The Nintendo Switch has had a lot of success in the four years since its release. The console-handheld hybrid has been on the market since 2017, and a slew of promising ports in the first few months of that year gave early adopters a healthy diet of new titles to enjoy. Big first-party exclusives helped build the system’s success early on, though that momentum slowed in 2020 and 2021 with a lighter release schedule. Things picked up eventually, though, thanks to hits like Metroid Dread. Plus, there’s an all-new Switch model out now that features a better OLED screen and a few bells and whistles.
There are plenty of other games to enjoy on the Switch right now. Some recent highlights include Shin Megami Tensei V and Pokémon Legends: Arceus. This list of the best Nintendo Switch games also includes the best free Switch games for those players on a budget.
Full stop, Bayonetta 2 is absolutely bonkers. Sure, there have been wild action games in the past, but Bayonetta 2 takes it to a new level. It stars everyone’s favorite Umbra Witch, the titular Bayonetta, as she battles demons in style. The game begins with a fight on top of a jet flying through a city, just to give you a sense of how ridiculous it is. One cool thing about this game is that Bayonetta can shapeshift into different creatures such as a panther, snake, crow, and others. The combat itself is immensely satisfying, with plenty of nuances for you to master. The better you perform, the more currency you’ll earn to spend on items, which come in handy. Despite positive review scores, Bayonetta has always been an underrated gem, though we’re hoping things pick up with the third installment.
The latest from indie hit factory Supergiant Games, Hades is a rogue-lite action RPG that puts players in the shoes of the prince of…wait for it…Hades. As it turns out, you’re not so keen on the place. It’s dark, cramped, depressing, and your dad is a real peach. So, naturally, you want to do the impossible — escape.
Hades feels positively electric to play. You’ll often die, but you’ll also often feel like an absolute rock star. Even when you die, you’re swiftly returned to the start, giving you a chance to try again after only a brief pause to check out any upgrades you might’ve unlocked.
It doesn’t hurt that Hades, like past Supergiant Games efforts, has stellar production values. The art, voice acting, and music are without peer, and they give Hades a blinding sheen of polish that even big-budget AAA games often lack. That fact is especially apparent in Hades taking home the Game Award for Best Action game, beating out massive titles like Doom Eternal.
When the first Hyrule Warriors game was originally released on the Wii U, it didn’t seem like much more than a niche spinoff. The hack-and-slash game turned Zelda into Dynasty Warriors with larger-than-life battles. It wasn’t a replacement for mainline Zelda adventures, but it showed that the franchise had some untapped potential when it came to side games. Nintendo capitalized on that promise with Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, a more fully realized entry that opens the doors wide open for the series’ future.
Unlike the first game, Age of Calamity is part of the actual Zelda cannon. It acts as a pseudo-prequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and tells the story of the Great Calamity. While the game presents itself as a Zelda version of Rogue One where you know that Hyrule is doomed, the story takes some unexpected twists that make for an exciting Zelda side story. With more characters, weapons, and secrets to uncover, Age of Calamity is a high-quality action game that sets a new bar for Nintendo spinoffs.
Platinum Games has established itself as one of the best action game studios in the world, with critical darlings like Bayonetta 2 and the existential Nier: Automata. Automata lead designer Takahisa Taura got his first chance to direct with the Switch-exclusive Astral Chain, which doubles down on the insane action that Platinum Games has prided itself on for the last decade. Rather than the post-apocalypse, though, you’re in a bustling stylized sci-fi city that is under attack by mysterious interdimensional forces, and it’s up to you to stop it.
Astral Chain gives you simultaneous control of the protagonist and several Legion characters. This mix of direct and indirect combat is at the heart of the game, but you will also investigate mysteries and solve puzzles along the way. And you can pet the game’s dog-like Legion, so you know it’s good.