Best Nintendo Switch Games 2019: All the essential experiences on the hybrid console

Nintendo Switch has had a fantastic couple of years, now slowly approaching its second anniversary with a library of fantastic games despite its relatively young age. Boasting the likes of Super Mario Odyssey, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Xenoblade Chronicles 2, there’s an absurd number of stellar exclusives already available for the system.

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.

Yoshi's Crafted World

1. Yoshi’s Crafted World

Pros:

  • Arts and crafts style looks incredible
  • Each stage has oodles of replayability
  • Diverse levels prevents things getting repetitive
  • Co-op mode ideal for children and parents

Cons:

  • Too easy for pro platformer fans
  • Boss fights are average at best

Yoshi’s Crafted World is a delightful platforming adventure for Nintendo Switch, boasting a gorgeous papercraft aesthetic that’s perfect for adults and children alike to enjoy. Yoshi is capable of donning an assortment of adorable outfits each with their own distinct skills, look and more. Oh, and you even have an adorable pet following you about!

While the boss battles manage to underwhelm, everything else about Crafted World cements it as essential purchase for Switch owners, a welcome verdict after a number of somewhat underwhelming entries for the green dinosaur in recent years.

Read our full Yoshi’s Crafted World review

Pokemon

2. Pokemon: Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee

Pros:

  • A bright new vision of Kanto to explore
  • New catching mechanic is a wonderful addition
  • Your Pokémon partner is absurdly adorable
  • Plenty to love for newcomers and seasoned fans

Cons:

  • Turn-based battles become stale after a while
  • It’s still a remake of Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow

Nintendo and Game Freak finally bring Pokemon to Nintendo Switch with Let’s Go, Pikachu and Let’s Go, Eevee. The duo of titles are a remake of Pokemon Red, Blue and Yellow while drawing obvious inspiration from Pokemon GO, which has proven to be a worldwide hit in recent years.

Many fans were afraid that an RPG engineered for newcomers would water down what they love about Pokemon, but that definitely isn’t the case here. Instead, Game Freak has crafted an experience that is the best of both worlds with a beautiful vision of Kanto to explore ripe with new mechanics to take advantage of.

Pokemon has simply never looked this good, and Game Freak has used the power of Nintendo Switch to great effect to create something that looks beautiful in both docked and portable mode. Those looking for a fun, adorable and accessible RPG on Nintendo Switch can’t do much better than this.

Read our full Pokemon Let’s GO review

3. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • So-so voice acting
  • Minor performance dips

Breath of the Wild is a masterpiece of modern game design. Its beautiful open world is absolutely packed with unique mysteries to discover, all of which feel brilliantly rewarding in their own way.

Despite overhauling many of the series’ core ideas, it’s quintessentially Zelda, updated for the modern age with what feels like an imaginative stroke of genius.

You’ll also stumble upon a number of firsts for the franchise, such as voice acting, shrines and an expansive open world that never, ever holds your hand.

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

4. Super Mario Odyssey

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • Some of Cappy’s moves require motion controls

Super Mario Odyssey is near-perfect. It carried ginormous expectations, but somehow Nintendo has managed to leapfrog over the bar by a huge distance. Offering the most satisfying gameplay experience of any Mario game to date.

Some will debate whether or not it matches Galaxy, but for me it does, thanks to its brilliant reinvention of the sandbox formula and incredible use of so many different tools.

You’ll become obsessed with collecting outfits and Power Moons, and fall in love with every kingdom you visit. Nintendo has had a wonderful 2017 and is rounding it off in style with the best Mario.

Read our full Super Mario Odyssey review

5. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

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

Nintendo has delivered the definitive Mario Kart experience to Nintendo Switch. Combining the greatest Mario Kart ever in the form of MK8 with the versatility and dynamism of the Switch is a match made in heaven.

With plenty of new customisation options to help newer players get to grips, as well as added depth via new levels of drift boosting, 200cc trial modes and the all-new Battle Mode, this is an absolute must-buy for Nintendo Switch owners.

Read our full Mario Kart 8 Deluxe review

splatoon 2

6. Splatoon 2

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • 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

7. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • 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

8. ARMS

Pros:

  • Brilliant motion controls result in a genuinely fresh fighting experience
  • The best online game Nintendo has ever released
  • It looks great
  • Surprising amount of depth to the combat

Cons:

  • Traditional controls don’t feel great
  • Lack of single-player content may leave some feeling cold
  • Annoying arms-unlock system

ARMS is another example of Nintendo creating something entirely new and it working a treat.

A boxing game like you’ve never played before, ARMS lets players take on friends on the couch or online and take full advantage of the Joy-Con’s motion controls. Throwing punches with twists and turns to bend your character’s spaghetti-esque mitts, there’s a surprising level of strategy involved in what at first looks like a simple bash-em-up.

Once you get hooked on ARMS, it’s hard to stop playing, as there’s always a new challenger on the horizon.

Read our full ARMS review

9. Xenoblade Chronicles 2

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • 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

10. Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • 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

Mario Tennis Aces

11. Mario Tennis Aces

Pros:

  •  A ridiculously good core mechanic that never gets old
  •  One of the finest multiplayer experiences on Switch
  •  Accessible and deep simultaneously
  •  Could offer something for quite some time

Cons:

  •  Single-player may leave some wanting
  •  RPG system is light at best

Mario Tennis Aces is awesome and a must-have if multiplayer experiences are your thing. It blends silliness with seriousness really quite brilliantly and is a testament to Nintendo’s efforts within this space. No one else would ever even comes close. 

Read our full Mario Tennis Aces review

Super Mario Maker 2

12. Super Mario Maker 2

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • 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

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

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