The 26 best Nintendo Switch games

UPDATE: Captain Toad, Mario Tennis Aces and Fortnite join our list of must-play Switch experiences

Before the Nintendo Switch came out, we all wondered whether there would be enough to play on it in the early months. Then we played Zelda and stopped caring what else was coming.

But there's more than just the astonishing Breath of the Wild to enjoy on Nintendo's home-or-handheld device, and thanks to a mix of ports and sterling new games, the Switch has a rather fantastic lineup after just over a year of release.

So whether you've just grabbed the Switch and need a few pointers, or are you just looking for something new to play after conquering Zelda, you'll find plenty of inspiration in our list of the 26 best games the Switch has to offer.

CAPTAIN TOAD: TREASURE TRACKER

Everyone mocks Luigi for being underappreciated over at Nintendo HQ, but he's been treated like royalty compared to the mushroom-headed Toad, who – despite being a prominent character in Mario's friendship circle for yonks – had to wait until 2014 to secure a starring role in a video game. Fortunately, the wait was totally worth it, as Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is an absolute delight on the Wii U.

A simplistic puzzler at first glance, Captain Toad is chock-a-block with fresh ideas, giving you free control to spin, rotate and flip the perspective of each bite-size level to uncover hidden coins and stars. Even better, with the Switch edition there's a goldmine of new content, including stages inspired by Mario Odyssey's New Donk City.

It may still be ridiculously easy to the extent that it may turn off those looking for a head-scrather, but Captain Toad's super-sweet charm and unique flavour are more than enough to entertain those looking for a chilled-out venture. 

Mario Tennis Aces

Mario's skill with a racquet has long been known, but Mario Tennis Aces is the best edition of the long-running sports series to date. Aces again drops the Mushroom Kingdom's brightest swinging stars into colourful courts, but this version adds some welcome twists on the theme.

The new special shots add a strategic edge to the action, letting you launch a shot that is powerful enough to break your opponent's racquet – but can also be blocked, resulting in you wasting your precious energy meter. It's a risk-reward element that helps the matches feel livelier than ever.

Mario Tennis Aces even has a fun single-player campaign mode this time around, although the multiplayer matches (online or off) are the biggest draw. Shame that the online mode lacks crucial elements like tournaments and leaderboards as of this writing.

Fortnite

Fortnite is the biggest game in the world right now, and thanks to the new Switch edition, now you can battle and build right from the comfort of your bed… or toilet. Or anywhere, really.

The Switch version delivers the exact same Battle Royale experience as on other platforms, dropping you into a cartoonish fight for survival. It's you against up to 99 players in a free-for-all skirmish in which both firearms and rapid-fire structure building can help you outlast the pack.

It takes a slight frame rate hit compared to other consoles, but Fortnite amazingly still looks about the same otherwise. If you haven't tried this free-to-play sensation, it'll cost you nothing to snap it up from the eShop and give it a shot today. Just don't try to use a PlayStation-linked account.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

Donkey Kong is a legend in the same way that most people regard Stan Lee and Paul McCartney. There’s no doubting he changed popular culture in a massive way, but that doesn’t mean you’re all that bothered about his new stuff. With the arrival of Tropical Freeze on Switch from its original home of the ill-fated Wii U, you should make an exception.

Rather than reinvent the platforming formula a la Super Mario Odyssey, this outing from Nintendo’s most famous simian polishes its frenetic 2D combination of jumping and climbing to a dazzling sheen.

What it lacks in originality is made up for in variety and charm, so that each of this game’s 60-odd levels bristle with an irresistible joi de vivre. So long as you’re OK with falling down potholes, being crushed by giant boulders and generally dying a whole lot. Tropical Freeze is not a game that you could describe as ‘easy’.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

What, the three mentions in the intro weren't enough of a giveaway? It's true: not only is Breath of the Wild our current pick for the best game in the world right now, but it's also the most essential game on the Switch – one that's singlehandedly worth buying a console for.

The latest and perhaps greatest-ever Zelda is a sprawling affair set in an open Hyrule not bound by the familiar progression structure of past games: you can freely explore the land, take on challenges in any order you choose, and craft, survive, and experiment in the wilds. Kicking the tried-and-true format to the curb has revitalised the franchise, and the result is absolutely brilliant.

Super Mario Odyssey

Got a Switch? If so, you'll need Super Mario Odyssey stat. Alongside Zelda, it's one of the absolute best reasons to have the handheld. In fact, if you don't have the Switch, we advise running out and buying one with both of those games right now. Go on, we'll wait.

Odyssey is a phenomenal new 3D entry that builds upon the likes of Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy with huge, open environments and loads upon loads of collectible moons to uncover by completing challenges and exploring. And this time around, Mario isn't alone: his hat is actually an odd creature that can inhabit other living things, letting Mario control and use the myriad abilities of his many iconic enemies. Strange, right? Yes, but it's a total delight.

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