Sony and Microsoft are kicking off the next generation of video game consoles in November with the launch of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. They’ll both cost a bundle and could be nearly impossible to obtain this holiday season. Thankfully Nintendo already has a horse in the race with the Switch. Unlike any PlayStation or Xbox, the Switch can be played on your TV screen or on the go. (There’s also the Nintendo Switch Lite, which costs $100 less, which plays nearly all of the same games, but can’t be connected to a TV.)
To be clear, the Switch made its debut back in 2017, so it’s not going toe-to-toe with the graphical prowess of the next-gen consoles. But the Switch’s flexibility in moving locations — even if it’s just room to room — and the fact that it’s the only place you can play the latest and greatest Nintendo-exclusive franchises like Zelda, Mario, Pokemon and Animal Crossing gives it an advantage 2020’s shiny new consoles will have a tough time countering. In fact, unlike Nintendo’s previous Wii and Wii U consoles, the Switch has built up a huge library of games, including plenty of third-party titles and some games that can already be considered bona fide classics.
Let’s run through a few of our favorites, which we’ll update periodically. Note that the red buttons are links to third-party retailers, most of which are the cartridge version of the game in question, though some (where indicated) are digital codes for download. Direct links to the Nintendo eShop downloads are also included, if you’d prefer to buy directly from Nintendo.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
No big deal, Breath of the Wild is only the consensus best game of 2017. The game many believe is the best ever made. The game that somehow managed to actually outsell the Nintendo Switch itself on launch.
Still no idea how that actually happened, but it did.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a legitimate masterpiece that strips back the open-world genre to its core elements and rewrites its DNA for pure adventure.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Folks, in these dark and troubled days, it’s time to disappear into a new world, get a virtual mortgage and work your ass off to pay that sucker off quick smart.
Return of the Obra Dinn
Return of the Obra Dinn is the most recent game from Lucas Pope, the man behind Papers, Please.
It’s a genuine, proper masterpiece. An investigation story, essentially, you arrive onto the Obra Dinn a ship where almost all the crewmates have died. Via flashbacks you try to piece together the story of what happened. It’s strange, innovative and completely unforgettable.
Untitled Goose Game
Untitled Goose Game is a game about being a goose.
And not just any goose, a horrible goose. An asshole goose who makes life extremely difficult for everyone around him. Untitled Goose Game absolutely took the world by storm. Even Chrissie Teigen is obsessed with it.
But is it good? Yes. Very good. This one should absolutely be on any and all Nintendo Switch consoles.
Super Mario 3D All-Stars
A package containing Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy could hardly be bad, right?
Well it’s not perfect — the games have aged and there are a few control issues — but it’s hard to argue with the value of Super Mario 3D All-Stars. Especially for those who have fond memories of Mario throughout the years.
Among Us is one of the most popular games in the world right now. While the Nintendo Switch might not be the ideal platform, I’d argue it’s the best way for kids to play. There’s no chance of them coming across audio chats with teenagers swearing at one another, plus the chat is censored.
But Carrion calls itself a “reverse horror game”. You play as a tentacled monster, creeping through a facility, killing all the humans in your path. A very unique, innovative game that’s worth your time, money and energy.
Don’t believe the online hype, this is one of the best games in the series so far. It’s also great to see Pokemon being available on Nintendo’s premium console, the Nintendo Switch.
That’s not to mention the endless replay value that comes with the insane user-created levels.
Super Mario Odyssey is a Nintendo game that continues in the spirit of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. All bets are off, everything you thought you knew about Mario has been reinvented. But here’s what remains: perfectly tuned, precision gameplay that feels incredible every second your hands are on the controller.
Dear lord, this game is a stone-cold classic.
Not too much has changed, but Mario Kart 8 is about as definitive as it gets. It’s stacked with playable characters, inventive tracks and brand-new features. It remains the most compelling multiplayer game on the Nintendo Switch.
With incredible level design and flawlessly tuned precision platforming, Celeste is one of the best games of its type ever released. It’s smart, charming and dense with content.