Compared to Nintendo’s previous console generation (and most generations, frankly), the Switch has come out of the gate incredibly strong. It’s only been on the market for a relatively short time, but it already has a solid library of games with plenty worth recommending. For our 10 absolute favorite games, however, you can check out the list below. It’s a list we will be updating as often as games worthy of inclusion release. We will kick games off and add new ones as the Switch’s library grows.
Please note that while the list below contains 10 entries, we aren’t actually ranking them – if a game has made it this far (and managed to stay here), it’s a must-play, period. As such, we’ll be listing entries in chronological order. Also, you’ll find rundown of previous entries at the bottom of the list. While those titles have gotten bumped for bigger and better experiences, they are still all great games in their own right and worth exploring if you’re already caught up on the latest hits.
Here are Game Informer’s picks for the top 10 games on the Switch.
Release: June 12, 2018
It’s hard to avoid the phenomenon that is Fortnite. If for some strange reason you’re not familiar with the concept, the game’s battle royale mode pits 100 players against one another in a mad dash to scavenge resources, shoot opponents, build buildings, and be the last one standing. The Switch version version of the game actually pares down the experience by focusing entirely on battle royale, and that’s fine. The game is available on every modern platform, but the Switch version is easily the best mobile version of the game.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Release: May 4, 2018
Tropical Freeze originally released on Wii U in 2014, and it was great! But it was on the Wii U, which meant it was sadly underplayed. The Switch version adds Funky Kong as a playable character, but otherwise the experience is mostly unchanged from its original release, and that’s not a problem. It’s one of the best, most challenging platformers of the last decade, and an excellent soundtrack makes it all the better.
Release: January 25, 2018
Developer Matt Thorson made a name for himself with the simple, but undeniably fun multiplayer experience, TowerFall. Celeste is his follow-up, and both the games share precise controls and a nostalgic pixel-art style. Playing as Madeline, players must make their way to the top of a mountain using dash and double-jump abilities. The game is as challenging as it is satisfying while delivering a heartfelt story about overcoming challenges in the face of adversity.
Super Mario Odyssey
Release: October 27, 2017
Every Nintendo console has to have at least one fantastic Mario platformer, and the Switch is no exception. Mario Odyssey released a few months after the launch of the console and it hits all the Mario checkboxes necessary to be considered a classic, plus a few surprising new ones. It’s whimsical, has perfect controls, tons to discover, and features a city level where all the humans have normal proportions while Mario runs around as his short, cartoony self. It’s a strange adventure, and a must-have for Switch owners.
Release: October 5, 2017
The future of Harvest Moon is unclear and its recent past is underwhelming. Thankfully, Stardew Valley exists and improves on nearly every mechanic that series popularized. Managing a farm may sound like a chore, but in Stardew Valley it’s a joy. Watching your crops grow over time and selling them for profit while getting to know the townspeople creates an experience that is difficult to put down. Adding the portability of the Switch only makes the experience better.
Release: September 28, 2017
True consoles exclusives from third-party developers are becoming more and more rare, but they haven’t disappeared entirely yet. Golf Story is only playable on Switch and it merges the pixel-art RPG with the retro golf genre for a bizarre adventure that places you to the past to play golf against cavemen, explore cities in the clouds, and even take part in a rap contest. Golf Story is a true original and is absolutely worthy of the paltry storage space needed to play the game on your Switch.
Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
Release: August 29, 2017
Kingdom Battle is one of the biggest surprises to come out of the Switch. Combining XCOM, Mario, and video games’ most annoying mascots all into one game seemed like an awful idea… but it actually works. Kingdom Battle stands on its own as a totally engaging strategy game, and is only buoyed by the interactions between the Mario family of characters and the Rabbids. Like an expert stand-up comedian, it will make you laugh, and it will make you think.
Release: July 21, 2017
Splatoon was a hit on Wii U, despite the console’s small install base, and its sequel improves on the experience. The multiplayer mode – a shooter that tasks you with shooting paint instead of bullets – is highly replayable, but there is also a full campaign mode with awesome bosses, and a cooperative online mode. It may not look like your typical shooter, but Splatoon 2 inspires the same kind of excitement you get from something like a Call of Duty.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Release: April 28, 2017
Far more than a simple port of the excellent Mario Kart 8 for Wii U, Deluxe includes all the game’s DLC (extra tracks, racers, and cars), and Battle Mode, which was curiously absent from the original release. Playing split-screen Mario Kart is always a hit, and having a version of the game with two controllers you can take anywhere makes it the perfect showcase for the Switch.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Release: March 3, 2017
We’re not exaggerating when we say The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is one of the best games ever made. We gave it the rare 10/10 in our review and gave it our 2017 Game of the Year award as it sets a new high standard for open-world video games. Being able to go anywhere you can see on the map has never been more true than it is in Breath of the Wild and it is also filled with the kind of excellent puzzle-design you expect from a Zelda experience. It’s a journey you won’t soon forget and the optional DLC packs add additional challenge and new items worth pursuing to the overworld.
The games considered for this list that didn’t make the cut: The Switch ports of Doom, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Sonic Mania, Bayonetta and Bayonetta 2, and recent classics that have been ported, Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove, Inside, and Axiom Verge. They’re all still great games, so give them a try, too!