The best cheap Nintendo Switch games in 2022

Best cheap Nintendo Switch games
(Image credit: Jim McCauley)

If money's tight, the best cheap Nintendo Switch games can deliver a stack of entertainment on your favourite console without costing you a fortune. And frankly, we often find that a well-chosen cheaper title can provide you with a lot more fun than many full-price games.

While the big appeal of the Nintendo Switch is its raft of flagship IPs – your Super Marios, Zeldas, Metroids and all that – that are usually well worth the asking price, you can't always be quite so sure about other big-budget, full price games. 

While it doesn't take much effort to find a whole load of truly terrible cheap Switch games on the Nintendo eStore, you can also find plenty of innovative and polished indie titles developed by true gaming enthusiasts, and these are often the cheapest Switch games that we'll be pointing you to in this guide. If you want to play these games with a bit of fun, take a look at our guide to the best retro controllers.

We've picked out eight of the best cheap Switch games available now; everything's under $20/£20 (with a few that are a whole lot cheaper) and there's something for most gaming tastes, from chilled out puzzle games and adventures through to full-on arcade bangers, and quite a few that we'd happily choose over the latest AAA blockbuster. 

So if most of the best Nintendo Switch games are too pricey and you instead fancy filling up your Nintendo Switch SD card without blowing your budget, read on for some top, great-value gaming picks. Or, if you're looking ahead take a look at our guide to the best upcoming Switch games.

The best cheap Nintendo Switch games in 2022

Why you can trust Creative Bloq Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Best cheap Switch games - Cuphead

(Image credit: StudioMDHR)

01. Cuphead

One for animation aficionados and hardened gamers

Specifications

Players: 1-2
Play modes: TV mode, Tabletop mode, Handheld mode
Game file size: 3.3 GB
Publisher: StudioMDHR

Reasons to buy

+
Gorgeous retro animation
+
Lots of boss battles
+
Jaunty jazz soundtrack

Reasons to avoid

-
Hellishly difficult

Buy Cuphead from the Nintendo Store: US (opens in new tab)/UK (opens in new tab)

Fans of classic cartoons should get a kick out of Cuphead; its entire aesthetic pays homage to the golden age of American animation, with 1930s looks and a jazz soundtrack to complete the experience. It's a joy to look at but be warned, despite its charming visuals it's also a monstrously tough game: a frantic run and gun with a whole load of boss battles that get increasingly difficult the further you progress.

Cuphead can be a frustrating experience for less hardened gamers, but its gorgeous animation is definitely worth checking out, and it's at a reasonable enough price that nobody should really object to taking a punt on it.

Best cheap Switch games: Oxenfree

(Image credit: Night School)

02. Oxenfree

A delightfully laid-back spooky adventure

Specifications

Players: 1
Play modes: TV mode, Tabletop mode, Handheld mode
Game file size: 2.2 GB
Publisher: Night School

Reasons to buy

+
Laid-back adventure
+
Conversational style
+
Lots to discover

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the longest game

Buy Oxenfree from the Nintendo Store: US (opens in new tab)/UK (opens in new tab)

At the opposite end of the difficulty scale to Cuphead is Oxenfree, a beautiful adventure game in which you investigate paranormal activities on a spooky island. It's a piece of wonderfully laid-back gaming, with lots of exploration and dialogue, and a plenty of emphasis on story and character.

There aren't any tedious cut-scenes to sit through; all the action and conversations happen in real time, and the game has a beautifully understated art style that lets you focus on the thoroughly gripping supernatural story. Best of all, there's no danger of getting it wrong and losing the game; whatever you do in the game you'll get to the end (over the course of about five hours), but there are several different endings you might encounter.

Best cheap Switch games: Inside

(Image credit: Playdead)

03. Inside

Dark and minimal action with a hell of a twist in the tail

Specifications

Players: 1
Play modes: TV mode, Tabletop mode, Handheld mode
Game file size: 1.5 GB
Publisher: Playdead

Reasons to buy

+
Simple to play
+
Thoroughly atmospheric
+
Brilliant twist at the end

Reasons to avoid

-
Dark and unsettling

Buy Inside from the Nintendo Store: US (opens in new tab)/UK (opens in new tab)

The thing we love the most about the thoroughly brilliant Inside is when you get to the end and all you can think is, "What the hell just happened?" Developed by Playdead, it's an unsettlingly creepy game in which you, as a weird blank-faced young boy, run through a dark and threatening environment in which everyone and everything is out to kill you. 

There are loads of environmental puzzles to solve in order to progress, and lots of horrible ways to die; thankfully it's rare that you'll run up against an obstacle that'll hold you back for too long. What really makes it, though, is that ending; it's next-level bonkers and guaranteed to make you want to restart the game afresh to see if you can spot any clues that could make the whole thing make a little more sense.

Best cheap Switch games: Mini Metro

(Image credit: Radial Games)

04. Mini Metro

Stylish and chilled train-based puzzling

Specifications

Players: 1-4
Play modes: TV mode, Tabletop mode, Handheld mode
Game file size: 211 MB
Publisher: Radial Games

Reasons to buy

+
Chilled-out puzzler
+
Lovely soundtrack
+
Beautifully minimal looks

Reasons to avoid

-
Can get a bit tense

Buy Mini Metro from the Nintendo Store: US (opens in new tab)/UK (opens in new tab)

If Inside gives you nightmares, soothe your frazzled nerves with Mini Metro, a delightfully minimal puzzle game in which you have to join the dots in order to create a smooth-running city metro system. 

Its looks are reminiscent of the iconic London Underground map, and its simple gameplay is pleasantly relaxing – at least until you start facing more complex challenges with more stations opening all the time, and still have to keep all those commuters happy.

Mini Metro's a bit of a chill-out game, with a suitably relaxing soundtrack, but with just enough tension along the way to keep you coming back for more.

Best cheap Switch games: Tempest 4000

(Image credit: Atari)

05. Tempest 4000

A frantic, psychedelic blast from the arcade past

Specifications

Players: 1
Play modes: TV mode, Tabletop mode, Handheld mode
Game file size: 1.7 GB
Publisher: Atari

Reasons to buy

+
Classic arcade action
+
In-your-face visuals
+
Banging soundtracks

Reasons to avoid

-
Occasional graphic overload

Buy Tempest 4000 from the Nintendo Store: US (opens in new tab)/UK (opens in new tab)

Looking for a helping of classic arcade action with just enough of a modern feel? Tempest 4000 should do the trick. 

It's the latest update to Atari's 40-year-old arcade game in which you attempt to hold back a swarm of enemies advancing up a glowing web in space, and ticks all the right boxes: fast-paced shooting that's a lot more than mindless blasting, plenty of power-ups to collect, eyeball-sizzling visuals that marry old-school vectors with psychedelic graphical tricks, and a choice of three thumping soundtracks. 

It's beautifully paced with perfectly-tuned controls, and its restart best feature means that you can pick up the game on any level you've previously completed, enabling you to seriously hone your skills.

Best cheap Switch games: A Short Hike

(Image credit: Whippoorwill)

06. A Short Hike

Relaxed exploration with a gorgeous pixel art style

Specifications

Players: 1
Play modes: TV mode, Tabletop mode, Handheld mode
Game file size: 433 MB
Publisher: Whippoorwill

Reasons to buy

+
Lovely pixel art looks
+
Lots to find and do
+
Thoroughly charming

Reasons to avoid

-
A bit on the short side

Buy A Short Hike from the Nintendo Store: US (opens in new tab)/UK (opens in new tab)

Another more relaxed cheap Switch game, A Short Hike is a positively delightful open-world adventure in which you, as Claire, an anthropomorphic bird, set out on, yes, a short hike to the top of a mountain so that you can get a phone signal. 

Of course, the real fun's in the journey itself; there's a fabulously detailed pixel art world to explore with all manner of things to find along the way as you hike, climb and fly around the game's island setting. 

It's not an especially long game if you take the direct approach, but if you instead kick back and take the scenic route you'll be in for hours of lovely, chilled discovery.

Best cheap Switch games:

(Image credit: Infinite State Games)

07. Rogue Aces

Endless perfectly-tuned aerial combat

Specifications

Players: 1
Play modes: TV mode, Tabletop mode, Handheld mode
Game file size: 162 MB
Publisher: Thalamus Digital

Reasons to buy

+
Endless random missions
+
Handles beautifully
+
Aerial steals!

Reasons to avoid

-
Tricky to fly at first

Buy Rogue Aces from the Nintendo Store: US (opens in new tab)/UK (opens in new tab)

An underrated gem on the Nintendo Switch Store, Rogue Aces is a classic 2D shooter in which you take to the skies in an old-fashioned fighter plane and blast your way through randomly-generated enemy territory. Your plane handles beautifully and is kitted out with guns, bombs and rockets, and as you carry out missions as ordered by your brilliantly blustering commander, you can power everything up by shooting enemy aircraft and snatching crates out of the air.

There's plenty of dogfighting, buildings to blow up and low-level strafing runs, as well as a decent assortment of game modes to unlock as you progress, and the best bit? If your plane picks up too much damage, it's possible to eject and steal an enemy plane in mid-air.

Best cheap Switch games: Thumper

(Image credit: Drool LLC)

08. Thumper

Pounding and unsettling rhythm violence

Specifications

Players: 1
Play modes: TV mode, Tabletop mode, Handheld mode
Game file size: 710 MB
Publisher: Drool LLC

Reasons to buy

+
Dark rhythm action
+
Thumping soundtrack
+
Horribly immersive

Reasons to avoid

-
Tough on the nerves

Buy Thumper from the Nintendo Store: US (opens in new tab)/UK (opens in new tab)

Everyone loves a good rhythm action game, right? Thumper's in that ball park, except it describes itself as a rhythm violence game, and that's a fair assessment. It's all about hitting the right controls at the right time, but a whole lot darker: you're this weird metallic scarab beetle thing, screaming down a track through a foreboding void at breathtaking speed, trying to hit corners on time and avoid obstacles while regularly facing off against gargantuan Lovecraftian bosses.

Thumper has quite the foreboding mood to it, accentuated by a pounding industrial soundtrack, and after being immersed in its nightmare dimensions for a while it's a positive relief to put it down and stand in the sunshine for a bit. Still, you can't beat the feeling of nailing one of its levels and getting one of those elusive S-rankings.

Related articles:

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.