The best Nintendo Switch games in 2022

Best Nintendo Switch games : a shot of two people playing Mario on a Switch OLED
(Image credit: Nintendo)

You are not short for choice when it comes to the best Nintendo Switch games. There's a multitude of great options for all kinds of gamers, from platformers and racers to epic role-playing games - everyone can find a game they'll enjoy when it comes to Nintendo's most unique console. You're probably already familiar with the most popular bestsellers like the Mario, Zelda and Metroid franchises - these series are Nintendo exclusive so the Switch is the only way to play these great games.

If you're looking to buy the popular console at the best price, we have a guide to the best Nintendo Switch deals available right now. To further help you decide on which console to choose, we have a breakdown of the Nintendo Switch versus Nintendo Switch Lite.  We also have a guide to the best upcoming Switch games for those who are organised and want to pre-order.

This list will detail the top Nintendo Switch games in 2022 based on popularity and enjoyability to play. When looking at the "greatest hits" of video games, there will be some older titles ranked above newer ones because you sometimes can't beat the classics. For example, Zelda: Breath of the Wild remains one of the best Switch games to own despite it being 5 years after its initial release. For now, let's check out some great game options if you're looking for something new to play.

The best Nintendo Switch games 2022

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

(Image credit: Nintendo)

02. 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.

A screenshot from Kirby and the Forgotten Land of Kirby jumping happily with a friend

(Image credit: Nintendo)

03. Kirby and the Forgotten Land

The best Nintendo Switch game for epic and cutesy adventure fans

Specifications

Players: Up to 2
Genre: Adventure
Game file size: 5.9 GB
Play modes: TV, tabletop, handheld
Online play: No
Developer: Nintendo

Reasons to buy

+
Multiplayer option
+
Beautiful art style
+
Charming character designs

Reasons to avoid

-
Levels are pretty linear

Kirby is another classic beloved Nintendo character. Join him on his latest adventure through a mysterious new world in this vibrant adventure. Help Kirby explore this strange environment where civilisation and nature have come together as one whilst saving his friends along the way with the help of his new mysterious companion Elfilin!

Double up the fun by having a friend join in local co-op mode to help you explore and solve puzzles. This game is a must-have for any Kirby fan as it's a fantastic addition to the series.

A character from Splatoon 3 using a weapon to shoot ink

(Image credit: Nintendo)

04. Splatoon 3

Ink-splatting, sploshy fun.

Specifications

Players: 8
Genre: Third-person shooter
Game file size: 5.4GB
Play modes: Single-player, multiplayer
Online play: Yes
Developer: Nintendo EPD

Reasons to buy

+
Colourful and fun
+
Non-violent
+
Multiplayer modes

Reasons to avoid

-
Similar to previous games

Want a third-person shooter that doesn't feel so, well, violent? Then you'll love Splatoon 3, 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.

A shot of a Pokemon trainer riding a large Pokemon in the game Pokemon Legends: Arceus

(Image credit: Nintendo)

05. Pokémon Legends: Arceus

A brand new take on the classic Pokémon franchise

Specifications

Players: Up to 2
Genre: Action Role-Play
Game file size: 6.1GB
Play modes: TV, tabletop, handheld
Online play: Yes
Developer: Nintendo

Reasons to buy

+
Open 3D world
+
New formula for old-school Pokemon fans
+
More challenging for hardened gamers

Reasons to avoid

-
Can feel repetative

Pokémon is a classic Nintendo staple; and Pokémon Legends: Arceus is a welcome reimagining of the ever-popular franchise. In this latest addition to the series, you explore the 3D open world of the Hisui region whilst building the region’s first Pokédex. With both classic and brand new Pokémon species, this game is a great choice for both new and old Pokémon fans.

Prior instalments in the main Pokémon franchise have followed the same turn-based RPG formula, so playing through a 3D open world is a unique and fun take on the series. It completely changes the way you encounter and learn about each creature, reimagining those classic Pokémon battles into something completely new.

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

(Image credit: Nintendo)

06. 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.

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

(Image credit: Nintendo)

07. 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.

Metroid Dread, one of the best Nintendo Switch Lite games

(Image credit: Nintendo)

08. 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.

The best Nintendo Switch games are represented by Mario playing football

(Image credit: Nintendo)

09. Mario Strikers: Battle League Football

The best football game for Nintendo Switch

Specifications

Players: 1-4
Genre: Sports, Party
Game file size: 2GB
Play modes: TV, tabletop, handheld
Online play: Yes
Developer: Next Level Games

Reasons to buy

+
Chaotic and fun take on football
+
Colourful and vibrant visual design
+
Excellent personalisation options

Reasons to avoid

-
Best played with friends

Mario Strikers: Battle League Football is yet another classic Nintendo franchise finding new fans on Nintendo Switch. This is everything Nintendo does well; familiar gameplay given a fun, accessible and vibrant boost. While the basics of five-a-side football / soccer remain, in Nintendo's hands it becomes a colourful class of special boosts, power-ups and chaos.

If you're after a game that treats football like Mario Kart takes on car racing then Mario Strikers: Battle League Football should be on your radar. There are some excellent personalisation options that enable you to build a club in your own style, while on the pitch the action is fast and frantic.

Where Mario Strikers: Battle League Football stumbles is in its single-player, generally designed as a party and multiplayer game that shines when playing with others but can become repetitive when playing solo. If you're after a fantastic and fun multiplayer sports game to play while the summer sun shines, sign-up for Mario Strikers: Battle League Football.

The best Nintendo Switch games, as represented by a screen shot from a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game

(Image credit: DotEmu)

10. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge

The best retro arcade game for Nintendo Switch

Specifications

Players: 1-6
Genre: Fighting, Arcade
Game file size: 1GB
Play modes: TV, tabletop, handheld
Online play: Yes
Developer: DotEmu / Tribute Games

Reasons to buy

+
Perfectly recreates the old '80s arcade style and visual design
+
Fantastic multiplayer gameplay
+
Creative art style

Reasons to avoid

-
Best played with friends

Fans of retro games will adore Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge. This new game replicates the visual style, character design and gameplay of the arcade games of the late '80s and '90s perfectly. Shredder's Revenge also manages to add a few modern twists to the formula, making it a great Nintendo Switch game.

The core gameplay of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge replicates the side-scrolling melee combat of games you'd find on a smokey '80s arcade, but some clever combos, controls and implementation of bonus missions and objectives ensure there are reasons to keep replaying.

Naturally, this kind of game is best experienced with friends and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge supports up to six players on screen at once for some chaotic retro fun. If you're after a casual brawler that delivers perfectly recreated retro pixel art, this is the game for you.

The best Nintendo Switch games, represented by a screens shot from Capcom Fighting Collection

(Image credit: Capcom)

11. Capcom Fighting Collection

The best retro game collection for Nintendo Switch

Specifications

Players: 1-2
Genre: Fighting, Arcade
Game file size: 3.2GB
Play modes: TV, tabletop, handheld
Online play: Yes
Developer: Capcom

Reasons to buy

+
10 classic Capcom fighting games
+
Online modes now included
+
Museum mode features more than 500 illustrations and 400 music tracks

Reasons to avoid

-
Possibly for retro fans only

Capcom Fighting Collection brings together some of Capcom's most loved fighting games of yesteryear in one collection. For your money you get 10 classic games, including Darkstalkers, Night Warriors, Vampire Savior, Vampire Hunter 2, Vampire Savior 2, Hyper Street Fighter II, Super Gem Fighter Minimix, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, Cyberbots and Red Earth.

The highlights include a welcome return of Darkstalkers, the addictive puzzle game Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo and the rare Red Earth. What's more all these games can now be played online, and there's an excellent Museum mode to dip into classic concept art and more from each game.

While we have seen some of these games before in collections, the Capcom Fighting Collection offers some titles that have been missing in action for some time, such as Darkstalkers and its sequels and Japanese variants.

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

(Image credit: From Software)

12. 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.

The best Nintendo Switch games are represented by a screenshot of a knight fighting

(Image credit: Nintendo / Koei tecmo Games)

13. Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes

The best game for Nintendo Switch for big battle RPG fans

Specifications

Players: 1-2
Genre: RPG, Action
Game file size: 14GB
Play modes: TV, tabletop, handheld
Online play: Yes
Developer: Omega Force / Koei Tecmo Games

Reasons to buy

+
Epic, large-scale real-time battles
+
An engaging story fans will enjoy

Reasons to avoid

-
This can become repetitive

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is a real-time battle game with grand-scale fights spread across large-ish maps. If you've played the previous game Fire Emblem: Three Houses or developer Omega Force's Dynasty Warriors series, then you'll feel right at home. This is an action game first but picks up on some of the role-playing and narrative strands of the broader Fire Emblem series.

This follow-up to Three Houses takes place in an alternative timeline to that game and you can play as many characters from the series, including Edelgard, Dimitri, Claude, and a new character, Shez. Combat is fun and chaotic, with just enough tactical choice to ensure you're kept active. It can get a little repetitive over the 25-hour story, but that's a flaw in all these Dynasty Warriors-like games.

Fans will adore the story, love the character design and enjoy the simple but accessible gameplay. It's also worth considering Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is perfectly suited to Nintendo Switch's handheld mode, with battles lasting just long enough for a train journey and the game overall can be played in bite-sized chunks.

A screenshot from Nintendo Switch Sports

(Image credit: Nintendo)

14. 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.

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)

15. 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)

16. 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.

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

(Image credit: Nintendo)

17. 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.

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Ian Dean is Digital Arts & Design Editor at Creative Bloq, and the former editor of many leading magazines. These titles included ImagineFX, 3D World and leading video game title Official PlayStation Magazine. In his early career he wrote for music and film magazines including Uncut and SFX. Ian launched Xbox magazine X360 and edited PlayStation World. For Creative Bloq, Ian combines his love to bring the latest news on NFTs, video game art and tech, and more to Creative Bloq, and in his spare time he doodles in Corel Painter, ArtRage, and Rebelle while finding time to play Xbox and PS5.

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