The Nintendo Switch has been on a tear since it launched in 2017. It started off strong with what ended up being 2017’s Game of the Year — The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild — and kept up the momentum this year with a reign of addictively fun games such as Octopath Traveler and Mario Tennis Aces.
The Switch isn’t just a good platform for first-party Nintendo titles, it’s a host to a wide range of stellar third-party role-playing, strategy, action, adventure, shooters, and more. If you’re looking into picking up a Switch, thinking of getting a Switch Lite, or on the lookout for more games to add to your library, we’ve compiled a list of the best Nintendo Switch games available today.
My Friend Pedro
What do you get when you combine the precision-shot action of Hotline Miami, the acrobatics of Trials, and the slow-motion bullet time effect from the Max Payne series? If that formula also includes one sentient banana, then you are either tripping on acid or playing My Friend Pedro. Split across several creative and perplexing levels, your goal is simple: Kill everyone and reach the exit. That’s easier said than done, of course, especially when turrets are locking onto your position to deliver a torrential downpour of bullets.
My Friend Pedro is the perfect game to play in the Switch’s handheld mode, too, because a level typically only takes a few minutes to complete. A surreal story gradually unravels as you progress, and special vehicular sections offer a nice burst of all-out action that differs from the methodical play of the rest of the game.
Enter the Gungeon
Developed by Dodge Roll and published by renowned indie studio Devolver Digital, Enter the Gungeon is one of the Switch’s absolute must-play indie titles. Enter the Gungeon is a challenging dungeon crawler with twitchy shooting mechanics and copious amounts of loot to uncover. It’s also a roguelike, though not in the traditional sense. All rooms stay the same, but the enemies, treasure, and location of the rooms are randomly generated.
Working your way deeper and deeper into the dungeon is a difficult task filled with worthwhile rewards. With great mechanics, entertaining lore, and mysteries to discover in every dark corner, Enter the Gungeon is an enthralling action experience. Although available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, the top-down retro aesthetic feels great when playing in handheld mode on the Nintendo Switch.
The original Splatoon reinvented the multiplayer shooter by taking the emphasis off of simply eliminating enemies, and its unique ink-spraying online matches were unlike anything we had ever seen before. The Switch sequel, Splatoon 2, largely sticks to the formula we saw previously, but its inventive new multiplayer maps and weapons make the game even more engaging. The game’s humor is also back in full force, with puns galore and user-created artwork that is both hilarious and terrifying.
For those more interested in playing cooperatively, the Salmon Run mode is a great addition to Splatoon 2. Groups of four players must collect golden eggs while fending off waves of evil Salmonids, and it’s as ridiculous as it sounds. Just make sure all your friends have their own systems, as the game doesn’t support split-screen multiplayer.
Read our full Splatoon 2 review
Ape Out is a top-down kill fest starring an ape that makes humans explode into a pile of blood-soaked limbs. The latest game from Devolver Digital is simplistic but wonderful. In each of the game’s four chapters, you’re tasked with navigating an ape from captivity to freedom. The road to freedom is paved with gun-wielding guards that will shoot rather than ask questions. Thankfully, you can turn each and every guard into mush by shoving them, or you can use them as body shields before tossing them aside.
Ape Out maintains an addictive rhythm thanks to its jazzy soundtrack that interacts with what is happening on screen. Snare drums beat continuously, picking up the pace when in danger, and cymbals crash to mark the deaths of enemies. Ape is challenging but never feels unfair. Randomization keeps each successive retry feel as intense as the last.
Dark Souls: Remastered
Although it came a bit later and isn’t as pretty as the Xbox One and PS4 versions, Dark Souls: Remastered on Switch is the only way to play the notoriously challenging action game on the go. It’s a big step up from the original in terms of performance.
Dark Souls is a modern classic for its unforgiving difficulty, meticulous design, and a gameplay loop that rewards only those who take the time to learn its intricate combat system. Yes, Dark Souls isn’t for everyone, but if you’re up for the challenge, it can provide a level of satisfaction rarely found in the genre.