Tech

The 16 best Nintendo Switch games you can buy

Switch it up a little with these addictive games

A group of friends stand on a beach in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Credit: Nintendo

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2020 isn't a good year for many things, but the Nintendo Switch is one of the few exceptions. It's been selling gangbusters all year, which means you might be one of the many people with a new baby Nintendo console wondering, what should I play next? Or you might be thinking about taking the plunge and wondering what looks cool out there these days.

In either case, we’ve compiled a list of the best, most interesting games you can buy for the Nintendo Switch in 2020 just for you. From the big classics to the hidden gems, here are our expert gaming recommendations, along with some thoughts about who each game might be best for.

1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

botw
Credit: Nintendo

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was a launch title with the Switch in 2017. It is highly regarded as one of the best Zelda games of all time, and it has revolutionized how we think of open-world games since its debut.

Okay, let's get the obvious out of the way. Even three years later, Breath of the Wild is the Switch's killer game. A sweeping, grand adventure that reinvents the formula of The Legend of Zelda by borrowing from its origins, this game is perfect for anyone who likes to explore and find their own fun.

Get The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on Amazon for $49.94

2. Super Mario Odyssey

mario odyssey
Credit: Nintendo

Super Mario Odyssey is an incredibly fun 3D platformer that has Mario running around a bunch of new environments, where he can make friends and take over enemies' minds.

Wa-ha-hoo! This is Mario's flagship adventure on the Switch, and it's a great one. Across a series of beautiful levels on the way to crash a nefarious wedding, you'll get to collect coins, jump on Goombas, and make friends with a cool hat. If you love classic Nintendo or need more wonder in your life, this is a must-have.

Get Super Mario Odyssey on Amazon for $49.94

3. Paratopic

paratopic
Credit: Arbitrary Metric

Paratopic is a surreal horror that takes you through a cryptic story that you must uncover. Each videotape is more enticing than the last.

Sure, the Switch has a lot of bright, family-friendly fare, but maybe that's not what you're into. If you want something on the weirder side, try Paratopic. It's a short but focused dose of surreal horror, telling the story of videotapes that might be haunted and a series of journeys that don't go how they're supposed to. This is the game for people who would rather put on a David Lynch movie when it's time to relax.

Get Paratopic on the Nintendo eShop UK for £4.99

4. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

mario kart
Credit: Nintendo

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the kind of whacky, hectic game that can provide endless hours of fun for everyone.

Mario Kart’s legacy dates back to the eighties, and its decades of experience have accumulated into a game so fun that this winner-take-all racing game is still a top-ten best-seller in the Nintendo eShop three years after release. If you want to share the Switch with friends and family, this is basically the perfect game.

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Get Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on Amazon for $49.94

5. Animal Crossing: New Horizons

acnh
Credit: Nintendo

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the perfect game to start a second life on a quiet island, where you can invite your friends over to craft, run around and stargaze.

This is the one you've probably heard of, but we simply can't leave it out. A charming, chilled out life simulator about making a home for yourself on an island with a bunch of anthropomorphic animal friends, this is the social game of 2020. Visit your friends' islands, haggle over turnip prices, try not to go too hard collecting a bunch of furniture.

Get Animal Crossing: New Horizons on Amazon for $59.99

6. Ring Fit Adventure

ring fit
Credit: Nintendo

Ring Fit Adventure is Wii Sports' spiritual successor, offering a corny story to hopefully distract you from the grueling workouts this game will put you through. It's a perfect introduction to a high intensity exercise routine.

If you want to get into better shape while you game, Ring Fit Adventure is probably the best purchase you can make for the Switch. Coming with its own peripherals that turn the Nintendo JoyCon controllers into a neat exercise ring, this game takes you through a role-playing adventure that you win by working your core into shape. It's one of the best exercise games out there in terms of actually being fun. Just don't play it too long, you will be sore in the morning.

Get Ring Fit Adventure on Amazon for $79.99

7. Luigi's Mansion 3

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Credit: Nintendo / Next Level Games

Luigi's Mansion 3 is an awesome entry into this beloved franchise, taking its usual ghost-busting shtick into a long-abandoned hotel.

Poor Luigi is always in his brother's shadow. It's unfortunate, as he's the star of a stellar series of haunted house games that see the taller, flightier brother catching ghosts with a fancy vacuum cleaner. This is the ideal pick if you prefer underdogs, like the idea of horror games (but get spooked easily), or are really into Ghostbusters.

Get Luigi's Mansion 3 on Amazon for $49.94

8. Fire Emblem: Three Houses

fe3h
Credit: Nintendo / Intelligent Systems

Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a tactical role-playing game that cycles through engaging combat, impactful storytelling, and deep bonds with your students and fellow soldiers.

Set in a medieval-era world of magic and statecraft, Fire Emblem: Three Houses is sort of like Harry Potter if it was about teaching people to wage war and didn’t have a problematic creator. If you enjoy slow, tactical combat and managing complex social systems, this is for you. It helps if you're into tea parties.

Get Fire Emblem: Three Houses on Amazon for $49.94

9. Untitled Goose Game

Untitled Goose Game
Credit: House House / Panic

Untitled Goose Game is a hilariously honking adventure where you can do no harm... because you are an innocent goose, who just so happens to be where all the mischief happens.

For lovers of chaos everywhere, Untitled Goose Game is simple: you're a goose. You want to steal things and cause problems in a small English village. And so you will. Bright, silly, and shockingly entertaining, this is one of the best indie games on the Switch.

Get Untitled Goose Game on Amazon for $19.99

10. Celeste

celeste
Credit: Matt Makes Games

Celeste is a game that will take you through the hurdles of mental health through a harrowing journey to reach the top of Mt. Celeste.

Celeste is a challenging and moving journey about climbing a mountain and learning to accept yourself. Another stunning indie game, this one is great for players who miss 2D platformers of days gone by, and who aren't afraid to die a few times on the way to the summit. Be prepared to face your demons.

Get Celeste on the Nintendo eShop for $19.99

11. Super Mario Maker 2

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Credit: Nintendo

Super Mario Maker 2 takes the first game's formula and refines it into a complex, endlessly engaging puzzle maker that you can share in person or online.

Playing Mario games is great, sure, but how about you make your own? Super Mario Maker 2 is the supreme creative experience on the console, a means to make your own Mario levels and share your creations with the world. If you just like playing Mario, there's a lot for you here, too, with a nearly infinite series of mind-bending, expertly crafted levels to explore.

Get Super Mario Maker 2 on Amazon for $39.99

12. Pokemon Sword & Shield

Pokemon s and s
Credit: Nintendo / Game Freak

Sword and Shield are the eighth entries of the main Pokemon games, this time introducing Gigantamax Pokemon and some hyped-up gym battles.

Everyone likes Pokemon. These two titles are the newest mainline games in the series, taking the player to a Poke-version of the United Kingdom called the Galar region. With 400 Pokemon to catch, including 81 new ones, this is the best way to continue what Pokemon Go started now that you're spending a lot more time inside.

Get Pokemon Sword & Shield on Amazon for $59.99

13. Kentucky Route Zero

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Credit: Cardboard Computer / Annapurna Interactive

Kentucky: Route Zero is a whimsical tale that whisks you through a contemplative journey you'll never forget.

Kentucky Route Zero is the Platonic ideal of the modern adventure game. It's beautifully written, incisive, poetry in motion and in play. One of the best games of the decade, it's now all completed and out on the Switch. Take it with you into bed, curl up, meditate on it for a while. Try not to learn too much about this one. Just go into it thoughtfully.

Get Kentucky Route Zero on Amazon for $24.99

14. Gorogoa

gorogoa
Credit: Jason Roberts / Annapurna Interactive

Gorogoa is one of the most beautiful games you'll ever play, and it's an amazing puzzle game to boot.

Gorogoa is the prettiest puzzle game on the Nintendo Switch, hands down. Occupy a slowly unfolding world like something out of a painting in this ingenuous, moving puzzler. You can get this one on a lot of platforms, but it's a perfect fit for the Switch.

Get Gorogoa on the Nintendo eShop for $14.99

15. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

SSBU
Credit: Nintendo

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has every character ever introduced into a Smash Brothers game, plus a ton of new ones to mess around with and play with your pals.

Another game you might already know about, but we can't possibly leave this one off the list. A big approachable fighting game bonanza, this one includes just about every Nintendo-adjacent character you could possibly want. It's a perfect party game and pretty fun to dig into on your own, too.

Get Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on Amazon for $59.99

awake
Credit: Nintendo / Grezzo

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening is a jaw-droppingly beautiful, charmingly quirky and surreal adventure that harkens back to old-school dungeons and explorations.

If you prefer the adventures of a noble hero and his cool sword in two dimensions, this remake of the Game Boy game, Link's Awakening, is the best you're going to find on the Switch. It's an off-beat, strange game, but has a ton of heart and a lot of beauty packed inside of it. Help Link save a mysterious dream island and make his way home.

Get The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening on Amazon for $49.94

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