So you just unboxed your new Nintendo Switch and wondering which games you should play first? Well, you’re in luck, because there are many excellent titles among the best Nintendo Switch games and the best Nintendo Switch multiplayer games.
That you have just received a new Nintendo Switch OLED or maybe even a Nintendo Switch Lite, the five games below span a wide range of genres and represent the best that Nintendo’s hybrid console has to offer. These are also proprietary titles that you will not be able to play anywhere other than on the PS5, Xbox Series Or on PC.
The Nintendo Switch completely transformed the portable gaming space when it launched in 2017 and while you may be arriving a little late to the party, that means you’ll be able to pick up many of the games below at a price reduced. It’s worth noting that you can also save big on Nintendo’s first-party titles by purchasing a pair of Nintendo Switch Game Vouchers. However, you will need a Nintendo Switch online membership to purchase them, but more on that later.
Here are our top five picks for which games you should play first on your brand new Nintendo Switch and you might want to pick up one of the best Nintendo Switch controllers also if you plan to play in docked mode on your TV.
1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
One of the reasons the Nintendo Switch was as successful as it was upon release was because it launched alongside The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Unlike previous 3D Zelda titles, Breath of the Wild was Link’s first open-world adventure and Nintendo really flipped the script on what other open-world games were doing at the time. Link begins the game without armor or equipment and it is up to the player to explore the world around him. Along the way, you find new weapons, learn new abilities, and meet a diverse group of characters in Hyrule. Exploration is key and you’ll spend countless hours exploring the game’s massive map and mastering your Sheikah Slate abilities.
If you’re willing to skip the first entry, the game’s sequel adds even more areas to explore since large portions of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Realm take place in the newly formed sky islands above Hyrule as well as underground in the depths. Luckily, Tears of the Kingdom does a good job of retelling the events of Breath of the Wild, so you won’t feel completely lost. Likewise, if you’re looking for more of an old school style Zelda game, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening also worth the detour. It’s basically a remake of a GameBoy game but with a new art style and some modern conveniences. If you are more of a fan of hack and slash, Hyrule Warriors is a prequel to Breath of the Wild and another fun game for Zelda fans.
2. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Shortly after Zelda’s debut on Switch, Mario Kart arrived on the console in the form of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Although it was originally a Wii U title, Nintendo revamped it for the Switch by adding more items, vehicles, characters, tracks, and an entirely new battle mode. If you’ve ever played Mario Kart, you’ll be right at home. For those who haven’t yet, this is the ultimate kart racing game and a blast to play on the same couch with your friends and family. However, you can also play online with your friends or compete against players around the world, but you will need a Nintendo Switch Online membership to do so.
However, adding all this extra content to Mario Kart 8 for the Switch wasn’t enough for Nintendo. Last year, the company released DLC for the game in the form of its new Mario Kart Booster Course Pass. This adds 48 additional tracks from previous Mario Kart games on SNES, GameBoy, GameCube, Wii and more, as well as 8 additional characters. If you sign up for the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack subscription, you can get all of these DLCs for free. Otherwise, it costs $24.99 on its own. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe provides hours of fun for you and your family and if you own multiple Nintendo Switch consoles, up to eight people can play at the same time.
3. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
If you’re looking for a casual game that you can play for hours, look no further than Animal Crossing: New Horizons. This game took the world by storm when it released in 2020 thanks to its adorable world and lovable characters. Animal Crossing: New Horizons begins with your custom character designing their own island. From there, much of the game involves gathering resources to build your own home, but as you progress, you’ll also be able to further develop your island and interact with the other residents who live there. While it’s primarily a single-player game, if you have a Nintendo Switch Online membership, you can also go online and visit your friends’ islands where you can collect resources like fruits that aren’t from your own island.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a beautiful and charming game. However, if you are more of a Disney fan than Nintendo, Disney Dreamlight Valley is also worth checking out as it offers similar gameplay with all your favorite characters. Another game that might interest you if you like this style of game is Valley of Stars. Instead of building an island, this involves your character running a farm and harvesting crops. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is perhaps the best choice among these games as it is perfect for both new and experienced players, regardless of their age.
4. Super Mario Bros. Wonder
While New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe was technically the first 2D Mario game on Switch, this year Nintendo completely reinvented the game’s side-scrolling formula with the release of Super Mario Bros. Wonder. The game takes the best elements of previous 2D Mario titles and builds on them with new characters, gameplay mechanics, and improved visuals. With a total of 152 different levels spread across seven worlds (and a bonus), you’ll have a lot of fun playing Super Mario Bros. Wonder with up to four players locally. There is also an online component and while you can play with your friends, you can also play alone and ask others to help you or those who are having difficulty with a particular level or boss.
If Mario 2D isn’t your thing, Super Mario Odyssey is a 3D game that is also very fun. What sets it apart from other 3D Mario games is that Mario can throw his Cappy hat and jump on it to travel long distances, but he can also use it to take control and act as enemies in the game Just like with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Nintendo also brought Super Mario 3D World from Wii U to Switch. However, instead of just adding new items and characters, the company has launched a whole new campaign to go along with it, called Bowser’s Fury. Even if you’ve already played Super Mario 3D World, this upgraded Switch version is worth picking up because Bowser’s Fury is actually the first open-world Mario game. Additionally, Mario faces off against the gargantuan Fury Bowser who appears if you stay in one section of the game too long.
5. Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition
Although Xenoblade Chronicles was originally released on the Wii in 2010, Monolith Soft decided to give the game a full remaster for the Switch in 2020. This was after Xenoblade 2 launched alongside the console to critical acclaim, but before the release of Xenolame 3. Although each game has its own story, there are connections between them, which is why it is recommended to play them in order. Aside from being some of the best JRPGs on Switch, the Xenoblade games have a deep story, excellent world-building, and can keep you occupied for hours.
If you’re looking for something a little more challenging, you might consider playing Shin Megami Tensei V as it is another Switch-exclusive JRPG. Instead of leveling up your party members to take on monsters, this game actually asks you to recruit the enemies you fight to join your team. This can be quite difficult for newcomers, which is why you may want to start again Persona 5 Royale instead. The Persona games are actually a spin-off of the Shin Megami Tensei games and feature a similar combat system. However, in between fighting enemies in dungeons, you play the role of a Tokyo high school student just trying to finish his classes.
Nintendo Switch online
A Nintendo Switch Online membership is not required to play the games detailed above, but it will allow you to play them online with friends. You also have access to over 100 classic NES, SNES and GameBoy games. Want more classic games? Then you should sign up for a Nintendo Switch Online subscription in addition to the Expansion Pass, as this adds SEGA Genesis, Game Boy Advance and even Nintendo 64 games as well as DLC for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Splatoon 2.
A regular Nintendo Switch Online subscription costs $19.99 per year, while the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack costs $49.99 per year. If this is your first time creating a Nintendo Account, you can sign up for a 7-day free trial to test Nintendo Switch Online, but you will need to enter your payment information. If you’re coming from Xbox or PlayStation, Nintendo Switch Online is significantly cheaper than its other online counterparts, and you can also play your favorite retro Nintendo games in a whole new way, with the ability to go back in time. game by holding ZL and ZR.
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