Nintendo Switch games that don’t support handheld mode

The Switch Lite is handheld only, which will make some games hard to play

nintendo labo full review 8
Mike Epstein/Digital Trends

Nintendo just unveiled the long-rumored Switch Lite, a sleek $200 handheld-only Switch with non-detachable Joy-Con. Launching September 20, the Switch Lite will undoubtedly be a huge seller this holiday season with Pokémon Sword and Shield, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, and more slated to arrive in the coming months.

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 Switch’s library, several games will either be inaccessible or impractical to play on the handheld-only 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. If you don’t already own a Nintendo Switch, you’ll need to pick up a Joy-Con charging grip so you can charge the controllers. You’ll also need to invest in a stand if you want to be able to prop up your Switch Light since it ditched the flimsy kickstand.

We know — it’s a lot to keep in mind. That’s why we’ve included a list of games that don’t support handheld-mode.

Nintendo Labo

nintendo labo vr kit review hands on discover toy con garage

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 anyway. The actual games that you can play after completing builds are pretty shallow. We doubt anyone is rushing to the store to buy a Switch specifically for Labo.

Super Mario Party

Best Nintendo Switch multiplayer games

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

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

nintendo switch games that dont support handheld mode just dance 2019

Just Dance 2017, 2018, 2019, and the upcoming 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. 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

nintendo switch games that dont support handheld mode fitness boxing

A workout game centered around, you guessed it, boxing. Fitness Boxing utilizes Joy-Con motion controls to add some exercise into your gaming routine. The tabletop mode in Fitness Boxing isn’t bad, but again, buying extra Joy-Con is required for Switch Lite to play.


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