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10 Games Every Nintendo Switch Player Needs

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If you own a Nintendo Switch, then you must own these 10 excellent titles.

When will gaming’s worst, short-sighted fanboys learn to stop doubting a Nintendo portable system? Nintendo, despite a coalition of online naysayers questioning each of the company’s moves, has sold more than 5 million Switch units worldwide since its March 2017 debut. And those sales are not at all riding a hype train.

Nintendo Switch boasts a unique home-and-away design that lets you play your favorite titles on a big-screen TV when docked or in handheld mode when you’re waiting in line at the post office. It’s a system that’s especially convenient for commuters or people with busy lifestyles.

Switch also benefits from a terrific first-year library that’s one of the best in gaming history. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is an action-RPG that will be spoken about for years to come. Splatoon 2 is a more-than-worthy follow-up to the excellent Wii U original. And Super Mario Odyssey plops the plumber into a world in which he uses a hat-based morphing power to topple enemies.

Critics will likely retort, “You just mentioned first-party games!” Yes, because they’re absolutely darling titles. That said, Switch has a very solid third-party lineup that will get even better this holidays season with the release of Doom, Rocket League, Skyrim, and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus.

The system is strong with retro and indie games, too. Hamster, a company that specializes in many arcade-to-console ports, has brought many of SNK’s classic Neo Geo titles to the system, such as The King of Fighters ’98 and Metal Slug . Indies are well-represented with the likes of Human Resource Machine, Mr. Shifty, and NBA Playgrounds.

So, in short, Nintendo Switch is the most interesting console on the market, and it has plenty of excellent games in its catalog. If you want to experience the JoyCon life, the 10 games listed below will welcome you into the fold.

  • 1Super Mario Odyssey

    In Super Mario Odyssey, the heroic plumber returns to open-world game design for the first time since the incredible Super Mario 64. Though Odyssey isn’t as technically groundbreaking as its predecessor, the action-platformer is packed to the brim with hot-tossing combat. Yes, hat tossing. This time around, Mario has a new friend, Cappy, lets Mario dispatch enemies with the flick of the wrist. And, even better, Mario can assume the identity of an enemy, gaining its abilities, by plopping Cappy on its head.

  • 2Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

    Hyrule is in danger again, and Link must save it. That’s been the theme for nearly every Legend of Zelda game, and it’s still the case in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The series’ basic premise and Link/Zelda/Ganon dynamic are present, but nearly everything else is different. The classic Zelda dungeon-exploration structure is replaced by a huge open world that’s filled with destructible weapons, monsters, puzzles, and quests. Breath of the Wild’s scope is one previously unseen in the Zelda series, and Nintendo executes the adventure-filled world with aplomb.

  • 3Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

    Mario Kart 8 stood out as the best-looking Mario Kart game yet when it came out on the Nintendo Wii U. Instead of making a new Mario Kart for the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo brought Mario Kart 8 to its new game system. In the process, Nintendo threw in both previously released DLC packs and made some few welcome changes to its multiplayer options, justifying the game’s $59.99 retail price. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the most robust game in the series so far, and with the optional portability of the Switch, it ranks as a must-own title.

  • 4Puyo Puyo Tetris

    Practically everyone in North America has heard of Tetris. Far fewer have heard of Puyo Puyo. Both are block-dropping puzzle games, but while Tetris has been Tetris for decades, Puyo Puyo has had many different tweaks and name changes in attempts to appeal to the west. It came out first as Puyo Pop, then received different licensed incarnations, such as Puzzle Fighter and Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine. Now, Puyo Puyo is making its mark here, thanks to Sega and a double-billing with Tetris. The pairing results in a title that’s plump with game modes, unlockables, and solo and multiplayer options.

  • 5Splatoon 2

    Splatoon on the Wii U surprised gamers with its fresh take on the team-based shooter genre. It was family-friendly, colorful, and most importantly, fun. Nintendo kept updating it with new maps and modes over its lifespan. Splatoon 2 for the Nintendo Switch doesn’t significantly change enough gameplay aspects to really feel like a full-fledged sequel, but it adds a handful of new weapons and modes, as well as overhauled graphics.

  • 6ARMS

    ARMS is Nintendo’s newest take on the fighting game genre. It combines cartoonish aesthetics, sci-fi weapons, and arm-stretching boxing into an accessible, offbeat fighter with a lot of variety. It’s a polished, fun, competitive game that bears more than a passing visual similarity to Splatoon. Though time will tell if ARMS gains any momentum within the esports scene, the game offers plenty of opportunity to swing fists at your friends.

  • 7Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle

    Before Minions, there were Rabbids, Ubisoft’s manic, sublingual, noseless horde spawned from Rayman: Raving Rabbids. Then the weird, bug-eyed, rabbit-like creatures caused havoc in their own game series. Now, they’re running around Mario’s stomping grounds in Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle. This strategy-RPG combines two cartoonish worlds with satisfyingly deep, XCOM-like gameplay for a very fun and strange experience. It’s a combination of styles that work much, much better than you’d expect.

  • 8Namco Museum

    Nintendo has not announced a Virtual Console to bring classic game libraries to Switch owners, so you must make do with third-party releases. Namco comes to the rescue with the Switch version of Namco Museum. This compilation includes 11 older games, including 10 arcade ports and a unique multiplayer Pac-Man experience previously only released on the Nintendo GameCube. This isn’t the most complete or feature-filled retro game compilation on the market, but there are enough solid titles and downright interesting choices to make it worth a look.

  • 9Super Bomberman R

    Bomberman’s return to console gaming was one of the most surprising moments in the Nintendo’s January 2017 Switch game showcase. Considering that the little guy’s now the property of Konami, a company that’s more known for killing P.T. and warring with Metal Gear maestro Hideo Kojima than making video games, it was shocking to see Super Bomberman R announced as a Nintendo Switch launch title. Thankfully, this newest entry in the beloved, bomb-tossing franchise keeps the series’ simple and addicting core gameplay intact, and adds tons of modes, collectible items, and characters to keep things fresh.

  • 10Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove

    Platforming excellence comes to the Nintendo Switch courtesy of Yacht Club Games’ Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove. This downloadable package includes the original Shovel Knight, one of 2014’s top titles, as well as all the previously released DLC and the new Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment. If you long for some retro, 2D action, Treasure Trove a a game that you should not miss.

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