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7 of the Best Nintendo Switch Games

Updated on August 22, 2018

The Nintendo Switch is the most innovative kind of console you can find on the market today. You can play with it docked in its docking station on a television, on the go with the help of the tablet or even with friends with the kickstand on the back of the tablet provided. The Joy Con controllers included with the console has also revolutionized the way to experience games, each containing an accelerometer, gyroscope and motion control, which can also be interpreted as a successor from the Nintendo Wii’s Wiimote.
Today we’ll be taking a look at some of the most essential games every Switch owner should have in their library of games.

1. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

Originally ported from the Wii U edition which was released back in 2014, the Switch version of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze still maintains the difficulty and ridiculously tough bosses, yet it comes with a new play mode dubbed "Funky Mode". Don't be fooled: Funky Mode isn't necessarily made for inexperienced players, but it makes the game considerably easier. While you wouldn't be able to easily breeze your way through levels, the only difference is that you'll get a few extra chances to correct your mistake. This mode lets you play as either Donkey Kong or Funky Kong, the coolest of all the Kongs. Funky can be played with his trusty surfboard at his side, which ultimately feathers the player's falls. This makes Funky's jumps far more forgiving than any other character's prop. The surfboard also makes the player immune to spike damage for a short period of time.
As if the addition of Funky Kong and his Funky Mode wasn't enough to take the edge off of the crushing difficulty of the Switch port of the game, Funky Mode gives the player an extra heart for each level and increases the chances of health replenishing hearts to appear.

The difficulty of Tropical Freeze is unrelenting, but highly rewarding. Take the rocket-barrel levels that appear later in the game as an example. You need to navigate tiny, deadly corridors using the clunkiest controls found in the entire game. The boss battles are also quite difficult, yet it's perfectly justified because that's how boss fights should feel like.

All-in-all, the Switch version of this game is still as difficult as the Wii U version, yet the addition of the Funky Mode takes the edge off of the crushing difficulty to make the platforming quality of the game shine bright. It’s definitely a must-have for gamers who prefer rewarding games. As for replay value, the game might be worthwhile to keep just to see how frustrated your mates get when they first said that it’s "just a game".

2. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was one of the best RPGS to release back in 2011. Initially it was launched on the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC, but later on it was announced that the PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch would also get a piece of the epic Dragonborn action. Everyone knows that an RPG may take days, weeks or even hours of constant game play to fully complete, so imagine having a game like this play on a mobile console like the Switch?

Nobody can argue, Skyrim is addictive as crack. Not only do you make your own character and complete daunting missions, you can develop skills, build your own house by hand, adopt children and explore a massively expansive map. The Nintendo Switch version of Skyrim comes with all the necessary DLC's for the full Skyrim experience. Aside from competing the main storyline of the game, you'll come across several NPC's with various kinds of side-quests to complete. Even if you don't feel like doing that, you'll find over 150 dungeons scattered across the world, each with untold riches and enemies. Some are a breeze to loot, while others will have you respawning at the entrance several times.
Don't worry about going it alone; you can have a follower with you on your adventures. They can help you in combat, do things for you and even carry some of your stuff (which is very useful since you'll be picking up a lot of valuable stuff throughout the game). Followers can be found in shops and taverns or even gained once you become the Thane of a hold. One of the most fundamental elements of the game is how you choose to complete missions, either by using excessive force and going in all-swords-blazing, or taking a stealthier approach by picking off your enemies one by one.

The game has an incredibly useful mechanic for showing whether enemies are searching for you or not. This exact same mechanic is also used when you're trying to pickpocket an NPC. If you're caught committing a crime (for example, stealing something or harming someone), you'll be pursued by the hold's guards. Either you'll have to fight to the death or submit and run the risk of losing all your "earned" goods and paying a hefty fine. In some cases, your bounty can be so high that the only option would be to go to prison. From there you can try your hand at using a single lockpick to escape or wait out your sentence and lose some valuable skill points.

Skyrim is a must-have for the Nintendo Switch because of the fact that you'll be able to enjoy this gem of a game on the go. It has massive replay value, mostly because of the fact that Skyrim is such a huge game that seemingly nobody would ever say that they completed it completely. Some reports suggest that the entire game has about over 300 hours of gameplay.

3. The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild

The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild was one of the first games to come out on the Nintendo Switch, yet it's still regarded as the perfect example of what the Switch is capable of. Right from the beginning, the player will experience the vast landscapes of Hyrule. Almost like Skyrim, players will be able to explore the whole world around them, often finding their interest piqued by mysterious landmarks, hidden puzzles and enemy camps. Unlike most games, you have the freedom to do what you want at your own pace. While the game can be interpreted as a survival game as well, the fact that the player has the freedom to move about the world around them is extremely liberating.

The graphics of the game is absolutely breathtaking. From grass-filled fields to alpine mountains, the game's visuals is absolutely mesmerising. Along with the game's stunning looks, the physics found throughout the game is surprising, to say the least. Fields of grass can be set ablaze (on purpose or by accident), trees bear fruit and even the enemies and animals behave in completely realistic ways. Materials even react upon forces. Take things like rocks and metallic blocks as an example. These items can be influenced by fire and magnetism, just like in real life. This makes for surprisingly fun and interactive sandbox-like interactions throughout the game.

Link, the character you play as, has several needs. This is what essentially makes the game a bit of a survival game. As you'd expect any other normal human being, Link needs food, water, and warmer clothes to survive various kinds of weather/environmental conditions. Yet, what makes this game such a must-have for Nintendo Switch owner is the sheer feeling of freedom you get throughout gameplay. One of the most rewarding elements in the game is, if you can see it in the distance, you can probably get there. Finding your way there may be a puzzle in itself, but still rewarding nonetheless.

4. Mariokart 8 Deluxe

What's a Nintendo console without a Mariokart addition to its game roster? Utterly disappointing, that's what. Luckily for us, Mariokart 8 Deluxe was ported to the Nintendo Switch from the Wii U, with some added DLC content. All 48 racecourses, 42 characters and speed classes are unlocked right from the beginning, which means that you'll be able to dive right into the racing action. One new oddly useful feature to the game is a feature called "Smart Steering", which basically helps less-experienced Mariokart drivers keep from driving off of the road. This can be quite annoying for Mariokart aficionados because the setting is left on by default and there is no clear indication as to how to shut it off at first.

Nevertheless, the game is still an absolute delight, not only in the graphics department but in the overall gameplay as well. The racecourses are particularly well designed, even for the courses originally remastered from older Mariokart entries such as the Rainbow Road track from the SNES. Even though the game's frame rate drops from 60 fps to 30 fps when trying to play together with four friends on a single Switch, that's hardly a turnoff from the whole racing experience.

The Nintendo Switch version of Mariokart 8 Deluxe also features a revamped Battle Mode not found on the Wii U version. Nintendo added five smart objective-based modes, each and every one with its own competitive angle and arenas. These modes include Balloon Battle, Shrine Thief, Bob-bomb Blast and Coin Runners. Most of these modes are reminiscent of those found in previous Mariokart entries, but Mariokart 8 Deluxe takes them to another level.
One brand new Battle Mode that can be found on Mariokart 8 for the very first time is called Renegade Roundup. It's a round-based mode in which a team of outlaws try to avoid a squad of Piranha Plant cops until the timer runs out. If a teammate gets caught, he/she can be rescued with the use of some skillful driving. The risks become excruciating once you're the last man standing.

Mariokart 8 Deluxe is an essential addition to any Nintendo Switch owner, both because of the fact that the multiplayer gameplay can be highly entertaining and that the game has enormous replay value.

5. Splatoon 2

Now (literally) with a fresh lick of paint, Splatoon 2 was released on the Nintendo Switch as a sequel to the first release on the Wii U in 2015. While it's not a completely new game as much as it is a new version of the first one, it comes with the best post-launch updates including some new toys. Splatoon 2 is a non-violent team-based shooter chock full of fun, with an added co-op Horde Mode that'll keep you coming back for more.

The name of the game is to use ink-based weapons to splatter enemies and ground in your team colour to control territory, which ultimately leads to extraordinary visual gameplay. Controlling territory has its perks. You'll be far more mobile in your territory, where you'll be able to devise strategies to achieve your team's goals and set up areas for replenishing ammo. The way to victory lies behind being aware of the terrain in the eight maps, ink management and anticipating what the opposition has in mind.
New guns have been added in the post-launch updates, each with distinct uses and aspects. There's also a brand new range of weapon power-ups, many of which can be crucial to breaking strategic stalemates. This includes protective Ink Armour shields, which can protect your entire team from harm, and Tenta Missiles that can lock onto and fire multiple ink strikes on a number of enemies.

In Splatoon 2, you can choose a unique set of gear that can unlock both style and bonuses in combat. Along with that, you can unlock various kinds of abilities according to the number of times you've equipped certain gear. This includes 20 random secondary abilities from increased ink recovery rates to highly specialized abilities such as tracking an enemy who splatted you last. You can even mix and match your gear and inventory for a fully customisable gaming experience according to your playstyle.

The game is a joy to the eyes with graphics that pop and character models with more personality than ever, and the player can switch between motion and non-motion controls with ease. There's also a 32-mission single-player campaign for those who prefer going solo. This also provides you with the chance to test out each and every weapon that can be found in the game, which is of great value for those who wish to perfect their skills for the multiplayer half of the game.

6. Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley is not your average farming simulation RPG. Sure, you need to plant crops and take care of your farm animals, but that doesn't mean the game gets stale after a while of doing the same thing over and over again. There's a whole world to explore outside of just your farm, interesting people to befriend and riches to discover.

Players get dumped onto their own farm with nothing more than a house, hand-me-down tools, a handful of coins and seeds. Since every "day" in the game lasts about 10 to 20 minutes, it'll take a while for crops to grow. In the meantime, players can instead choose to explore the Valley in search of valuable items such as shells, wild fruits, ect. Players can also take part in other activities to raise money such as fishing and mining, all the while finding valuable artefacts for the local museum. You can also upgrade your house by building a kitchen, a bigger room and even a nursery for if you find the perfect partner.

Building relationships in Stardew Valley is quite a unique experience. Not only do you have to talk to them, you'll need to lavish them with two acceptable gifts a week to make your relationship stronger. Every so often, you'll find yourself in a cut scene with your friend, in which you'll either find out more about his/her backstory or be offered to opportunity to interact with them by choosing an option.
Every season of the game is a month on a calendar, which means that every year in the game is about four months long. Each season, there's a few festivals or events that take place. Players can participate in the festivities or buy special items to decorate their houses with.

In Stardew Valley, there's always something to do, no matter what. That's what makes this game so good. Tons of replay value, healthy fun and a relaxing atmosphere.

7. Super Mario Odyssey

Super Mario Odyssey redefines the very platforming genre Mario built over 3 decades ago. It fuses classic 2D style gameplay with a 3D world, and the new possession mechanic adds a constant variety to Mario's abilities and exploits. In the game, Mario's hat (charmingly named "Cappy") has suddenly become a sentient being who teams up with him to rescue his sister Tiara who was kidnapped by Bowser (along with Princess Peach, as usual). Mario can use Cappy's superpower to possess characters and use their unique capabilities. Cappy can also be used as a jumping pad or a weapon.

It's best not to spoil which characters you'll be able to take control of in the campaign, but I'm pretty sure everyone knows about the T-rex by now. Players can also find themselves in challenges reminiscent of the earlier Mario games, complete with retro grade gameplay and a modern twist such as a switch in gravity or blending a 2D scene around a 3D corner.
Mario also gets a ton brand-spanking new outfits, which is fun to see get translated into the 8-bit art style. You can mix and match hats and outfits as much as you'd like as well. Players can also discover some nifty mini-games hidden inside levels along their journey such as an RC car race and a jump-rope challenge.

While the game is anything but a pain to play in handheld mode, I'd suggest playing it on a television as often as you can. This is because of the fact that some minute details cannot be appreciated on the smaller size of a Switch screen, but nevertheless, the game is still every bit as good in handheld mode.

Even if you've completed the game's campaign, the whole sandbox nature of the game is what keeps your interest. Some of the best content gets unlocked after the game's credits roll. Unlockables that remind players of the past, a new implementation of an old friend and even entirely new worlds await players beyond the campaign.

Which one of these Nintendo Switch titles is your favorite?

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    • Nadia Nieuwenhuiz profile imageAUTHOR

      Julia Crawford 

      2 years ago from South Africa

      In my opinion, I think it's totally worth it. The console itself is a unique and novel concept that can only get better as the years go on. Just look at Nintendo Labo. One reason why you'd probably want to hold off for a while, is that Nintendo has a history of making their handheld consoles bigger and better. The screen and graphics of the Nintendo Switch has enough room for improvement, which is a perfect opportunity for Nintendo to make a Nintendo Switch XL.

      But, that's just my suspicions. I don't know how they would be able to incorporate the size of the universal Joy Cons to the bigger screen, which is the only missing piece to the puzzle, I guess.

      My suggestion? If you really want a Nintendo Switch at this moment, make sure you get your money's worth with a bundled videogame and/or useful peripherals such as the pro controller. Keep your eyes peeled for sales on the console, since the price of this particular console just doesn't want to fluctuate like the others such as the Xbox One or the PS4.

      However, the Nintendo Switch isn't meant for hardcore gamers. It's something more suitable for casual gamers that enjoy playing with their friends.

      One of the hottest games on the console right now is Super Mario Party, and its a perfect example of what casual gamers want.

      Overall, I think it's worth it in the long run. But like I've said, a bigger and better version of the current Nintendo Switch might be coming in the future, which is the only reason why you'd want to hold off for now.

      Sorry for the lengthy response! Thanks for reading.

    • poppyr profile image

      Poppy 

      2 years ago from Enoshima, Japan

      Thank you for this article. I've been on the fence for a while about whether to get a Nintendo Switch or not. A couple of years ago I always had friends round to play Kart and Smash Bros on the Wii U and it was a huge amount of fun. Do you think it's worth getting a Switch?

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