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25 best Nintendo Switch games for every type of player

The Independent
The Independent
 25 days ago

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The Nintendo Switch is an immensely versatile games console. Besides its physical form – meaning that you can easily play it on the go as well as plug it into your TV – it also has a plethora of different games to ensure there’s truly something for every taste.

And with the Nintendo Switch OLED model launching in October, there’s no better time to dive into the console’s best. However, it can be intimidating to know where to begin.

Fortunately, there’s one fairly foolproof way of knowing you’re onto a winner. If the game is made by Nintendo itself, and therefore considered a first-party title, it’s almost certainly going to be a good game. That’s because Nintendo is the home of famous franchises such as The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario , which are both great starting points for any growing games collection.

There’s also room for some different thinking too, with the Nintendo Switch fast becoming a popular home for independently developed games that may have once only proved popular on PC or similar.

How we tested

When picking out the best Nintendo Switch games out there, we considered multiple factors. First of all, we wanted to seek out the best games to highlight how versatile this console is. While we focused on games that are exclusive to the format, we also considered multi-platform games that simply work particularly well on the Nintendo Switch.

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We also looked at games that would be good for different age and ability ranges, ensuring there are titles that an inexperienced player can get the hang of, as well as someone who’s been gaming for years. Finally, we included a variety of different genres so no matter what your mood is, there’s something here that will entertain you for a while to come.

The best Nintendo Switch games of 2021 are:

‘The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’

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Best: Overall

  • Release date: 3 March 2017
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Rating: 9/10

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild takes a slightly different route to conventional Zelda games. Offering up a vast open world to explore, it feels near endless, allowing players to explore a land that includes more than 100 shrines full of puzzles and intrigues, as well as encounter strange creatures and beasts. Its sheer sense of scale is a truly wondrous sight to behold and it’s easily one of the most beautiful games on the Nintendo Switch.

Players can choose to pursue the game’s storyline or they can go off the beaten path and opt to climb mountain peaks and delve into the wilderness to see what they can find. Survival can be tricky given this is the first Zelda game to include weapons that can be damaged over time. But a comprehensive crafting system ensures you can get back up to speed in no time. It’s a fascinating world that can easily soak up hundreds of hours of your time if you allow it.

Buy now £47.99, Currys.co.uk

‘Super Mario Odyssey’

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Best: For kids

  • Release date: 27 October 2017
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Rating: 9/10

No Nintendo console feels quite right without a Super Mario game and Super Mario Odyssey is the best of the bunch. It’s another open-world style experience embracing what worked so well for Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine before it. This time around, Mario is able to use his hat known as Cappy to gain the powers of those around him, enabling him to be able to do far more than simply jump on the heads of his foes.

Experimentation is a valuable part of the game and it’s a lot of fun seeing how different events play out. Best of all, it’s possible to play the game in two-player co-operative mode so it’s ideal for all the family to get involved in.

Buy now £39.99, Very.co.uk

‘Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’

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Best: Multiplayer game

  • Release date: 27 April 2017
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Rating: 9/10

Keen to be a bit more competitive with your friends and family? Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the ideal way to embrace your competitive side while still providing a balanced experience for everyone. It has all your favourite Nintendo characters racing against each other in a series of karting tracks that are distinctly quirky and in keeping with the general Nintendo theme. A series of power-ups and weapons ensure that even the weakest of players still stand a chance thanks to some neat balancing acts by the game’s AI.

For those times you’re not playing with friends, there are dozens of tracks to play through with each offering secrets and clever shortcuts so you can shorten your lap times. Online modes are also available if you want to go further afield in your competitions.

Buy now £39.99, Currys.co.uk

‘Super Mario 3D All-Stars’

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Best: Platformer

  • Release date: 18 September 2020
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Rating: 9/10

Whether you’re an old hand at the world of Mario and Nintendo or new to the concept, Super Mario 3D All-Stars is a great title to seek out. It includes three of the biggest Super Mario games from over the years – Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine , and Super Mario Galaxy – giving you the perfect grounding in Mario history.

Each game is 3D based and more open world than traditional Mario with Super Mario 64 in particular redefining what many expected of the game. Super Mario Sunshine was previously available on the Nintendo Gamecube and is a much underrated game where you’ll explore the isle Delfino for a tropical holiday that soon turns to ecological disaster. While Super Mario Galaxy has the plumber jet off into space for a gravity-defying adventure. Each game is ideal for all skill levels.

Buy now £40.00, Ao.com

‘51 Worldwide Games’

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Best: Puzzle game

  • Release date: 5 June 2020
  • Developer: NDcube
  • Rating: 8/10

Remember as a child playing simple paper-based games on long journeys? 51 Worldwide Games harks back to those days but with a modern twist. It offers 51 games including solitaire card games, ancient board games, as well as some more fast-paced toy sport games too. Its sheer sense of variety ensures that it’s a lot of fun and far from overly simple, with options to play alone or with a friend.

It’s a change of pace from other Switch games but a delightful one that spans all ages. You’ll be surprised at what classics you may have forgotten about that this game reminds you of. And don’t worry if you think you’ve forgotten how to play, the simple tutorials ensure you’re up to speed in no time.

Buy now £25.99, Currys.co.uk

‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’

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Best: For families

  • Release date: 20 March 2020
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Rating: 9/10

Animal Crossing: New Horizons provides you with cutesy escapism and it’s the ideal game to dip into on a daily basis. You arrive on an island full of talking animals and are instructed to set up home. From there, you can form your home into mostly whatever you want it to be, getting to know the other inhabitants and taking the time to construct new items or discover new creatures.

It’s an incredibly relaxing experience that doesn’t quite have set goals other than to be content. The key here really is to be as creative as you want to be, with the ability to set up a homestead just how you want it to look. The beauty here is that new events unfold each day with special occasions happening any time there’s a public holiday. You’ll be beguiled at how pleasant it all is.

Buy now £46.99, Amazon.co.uk

‘Stardew Valley’

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Best: Simulator

  • Release date: 5 October 2017
  • Developer: Chucklefish
  • Rating: 8/10

Before Animal Crossing: New Horizons (£46.99, Amazon.co.uk ), there was Stardew Valley and it continues to be a gripping experience. This time around, players must build a farm up from the ground, learning how best to tend to their crops as well as how to become part of the local community. It could be tedious but instead it’s positively charming and you’ll feel like you’ve achieved something each step of the way.

Besides tending to your crops, you can also build useful machines and explore nearby caves to discover valuable treasures. It’s all done in a cutesy manner but underneath the surface is a surprisingly rich and deep experience that can last a lifetime.

Buy now £34.99, Amazon.co.uk

‘Ring Fit Adventure’

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Best: Fitness game

  • Release date: 18 October 2019
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Rating: 8/10

Getting fit doesn’t have to be dull as Ring Fit Adventure demonstrates with style. The game comes with a ring that you hold in your arms so that you can perform more than 60 different exercises in a bid to traverse a virtual world. It sounds gimmicky but it’s surprisingly effective with the game broken up into more than 100 levels so you always feel like you’re progressing.

Each time you complete a level, you earn experience points as well as work up a sweat so you’re always moving forward, both physically and virtually. As with any workout, building a routine is key but the relatively short bursts of Ring Fit Adventure ensure it feels less like work and more like play much of the time.

Buy now £59.99, Amazon.co.uk

‘The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening’

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Best: Remake

  • Release date: 20 September 2019
  • Developer: Grezzo
  • Rating: 8/10

A remake of the Nintendo Gameboy game of the same name, Link’s Awakening is a far cry from Breath of the Wild (£47.99, Currys.co.uk ) making it a worthy alternative. This time around, action is from a top-down perspective with a cute mini Link negotiating the island of Koholint as he attempts to collect a series of instruments to awaken the “wind fish” and return to his native land.

Action is fairly simple with a couple of buttons to hack and slash your way through baddies. However, it’s the complex dungeons that will beguile you most with each of them full of puzzles to figure out, all while listening to a truly wondrous soundtrack. It’s a change of pace for sure, but puzzle fans will love the delightful linear world that unfolds here.

Buy now £39.99, Currys.co.uk

‘Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle’

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Best: Strategy game

  • Release date: 29 August 2017
  • Developer: Ubisoft
  • Rating: 8/10

If you prefer to take your time to think each move through, you’ll love Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle . It’s Mario but not as you’ve seen him before. Instead, players participate in a series of turn-based battles with evil foes, across a grid-based layout that still captures much of the magic of the mushroom kingdom.

There’s a surprising amount of depth here with hundreds of lighthearted weapons as well as special abilities that encompass many of your favourite Mario characters. Co-op challenges extend the fun further as well as a series of puzzles that break up the action.

Buy now £16.99, Amazon.co.uk

‘The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD'

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Best: Re-release

  • Release date: 16 July 2021
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Rating: 9/10

Previously released for the Nintendo Wii, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD is better than ever on the Nintendo Switch. In the past, there were complaints about its reliance on the Wii MotionPlus peripheral but that’s no longer a problem here. Instead, players can focus on the wondrous landscapes of the game and tackle environmental and dungeon-based puzzles once more. This forms a rich experience that feels the most like a true Zelda game on the Switch thus far.

Besides compelling puzzles, its art style is influenced by impressionist and post-impressionist painters which means it’s a visual experience you won’t forget in a hurry. Improved graphics and control methods ensure this is a worthy addition to your growing collection.

Buy now £44.99, Amazon.co.uk

‘Hades'

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Best: Dungeon Crawler

  • Release date: 17 September 2020
  • Developer: Supergiant Games
  • Rating: 9/10

A game that rewards you for dying regularly might sound counter-intuitive, but Hades is part of the rogue-like genre where that’s a key element of the experience. You play Zagreus, the son of Hades, as he attempts to escape from the underworld to reach Mount Olympus. In doing so, he’ll find himself in many scrapes that predictably don’t end well.

Effectively, Hades is a battle of attrition as each time you die, you grow in strength and keep your recently gained treasures. By unlocking new weapons and abilities, you become more powerful every time. Alongside that, new elements of the story unlock and you’ll soon find yourself entranced by the strong narrative that unfolds. Gorgeous visuals further lure you in. It takes a little getting used to but it’s an ideal game to dip into frequently.

Buy now £43.15, Amazon.co.uk

‘Luigi’s Mansion 3'

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Best: Family platformer

  • Release date: 31st October 2019
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Rating: 8/10

One of the Super Mario Brothers, Luigi also moonlights as a ghost hunter. In Luigi’s Mansion 3 , he must explore a haunted hotel, rescuing his friends from the ghosts that inhabit it. A variety of ghosts must be captured, with a boss battle on each of the 17 floors providing a particular challenge. It’s a fairly open-ended experience so there’s plenty of areas to explore as well as treasure to seek out, with players able to be assisted by his ectoplasmic doppelgänger, Gooigi.

That means Luigi’s Mansion 3 is an ideal experience to play alongside others such as your children or partner. A series of multiplayer modes further helps extend the fun with both online and local modes available. Everything about Luigi’s Mansion 3 oozes charm as much as it oozes ectoplasm.

Buy now £39.99, Currys.co.uk

‘Fire Emblem: Three Houses'

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Best: Strategy RPG

  • Release date: 26th July 2019
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Rating: 9/10

Fire Emblem: Three Houses requires a little more attention than some of the other games here. It’s a strategy RPG which means you take it in turns with the enemy AI to perform moves on a battlefield. Turn-based, you can spend a while thinking through each step, much like a game of Chess. You’ll need to as well, as Fire Emblem: Three Houses gets quite tricky on harder difficulty levels.

Fortunately, it’s also utterly beguiling. Alongside the combat is a storyline of rival superpowers and students within an academy that almost feels like a twist on Harry Potter . Besides fighting battles, you’ll also find yourself completing errands around the school and partaking in classes to improve your abilities. It’s a potent mix that means sometimes it feels like you’ll never run out of things to do.

Buy now £49.99, Amazon.co.uk

‘Super Mario Maker 2'

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Best: Game creator

  • Release date: 28th June 2019
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Rating: 8/10

The Nintendo Switch offers a growing number of game creation titles but you can’t beat Super Mario Maker 2 . It enables players to create their own custom courses using assets from many Super Mario games before uploading them online to share with others. Unlike its predecessor, Super Mario Maker 2 throws in a form of single player mode too, offering a series of courses for you to participate in while you learn the ropes.

Ultimately though, Super Mario Maker 2 is all about experimentation. Building the perfect (or not so perfect) course for others to check out. Some of the creations are impressively imaginative as well as fearsomely tough but that’s all part of the appeal. It’s nostalgic too, with you able to pick out assets from everything from the original Super Mario Bros right up to Super Mario 3D World .

Buy now £47.70, Amazon.co.uk

‘Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity'

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Best: Hack and slash

  • Release date: 20th November 2020
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Rating: 8/10

Like the Dynasty Warriors franchise but combined with all your favourite Legend of Zelda characters, this is a simple yet gripping game. You play Link and Princess Zelda as they gather allies across Hyrule to fend off evil forces. This is done by running across large landscapes hacking and slashing anything that moves.

It’s an incredibly simple concept but that’s what works for Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity . You’re often confronted by dozens of foes, but by hacking and slashing, you can take them down in no time, watching as the combo meter increases at speed. It’s occasionally repetitive but each mission is relatively brief so it works well when played in a portable fashion, as you can dip in and out while still achieving something. The story is good too, set 100 years before the events of Breath of the Wild (£47.99, Currys.co.uk ) and captivating anyone who can’t get enough of the Zelda franchise.

Buy now £59.49, Amazon.co.uk

‘Streets of Rage 4'

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Best: Beat ‘em up

  • Release date: 30th April 2020
  • Developer: Dotemu
  • Rating: 9/10

A continuation of Sega’s Streets of Rage trilogy, there’s a lot of nostalgia to Streets of Rage 4 if you played one of the earlier games. Previous experience isn’t essential to enjoying it though. Instead, anyone can soon get the hang of the simple controls as you wander through gorgeously grimy streets, beating up thugs and general bad guys. The beauty here is that practice makes perfect. While on the easiest of difficulty levels, you can coast through, you’ll soon learn that each character offers unique abilities and there’s a rhythm to how you can best succeed in combat.

Soon, you’ll find yourself gripped and keen to accrue better combos with a high score system that rewards you with new characters on a fairly regular basis. Additional difficulty levels plus a challenging arcade mode will keep you coming back for more and the choice of local and co-op play certainly creates a fun atmosphere.

Buy now £29.99, Amazon.co.uk

‘Super Smash Bros Ultimate'

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Best: Competitive beat ‘em up

  • Release date: 7th December 2018
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Rating: 8/10

Ever wondered who would win in a fight between Pikachu and Mario? Now you can find out courtesy of Super Smash Bros Ultimate . With over 80 playable fighters including Nintendo mascots and third-party franchise characters, players smash it out – so to speak – beating each other up and knocking their rivals out of an arena.

It’s a sometimes frantic beat ‘em up, but one that everyone can pick up. There’s a certain nuance to some of the controls but even a child can easily pick up the basics and have a lot of fun here. Of course, much of the satisfaction comes from picking out your favourite characters and seeing what their special moves are. It’s all a gloriously messy celebration of the Nintendo world.

Buy now £47.65, Amazon.co.uk

‘New Pokemon Snap'

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Best: Photography game

  • Release date: April 30th 2021
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Rating: 8/10

A photography game might not sound like the first game you’d consider but New Pokemon Snap allows you to snap photos of your favourite Pokemon and that seems pretty irresistible to us. It’s as charming as it sounds with players researching Pokemon before snapping them all while embarking on an on-rails hovercraft.

Each photo is graded and given a score, with a certain puzzle element involved in luring out some Pokemon, so there’s a bit of a challenge here. At heart, New Pokemon Snap is really quite soothing but that’s what works so well for it. Young and old alike can enjoy coaxing out rarely-seen Pokemon or simply browsing their collection. It’s all really rather lovely.

Buy now £39.99, Amazon.co.uk

‘Monster Hunter Rise'

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Best: Challenge

  • Release date: 26th March 2021
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Rating: 8/10

If you’re after a real challenge on your Nintendo Switch, Monster Hunter Rise is it. You take on the role of a hunter whose sole job is to slay or capture large monsters. You gradually accrue a variety of weapons, tools, and environmental abilities to damage and weaken them but it’s a tough battle every time. Monsters become more powerful and you’ll need to adapt and figure out how best to deal with each situation.

There’s a tremendous amount of depth to Monster Hunter Rise thanks to there being 14 different weapon types that each require a different approach. This isn’t a forgiving game with a sometimes awkward control system not helping, but it’s incredibly satisfying when you do succeed. If you’re looking for a game with depth, this is the ideal choice.

Buy now £39.99, Amazon.co.uk

‘Splatoon 2'

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Best: Family shooter

  • Release date: 21st July 2017
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Rating: 8/10

Shooting at things is rarely family friendly, but Splatoon 2 is an exception to that rule. Instead of bullets, you use coloured ink as ammunition, covering the ground with it or painting surfaces. It’s delightfully charming and ideal for all the family because it feels violent without actually being violent.

A series of different weapons including dual-wield pistols mean you can perform some pretty impressive moves ensuring that kids feel like they’re being cool but, again, without the violence of other games. A series of co-operative and competitive multiplayer modes means there’s no shortage of things to do here either. If you have youngsters desperate to play Fortnite (£27.31, Amazon.co.uk ), this is the far nicer alternative.

Buy now £38.00, Amazon.co.uk

‘Puyo Puyo Tetris 2'

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Best: Puzzle game

  • Release date: 8th December 2020
  • Developer: Sega
  • Rating: 8/10

Everyone likes Tetris , surely? Here it is combined with Puyo Puyo – another positively enticing puzzle experience. Where Tetris has you combining blocks to form lines, Puyo Puyo has you matching up coloured blobs to perform similar actions. Combining the two means you’ll need to think a little more about your actions but that’s all part of the fun.

While Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 could have just stuck with allowing you to compete with AI or a friend, it also has a form of story mode and new modes, such as “skill cattles”, which means you can use skills to boost your abilities. By doing so, it offers a far richer experience than just basic Tetris or Puyo Puyo, but that’s always an option too.

Buy now £22.99, Amazon.co.uk

‘Pokémon Sword and Shield'

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Best: Time Sink

  • Release date: 15th November 2019
  • Developer: The Pokémon Company
  • Rating: 8/10

“Gotta catch em all” is the tagline for all things Pokemon and ohh, it’s a persuasive argument. Simply put, you’re an adventurous Pokémon trainer keen to catch all that are possibly out there. It’s addictive because much of it can be done in quite a bite-sized manner. The ultimate aim is to beat the Pokémon League Champion, challenging other gym leaders along the way. But really, the fun is in trying to collect as many Pokémon as possible. Each creature offers different abilities so it’s fun to see how well they work in turn-based combat against different challengers.

While capturing Pokémon can sound a little cruel, this is a much different beast to Monster Hunter Rise (£39.99, Amazon.co.uk ) and a little more genteel. Everything about the Pokémon world is charming and peak Nintendo in its style, so it’s good for all ages.

Buy now £39.99, Amazon.co.uk

‘Bravely Default 2'

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Best: Traditional RPG

  • Release date: 26th February 2021
  • Developer: Square Enix
  • Rating: 8/10

If you were a fan of old-school RPGs like the earlier part of the Final Fantasy series or Dragon Quest , you’ll love Bravely Default 2 . It’s tough but rewarding. Players tackle a fairly standard but charming JRPG story, but it’s the turn-based battle system that stands out most.

Fighting has you juggling a keenly designed risk/reward system. You can choose to hold back, building up your power for a key moment, or you can keep fighting every turn and hope that attrition pays off. Generally, different tactics work with different foes and that’s what keeps you on your toes.

Bravely Default 2 requires some patience and careful planning but it’s smart with it too. A job class system means you have a fair amount of control over how your characters develop too which is supremely satisfying.

Buy now £39.99, Amazon.co.uk

‘Doom Eternal'

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Best: First person shooter

  • Release date: 8th December 2020
  • Developer: id Software
  • Rating: 8/10

Was one of your first gaming experiences playing Doom? Doom Eternal demonstrates that it can be just as fun in a souped up fashion, and that the Nintendo Switch isn’t solely about family friendly fun. As seemingly always, it’s you against demons from hell and you’ll need to shoot them. A lot.

This is a visceral and violent experience with a bevy of weapons that keeps things interesting. It looks great too with some intelligently designed levels that mean you’ll always be thrilled to see what happens next. With inventive weapons tossed in too, from a chainsaw to a good old-fashioned shotgun, Doom Eternal feels nostalgic yet fresh too. Plus, it’s fantastic stress relief.

Buy now £50.39, Amazon.co.uk

Warioware: Get it Together!

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Best: Party game Rating: 8/10

With over 200 microgames to play through, Warioware: Get it Together! is a great way to gather together friends and family even if they don’t play many games ordinarily. Each game takes mere seconds (usually under 5) so there’s never any time to become bored of them. Instinctive reactions are usually key here given the speed at which you need to negotiate each stage but it’s all fairly intuitive. The game offers up a few different characters, each with their own abilities, and it really does only take moments to figure out what can be accomplished.Many of the games have you pushing or pulling certain objects or manipulating the physics of a stage in some way with a choice of a campaign mode or multiplayer extending the fun. A quirky sense of humour further helps matters with some games having you dancing around toilet bowls, plucking underarm hairs, or simply squeezing a toothpaste tube. It sounds bizarre because it is, but it’s a lot of fun with the right crowd.

Buy now £39.99, Amazon.co.uk

Upcoming Nintendo Switch games for 2021 and 2022

This year’s E3 conference revealed a bunch of new games heading for Switch in 2021 and beyond.

‘Metroid Dread’

  • Release date: 8 October 2021

The long-awaited sequel to the GameBoy Advance classic Metroid Fusion , Metroid Dread is a side-scrolling shooter starring intergalactic bounty hunter Samus Aran. The series is known for its intricate, looping level design and puzzlebox-style adventuring.

‘WarioWare: Get It Together’

  • Release date: 10 September 2021

A collection of weird and unpredictable minigames, each lasting just a few seconds, WarioWare: Get It Together has you plucking armpit hairs from Greek statues, peeling off facemasks, squeezing tubes of toothpaste and rocking crying babies back to sleep. This sequel focuses on two-player action, offering users the choice of a number of characters with differing abilities.

‘Mario Party Superstars’

  • Release date: 29 October 2021

The legendary Mario Party franchise is getting a remix on Switch. Mario Party Superstars will bring together 100 of the series’ best multiplayer minigames from as far back as the N64, but this time around you can play online with friends around the world. You can even save your progress mid-game and resume later on – helpful for Mario fans who’ve grown up and found themselves lumbered with adult responsibilities.

‘The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2’

  • Release date: 2022

The upcoming sequel to the best game on Nintendo Switch, Breath of the Wild 2 (which is a working title) is set to be the console’s greatest adventure to date. A new trailer shown at this year’s E3 revealed more details, including floating islands reminiscent of Skyward Sword and the suggestion of some time-travelling shenanigans.

The verdict: Nintendo Switch games

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild offers the most impressive experience for Nintendo Switch players. Its sheer sense of scale is a sight to behold and it looks utterly beautiful whether on the big or small screen. You won’t run out of things to do for many hours to come here, which is why we’ve made it our best buy.

Alternatively, if you want to lose yourself in the world of Mario then Super Mario Odyssey is a fine alternative. It’s a lot of fun experimenting with different skills and talents, and the world of Super Mario Odyssey is a joy to behold for all age ranges.

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For discounts on games and offers on consoles, try the links below:

Nintendo Switch deals and bundles are rare, but not impossible to find. These are the best deals to shop in 2021

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