The Nintendo Switch has been out for 3 years now. In that time, Nintendo has established an impressive library of games exclusive to the console, due to the several beloved series under Nintendo’s belt. From action-adventure games to RPGs, the Nintendo Switch has it all.
Today, we’re focusing on the cream of the crop. The best of the best. The finest titles exclusive to the Nintendo Switch.
We have selected 15 of the best Switch exclusives and reviewed them below, in no particular order.
1.) Animal Crossing: New Horizons (2020)
Animal Crossing: New Horizons might be the newest game on the list, but it has quickly earned a spot in our hearts as a must-buy Switch exclusive. The newest installment in Nintendo’s beloved Animal Crossing series features familiar characters like Tom Nook and Isabelle, but also stands out from previous Animal Crossing titles for many reasons.
This time around, the player buys and moves to a deserted island, which they are tasked with improving. Previous Animal Crossing games were set in villages, so players now have more freedom when it comes to exploring and establishing their new town. Players can build waterfalls, mountains, and even shrines. The game has also introduced a new form of currency called Nook Miles, which are earned by completing certain tasks and allow the player to buy premium items.
What makes Animal Crossing: New Horizons so different is that the gameplay is nonlinear, meaning players are given the free will to explore the island at their own leisurely pace. There are no deadlines, only fun to be had.
Perfect for: Gamers who like to take their time
2.) Astral Chain (2019)
Astral Chain is set in the future, in a fictional world called the Ark after an alien invasion results in the destruction of Earth. The player takes on the role of a detective from the special task force and goes on missions to fight aliens with their Legion, a robot that helps the player see the aliens. The game’s title comes from the tether between the player and their Legion.
It’s not your typical hack and slash video game: the 11-mission game features twists and turns you won’t see coming. Aside from that, Astral Chain allows players to customize their character to their heart’s desire.
Astral Chain is a stylish game with depth to boot. It’s no surprise that it won “Nintendo Game of the Year” last year.
Perfect for: Sci-fi dystopian fans
3.) Fire Emblem: Three Houses (2019)
Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a tactical RPG set in the fictional continent of Fódlan. At the outset, players are asked to pick one of three houses that represent the three nations in Fódlan that they will teach at. The player’s choice will affect the rest of the story.
The school setting makes up for the first half of the game. The second half of the game takes place 5 years later and focuses more on battle.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses feels like a fully fleshed out story and world, which is not to say that it is dragging. On the contrary, players can rack up hours into the game just by building relationships with other characters and exploring the setting.
The heart of Fire Emblem: Three Houses lies in its characters, who each have their own backstories that you uncover as you get to know them. In fact, making the wrong moves during battle can get a character killed and removed from the story altogether, which raises the stakes considerably.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses is more than just a tactical RPG game. It’s a tactical game with a lot of heart.
Perfect for: Tactical RPG fans
4.) The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (2019)
When you hear about switch exclusive games this next title is the most awaited and successful game out there.
Having a 17.4 million copies sold worldwide, it’s no wonder that it has a score of 97 on Metacritic.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is an open-world, nonlinear game set at the end of the Zelda series. Link awakens after 100 years to discover that Hyrule is in chaos: monsters have overtaken the kingdom, sending mankind into hiding. It is up to Link to save the kingdom.
Breath of the Wild breathes so much life into the Legend of Zelda series, which had begun to feel formulaic. (No pun intended.)
In Breath of the Wild, players aren’t spoonfed with objectives, but given just the right amount of guidance while still given the freedom to explore the breathtaking scenery of Hyrule. In addition, there’s more than one way to solve problems in the game, encouraging creativity and experimentation.
A better title for Breath of the Wild would be Breath of Fresh Air, because that’s exactly what the game is. (Pun intended.)
Perfect for: Open world game fans and Zelda series fans
5.) Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order (2019)
Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are sure to get a kick out of this huge crossover game with a plot similar to the last two Avengers movies. Thanos is back and seeking the Infinity Stones yet again, but this time he is joined by the Black Order, a group of supervillains who work under him. It’s up to the Avengers to stop them.
Players can choose from over 30 Marvel characters to form their foursome, but many other characters show up throughout the game. Aside from fan-favorites like Captain America and Spider-Man, other playable characters include Luke Cage and Scarlet Witch.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order is an ambitious crossover event reminiscent of the Avengers movies, and like the Avengers movies, it is best experienced with family and friends.
Perfect for: Marvel Universe fans
6.) Pokemon Sword and Shield (2019)
Pokemon Sword and Shield follows the same premise as other Pokemon games: you try to become a Pokemon master by capturing and training more Pokemon and defeating other trainers.
There are also many significant changes in Sword and Shield that merit some praise. For example: players are no longer caught by surprise when walking through tall grass. This time, it is the player who must initiate the battle by walking towards the wild Pokemon. There’s also a new move called Dynamax and more intricate player customization.
However, Pokemon Sword and Shield does not come without its downsides. The Pokedex is noticeably smaller than it was before, resulting in criticism from long-time fans known as Dexit.
Still, Pokemon Sword and Shield is a well-made addition to the Pokemon franchise.
Perfect for: Pokemon fans
7.) Super Mario Odyssey (2017)
We couldn’t make this list without including at least one Mario game. While the core of Super Mario Odyssey may be in line with previous Super Mario installments, with Mario having to rescue his damsel-in-distress Princess Peach from the hands of Bowser, the game has proven itself to be one of the strongest titles in the Super Mario franchise.
Mario’s mission, aside from rescuing Peach, is to collect enough moons to power a ship called Odyssey to travel to other “Kingdoms”. These different worlds are a mix of old and new. Some levels are set in the flat, 2D style of vintage Mario games, while other levels include a replica of New York City called New Donk City.
Mario’s hat, Cappy, also comes to life and helps him throughout his journey, giving Mario powers that enable him to possess other characters.
Super Mario Odyssey has plenty to offer old and new fans alike. The callbacks to previous games are charming instead of cheap, while the new features enhance the gameplay. The folks at Nintendo have done it again, because this one is a must-try.
Perfect for: Fans of sandbox-style games
8.) Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (2018)
Imagine Isabelle from Animal Crossing duking it out with Cloud from Final Fantasy. Well, you don’t have to imagine anymore, because Super Smash Bros. Ultimate exists. Over 80 characters from various Nintendo games come together in this crossover event to brawl, and it is a pleasure to watch.
The game follows a straightforward premise: players must knock each other out of the arena in order to win. There’s also a single-player adventure mode where the player must rescue other Smash Bros. characters who have been captured by an evil entity named Galeem.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate lives up to its name. It feels like a complete history of Nintendo’s games and also so much more. It’s the long-awaited sequel that lived up to the hype.
Perfect for: Hardcore Nintendo fans
9.) The Touryst (2019)
The Touryst is a strange little gem. It’s not confined to one genre, but rather it takes elements from several existing genres and utilizes them in a way that makes the game feel very new and exciting. In addition, the graphics are simple yet crisp.
In The Touryst, players control an unnamed tourist who visits an archipelago of tropical islands. There’s a lot to do on these islands, including scuba diving and going to jazz clubs, but the main quest involves the ancient alien ruins on the islands.
You cannot unlock a new island until you’ve completed the current island’s challenges. Players encounter a mix of puzzles, platform levels, and minigames throughout the game. Each island comes with its own unique theme, so it never gets boring.
The Touryst is a solid and entertaining adventure game that deserves more love.
Perfect for: Fans of StarTropics and The Legend of Zelda games
10.) Mario + Rabbids Kingdom (2017)
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is a joint project by Nintendo and Ubisoft, starring two of their most popular franchises: Nintendo’s Mario and Ubisoft’s Raving Rabbids.
It’s possibly one of the most random collaborations in video game history, but somehow it just works. In Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, Mario and co (Luigi, Princess Peach, Yoshi) are joined by four Rabbids dressed like them as they defeat the evil Rabbids who have taken over Mushroom Kingdom.
It’s a turn-based strategy game with perfectly streamlined combat mechanics, a light-hearted game atmosphere, and a funny story. The levels also get surprisingly challenging as you progress throughout the game.
For a game that no one saw coming, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle sure hits all the marks.
Perfect for: Turn-based strategy gamers
11.) The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (2019)
If you ask us, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is the perfect introduction to the ever-expanding Legend of Zelda universe. It’s a lot easier than other Legend of Zelda Games and offers lots of guidance, so kids will be able to enjoy this game as much as older Legend of Zelda fans. The youthful art style is also a delight.
In Link’s Awakening, our hero Link finds himself stranded on a mysterious island, where he must collect eight instruments in order to escape. Along the way, players can complete side quests and battle monsters.
Link’s Awakening is more than just a faithful remake of the 1993 classic, it is also a classic Link adventure that would capture the hearts of any young gamer.
Link’s Awakening is also available on the Nintendo 3DS, but it’s significantly more fun to play on the Switch.
Perfect for: Young gamers
12.) Luigi’s Mansion 3 (2019)
Luigi’s Mansion 3 follows Luigi as he attempts to rescue his friends after they are held captive in a haunted hotel. He sets out to capture ghosts with the help of his trusty Poltergust and Gooigi, a Luigi clone made out of green go who can enter vents and gaps.
The six-year wait for this game was completely worth it. Luigi’s Mansion 3 is more open-ended than its predecessors, allowing Luigi to explore the hotel to his heart’s content. In addition, the Poltergust is equipped with more useful functions. Gooigi is such a neat companion to play alongside too.
The game is more silly than scary, with a lot of variety to offer. It’s definitely got us excited for the next Luigi-fronted game.
Perfect for: Slapstick comedy fans
13.) Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (2017)
The Mario Kart franchise has always been a staple for owners of Nintendo consoles, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a good reminder of that. It’s an expanded version of the original Mario Kart 8, which was originally released on the Wii U back in 2014.
This expanded version enhances the original and more. There are 6 new playable characters, 8 new arenas, new racing suits, and additional kart parts. The multiplayer mode is better than ever, specifically the battle mode, and the graphics are polished.
The latest Mario Kart installment just might be the finest one yet. It’s no wonder why it’s the best-selling Switch game of all time.
Perfect for: Slapstick comedy fans
14.) Pokemon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! (2018)
Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! is the kind of game that will appeal to old and new fans alike. It is a well-crafted remake that incorporates new elements into the game without losing the core essence that made Pokemon Yellow (the 1998 original) special.
Perhaps the biggest change in Pokemon: Let’s Go comes in the new, simplified way players can capture wild Pokemon. If you’ve ever played Pokemon Go, the spin-off mobile app that shook the world in 2016, then you will recognize the new system for catching wild Pokemon. Instead of the traditional Pokemon battles, players simply use Poke Balls to capture wild Pokemon. Additional features include the ability to ride certain Pokemon and outfit customization options.
Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! is a good introduction game for young Pokemon fans.
Perfect for: Young Pokemon fans
15.) Good Job! (2020)
Good Job! has the kind of wacky premise that guarantees a good time: you’re the son of a CEO who’s trying to climb up the corporate ladder by completing office tasks through extreme, destructive measures. Said measures include flinging projectors through walls, using slingshots to send packages flying across the room, and drenching your coworkers with a firehose.
The design of this game is simple, with no dialogue and bright colors. The deranged possibilities are where the game truly shines. Each level in Good Job! is graded based on the speed and the neatness with which you completed the level, which means you will have to sacrifice speed if you don’t want to damage the office. On the other hand, the game also rewards you for getting things done in record time, even if you destroy half of the office equipment.
Play it however you want to play it, but Good Job! is at its most fun when you’re wreaking havoc in the office and terrorizing your poor coworkers. Getting a bad grade doesn’t matter. After all, you’re the CEO’s son.
Good Job! is a hilarious tale and an excellent couch co-op.
Perfect for: Fans of quirky games
This are the best Nintendo switch exclusives you can buy right now but a lot of games are still in development and will surely keep on updating this article to keep you guys up to date!
It’s clear to us that the people at Nintendo are bringing out their heavy-hitters as they expand their library of Switch exclusives. As long as they keep on telling exceptional stories without compromising their graphics or gameplay, we’re happy to keep trying whatever Nintendo comes out with next. Who knew that a handheld console could pack this much of a punch?
Let us know if you’ve tried any of these games in the comments below!