What Are the Best Nintendo Switch Games in 2022?
The Nintendo Switch is quickly on the way to being the most successful console of all time. This is thanks in large part to an excellent catalog of games, both exclusive and third-party. Here are some of our favorites as of 2022.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Breath of the Wild rewrote much of the formula for open-world adventures, and its legacy can be seen across the gaming landscape. Originally destined for the Wii U, Nintendo decided to delay this Zelda entry to launch alongside the Nintendo Switch, and the game remains just as playable now as it did in 2017.
This is the first truly open-world game in the Legend of Zelda franchise, but there’s no prior knowledge required to enjoy it if it’s your first outing. You’ll spend your time solving environmental puzzles, growing your stamina and health bars, and completing shrines and larger dungeons before you deem yourself strong enough to take on the final boss.
Breath of the Wild doesn’t hold your hand with fetch quests that show you exactly where to go, and some aspects aren’t to everyone’s tastes (like the weapon degradation system). But that doesn’t mean you should skip out on what many consider to be the best Zelda title to date (and in some cases, the best game ever made).
Super Mario Odyssey
Nintendo’s (thus far) only Switch-exclusive mainline Mario title, Super Mario Odyssey has the titular plumber trading his usual hat for Cappy, a new character that allows the player to take control of other characters and objects in the Mario universe. This unlocks a large number of unique gameplay moments that you won’t have seen before in previous titles.
While the game isn’t fully open-world in the sense that there’s no single continuous area to explore, Odyssey has you exploring various interlinked zones at your own pace in the same vein as Super Mario 64. The aim of the game is to collect Power Moons scattered throughout the various kingdoms which you can then use to power up your airship and rescue Princess Peach from Bowser (once again).
The game has all the polish you’d expect from a Mario title including gorgeous art direction, sections that pay homage to the franchise’s 2D platforming past, and one of the best soundtracks that Nintendo has ever recorded. There’s even some extra-tough endgame content to attempt once you’ve completed the main story.
Wii Sports helped catapult the Nintendo Wii to success way back in 2006, with the follow-up Wii Sports Resort arriving in 2009. Despite a brief HD remaster for the Wii U in 2013, Nintendo’s motion-controlled sporting franchise seemed to be dead. That is, until 2022 when Switch Sports was unleashed upon the world.
The game is effectively a modern remake of Wii Sports for the Switch, with a few differences. Bowling and tennis return, with the addition of badminton, volleyball, football (soccer), and chambara (a Japanese sword fighting game). Nintendo has promised more content in the form of a golf expansion to be added later in 2022 as well.
If you’ve been longing to play bowling or tennis (or golf, if you’re reading this from the future) on your Switch without the need for a Wii lightbar or AA batteries, Switch Sports is what you’ve been looking for. It’s even got full online play and Nintendo Switch Online progression in the form of character customizations and accessories.
Nintendo Switch Sports – Nintendo Switch
Take on friends locally, online, or challenge against complete strangers with six sports (and more coming after launch). Play tennis, badminton, volleyball, soccer, chambara, and bowling with full motion control support — no sensor bar required!
Mario Kart 8: Deluxe
Mario Kart 8 was so good that Nintendo decided to re-release it for the Switch (after originally gracing the damned Wii U) with a Deluxe re-release that includes HD graphics, all previously released downloadable content, a new battle mode, and gameplay tweaks to improve on an already winning formula.
Then, in 2022 instead of announcing a new Mario Kart title the company instead decided to dedicate an entire season of downloadable content known as the Booster Course Pass to the game, adding a total of 48 additional tracks from previous games in the franchise over the course of six waves (to complete by the end of 2023).
The game is just as addictive as ever, and just like other Mario titles the art and technical presentation (including solid frame rate, even in split-screen mode) are second to none. Whether you’re playing alone, online, or on the sofa with friends and family, the game is a delight.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
There is something mesmerizing about the Animal Crossing series, and New Horizons continues the trend. This laid-back life sim is about taking things at your own pace as you embark on a new chapter of your life on a deserted island. Comb the beach for shells, populate the museum with fossils, and improve your island to encourage more inhabitants to move there.
This isn’t a game you’ll be playing for high scores or a sense of adventure, but it’s a casual experience that you can play in short bursts to accomplish a longer goal. Upgrade your house by paying off your loan, buy items in the shop to display or give to residents, and visit your (real-life) friends’ islands in multiplayer mode.
The game has received a major 2.0 version update since launch which adds a large amount of free content, characters, activities, places, items, and gameplay enhancements. There’s also optional Happy Home Paradise downloadable content (sold separately) which tasks the player with the role of home designer on a distant island, with the ability to bring many of the new items home to their own islands.
Metroid Dread sees the game that helped define a genre return to its roots by reviving a project from the late 2000s that was originally destined for the Nintendo DS. It was released in 2021 to critical acclaim, prompting many to ask why Nintendo had waited so long to pull the trigger on such a title.
The game is a side-scrolling action-adventure game that plays off the series staple of exploration and combat, with elements of stealth gameplay fused in. The titular Dread comes in the form of “EMMI” robots that the player encounters throughout the game which require the main character Samus to run or face almost certain death.
Since its release the game has become the fastest-selling Metroid game in the US and Japan, winning awards, and earning several “Game of the Year” accolades. Dread manages to give old fans of the series a taste of the past while injecting new life into a classic that new players will find alluring.
Metroid Dread (Nintendo Switch)
2D Metroid is back, and this time it looks better than ever. Fusing stealth elements with traditional Metroidvania exploration-based gameplay, Dread is a tense and exciting return to form for Nintendo’s genre-defining franchise.
Super Smash Bros: Ultimate
If local multiplayer games are your thing, Super Smash Bros: Ultimate (as well as the aforementioned Mario Kart 8: Deluxe) must be in your Switch library. The game takes a “kitchen sink” approach to character inclusions, with all 63 characters from past Smash Bros titles making an appearance, plus 11 new ones delivered via updates since launch.
For newcomers, the game takes on the guise of a beat ’em up that just about anyone can pick up and play. Each character feels genuinely different from the last, so the game rewards learning the ins and outs of a particular fight style to get ahead. The game has also taken on a life of its own in the eSports world, with competitions and pro-level players taking the game to the next (and for most, unattainable) level.
The game excels in a local setting, with up to eight players able to play in a single match on one screen for a truly frantic multiplayer experience. You can even use your old GameCube controllers with a USB adapter (in addition to Joy-Con and Switch Pro Controllers).
Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics
In 2005 Nintendo released Clubhouse Games for the Nintendo DS with much success. In 2020, the Switch saw an official sequel with the arrival of Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics that improved on the original in almost every way. This is a collection of card, tabletop, board, and “toy sports” games from around the globe, presented with a level of Nintendo polish you’d expect from a Switch-exclusive.
The game includes favorites like chess, war, blackjack, several iterations of solo card game solitaire, backgammon, and checkers. There are also quirky titles like four-in-a-row, darts, air hockey, slot cars, and “toy” versions of soccer, boxing, baseball, and more. Games that are less familiar to a western audience include shogi, hanafuda, mahjong, Gomoku, and mancala. There’s a lot to sink your teeth into here.
The game is designed for both single-player and multiplayer experiences, with online and offline play available. The real star of the show is how well optimized some of the local multiplayer games are for a local setting, allowing you to set the Switch down between two or more players to enjoy a board game anywhere.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus
If you’ve dabbled in the Pokémon franchise but always felt that the games were a little samey, Pokémon Legends: Arceus might just be the entry to revitalize the series for you. It’s the biggest shakeup that the franchise has seen since 2016’s mobile smash hit Pokémon Go!, introducing a semi-open world concept.
While the game doesn’t take place within a single, continuous landscape (there are load screens between zones), the way you interact with creatures has been radically changed. You can attempt to catch or initiate fights with Pokémon simply by walking up to them and throwing a Pokéball.
The game fuses real-time stealth elements with the old turn-based battle system in a way that feels fresh and challenging for players old and new. Even the setting shakes things up, with the game taking place long ago at a time when Pokémon were feared and misunderstood. You’re tasked with catching and documenting all 242 Pokémon in the Hisui region, with multiple ways to complete each Pokédex entry.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus – Nintendo Switch
In Pokémon Legends: Arceus, you choose when to take on battles and when to run. Mixing stealth gameplay and open zones, Arceus shakes up the Pokémon formula for the better.
You can play Stardew Valley on just about every platform, including PC, mobile, and rival consoles, but the series might be at its best on the Nintendo Switch. You start the game having inherited some farmland and a small house, with the option of deciding how you spend your days and progress the story.
The game uses a day and night cycle, with seasons that change as time passes. You can farm crops, go fishing, forage for berries and mushrooms, make friends, fall in love, compete in town contests, and even brandish a sword in the games Zelda-like dungeons known as the mines.
The game’s simplistic, Super Nintendo-like graphical style fits perfectly on the Switch, suiting both docked and portable play styles. The pick-up-and-play nature of the game suits portable sessions, and there’s even a multiplayer mode that allows you to share the adventure with other Switch players.
Stardew Valley (Nintendo Switch)
If you like your farming sims with a side of romance and dungeon crawling, you need to play Stardew Valley. The game isn’t exclusive to the Switch, but it’s perfectly at home on Nintendo’s pocketable platform.
Hades might just be the perfect example of a roguelike adventure. The game sees you as Zagreus, son of Hades, as you attempt to escape hell and learn more about why your mother left. But Hades is so much more than your run-of-the-mill hack and slash adventure, it’s one of the tightest top-down dungeon crawlers you can get your hands on today.
The roguelike format has you trying over and over again to escape the same four zones, while procedural generation keeps the game feeling fresh. Along the way, you’ll earn meaningful upgrades and new weapons while discovering more about the characters that inhabit the underworld.
The game will have you trying (and managing) to escape hell time and time again, and the satisfaction you’ll get from clearing rooms full of enemies and chaining together upgrades that make each run unique and exciting will keep you coming back for more.
Limited Physical Edition
Hades Limited Edition (Nintendo Switch)
Hades might just be the best roguelike you can play, and the limited Switch physical release includes an art book and link to download the (excellent) soundtrack as well as a physical cartridge.
Steamworld Dig 2
If you’ve never played a Steamworld title before, don’t fret. Steamworld Dig 2 might just be the perfect jumping-on point, especially if you’re a fan of quaint platformers and space westerns. At the heart of the game is a solid gameplay loop that has you, a robot called Dorothy, descending the depths of an underground mine to scavenge resources that can then be traded for better gear.
Once your bags are full, head back up to the surface to sell your wares, complete tasks laid out by the game’s many characters, and upgrade your character to go even further next time. The game improves upon its predecessor with an entirely new art style, new abilities and weapons, and all-around tighter gameplay that makes it the perfect introduction to the Steamworld series.
The game’s 2D presentation and ability to be played in short bursts (or horribly addictive larger sessions) make it an ideal game for playing on the go. If you enjoy Dig consider other games in the series that span different genres including Steamworld Heist (turn-based combat) and Steamworld Quest (a deck-building card game) too.
Steamworld Dig 2 – Nintendo Switch
Embark on a simple and well-crafted adventure down the mines in Steamworld Dig 2, another title that suits short bursts in portable play.
Save Money on the Best Switch Games
This list is by no means exhaustive and we’re sorry if we missed your favorite game. One thing we can all (probably) agree on is that game sales are a great way of expanding your collection.
Find out some of the best ways to save money on Switch games.