10 Essential Games to Have on Nintendo Switch (and Why)

The Nintendo Switch was released in 2017 and since then it has gained several games that are a hit among the public. Award-winning titles such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and Hades are part of the console’s catalog, which impresses with exclusive games from successful franchises.

While the wide variety of games available on Nintendo’s hybrid console is an advantage, it can also leave players in doubt when choosing what to buy and play. To facilitate this decision, we selected ten games that we consider essential Nintendo Switch. We consider aspects such as the score of the games in the review site Metacritic and awards at the time of assembling our list.

1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild (2017)

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild (2017)

One of the most successful titles on the console, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild is an open-world action-adventure game that explores more of the already known universe of the franchise. In this Switch exclusive, the main character Link discovers a wrecked Hyrule after spending a hundred years unconscious. To help his kingdom, the hero must find a way to regain his memory and defeat the villainous Calamity Ganon (the title’s final boss).

There are several reasons why Breath of the Wild makes it onto our list of essential Switch games, but the game’s story and gameplay are two of the main reasons. The game’s visuals are also impressive and the production quality makes the gameplay extremely fluid and enjoyable. The variety of missions, combats, and puzzles makes it possible to extend the title’s lifespan for quite some time.

The title pleased a lot with a score of 97 (out of 100) in the Metacritic review compiler, it has a sequel scheduled for release later in 2022. The game can be found for about $42 on Amazon.

2. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (2017)

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (2017)

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the definitive Switch version of the racing game, originally released in 2014 for Wii U. In this special edition for Nintendo’s hybrid console, in addition to all the DLC and new and familiar characters from the series, the player experiences a visual refinement, with graphics running at a higher resolution (1080p) and higher frame rate (60 fps).

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As in other titles in the franchise, the goal in the game is to win races using power-ups to hinder your opponents. Mario Kart 8 for Switch has all the tracks available in the Wii U version (including the extra ones) and also offers guest characters. It has a score of 92 on Metacritic and can be found for about $54.99 on Amazon.

3. Hades (2020)

Hades (2020)

Released in 2020 for Nintendo Switch, Hades is a rogue-like game that, more than just bringing the traditional challenging gameplay of the genre, has beautiful visuals and a compelling story focused on Greek mythology. Its charismatic characters and its magnetic soundtrack are also very impressive, ensuring very fun gameplay.

The game was so successful that in 2020 it was nominated for game of the year at The Game Awards. At the BAFTA Game Awards 2021, Hades participated in the same category and even took home the main title of the award. One aspect of this rogue-like game that drew critical attention is its challenge level, which is quite high and demands continuous restarts of the story. On the Switch, the user can take advantage of the console’s mobile gameplay, making the gameplay experience even more enjoyable. With a score of 93 on Metacritic, it can be found on physical media for about $40 on Amazon.

4. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (2019)

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (2019)

Considered the definitive version of Nintendo’s popular franchise, in Super Smash Bros Ultimate famous characters from different series battle each other in arenas. A highlight of the game is its scenarios, which are inspired by stages from well-known and acclaimed titles such as Sonic and The Legend of Zelda.

It is possible to play with up to eight people in multiplayer mode, which guarantees fun among friends. In the Ultimate version, in addition to a larger number of unlockable characters, the player finds even better performance than seen on the Wii U, with the possibility of portable play. Super Smash Bros Ultimate has a score of 93 on Metacritic and can be purchased on physical media on Amazon for about $54.

5. Metroid Dread (2021)

Metroid Dread (2021)

One of Nintendo’s most popular franchises, Metroid returned in October 2021 in a brand new title to please fans and win over new players. With gameplay that recalls the classic titles of the series, the game tells the story of an alien adventure made by the already-known character Samus Aran. In it, the main character must face several dangers to escape from a hostile planet that keeps her as a prisoner.

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Metroid Dread won Best Action/Adventure game at The Game Awards 2021 and was nominated for several other awards as well. With a score of 88 in the Metacritic aggregator, this Nintendo Switch exclusive can be found on physical media for prices starting at $58.50 on Amazon.

6. Pokémon Sword and Shield (2019)

Pokémon Sword and Shield (2019)

Another exclusive that makes it worth buying a Nintendo Switch is the Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield games, released in a dual release in 2019. In this new title in the popular series of the little monsters, players encounter an unprecedented 3D adventure with a storyline set in the Galar region.

The game follows the same traditional gameplay of the series, where the user needs to collect Pokémon and win battles with them to become a major trainer. With a score of 80 on Metacritic, this is a title that attracts players for its nostalgia and also for the already familiar gameplay of the franchise. Pokémon Sword Shield (2019) can be found on physical media for as low as $249.77 on Amazon.

7. Super Mario 3D All-Stars (2020)

Super Mario 3D All-Stars (2020)

Super Mario 3D All-Stars is a collection of 3D games from the famous Mario franchise and bringing games from other platforms to the Nintendo Switch. So with this collection, you can live in nostalgia playing titles like Super Mario 64 from the Nintendo 64, Super Mario Sunshine from the Game Cube, and Super Mario Galaxy from the Nintendo Wii.

For the Nintendo Switch version, the games have been graphically enhanced, with better textures, higher resolution, and a more stable frame rate that varies depending on the game. The collection is a great option for those who have not played the titles and also for nostalgic fans. Released in 2020, Super Mario 3D All-Stars has an 82 rating on Metacritic and can be found for $59.99 on Amazon.

8. Animal Crossing: New Horizons (2020)

Animal Crossing: New Horizons (2020)

Released in 2020, Animal Crossing: New Horizons brings the traditional farm series to modernity on the Nintendo Switch. A hit during the pandemic period and nominated for game of the year at The Game Awards, the title expands the usual game experience by inserting the player into a city full of characters and objectives to be met.

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With the multiplayer mode, the release of this new simulation title marked the end of the seven-year hiatus that the series was going through. With a score of 90 on Metacritic, it offers continuous, shared, and fun gameplay that receives new content frequently through the Nintendo Switch Online subscription service. Animal Crossing: New Horizons sells starting at $59.99 on Amazon.

9. Dark Souls Remastered (2018)

Dark Souls Remastered (2018)

Notorious (and loved) for its difficulty, Dark Souls Remastered arrived on Nintendo Switch in 2018 promising the traditional challenging gameplay of the Souls series. With a revamped look for the hybrid console, the title gained graphical enhancements that are very enchanting even amidst the game’s torturous gameplay.

The gameplay of Dark Souls is renowned for offering a very high level of challenge that provides satisfaction to players every time an enemy is overcome. This high-level RPG features multiple bosses, mysteries, and frenetic battles in gameplay fully adapted to Switch gameplay. With a score of 83 on Metacritic, it is sold in physical media on Amazon for $42.

10. Super Mario Odyssey (2017)

. Super Mario Odyssey (2017)

With 3D platforming gameplay, Super Mario Odyssey arrived in 2017 on the Nintendo Switch as a spectacular adventure of Nintendo’s main character. In this new odyssey, the charismatic Mario must once again rescue Princess Peach from the villainous Bowser, who has once again imprisoned her.

With beautiful graphics and high resolution (1080p), it brings in its gameplay a nostalgia that conquers new and old players. The game’s soundtrack is also a highlight, and there are also fun new features in the gameplay, such as Mario’s new hat – which is a character (Cappy). Super Mario Odyssey has an amazing Metacritic score of 97 and can be found on physical media for $59.99 at Amazon.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I may receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.


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