The game of the moment in Nintendo land is definitely Animal Crossing New Horizons. However, downloading some of the best free Nintendo Switch games could be a brilliant alternative if you don’t fancy forking out the cash to Tom Nook, or if you just want some more wallet-friendly options.
Outside of battle royale games equipped with microtransactions, you may think that there isn’t a wide selection of free games available right now. But in the case of Nintendo Switch, you’d be wrong.
We’ve compiled the best Nintendo Switch games that you can find on the eShop for free. This is just a selection of our favourites, but you can find the full list of games by heading to Search on the eShop, then filtering by price.
A caveat: some games do require a Nintendo Switch Online membership, but the games themselves are free. Honourable mentions go to the SNES and NES emulators that you can access for free if you have a membership.
- Best free battle royale game: Fortnite
- Best free racing game: Asphalt 9: Legends
- Best free puzzle game: Tetris 99
- Best free live service game: Warframe
- Best free fighting game: Brawlhalla
Best free battle royale game
Like it or lump it, Fortnite is one of the most popular games ever made, a generation-defining title for Gen Z gamers and, easily, the best free battle royale game on the Switch.
You will require an online membership for playing this one, but once you’ve subscribed you can play for completely free – as long as you can resist those pesky microtransactions.
For those still unfamiliar with Fortnite, it takes the battle royale formula of plonking you on an island with a large set of foes and not a piece of ammo to your name, then brings building and a cartoonish style to the battlegrounds.
A great game in its own right, it could also be a fantastic way to hang out with your friends even if your full attention isn’t on a victory royale.
2. Asphalt 9: Legends
Best free racing game
When was the last time you played an arcade racing game? Over the past decade, they’ve somewhat died out, with games like Forza Horizon keeping the ball rolling but in a far more extravagant style. Thankfully, this title provides the best free racing game on the Switch in a delightful throwback style.
Asphalt 9: Legends takes things back to basics with customisation for your car, a wide variety of exotic maps and, even, split-screen multiplayer. Most importantly, enjoy a timeless arcade car racing experience completely free – race at breakneck speed without damaging your wallet.
3. Tetris 99
The best free puzzle game
Before the launch of Tetris 99, the game was the butt of more than a few jokes for being a ludicrous attempt to jump on the battle royale craze. “Battle royale Tetris? Don’t be ridiculous”. Then the game came out and we were given the best free puzzle game you can pick up on the eShop.
Following the reimagining of the classic game for VR with Tetris Effect, Tetris 99 reinvented the formula in a different way. Tetris 99 is a furiously competitive puzzler that takes the best things about a battle royale and cleverly combines its own well-known aspects.
The best free live service game
After a bit of a rocky start, Warframe has become a well-accomplished online game with a dedicated following.
Following the emergence of the “live-service” game after the release of Destiny and the like, many tried and failed to replicate it (e.g. Anthem). Warframe remained steadfast and continued to improve on a format that it was clear had huge appeal for many. There aren’t many live service games on the Switch, meaning that Warframe may not only be the best free live service game on the Switch but simply the best live service game on the platform.
With a range of weapons and ways to customise your armour, Warframe offers a remarkable selection when it comes to making your character your own, as well as providing enjoyable traversal and thrilling firefights.
Related: Best Nintendo Switch games
Best free fighting game
A game for free where you can play as Lara Croft, Hellboy and Finn the Human – enter Brawlhalla. Like Super Smash Bros. from a much less confusing universe, Brawlhalla lets you battle a massive range of characters all with their own unique abilities.
There’s a good selection of other fighting games on the Switch, like Mortal Kombat 11 and more, but this is comfortably the best free fighting game you can pick up – making it remarkable value for money.
The platform fighter offers a ton of different and intriguing maps and, above all, offers a cracking multiplayer experience. From casual online matches to more serious ranked games or completely custom matchups with your friends.