.

What kind of game is Monster Hunter Stories 2, and why is it on the list?

Monster Hunter Stories 2 is a turn-based RPG spin-off from the main Monster Hunter series. It’s praised for its engaging story, charming graphics, and unique monster-taming gameplay mechanics.