The 20 best Nintendo Switch games you can buy
Switch it up a little with these addictive games
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2020 isn't a good year for many things, but the Nintendo Switch is one of the few exceptions. While the new Playstation and Xbox consoles are nearly impossible to track down, the Switch has been selling like 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 in no particular order, along with some thoughts about what makes each game so compelling.
1. Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition
Ever since Xenoblade Chronicles made its debut on the Wii years ago, fans have been clamoring for a remaster of one of the best JRPGs of the century. We finally got it in May. The Definitive Edition features upgraded graphics, new soundtracks, and hours of new content to enjoy in this emotional, thrilling, and downright fun adventure.
2. Cadence of Hyrule
If you love rhythm games, dungeon crawlers, and Zelda, this is basically your dream game. In this addicting collaboration between Nintendo and Brace Yourself Games, you’ll be grooving through Hyrule and crushing monsters by dancing to the beat of an earworm of a soundtrack.
3. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
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.
4. Super Mario Odyssey
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.
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.
6. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
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.
7. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
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.
8. Ring Fit Adventure
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.
9. Into the Breach
This indie gem from Subset Games, the studio behind FTL: Faster Than Light, will keep you up all night in a tactical game that feels like a blend between robot warfare, tower defense, and chess. While it’s not as famous as some of the other entries on this list, it’s more than deserving of a spot in your Switch library.
10. Luigi's Mansion 3
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.
11. Fire Emblem: Three Houses
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.
12. Untitled Goose Game
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.
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.
14. Hollow Knight
Hollow Knight is one of those rare games that’s transcended its Kickstarter origins and become a cultural phenomenon. This hauntingly gorgeous tale of a lonely bug in a post-apocalyptic world will leave you bewitched. While many praise it for being one of the best Metroidvanias (i.e. Castlevania- and Metroid-inspired action platformers) of all time, it’s really the ambiance that makes this an unforgettable experience.
15. Super Mario Maker 2
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.
16. Pokemon Sword & Shield
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.
17. Kentucky Route Zero
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.
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.
19. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
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.
20. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
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.
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