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Nintendo Switch games that don’t support handheld mode

Unlike the Nintendo Switch, the Switch Light has one major caveat: It’s made for games that support handheld mode. This includes a plethora of titles such as Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Super Mario Odyssey, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and many more.

While Switch Lite users will be able to play practically every game in the standard console’s library, several games will either be inaccessible or impractical to play on the portable console. Nintendo suggests looking at the back of every game you want to buy or checking the game’s page in the Nintendo eShop to see if it supports handheld mode.

Even if a game does not support handheld mode or uses tabletop mode, you’ll still be able to play it on the Switch Light, but it will require players to connect to the game wirelessly using Joy-Cons. You’ll also need to invest in a playstand if you want to be able to prop up your Switch Light since it ditched the flimsy kickstand.

Nintendo Switch games that don’t support (or are impracticable in) handheld mode

Nintendo Labo

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Nintendo Labo, the weird cardboard DIY experience, won’t be supported on Switch Lite. That means no Variety Kit, Robot Kit, Vehicle Kit, or VR Kit. Considering Labo builds require you to detach the Joy-Con and dock the console in cardboard slots, it makes total sense why it’s not supported on Switch Lite. It simply isn’t possible.

While Labo is a neat idea, the majority of fun comes from creating the builds. The actual games that you can play after completing your creations are pretty shallow. We doubt anyone is rushing to the store to buy a Switch specifically for the gameplay in Labo.

Super Mario Party

Best Nintendo Switch multiplayer games
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Super Mario Party only supports docked and tabletop mode. You cannot dock the Switch Lite, nor does it support tabletop mode, so that means you cannot play Super Mario Party on the console as is. You’ll want a stand to prop the Switch Lite up if you decide to go the wireless Joy-Con route, and you’ll have to buy one or two sets of Joy-Con ($80 for a pair) if you want to play with a full party. You’ll wind up spending roughly $250 to get the whole show up and running. Super Mario Party is good, but it’s not that good.

1-2 Switch

thanksgiving games 1-2 switch
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1-2 Switch is in the same boat as Super Mario Party, except it’s restricted to two players. But we’ll be honest, playing this bizarre launch game in “tabletop” mode isn’t very appealing. 1-2 Switch requires players to sit or stand in front of or on the side of the console to play the mini-games, which range from milking a cow to an old-fashioned duel.

1-2 Switch is best played on a TV screen, and it’s really more of a tech demo showing off the Switch’s HD Rumble feature anyway, so it shouldn’t make or break your decision.

Just Dance series

Just Dance 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 will work on Switch Lite, but again, you’ll need to purchase extra Joy-Cons to connect wirelessly to the console. Just Dance, Ubisoft’s long-running dance rhythm series, is ideally played on a TV since you need to have some distance between yourself and the screen. Following along to the dance moves on the Switch Lite’s 5.5-inch display probably won’t be a great way to play.

Fitness Boxing

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A workout game centered around — you guessed it — boxing, Fitness Boxing use Joy-Con motion controls to add some exercise into your gaming routine. You’ll be throwing a lot of punches in this game and it’s highly recommended to play on the big screen. The tabletop mode in Fitness Boxing isn’t bad, but again, buying an extra Joy-Con is required for Switch Lite play.

Ring Fit Adventure

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Described as an exercise RPG, Ring Fit Adventure sends you on a quest to defeat enemies using a variety of gameplay mechanics. By using the Ring-Con (similar to a pilates ring) and the Leg Strap, the game tracks your movement, similar to the Just Dance games. Though the action may remind you of Wii Fit or Just Dance, this is definitely an adventure game that gets you moving.

Participants need to have the ability to run, jump, and move into specific positions to travel around this environment; They’ll also need those mobility skills to face the ultimate boss. These techniques and overall mechanics aren’t exactly mind-bending technology. It’s probably all stuff you’ve seen before— however, the storyline and snowballing challenges will keep you hooked on the game. You’ll also come across several mini-games that may make your experience worthwhile. 

In order to successfully play this game on a Switch Lite, you’ll have to use a pair of Joy-Con controllers—unfortunately, you won’t be able to play with a Ring-Con controller. Switch Lites create a complicated level of gameplay because you have to stand a pretty far distance away from the console. You won’t be able to see the screen as well as competitors from that distance. 

We think you’ll find you have the best experience playing Ring Fit Adventure on the original Switch. This is a great way to move your body around and get active, but we will point out that it’s hard finding the game and Ring-Con in stock.

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Steven Petite
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Steven is a writer from Northeast Ohio currently based in Louisiana. He writes about video games and books, and consumes…
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