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Best Switch Games 2021: Our top picks for Nintendo’s hybrid console

Given it’s only been on the market for a handful of years, the Nintendo Switch has produced an utterly fantastic library of games. Ranging from sprawling blockbusters to intimate indie affairs, the hyrbid console has something for everyone regardless what you’re looking for.

So, Trusted Reviews has gone through the console’s entire library and picked out the very best games you can play right now, ensuring we’ve explored many genres so there’s something for everybody below. As new great games emerge, our list will change to reflect that.

Animal Crossing New Horizons

1. Animal Crossing: New Horizons


  • Beautiful, adorable and a joy to look at
  • All of its systems are wonderfully deep and rewarding
  • So many exciting events and content are on the horizon
  • Builds upon and improves on everything that came before it
  • Ferociously addictive and remarkably paced


  • There’s only a certain amount of things to do per day
  • Deeper relationships with islanders would be great
  • Tom Nook

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the best game I’ve played this year, and immediately cements itself as one of the generation’s defining experiences. Fans will be playing it for years, watching as the seasons roll by and unveil the true potential of what has been created here.

Alongside the implementation of future updates and content created by players themselves, it’s only going to evolve into something greater, which is a triumphant achievement given the foundations are already that of a masterpiece. If you own a Switch, what are you waiting for?

Read our full Animal Crossing: New Horizons review

2. Astral Chain


  • The world is colourful, vast and imaginative
  • Combat is varied and challenging in some excellent ways
  • Everything oozes anime-infused personality
  • You can take selfies with cats and dogs


  • The camera can be a cruel mistress
  • Performance while docked isn’t good enough

From the creators of Bayonetta, NieR: Automata and countless other modern classics comes Astral Chain, a bright, cyberpunk, anime-infused action outing that can only be found on Nintendo Switch. In a world where the majority of humanity has been consumed by otherwordly creatures, the remains of society find themselves seeking shelter in a futuristic metropolis. Sadly, it’s only a matter of time before the enemy comes knocking.

As a member of an advanced police force in control of your own legion of paranormal creatures, you must fight back by the uncovering the source of your adversaries and destroying them forever. This obviously isn’t as easy as it sounds. Across the lengthy campaign you’ll investigate crime scenes while exploring the city, stopping to discover secrets and do battle with all manner of dangerous foes. Astral Chain is yet another excellent Switch exclusive, and easily one of the most unique.

Read our full Astral Chain review

Pokemon Sword and Shield

3. Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield


  • Galar is a vast and inviting world
  • Combat remains as charmingly addictive as ever
  • So many new Pokemon to encounter across the new region
  • Innovates on the formula is some great ways


  • Visually underwhelming in places
  • Some of its new ideas feel a bit underutilised

While Let’s Go, Pikachu and Let’s Go, Eevee proved to be a wonderful introduction to the series for newcomers, it lacked the apparent depth you’d often receive from core Pokemon entries – which is exactly where Sword and Shield factor into the equation. Set in the region of Galar, which is evidently inspired by the United Kingdom, this duo of adventures is arguably the greatest Pokemon adventure yet.

It expands upon the existing formula in some brilliant ways while remaining fiercely faithful to everything that came before it. A whole new cast of characters alongside plentiful new Pokemon and gameplay mechanics means that Sword and Shield is essential for any Switch owner. Nintendo has also confirmed that two fully-fledged expansions are in the works for a 2020 release, so there’s even more goodness on the horizon.

Read our full Pokemon Sword and Shield review

4. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild


  • Beautifully realised and huge open world
  • Incredible depth
  • Very satisfying gameplay
  • Beautiful art direction
  • It’s tough, but always fair


  • So-so voice acting
  • Minor performance dips

We don’t throw the word ‘masterpiece’ around too often here at Trusted Reviews, but The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild more than earns that title, establishing itself as one of this generation’s defining adventures. It’s magnificent, and solidified the Nintendo Switch as a system to own from day one.

After awakening from 100 years of slumber, Link finds himself in a vision of Hyrule drenched in darkness. Zelda has spent this time held hostage in Hyrule Castle, frozen in time by Calamity Ganon who has come to call the world before us his own. Monsters roam the land while citizens valiantly live amongst them.

I’ve lost hundreds of hours to this masterful piece of work, conquering temples, fighting goblins and simply existing in its splendid world. Hyrule feels alive in a way nothing else has before. Every living thing, material or piece of landmass plays a purpose it making it feel meaningful.

And now a sequel is in development, I’m ready to experience this magic all over again.

Read our full The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild review

5. Super Mario Odyssey


  • The best Mario has ever been
  • So many nods to the series’ history
  • Hundreds of Power Moons to collect
  • Looks stunning
  • Phenomenal soundtrack


  • Some of Cappy’s moves require motion controls

Super Mario Odyssey is a charming wonder of a platformer, taking everything we’ve come to love from the crafty plumber over the years and hurling it into an adventure of unparalled imagination. After a few years of excellent yet predictable efforts, Odyssey throws out the rulebook and then some.

Peach has been adopted once again, and Mario must rise to the occasion to rescue his friend. Except, this time, he has a magical hat on his person that can possess all manner of living things, objects and whatever else he flings it onto.

This leads to some brilliant moments brought to life some of the best level design this franchise has ever seen. New Donk City is a particular highlight, thrusting Mario into a bustling metropolis filled with ample puzzles and secrets to discover. I won’t lie, it left a grin on my face that didn’t fade for weeks after.

Read our full Super Mario Odyssey review

6. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe


  • Looks absolutely gorgeous on Nintendo Switch and on the TV
  • Battle Mode is a superb addition
  • Plenty of challenge here for all skill levels
  • New assists for beginners work a treat
  • So many tracks and racers


  • Some will want a brand-new Mario Kart game on Switch

While it isn’t the fully-fledged sequel some fans might be hoping for, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe brings the spectacular eight instalment to an audience that likely missed out on it first time round. Every track and character, including the downloadable content featuring The Legend of Zelda and Animal Crossing, are present and accounted for. And all of it is so, so much fun to play.

The Squid Kids from Splatoon also make a spalsh this time around, slotting right into the Mario Universe like they were always there, showcasing just how talented Nintendo is when creating new franchises. We’re still waiting for the inevitable reveal of MK9 for Switch, but for now, this remains one of the best examples of multiplayer on the hybrid console.

Read our full Mario Kart 8 Deluxe review

splatoon 2

7. Splatoon 2


  • Looks gorgeous both on Switch and TV screen
  • Multiplayer still a unique and fun offering
  • Plenty of new guns, each fun to use


  • Doesn’t feel like a full sequel
  • Can be slow to get into a match

Splatoon 2 is a multiplayer shooter unlike any other, and it’s exactly the charming outing you’d expect from Nintendo. Instead of bullets, your weapons are filled with coloured ink used to splat your enemies and cover the environment in paint.

Matches are incredibly fast-paced and satisfying, offering a tense competition that always feels fun and refreshing. You’ve also got a meaty solo campaign to dig into alongside a bunch of neat customisation options for your personal squid kid.

With new maps, weapons, clothes and Splatfest competitions being introduced all of the time, there is no better use of online multiplayer on Nintendo Switch right now, especially if you’re after something, fun, fast and stupidly adorable.

Read our full Splatoon 2 review

8. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle


  • An absolutely stunning world
  • Deep combat system that isn’t at all complicated
  • So much fun to play
  • The two worlds work really well together


  • Not much to do outside of combat
  • Sharp difficulty spikes

When it was rumoured and announced back in 2017, many people looked at Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle and laughed. There’s simply no way a combination like this would work, and why are they are giving Mario a gun, is he a cop?

Fortunately, all of these worries were to put to rest once we finally got to play it. Ubisoft has created a truly brilliant strategy title with a vibrant visual style and surprising amount of challenge behind the curtain.

Nobody imagined Mario and Rayman’s Raving Rabbids would make such a wonderful match. We especially didn’t expect the pairing to translate into a deep, compelling and unbelievably charming strategy title.

The latest expansion brings Donkey Kong into the fold alongside a whole new narrative campaign complete with new stages, characters, skills and more.

Read our full Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle review

Super Smash Bros Ultimate

9. Super Smash Bros Ultimate


  • Great local multiplayer
  • Superb roster of characters
  • Excellent nostalgia hit


  • Online multiplayer needs work
  • The whole Spirits thing is confusing

Super Smash Bros Ultimate is easily the most ambitious and successful crossover in gaming history. This new entry is so jam-packed with different franchises, properties and characters that it’s a miracle it works so well – blending together the worlds players love in a way nothing else does or will likely ever accomplish. And it’s only growing larger with the addition of new fighters, stages and more in the coming months.

As far as local multiplayer offerings on Nintendo Switch are concerned, you can do no better than Smash Ultimate. It’s simplistic on the surface in a way that anyone can pick up a controller and enjoy themselves, yet it bears a mechanical complexity that players are still picking apart to the finest details. The World of Light campaign mode is chockful of references, a worthwhile homage to years of gaming history we’ve spent hours upon hours uncovering.

Read our full Super Smash Bros Ultimate review

10. Xenoblade Chronicles 2


  • Huge and beautiful world
  • Deep yet accessible combat
  • Plenty of stuff to do
  • Nia is bloody lush
  • Amazing soundtrack


  • Easy to be overwhelmed in the opening hours
  • Inconsistent localisation
  • Performance problems in certain areas

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a positively staggering JRPG offering hundreds upon hundreds of hours of content for players ready and willing to dig into its sprawling story and uncompromising systems. Its addictive combat system is complemented by an excellent ensemble cast you’ll come to root for as they aim to save the world of Alrest.

At times it’s hard to believe something like this is running on Nintendo’s portable console as you climb vast mountains and trawl through dark industrial cities. It’s one of Monolith Soft’s finest efforts yet and feels right at home on Switch. With the new expansion, there’s even more reason to check it out.

Read our full Xenoblade Chronicles 2 review

Three Houses

11. Fire Emblem: Three Houses


  • A huge, expansive story with plenty of replay value
  • Vast roster of characters that you’ll learn to care about
  • Combat system is deep, experimental and satisfying
  • Each house changes how you play and the story you experience


  • Visual and performance issues are noticeable at times
  • You can’t customise your avatar’s appearance too much

Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a triumphant RPG experience and one of the greatest games you can play on Nintendo Switch right now. It takes the series’ formula and propels it forward with some fascinating new changes, and every single system works in tandem to create something rather stunning. Technical blemishes aside, Intelligent Systems has really outdone itself here.

Each house is a unique campaign in itself with characters, locations and relationships to discover, and I’ve had a blast with everything I’ve seen thus far and plan to experience even more. While the romance options and visuals leave a little to be desired, Switch owners can’t go wrong with this one. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a class to teach…

Read our full Fire Emblem: Three Houses Review

Super Mario Maker 2

12. Super Mario Maker 2


  • Tonnes of new content
  • Story Mode works as fun tutorial
  • Superb online features
  • Easy-to-use interface


  • Forced to use touchscreen controls in handheld mode
  • Stylus required for precision
  • Not quite as much creative freedom as other DIY games

Super Mario Maker 2 could easily just have been a simple port for the Switch, but Nintendo has instead loaded it with additional content and features. The new course themes, items and power-ups result in a ridiculous range of combinations that wouldn’t have been possible without this sequel, and should no doubt entice owners of previous Mario Maker titles.

Stage creation without a stylus can be a little clumsy on the Switch, and there isn’t quite as much creative freedom as there is with other game makers such as LittleBigPlanet, but this is still easily the best Mario Maker yet and an excellent entry point for the series thanks to the new story mode.

Of course, success depends on the productivity of the online community, but Nintendo looks to have provided all the necessary tools and features for this sequel to reach its skyscraper potential.

Read our full Super Mario Maker 2 Review

13. Stardew Valley


  • Endlessly fun, addictive and rewarding
  • So much depth to its many mechanics
  • Adorable in its writing and presentation
  • You’ll lose dozens of hours tending to your farm


  • Pixelated visuals might not be for everyone

You’d think the act of managing a virtual farm would be boring, but Stardew Valley proves you wrong in the best possible way. Having now sold over 10 millon copies across all platforms, Stardew Valley takes the best elements from Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon to create something truly brilliant. After moving into the quaint little village known as Pelican Town, you throw city life aside and get your fingers green.

Whether you’re planting crops, exploring caves or flirting with your village sweetheart, Stardew Valley is always rewarding you with keeping busy thanks to meaningful paths of progression and satisfying feedback loops. It’s so fun to play, with Trusted having already lost hundreds of hours across all platforms. And if we’re honest, Nintendo Switch is probably the best place to play it.

Read our full Stardew Valley review

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

14. Ori and the Will of the Wisps


  • Much improved combat
  • Epic platforming set pieces
  • Gorgeous story book world
  • Endearing story


  • Some could argue there’s a lack of challenge
  • Minor performance issues on Xbox One S

Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a fantastic sequel that improves upon its predecessor in multiple ways. While the new combat focus admittedly doesn’t fit well with the story, it’s still a bunch of fun, and coupled with the new autosave feature, ensures a more fast-paced and fluid style of play. If you’ve yet to play the original, it’s also available on Nintendo’s hybrid console with a number of worthwhile improvements.

Combined with the endearing story book vibe and jaw-dropping platforming spectacles, Will of the Wisps is easily one of the best titles in the Xbox’s first-party library, and has now landed on Nintendo Switch with a surprisingly competent port given the techncal problems its original release ran into at launch. Those after a beautiful platformer can’t do much better than this.

Read our full Ori and the Will of the Wisps review

Age of Calamity

15. Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity


  • An enjoyable expansion of the Breath of the Wild universe
  • I loved spending more time with all of these characters
  • Combat is fast, fluid and filled with variety
  • Plenty of content across the campaign and side missions to enjoy


  • Performance doesn’t keep up with the action at all
  • Not the fully fledged prequel narrative I was hoping for

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is an enjoyable action romp and a worthwhile expansion of the Breath of the Wild universe. Those hoping for a deep narrative expansion of the universe will be underwhelmed, but being able to spend more time with these wonderful characters is more than enough to leave you satisfied.

The repetitious combat is remedied by a vast roster of characters and generous upgrade system, which helps each battle feel more rewarding and satisfying than the last. Breath of the Wild 2 is likely still years away, so this is a welcome distraction until then.

Think we’ve missed a biggie? Let us know your favourite Nintendo Switch games over on Twitter or Facebook @TrustedReviews

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