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The best Nintendo Switch games in 2022

The best Nintendo Switch games, photo of someone playing a Nintendo Switch
(Image credit: Future)

The best Nintendo Switch games are the ones that make the most of the unique hardware, whether that's motion-controlled sports games or epic role-playing adventures that bring to life the Japanese developer's history. Mario, Zelda or Metroid? Nintendo Switch is the place to play these exclusive games.

If you're yet to buy a Nintendo Switch and are looking at this list in envy, then we are year to help. Our guide to the best Nintendo Switch deals available now will help you get Nintendo's new console cheaper. We also have guides to the best Switch Accessories and a review of Nintendo Switch versus Nintendo Switch Lite if you're unsure which console to choose.

In this review guide to the top Nintendo Switch games in 2022 we've gathered together the best and most interesting games on the console. This is a 'greatest hits' list so some older games come above newer ones, like Nintendo Switch Sports. Below you'll find the best game for you.

The best Nintendo Switch games 2022

Horses being ridden in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, one of the best Nintendo Switch games

(Image credit: Nintendo)

01. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The best adventure game for Nintendo Switch

Specifications

Players: 1
Genre: Adventure, action, RPG
Game file size: 14.4GB
Play modes: TV, tabletop, handheld
Online play: No
Developer: Nintendo

Reasons to buy

+
A huge open world to explore
+
It'll take you years to fully complete
+
Beautiful, stylised graphics

Reasons to avoid

-
Nothing, it's gaming perfection

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been around a while: it's one of the original Switch titles from the console's launch back in 2017. But when it comes to adventure, it's still one of the best Nintendo Switch games you can buy today. Set in a vast open world, it takes the classic Zelda elements and shakes them up to create an absolute pearl of a game.

The core mission is to level up Link and acquire the gear and skills you need for the climactic final battle with Ganon. You can also explore by going off on side quests, train up a stable of horses and prepare potions. Overall, it's a joy to play and really offers something for everyone. We've been playing and replaying this one since launch and still find new missions, secrets and hidden items years since release.

Mario racing in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, one of the best Nintendo Switch games

(Image credit: Nintendo)

02. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

A must-buy for Mario fans.

Specifications

Players: Up to 12
Genre: Racing
Game file size: 6.9GB
Play modes: TV, tabletop, handheld
Online play: Yes
Developer: Nintendo

Reasons to buy

+
Note-perfect kart racing
+
Plenty of characters and power-ups
+
Stacks of race tracks

Reasons to avoid

-
Not so different from Mario Kart 8

Just like you need at least one 'proper' Mario title in your collection, you also need Mario Kart. The fun racing series is chock-full of daft power-ups and a huge cast of Nintendo characters, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the most polished of them all. 

Yes, it's silly, but its sheer playability still makes it one of the best Nintendo Switch games. Whether you're battling on single-player mode, huddling around the TV for some four-player action, or racing against players from all over the world online, this is essential high-speed action.

Mario crosses busy city steet in Super Mario Odyssey, one of the best Nintendo Switch games

(Image credit: Nintendo)

03. Super Mario Odyssey

The best Nintendo Switch game for Mario fans.

Specifications

Players: Up to 2
Genre: Platformer, action
Game file size: 5.6GB
Play modes: TV, tabletop, handheld
Online play: No
Developer: Nintendo

Reasons to buy

+
Classic Mario action
+
Plenty of variety
+
Thoroughly inventive

Reasons to avoid

-
A bit easy for hardened gamers

We all love Mario, and there are plenty of options to choose from on Nintendo Switch. But where better to start than Super Mario Odyssey, which is without a doubt the biggest and best Mario adventure yet?

Every Mario game has its own twist. In Odyssey, that comes in the form of Cappy, a sentient hat that allows you to possess objects, animals and enemies to help you on the journey to save Princess Peach from Bowser. The game offers top-rate Mario action all the way, with some weird touches thrown in. These include New Donk City, a realistic location with real-looking people. 

For cooperative fun, there's a two-player option in which one player controls Mario and the other controls Cappy. Whichever way you choose to play, this game offers classic Nintendo fun.

Metroid Dread, one of the best Nintendo Switch Lite games

(Image credit: Nintendo)

04. Metroid Dread

The best Nintendo Switch game for sci-fi fans.

Specifications

Players: 1
Genre: Action
Game file size: 4.1GB
Play modes: TV, tabletop, handheld
Online play: No
Developer: MercurySteam/Nintendo EPD

Reasons to buy

+
Great atmosphere and looks 
+
Faithful to the series
+
Fantastic bosses

Reasons to avoid

-
The world could have been modernised

After almost two-decade wait, this sequel to the action-classic Metroid Dread was released last October. Donning bounty hunter Samus Aran's boots once more, your mission this time around is to explore a planet, gain powers and avoid deadly robots. 

There are interesting developments as you go, progressing the Metroid Dread story. And along the way, you'll encounter some of the best-designed bosses to ever appear in a 2D action game. 

The gameplay will be very familiar if you've played the original. And there's a lot of backtracking, which can be frustrating due to the traditional grid-like design of spaces and some repeated themes. But overall this game is great to play, and it looks especially slick on the Nintendo Switch OLED.

Characters gather on a beach in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, one of the best Nintendo Switch games

(Image credit: Nintendo)

05. Animal Crossing: New Horizons

The best Nintendo Switch game for relaxed world building.

Specifications

Players: Up to 8
Genre: Simulation
Game file size: 6.8GB
Play modes: TV, tabletop, handheld
Online play: Yes
Developer: Nintendo

Reasons to buy

+
Delightfully laid-back
+
Lots to see and do
+
Fun for all the family

Reasons to avoid

-
Not a lot of action

Gaming can be exciting and stimulating, but after a long day, sometimes you'd rather having a chilled, laid-back experience. And when that's the case, there's nowhere better to turn than Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Jet off to your own little island and turn it into your own personal getaway, in a relaxing world-building game filled with delights.

From the starting point of a deserted island, you can build your own home, add furniture and decorations and even customise the landscape until you have a dream destination that starts to attract visitors. When you're not working on improving your island there are plenty of other activities to keep you entertained, from getting to know the local residents, to fishing, fossil collecting or simply gardening. A fun game to play with the whole family.

Sword fighting on roof, in Dark Souls, one of the best Nintendo Switch games

(Image credit: From Software)

06. Dark Souls: Remastered

The best Nintendo Switch game for challenging play.

Specifications

Players: Up to 6
Genre: Action, RPG
Game file size: 4GB
Play modes: TV, tabletop, handheld
Online play: Yes
Developer: From Software

Reasons to buy

+
Challenging action
+
Exacting combat
+
Huge world to explore

Reasons to avoid

-
Not for kids

Like your games to challenge you? Then Dark Souls is the title for you. The fiendish level of difficulty in the game has become something of a modern rite of passage for gamers. 

The thing you'll see most often in Dark Souls is the phrase, "YOU DIED", in stark red letters as you pay for your lack of skill yet again. With enough practice, though, you'll learn the techniques to overcome enemies while levelling up your character and collecting better weapons, armour and other items that can make your life slightly easier. 

You'll also come to marvel at the stunning world-building and lore that underlies the whole Dark Souls experience. It's not for everyone, and certainly not for kids. But once it gets its hooks into you, this game is hard to walk away from.

A screenshot from Nintendo Switch Sports

(Image credit: Nintendo)

07. Nintendo Switch Sports

The best Nintendo Switch game for sports fans

Specifications

Players: 1-4
Genre: Sports / party
Game file size: 1.4GB
Play modes: TV, tabletop, handheld
Online play: Yes
Developer: Nintendo

Reasons to buy

+
Seven sports confirmed (golf will be a free update in 2022)
+
Excellent use of the Joy-Con's motion controllers
+
Good online play and modes

Reasons to avoid

-
Only really fun with friends

Nintendo Switch Sports is the successor to the system-selling Wii Sports Resort and in many  ways succeeds in the same ways as that classic. This is a mini-game focused package that makes great use of the console's motion controls to deliver inventive takes on popular sports.

The mix of sports includes three from the original Wii Sports Resort – tennis, bowling and swordplay – and three new sports takes just for the Switch – football / soccer, volleyball and badminton. Golf is a seventh free game coming as an update.

Nintendo Switch Sports is one of 2022's best Nintendo Switch games

While these aren't full sports games but rather the essence of each sport distilled into a series of mini-games, for example football penalty taking is a timing-based mini-game (you can't direct the ball but need to perfectly time your kick).

The UI and UX design is perfect, and Nintendo Switch Sports really helps illustrate Nintendo's knack for marrying game design, controls and technology to produce new and interesting experiences. Nintendo Switch Sports is one of 2022's best Nintendo Switch games.

Pokemon gather in field in Brilliant Diamond, one of the best Nintendo Switch games

(Image credit: Nintendo)

08. Pokémon Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl

The best Nintendo Switch game for Pokémon fans

Specifications

Players: 1-2, 4 simultaneous
Genre: RPG
Game file size: 6.7GB (each game)
Play modes: TV, tabletop, handheld
Online play: Yes
Developer: ILCA

Reasons to buy

+
Fun nostalgia trip
+
Great quality of life additions
+
Good quantity of side content

Reasons to avoid

-
Lack of changes will disappoint some

Released late last year, these new games are 2021 remakes of the 2006 Nintendo DS role-playing video games Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. And while they don't change a lot from the originals, that's something Pokémon fans will thank them for, rather than complain about. Catching and battling the unique Pokémon creatures proves to be a timeless winning formula, and one to while away hours of play. 

Note, though, that Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are essentially the same game. The main difference is in the list of Pokémon exclusive to each version, with Dialga and Palkia the mascots of Diamond and Pearl respectively.

Super Mario 3D All-Stars, one of the best Nintendo Switch games

(Image credit: Nintendo)

09. Super Mario 3D All-Stars

Three Mario classics in one

Specifications

Players: Up to 2
Genre: Platformer, action
Game file size: 4.9GB
Play modes: TV, tabletop, handheld
Online play: No
Developer: Nintendo

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent value
+
Two great Mario games
+
Plus Super Mario Sunshine

Reasons to avoid

-
Not much improvement on originals

Need more Mario in your life? Super Mario 3D All-Stars bundles three classics into one neat package. Bringing back Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy for the Nintendo Switch, these are pretty much straight emulations.  But while some bigger tweaking wouldn't have gone amiss, these are still excellent games. 

Super Mario 64 is still a delight to play 25 years on, Super Mario Galaxy is huge fun with its 3D worlds to jump between, and Super Mario Sunshine... Well, it's not quite up to the rest, but it still has its moments.

Platform gaming in Celeste, one of the best Nintendo Switch games

(Image credit: Matt Makes Games Inc.)

10. Celeste

The best platform game for Nintendo Switch

Specifications

Players: 1
Genre: Platformer, action
Game file size: 1.5GB
Play modes: TV, tabletop, handheld
Online play: No
Developer: Matt Makes Games

Reasons to buy

+
Beautiful graphics
+
Endless replayability
+
Thoughtful story

Reasons to avoid

-
Low fi

If you like old-school platform games, you really have to experience Celeste, which is the finest game of its kind for the Nintendo Switch. The controls are simple (run, jump, dash and wall-grab), levels are beautifully rendered in stunning pixel art, and the level of difficulty begins refreshingly hard and just keeps climbing as you go on.

The story is surprisingly grown-up, with the main character, Madeline, struggling to climb Celeste mountain while facing her own mental health issues. In a recent twist, it's been revealed that Madeline herself is trans. Respect due there. 

The challenge of mastering the techniques and racing through the punishing levels at a faster speed will have you coming back to replay over and over. Beyond that, there's a ton of extra-tough bonus levels. Pro tip: use the D-pad rather than the joystick.

Best Nintendo Switch games: Minecraft

(Image credit: Mojang)

11. Minecraft

The best Nintendo Switch game for kids

Specifications

Players: Up to 8
Genre: Action, adventure
Game file size: 1.1GB
Play modes: TV, tabletop, handheld
Online play: Yes
Developer: Mojang

Reasons to buy

+
Create your own world
+
Enjoy survival mode
+
Keep the kids happy

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as feature-rich as PC version

Want to keep the kids happy? Minecraft is one of the best Nintendo Switch games for that. It's set in a randomly generated world built of big, chunky blocks, where you can dig, build, craft and fight to your heart's content. 

Kids tend to love creative mode, which allows you to build pretty much anything you want with no restrictions. For more of a challenge, there's also survival mode, in which you have to dig for resources in order to craft bigger and better weapons and armour, to fend off the dangerous mobs and monsters. Either way, there's limitless fun to be had.

Super Mario Maker 2, one of the best Nintendo Switch games

(Image credit: Nintendo)

12. Super Mario Maker 2

Build and share your own Mario levels

Specifications

Players: Up to 4
Genre: Action, platformer
Game file size: 3.1GB
Play modes: TV, tabletop, handheld
Online play: Yes
Developer: Nintendo

Reasons to buy

+
Plenty of built-in levels
+
Easy-to-use editor
+
Share your own creations

Reasons to avoid

-
Building decent Mario levels isn't easy

Ever looked at a game and thought that you could do better yourself? Well, Super Mario Maker 2 lets you do just that. Not only does it feature over 100 built-in Super Mario levels for you to beat, but it also has a Course Maker that lets you create your own. 

If you have a Nintendo Switch Online membership you can share your creations online and help yourself to an almost limitless supply of community-made levels in return. And so overall, this is a fantastic slice of classic platform action with a side order of creative fun. If nothing else, it'll teach you that crafting a great Mario level is harder than you thought.

Goose squawks at children in Untitled Goose Game, one of the best Nintendo Switch Lite games

(Image credit: House House)

13. Untitled Goose Game

The best Nintendo Switch game for anarchic nihilism.

Specifications

Players: Up to 2
Genre: Goose simulation
Game file size: 1.1GB
Play modes: TV, tabletop, handheld
Online play: No
Developer: House House

Reasons to buy

+
Brilliantly silly
+
Beautifully animated
+
Multiplayer option

Reasons to avoid

-
Not for everyone

Fed up of playing the "good guy"? In Untitled Goose Game, you're a horrid goose intent on ruining everyone's day. Armed with a to-do list, a beak, big flapping wings and a terrifying honk, you set off on a gleefully malevolent adventure in which nobody in the village is safe from your evil machinations.

It's fantastically silly and beautifully animated. The goose has a hilariously self-important waddle, and the poor villagers who are trying to get on with their lives despite the rampaging wildfowl also have plenty of character. If one goose isn't enough, you can invite a friend to join in the mayhem and unleash a pair of geese on the unsuspecting village. 

Ink being squirted over urban landscape, in Splatoon 2, one of the best Nintendo Switch Lite games

(Image credit: Nintendo)

14. Splatoon 2

Ink-splatting, sploshy fun.

Specifications

Players: 8
Genre: Third-person shooter
Game file size: 6.1GB
Play modes: Single-player, multiplayer
Online play: Yes
Developer: Nintendo EPD

Reasons to buy

+
Colourful and fun
+
Non-violent
+
Multiplayer modes

Reasons to avoid

-
Splatoon 3 coming soon

Want a third-person shooter that doesn't feel so, well, violent? Then you'll love Splatoon 2, which uses the same kind of mechanics but shoots ink not bullets, and is full of colour and silliness. 

The emphasis here is on online multiplayer mode, and brilliantly, players have two main forms and can switch between them at will. In humanoid form, you can use weapons to spread ink and splatter opponents, and in squid form, you can swim through ink and up walls. With weapons like Splat Bombs and Splashdowns, it's all a ton of bizarre, sploshy fun. Note, though, that Splatoon 3 is on its way this summer, so you may prefer to wait for that instead.

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Jim McCauley is a writer, performer and cat-wrangler who started writing professionally way back in 1995 on PC Format magazine, and has been covering technology-related subjects ever since, whether it's hardware, software or videogames. A chance call in 2005 led to Jim taking charge of Computer Arts' website and developing an interest in the world of graphic design, and eventually led to a move over to the freshly-launched Creative Bloq in 2012. Jim now works as a freelance writer for sites including Creative Bloq, T3 and PetsRadar, specialising in design, technology, wellness and cats, while doing the occasional pantomime and street performance in Bath and designing posters for a local drama group on the side.

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