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The 7 Nintendo Switch games you need to own

5 min read


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Obviously.


Nintendo

The Nintendo Switch is good. It’s really, really good. The newly released Nintendo Switch Lite is also good.

If you’ve just picked up the most versatile console ever made you’re probably working on step 2: What games should you buy? If that’s the case, then you should head here. That list has 30 extremely good video games you’re probably going to want to own on the Switch.

But 30 games is a lot. That’s why this post exists. We’ve whittled that list of 30 down to seven absolute stone-cold must own games on the Nintendo Switch.

So let’s get cracking.

Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page.

1. Breath Of The Wild

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Just switch the voiceover from English to Japanese. Trust me on this.


Nintendo

Look, we love this game so much it recently topped our games of the decade list

Breath of the Wild is still the best video game of its generation, maybe the best game ever made. It redefines the open world genre by stripping it back to its core elements and building from scratch. Instead of rehashing the tropes of the genre, Breath of the Wild feels new in a way most open world games don’t. Like it came from an alternate timeline, where open world games are less quest lists and more about evoking a genuine sense of adventure.

This game should be number one on your list.

2. Mario Odyssey

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The man in the hat is back.


Nintendo

You’ve got the Zelda game. Congrats. Step 2: buying the Mario game.

Thankfully Mario Odyssey is good. It’s not Breath of the Wild good. It doesn’t reinvent itself in quite the same way, but it does exploit a very clever gimmick to its fullest potential.

I’m talking, of course, about the hat. In Mario Odyssey, Mario throws his hat at an object and then possesses it. In Mario Odyssey you can possess almost everything in the game, from a taxi to a T-Rex. It sounds clunky, but in practice it’s a seamless and endlessly joyful process of experimentation and discovery. Mario Odyssey is no Super Mario Galaxy, but it’s no Super Mario Sunshine either. It’s an extremely good Mario game that should be part of any Nintendo Switch collection.

3. Hollow Knight

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How did three people make this game? HOW?


Team Cherry

Hollow Knight is always the third game I recommend for new Nintendo Switch owners. For a couple of reasons.

Firstly, at $15 it represents incredible value for money. It’ll probably take you around 20-plus hours to finish the single player quest. Secondly, Hollow Knight is sublime.

Hollow Knight takes the best of Super Metroid and the best of Dark Souls and sort of smooshes them together to make something fresh and unique. But that’s just part of its charm. Hollow Knight is dripping in atmosphere and glazed in a dark nostalgia. It’s also perfectly designed. It’s a strange wormhole of a universe that slowly builds upon itself. It’s shockingly good and everyone should play it.

4. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

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Spotted: Luigi death stare.


Nintendo

Look, Mario Kart 8 isn’t technically a new game. The original Mario Kart 8 was released on the Nintendo Wii U, this is just an update of that game.

But what an update.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is absolutely the definitive Mario Kart game. It features all the tracks from the original game, including all the downloadable content. Same goes for the additional characters/racers. The back of the box quote for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is “biggest Mario Kart ever” but it’s true. It is absolutely loaded with content.

Best of all it’s good content. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has the benefit of borrowing everything that’s worked in previous Mario Kart games, while shedding the stuff that didn’t work. It’s streamlined, well-balanced and tailor-made for players of all skill levels.

5. Into The Breach

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Get in.


Subset Games

Into The Breach, like Hollow Knight, is available on other platforms, but best owned on the Switch. It’s not a visually intensive game. It wouldn’t benefit from a slicker frame rate or more detailed textures, it simply is what it is and it’s fantastic.

A simple strategy game on the surface, Into The Breach’s ruleset is such that it allows for endless innovation within games. It’s different, it feels new, original. It’s endlessly replayable and as the game ramps up the difficulty there’s ample opportunity for players to adapt and think their way to victory.

Many strategy games iterate on what has gone before. That’s not Into The Breach.

Into The Breach is the epitome of the “easy to learn, hard to master” mantra that makes games like these classic. Even if you don’t like strategy games, you owe it to yourself to give this one a try.

6. Dead Cells

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Every second spent in this world is a pleasure.


Motion Twin

Count Dead Cells alongside Hollow Knight and Into The Breach as “indie games that make the most sense on Nintendo Switch.”

It’s tough to explain what Dead Cells is without indulging in the worst type of video game jargon. So yes, Dead Cells is a Roguelike Metroidvania set in a Dark Souls-esque universe, but it’s also just a really interesting video game that’s so rewarding to engage with on a second-to-second basis.

And that’s what really makes Dead Cells so special: It has the basics down pat. When you swing a sword or launch an arrow in Dead Cells, it feels extremely good to swing a sword or fire an arrow. Everything feels good in Dead Cells. There’s a commitment to small details that rewards the player for every action they take. It’s a fantastic game that works great in small bursts, which makes it perfect for a portable console like the Nintendo Switch.

7. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

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Oh, and it has Banjo-Kazooie now.


Nintendo

Look, I thought about putting another slick indie game in this position. A game like Celeste or Oxenfree or Baba Is You. These are all very good and interesting video games, but the reality is the people want Smash. They love Smash. Because, friends, sometimes you have to Smash.

Much like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is sort of like a definitive version of the games that came before it. And if you’re playing this game at home, with friends, in the same space, it’s almost certainly the best version of the game ever created. Issues only really arise if you’re trying to play this game online — but that’s par for the course with Nintendo.

This is a party game. A competitive party game, but a party game nonetheless. It’s a game to be played in the same space as other human beings. And if you’re playing Smash under those circumstances, it’s practically peerless.

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