Bought yourself a Switch? You'll be wanting something to play on it, then.
Luckily, Nintendo's portable/console hybrid has dramatically exceeded our expectations, becoming a rapidly essential device with brilliant exclusives like Super Mario Odyssey, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Mario Kart 8: Deluxe.
And there's plenty more beyond the expected crop of first-party fare. The Switch's success has pulled scads of developers back into the Nintendo fray, and we've seen a deluge of worthwhile titles of late, including exclusive indie fare and some of the best multiplatform games seen on other platforms in recent years.
We have a list of our 15 favourite Switch games to date, and that's a good starting point – but it's heavy on expected picks, with a lot of Nintendo's own releases and other games you'll find on store shelves. Looking for a sampling of what else is out there, especially on the eShop? Keep reading for a mixed batch of mini-reviews and see if something else catches your eye.
Rocket League is one of the most endlessly enjoyable games you'll find on any platform, and millions still play it avidly after a couple years of release on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. And now you can play it on Switch too, as Psyonix's joyous cars-playing-football game makes the handheld leap in the process.
Not only do you have rocket-powered, high-flying cars knocking in epic goals from above the net, but you can also play basketball and hockey variants, or toss in goofy weapons for good measure. The Switch version delivers the complete experience seen elsewhere, with hundreds of car customisation items and even sweet exclusive Mario/Luigi and Metroid cars.
The Switch version takes a slight performance hit from other devices: the frame rate is a bit choppier, there's less detail, and everything looks a bit jagged at times. That does make it tougher to see far-off action on the Switch's handheld screen, which might throw you for a loop here and there, but the fun doesn't suffer at all on your TV. It's right up there with Mario Kart 8: Deluxe in terms of raucous multiplayer amusement, and a total steal for just £15.
It's football with cars, and every bit as amazing as that sounds
Overcooked: Special Edition
Overcooked was a revelation when it first launched on PlayStation and Xbox last year. A hilariously frenetic affair where you and your friends have to churn out culinary delights at a rate of knots, it’s one of best cooperative games we've played in yonks. Now having arrived on Switch, we’re gutted to report it doesn't have the same spark on Nintendo’s new console.
Why? That most frustrating shortcoming of all: technical issues. While the same joyous cartoonish character and level design is very much in place, frantically dashing a soup order around a pirate ship is much less fun when you're having to deal with an unstable frame rate and noticeable juddering. So long as developer Ghost Town Games can fix these problems, Overcooked should prove a delight once again. Especially since it serves up all the game’s previous DLC alongside exclusive support for the Switch’s HD Rumble.
A half-baked Special Edition that should be so much better
The Switch’s greatest hidden gem, Thumper is a genius on-rails rhythm game with a whole load of horror trappings. Imagine Donkey Konga with industrial techno and some terrifying space demons, and that still doesn’t do justice to a subtly inventive slice of brilliance.
Originally released for PlayStation VR, Thumper makes a surprisingly awesome transition to portable form. What’s lost in sheer immersion is made up for in the ability to complete a fiendish course on the train to work. Make no mistake, this is a tough old cookie but it never feels unfair. Each level is perfectly paced to its delirious soundtrack, while the game’s macabre aesthetic only helps it stand out further from the cutesy likes of Mario Kart and Splatoon.
A proper must-have for Nintendo’s new console
Following hot on the heels of Street Fighter II and a host of arcade Neo Geo classics, Namco’s greatest retro hits compilation is another warm dose of nostalgia for Switch. Featuring Pac-Man, Galaga ‘88, Dig Dug and several other less cherished offerings, Namco Museum might be a bit tad pricey but delivers on its familiar promise.
As a load of old favourites repackaged on a new console, there’s not much in the way of surprise here. Splatterhouse remains really quite disgusting at times and Rolling Thunder is decent side-scrolling fare, but anyone who’s going to be buying Namco Museum likely knows this already. This means it’s up to Pac-Man Vs. to prove the compendium’s worth, and the forgotten GameCube gem duly obliges. Allowing you and the friends to flit between the roles of Pac-Man and the ghosts that chase him, it’s simple, addictive and the kind of multiplayer game you can happily waste an afternoon with.
A solid fix for former arcade gaming addicts
Anyone who sees this speedy anti-gravity racer on the Nintendo Switch usually shouts “F-Zero!” in giddy excitement. In reality, this is not part of the beloved F-Zero series, but it's clear that Fast RMX takes inspiration from the Nintendo classic.
Where many racing games struggle to stand out from the traffic, Fast RMX could easily have entered cruise mode, since it’s currently the only racer on the Switch. Instead of being content as another Wipeout imitation, though, Fast RMX attempts to build a legacy of its own.
Rather than only having to focus on accelerating and steering, you also need to switch between a blue and orange state in order to activate the corresponding coloured boost panels. It’s a nice addition to a genre that has stalled in the creativity department far too often.
With more than 30 tracks and 15 vehicles to race with, Fast RMX offers a decent amount of replayability before the likes of more fleshed out racers like F-Zero and Mario Kart hit the Switch.
Yes, it's a stop-gap to satisfy the need for speed – but Fast RMX still provides plenty of adrenaline-pumping fun
Super Bomberman R
When Super Bomberman R drops well below its £50 price tag, then it’ll be worth picking up. For now though it’s a bit too pricey to recommend to anyone who’s not a long-time fans of the series.
Those looking for a trip down memory lane will be able to lose hours to the multiplayer here. Especially as players only need one Joy-Con to be able to get in on the fun. These matches can be played either locally or online and stick to a classic gaming formula: you’re plonked in a giant maze and must make it out as the last (Bomber)man alive. Everything is frantic, chaotic and an absolute riot with the right people involved.
While decent enough, Bomberman R’s single-player isn’t much to write home about. There are over 50 levels for you to complete from an odd isometric perspective that occasionally gets in your way during boss fights and particularly frenetic maps.
A solid multiplayer affair that’s too expensive for most Switch owners right now
Nintendo was so wowed with Snipperclips in its initial pre-release guise that it snapped the puzzler up as a Switch exclusive. Having had a blast with the thing ourselves, it’s easy to see why. Not only does this £17 download make a great co-op use of the Switch’s Joy-Con controllers, it’s also genuinely innovative in its own right.
The idea is simple: you play as two shapes that must be cut into new shapes to solve several physics-based puzzles. There are 66 puzzles in total, most of which are made to be played in tandem with a mate and it’s here where Snipperclips really excels. With its colourful paper aesthetic and plenty of entertaining twists on its central formula, it’s tough not to crack a grin while playing this thing. Especially when you find yourself shouting out obscenities like ‘cut me here’ and ‘stick it in my hole’.
If you need a break from Breath of the Wild or just want something else to show off your Switch with, then Snipperclips is well worth a purchase.
The hidden gem of the Switch’s launch line-up
Like Wii Sports and Nintendo Land before it, 1-2-Switch is a party game that’s been made to show off exactly what the Switch is capable of.
From unlocking a bank vault using the Joy-Con controllers’ HD Rumble or milking a virtual cow using its motion controls, you do really get a sense of how much fun the Switch can be - especially if you gather a group of mates round to get in on the fun.
Aside from an odd table tennis game where you can’t see the ball and another yoga-like affair where you have to hold still in various poses, 1-2-Switch largely hits the nail on the head. And, with each dizzy rush only lasting for the best part of a minute, you’re only ever 60 seconds away from a more entertaining offering.
Naturally a game like this struggles for longevity, but a bigger issue is its price. Whereas Wii Sports and Nintendo Land for Wii U both came free with their respective consoles, 1-2-Switch will set you back around £35. If you’re not a particularly social animal that’ll be too greater price to pay. Anyone who loves to put on a nerdy kind of soiree, though, will find plenty to entertain here.
This party game is a proper laugh. Shame it’s quite so pricey
Anyone who says the Nintendo Switch only has one good game clearly hasn’t played Shovel Knight. Rather than using a sword, spear or lance like more traditional knights, this blue armoured hero uses a shovel. Yes, a shovel.
Surprisingly, this soil-shifting tool is very effective at dispatching villains, whether they’re skeleton soldiers or a wicked enchantress. This 16-bit 2D platformer has clearly taken inspiration from NES classics such as Zelda II, DuckTales and Super Mario Bros. 3.
Rather than feeling like a cheap knock off, though, Shovel Knight has enough quality to compete with even the most successful 2D side-scrollers. With creative level designs, challenging boss battles and a bounty of power-ups, Shovel Knight strikes every checkbox with unrivalled strength.
And, for those who’ve already played this 2014 indie smash-hit, there’s still plenty there in Treasure Trove, as it comes bundled with the expansions Plague of Shadows and Spector of Torment – the latter being a timed exclusive for the Nintendo Switch.
While neither of these expansions offer new levels to explore, they do put you in the control of two villainous characters. Spector of Torment offers the most noticeable changes, as swapping a shovel for a scythe changes the gameplay drastically, upping the pace and need for accuracy during combat.
With a treasure trove of content and a style that pays tribute to Nintendo games of old, Shovel Knight is the perfect fit for your Nintendo Switch
Lego City Undercover
Think Lego City Undercover is just for kids? Then why does it have so many ‘80s cop film references? We’re pretty sure your average 12-year hasn’t seen the likes of Die Hard and Lethal Weapon.
Yet developer Traveller’s Tales persists with hilarious allusions, which are likely to fly over most younglings’ heads. As with any good Pixar film, this game works on multiple levels, and if you were to dismiss it for being too childish, you’d be missing out on some serious plastic-brick fun.
While most recent Lego games brickify renowned film franchises, such as Star Wars and Harry Potter, Lego City Undercover opts to build its own story as copper Chase McCain goes after big bad Rex Fury. It is, however, littered with pop culture references from Sherlock Holmes to The Shawshank Redemption.
Some of the jokes and puns might be cheesier than a cheddar factory, but even the most hard-boiled of grumps will find it hard to restrain a smile. It’s also clear that Undercover borrows a lot from the Grand Theft Auto series. That’s not to say you can go around killing hookers - this is still a kids game after all - but you have free reign to explore the city and steal any car you like. The difference? You’re a cop rather than a criminal so you can get away with it.
Undercover shares the same weaknesses as any other Lego game: the combat is over-simplistic and there’s next to no challenge. But as a collectathon with rib-tickling slapstick laughs, this is arguably one of the best Lego games of the series. It’s definitely the game to buy for your kids, and sneaking a few hours yourself while no one’s watching.
One of the greatest Lego games yet, providing just as many laughs for adults as it does for children
Just Dance 2017
The Just Dance series is often accused of committing multiple video game sins. It relies on motion controls, hides the majority of its content behind paywalls and requires the player to stand on their feet – the horror!
While Just Dance 2017 is no different to its predecessors in this regard, it does seem to have found its feet with the Nintendo Switch. While busting a move, the Joy-Con sits so comfortably in your hand that you often forget you’re actually holding it. And, while you’re only required to hold one, it tracks your movement with surprising accuracy. The tablet mode also means you’re not limited to a TV screen, so you can start dancing wherever you see fit.
As long as you’re willing to look like a fool, Just Dance is actually a whole lot of fun. Of course, it’s at its strongest during multiplayer when you can either have a dance-off against your friends or work in tandem during co-op mode.
While songs are varied and recognisable, though, the majority are only available through a paid subscription, costing £25 each year. It’s difficult to recommend such a costly game that is only really useful when a few friends come round and have the urge to boogie.
A fun party game that works well on the Switch - but that subscription fee makes it hard to recommend
A neat idea that works in fits and spurts, Snake Pass is a physics-based puzzler where you slither your way across 15 fiendishly arranged levels collecting various, um, collectibles.
Both its bright, cartoon aesthetic and the sheer novelty of playing as a legless reptile mark this eShop download as one of the most unique Switch titles right now, even though its charms don’t last all that long.
Yes, sliding over lava pits and coiling your way up giant bamboo meshes is great fun. As is acclimatising to a brilliant control scheme that makes traversing through Snake Pass totally intuitive.
The more that you enjoy these delights, the less special they become, and with several levels that tend drag on a bit it feels as though this game would work better in shorter, sharper bursts.
Despite its flaws, Snake Pass deserves credit for trying something genuinely new
Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap
You’re probably sick to death of video game remakes now, especially when a seven-year-old title is getting remastered for every platform imaginable. We're looking at you, Skyrim. Lizardcube’s reimagining of Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap is more forgivable, though – the original was released a whopping 28 years ago.
If it missed your radar in 1989, or you’re just simply too young to remember it, Wonder Boy is a 2D platformer that harks back to the days of perfectly timed jumps and cut-throat difficulty. The remake has remained faithful to the original, altering only the visuals and the soundtrack, with the colourful animations hauling the classic into the modern day.
Don’t like the updated graphics? You can switch back to its retro looks with the press of a button.
While the game remains a fun and challenging adventure, it’s clear that time hasn’t been kind to it: you’ll easily find better, more innovative, platformers around these days. Still, that doesn’t stop this from being a worthy addition to spend a few hours.
An excellent reimagining of a retro classic, but even the facelift can’t hide its slightly dated gameplay
Oceanhorn: Monster of the Uncharted Seas
Oceanhorn made sense on iOS and Android as a cheap Legend of Zelda knock-off that scratched that dungeon-looting itch for those without a Nintendo device. But to arrive on the Switch, which already hosts the amazing Breath of the Wild? Now that’s a ballsy move.
Somewhat surprisingly though, this action-adventure game has found a suitable home on Nintendo’s hybrid console. With a focus on dungeons, Oceanhorn feels just different enough from the exploration-heavy Breath of the Wild. And while its seafaring journey and simple combat stink of Wind Waker and A Link to the Past, Oceanhorn has enough tricks and charm to convince you that it’s worth playing on its own merits.
Nowhere near the standard of Zelda – but a fun little adventure nevertheless