Best Nintendo Switch games 2018: Wolfenstein II, Octopath Traveler, and Mario Tennis Aces make the cut

These awesome games show that there is far more to the Nintendo Switch than just Mario and Zelda

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The Nintendo Switch is now officially the fastest selling console of all time. After a sellout first year, it’s still on wishlists the world over, but it’s gradually finding its way back into the shops. Whether you’ve had yours since launch or you’re about to click in those iconic Joy-Cons for the first time, we’re here to help you find the best Switch games on the market right now. 

The Switch had a strong opening lineup. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey scored perfect 10s across the board, and Nintendo itself even won Brand of the Year at this year's prestigious T3 Awards.

With over a year under its belt, Switch has a slew of top games on its books, including the cardboard capers of Nintendo Labo, the action-RPG antics of Skyrim and the upcoming tennis fun of Mario Tennis Aces. These are the Switch games you need to own.

Mario Tennis Aces

Mario Tennis Aces

Court-based action returns to Nintendo

Reasons to buy
+Return of story mode+Arcade and realistic physics+Local and online multiplayer

The Mario Tennis games of recent years haven’t been bad, but there’s just been some of that classic magic missing from proceedings. Thankfully, the latest entry - and the first to arrive on Switch - Mario Tennis Aces is able to recapture a fair bit of the fun and frolics that made those early entries so addictive.

For a start, a mini-game filled story mode returns, along with the introduction of motion controls (where you can use your Joy-Cons like a Wii Remote). You can pull off everything from slices to lobs, and powerful trick shots (as well as all the best defence moves). 

You can also take to the courts online to see who has the best slice in the world of Switch.

Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy

Jump, thump and wump through more than 100 classic Crash levels

Reasons to buy
+Remastered graphics+Great soundtrack+Time Trials+Doesn't fix what wasn't broken

Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy contains not one, not two, but three brilliantly remastered foxy PlayStation games, allowing you to re-live all your childhood gaming memories in HD on the move. We've been smashing crates, collecting Wumpa fruit and generally, having a great time with this game, which has thankfully taken the 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' approach to re-mastering. There are more than 100 levels to explore, all with new lighting, animations, textures, models and recreated cinematics. The game’s soundtrack is packed with all the didgeridoos, xylophones and thumpin’ bass lines you can handle, as well as newly recorded dialogue from some of the familiar voice actors who appear in the original Crash Bandicoot games.

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

The next must-have shooter on Switch

Reasons to buy
+A proper solo shooter on Switch+Full Wolfenstein experience+Motion controls

Austin-based studio Panic Button has become the market leader in porting, bringing such titles as DOOM and Rocket League to Switch with only a handful of concessions to get them there. With online shooter Warframe also being ported to the console, it fell to none other than the brutal alt-history action of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus to keep that trend going. And what a port it is. It’s the full FPS experience on your Switch, with robust motion controls and a steady frame rate, even when played in handheld mode. It might look a little blurry in places, but its place among Switch’s must-have titles couldn’t be clearer.

Octopath Traveler

Octopath Traveler

The next big RPG hit is here

Reasons to buy
+Classic JRPG mechanics+Multiple paths equals huge replay value

Square Enix helped define the JRPG with the Final Fantasy series, especially with the first few entries, and while many have followed the franchise’s evolution, a fair few of us have hungered for those halcyon days. Octopath Traveler, with its ‘HD-2D’ visual style (mixing 16-bit-style sprites with 3D rendered backgrounds), looks to capture the feeling with its eight separate characters offering eight totally different stories with multiple narrative paths thrown in for good measure. It promises to be one of the next big milestones in a genre crying out for a proper revival.

Fortnite

Fortnite

The battle royale phenomenon goes mobile (again)

Reasons to buy
+Fortnite’s full BR experience+Cross-play with Xbox/PC

The summer has seen some incredible new titles arrive on Nintendo Switch, but few have quite the chokehold on the zeitgeist as Epic Games’ world-conquering battle royale hit. Yes, the floss-dancing, cover-building phenemenon has already proved a huge success on Switch with cross-play support and all the emotes, skins and Battle Bass content you could ask for. It’s also free-to-play, so any Switch owner can leap off the battle bus and float into the madness. The only caveat is the Switch version doesn’t include the PvE mode Fortnite originally launched with on other consoles, but let’s be honest - everyone’s playing battle royale.

Best Nintendo Switch games

ARMS

Battle with stretchy, weaponised arms

Reasons to buy
+Online and local multiplayer+2, 3 or 4 player battle modes+Dozens of characters and arms to unlock

If it’s competitive multiplayer you’re after, look no further. This insane fighting game pits kaleidoscope-coloured, springy-armed combatants against each other in up to 4-player battles. There are 15 fighters with dozens of interchangeable arms. Mix and match to suit your play-style and take three pairs into battle. Use standard controls, or for an immersive fighting experience, grip one Joy-Con in each hand with your thumbs on the triggers. Tilt together to move, tilt in to block, and get punching. 

Best Nintendo Switch games

LEGO Marvel Superheroes 2

A glorious frenzy of button mashing LEGO destruction

Reasons to buy
+18 Marvel locations+Open world+Unlock Groot, Spider-Man, and Iron Man and more

No console gaming experience is complete without a button-mashing romp through a destructible LEGO world, and LEGO Marvel Superheroes 2 is the best on the market at the moment. Don’t let the fact that it’s a sequel put you off. This game stands a full head and shoulders higher than its predecessor (which is also awesome). The story is new. The level design is clever. And it’s got buckets of that classic tongue-in-cheek LEGO humour. Bash your way through hours of gameplay solo or with a friend.

Best Nintendo Switch games

DOOM

Heavy metal-filled daemon slaying of the finest calibre

Reasons to buy
+Hyper violent+Lightning fast combat+Awesome soundtrack

The grand old first person shooter arrives confidently on Nintendo Switch, with the hyper violence, lightning fast combat, and awesome heavy metal soundtrack from the well-received PC, PS4 and Xbox One title firmly in tact. Resolution and texture fidelity is slightly down in comparison, however, it makes literally no difference to the gameplay and superb art style, which combine to produce an exhilarating, monster-filled adrenaline rush like nothing else on the system. Plus, the fact that you can go portable with the Switch, slaying daemons while on the go, makes this edition of DOOM unique.

Best Nintendo Switch games

Xenoblade Chronicles 2

The famous JRPG franchise returns with a massive open world

Reasons to buy
+Lush art style+Refined 'Arts'-based combat+Huge world to explore

After the underrated Xenoblade Chronicles X on Wii U, the series returns once more on Switch with a similar yet refined take on the long-running JRPG universe. This time out the player is put in the shoes of protagonist Rex, who along with his compatriots Tora and Mia, proceed on a mission to discover Elysium, a paradise for humanity. Numerous obstacles and enemies lie in their way though, with players needing to master a auto-attack, special attack 'Arts' combat system that leans on well-timed attacks and combos to prosper. The series' excellent voice acting and story telling will make Xenoblade Chronicles 2 an epic adventure.

Best Nintendo Switch games

NBA 2K19

The best basketball game just got better

Reasons to buy
+Full fat edition+Runs at 30fps+Best Career Mode story in years
Reasons to avoid
-Microtransactions still sting

When NBA 2K18 arrived on Switch in 2017, it proved (after some much-needed most-release TLC) that sports sims CAN work on Switch if optimised in the right way. One year on, Visual Concepts has brought the world of pro ballers back to Nintendo's hybrid hardware and it riffs and improves on its predecessor in almost all  the right ways. NBA2K19's MyCareer is the best narrative-driven experience it's been in years, the Neighborhood is even bigger and VC now flows at a slightly fairer rate. Of course, microtransactions still loom large, but this is still a fine port of a great modern sports sim.

Best Nintendo Switch games

Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition

One of the best modern platformers

Reasons to buy
+Gorgeous level design+Music levels+Portable platforming with a friend

Enter platform paradise. Rayman Legends offers some of the best platform gaming available today. True, the Switch edition doesn’t really offer anything new compared to the versions on other consoles, but it’s still a must-buy. It gorgeous to look at. The controls are precise and responsive. And, at the end of each stage, there’s a rhythm level that kicks the experience up a notch with music that syncs up with your jumps. Platform on the go and slide your Joy-Cons out to share the experience with a friend in local multiplayer.

Best Nintendo Switch games

Splatoon 2

Ink-splattering chaos for the whole family

Reasons to buy
+4 vs 4 competitive multiplayer+New weapons, modes and kit+Kid-safe shooter

Give in to more third-person paintball chaos with the second iteration of Nintendo’s turf war shooter. Play as an Inkling, spraying flurries of coloured globs to take control of the battlefield and swim through ink as a squid to reload. Enter four-on-four competitive multiplayer matches with all new weapons, modes and kit and get splatting. This is a family friendly shooter is still, refreshingly, completely blood-free. And this time, it’s got jetpacks. If you’re looking for a party game and you’re all Mario Kart-ed out, this is it.

Best Nintendo Switch games

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Become the legendary Dragonborn on your commute to work

Reasons to buy
+All DLC included+Motion control via Joy-Cons+Classic RPG action and story

Skyrim may be now six years old, however the Switch edition looks like it could be the absolute best version to date, with all the game's myriad of DLC included (including a few Nintendo-themed extras), motion control added in for the console's Joy-Con controllers, and true portable adventuring added thanks to the Switch's ability to be taken anywhere. This classic western RPG has won more than 200 awards since its launch for a reason...

Best Nintendo Switch games

Super Mario Odyssey

A truly epic adventure that will constantly surprise you

Reasons to buy
+Perfect platform gaming mechanics+Epic, long-lasting adventure+Spiritual successor to Super Mario 64

This is what we said in our Super Mario Odyssey review:

"There's a moment in Super Mario Odyssey where the game distils everything it is, and everything it stands for, into a blow-out celebration. All at once the past, present and future of this grand old video game series smashes together in a freewheeling, spectacular and experimental set piece that shows that Nintendo, after years of having the handbrake on, is now absolutely flying creatively.  

The fact that Super Mario Odyssey manages to be so experimental while also drawing in the best parts of every Mario game to date, becoming a incredibly playable and joyous love letter to gaming's most celebrated series in the process, is without doubt like a legendary Homeric odyssey - truly epic."

Enough said.

Best Nintendo Switch games

Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers

The definitive edition of this truly legendary versus fighter

Reasons to buy
+Updated graphics and sound+Same simple, addictive gameplay+Diverse game modes

There's so much to like about Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers it is hard to know where to begin. From its engorged character roster (there are 19 combatants) to its excellent selection of game modes including a slick multiplayer suite, and onto its plethora of neat extras including new and improved graphics and sound options (you can switch between old and new), colour editor, replay system, beginner-friendly "Lite" control option and art-stuffed gallery mode, this classic versus fighter is better than ever on Nintendo Switch.

Best Nintendo Switch games

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Objectively reviewed, the best Zelda game ever made

Reasons to buy
+A simply awesome open world+Tight combat mechanics+Gorgeous art style

This is what we said in our The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild review:

"From the most objective perspective we could muster here at T3 Towers - and trust us, when you've played titles such as The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past during your formative years, that is an incredibly hard thing to do - we feel it is quite evident that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is, by quite a distance, the best The Legend of Zelda game ever made. And, what's more, for those people for who Breath of the Wild will be their first foray into the wonderful world of Hyrule, Zelda and Link, it is going to absolutely blow their minds."

Simply put, a must buy.

Best Nintendo Switch games

L.A. Noire

A thrilling detect-'em-up that smartly uses the Nintendo Switch

Reasons to buy
+All DLC included+Good use of touchscreen+Dynamic story telling

If you're a fan of detective stories then L.A. Noire is definitely worth your time, as the game tasks you with solving a number of crimes in the Homicide, Vice and Arson divisions of the LAPD. How you tackle each case though is completely up to you, with various options and outcomes possible. Interrogating witnesses or potential suspects plays a major part in the game, and determining who is telling the truth and who is lying critical to getting the job done properly. Naturally, for a Rockstar game, there is also plenty of firefights. This enhanced Switch version of the game is not only full fat and truly portable, but comes stacked with all of the game's previously released DLC.

Best Nintendo Switch games

Just Dance 2018

The world's biggest dance game moonwalks onto Nintendo Switch

Reasons to buy
+Great selection of hot tracks+Multiple game modes+Child friendly choreographies

Need to warm up your dancing feet for an impending party or wedding? Well look no further than Just Dance 2018, which moonwalks onto Switch with official licenses (Disney anyone?), as well as all the hottest tracks and artists, including such notables as Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj. The game isn't just for seasoned dancers either, with a top Kids Mode delivering children-friendly choreographies and a dance playground.

Best Nintendo Switch games

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

The most polished and playable Mario Kart ever

Reasons to buy
+Massive rank of racers+Loads of tracks and game modes+Local multiplayer on Switch is ace

Mario Kart 8 began its life on Nintendo Wii U, however, the Deluxe edition on Switch is the ultimate version of the game, with all DLC included as well as enhanced multiplayer functionality. Mario and his chums handle just as well as ever, while the presentation and polish applied to the mixture of classic and new racing circuits is first rate. With a massive selection of racing tiers too, from 50cc up to 200cc, with mirror modes thrown in as well to boot, the game is super approachable no matter your age or skill.

Best Nintendo Switch games

Pokkén Tournament DX

Portable Pokemon battles

Reasons to buy
+One-on-one combat+New Pokemon, game modes and abilities+Online and local multiplayer

Don’t underestimate this Wii U classic. It’s had an upgrade for the Switch. Decidueye brings the total playable Pokemon to 21 and Litten and Popplio have been drafted in as support. The new ‘team battle’ mode lets you assemble a three-Pokemon team and the ‘group match’ feature helps you find opponents of a similar skill. Master the single player Ferrum League, get stuck in to ranked online battles, or grab a sofa and share your Joy-Cons for a local match with your mates.

Best Nintendo Switch games

Mario and Rabbids Kingdom Battle

Chaotic turn-based strategy

Reasons to buy
+Single and multiplayer modes+Upgradeable weapons and characters+XCOM-style gameplay

Ubisoft’s Rabbids come toe-to-toe with Mario, Luigi, Peach and Yoshi in this turn-based title. Take a team of three through the Mushroom Kingdom and beat back the Rabbid invasion. This game takes familiar faces, mixes in some Rabbid-flavoured chaos and wraps it all up in XCOM-style gameplay that’ll have even hardened gamers hooked. Balance weapons, tactics, special abilities and status effects. Earn coins and skill orbs to upgrade your kit and build an unbeatable team. 

Bayonetta 2

The ultimate action-adventure

Reasons to buy
+Improved touchscreen controls+Best version of the game so far+One of the best Wii U games goes portable

While it might be a port of a 2014 Wii U exclusive, that doesn't detract from the fact Bayonetta 2 is one of the best games of the previous genration, and retooled for Nintendo Switch it's now getting a second shot at glory. The new version runs smoother than the Wii U original, rarely drops a frame in TV or handheld modes, and comes with all the Nintendo-themed costumes for ass-kicking witch heroine Bayonetta you could possibly hope for.

Nintendo Labo: Toy-Con 01 - Variety Kit

A curious cardboard creation

Reasons to buy
+Family friendly+Five different builds+Help kids learn programming

There really is nothing out there quite like Nintendo Labo. And as unusual as it might be, that’s exactly what makes it so special. It’s Nintendo to a tee, right down to the way it can bring the whole family together. The Variety Kit includes five different creations which come with a set of flat pack-style cardboard sheets. By following the on-screen instructions on your Switch, you can build everything from a set of motorbike handlebars to a working piano. The games themselves are fun for a while, but the real fun comes with the Toy Con Garage, a built in design suite that enables you to build your own creations with an easy-to-understand take on programming.

The Mario Tennis games of recent years haven’t been bad, but there’s just been some of that classic magic missing from proceedings. Thankfully, the latest entry - and the first to arrive on Switch - looks to recapture the fun and frolics that made those early entries so addictive. For a start, a mini-game filled story mode returns, along with the introduction of motion controls (where you can use your Joy-Cons like a Wii Remote). You can pull off everything from slices to lobs, and powerful trick shots (as well as all the best defence moves). You can also take to the courts online to see who has the best slice in the world of Switch.

Stardew Valley

Chill out on the farm

Reasons to buy
+Addictive farming gameplay+Rewarding mechanics+Incoming multiplayer mode

In this charming little indie, you play a character who has left the hustle and bustle of city life behind to take on the running of the titular family farm. You can grow all manner of produce, sell it in the local village and get to know its inhabitants (including the ability to date said fellow villagers). One of the most sedate yet engaging titles you can play, whether on your TV or in handheld mode. There’s also a new multiplayer mode that’s come to all versions of the game - including Nintendo Switch - adding in the ability to link up with friends and tend some farmland together.

Best Nintendo Switch games

Celeste

A twitch-platforming masterpiece

Reasons to buy
+Engaging story+Incredible platforming design+Fantastic soundtrack
Reasons to avoid
-Empty List

Celeste has enjoyed success on multiple platforms - including PC and consoles - but sometimes a game just fits a certain piece of hardware so perfectly you simply couldn't imagine playing it anywhere else. That's what Celeste is to Nintendo Switch, a twitch-platformer full of challenging platforming sequences and intense puzzle solving/exploration. As you ascend the titular mountain, you'll take heroine Madeline on a transformative pixel art journey that's not to missed.

Best Nintendo Switch games

Paladins: Champions of the Realm

Who needs Overwatch?

Reasons to buy
+Competitive team-shooter experience on Switch+Silky-smooth performance
Reasons to avoid
-Empty List

A good 18 months into its life cycle and Nintendo Switch has another genre ticked off  - the hero shooter. Overwatch continues to be one of the biggest shooters on the planet, and Paladins: Champions of the Realm has proven itself a worthy rival. Pick a a Champion, customise their loadout and compete in a team to defend objectives in a full team shooter experience. You can play for free, invest in the Starter Pack or buy the Season Pass to earn exclusive rewards and skins while you play. A must-play FPS on Switch.