Best Endings on Switch
Image: Nintendo Life

It's hard to say goodbye, but sometimes, it's for the best. Some of the more memorable and touching stories we've witnessed in games throughout the years have been the ones that ended tragically, or culminated in a bittersweet conclusion — there's a reason Shakespeare's most-loved plays are Hamlet and Romeo & Juliet, after all! We're just suckers for an unhappy ending.

But not all of the games on this list of best endings are tragic. Some are heartwarming, some are fitting for the characters we've come to know and love, and some are just straight-up beautiful. We've narrowed it down to Switch games only (including Nintendo Switch Online games), because there are a lot of brilliant endings out there in games, but even then, we found it hard to narrow down — so make sure to head to the comments to suggest your own.

Whether sad or happy, or somewhere in between, every game on this list has one thing in common: They make saying goodbye special.

(And in case it's not obvious: SPOILER WARNING!)

Inside (Switch eShop)

If someone offered you a million dollars to predict Inside's ending after 15 minutes of playing the game, you would not get a single cent. Even several hours in, we doubt anyone could guess how the story ends for the scrappy little protagonist. And we can't decide if the ending, where the miserable Cronenbergian experiment ends up beached on a lonely shore, is a good one or a bad one. But does it have to be so black-and-white? It's certainly thought-provoking, and that's what counts.

NieR:Automata The End of YoRHa Edition (Switch)

On the surface, NieR: Automata is a game loved for its flashy and powerful combat, serene yet desolate world and a simultaneously chaotic and classical soundtrack. However, the percentage of players who don’t jump back in after their first credit roll are truly missing out on something special.

The struggle that 2B and her comrades endure against all odds is inspiring yet heartbreaking, and once you reach the true end, we can’t guarantee you’ll be the same person you were when you first picked up that controller.

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The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Switch)

The end of Link's Awakening is one of those bittersweet endings, in which Marin, Koholint, and the world Link had come to know all dissolve away like dreams in the dawn light.

This could have been a happy place for him, but instead he is trapped in this eternal need to solve the problems of the people, and everything in the game — from the surreal inclusion of Super Mario characters to the gigantic egg on top of the world — builds up to the ending as possibly the only time we're okay with a "it was all a dream" reveal.

EarthBound (SNES)

When you were a kid, there’s a chance you had a feeling of invincibility. A moment where you wanted to run away from home, where you felt you could eat whatever you want or you could roam through the woods and nothing could hurt you.

EarthBound in a somewhat magical way lets you reconnect with those feelings, but then abruptly shakes you awake at the very end. This is no horror game, but if you did have nightmares after finishing that final fight (or while being stuck on it for days on end) we absolutely wouldn’t blame you.

Portal: Companion Collection (Switch eShop)

Both of these games have spectacular endings, in no small part due to Jonathan Coulton's exceptional songwriting getting its moment during the credits. Throughout Portal and Portal 2, the line between comedy and horror is about as strong as GLadOS' grip on sanity, with one devolving into the other before spring-leaping back up and yelling OH YOU THOUGHT I WAS DEAD, DID YOU? YOU MONSTER.

The endings are just as goofy, featuring cake, songs, and turret choirs, and even the return of a beloved old friend, but they're so perfectly positioned within that push-pull of comedy and horror that it's always satisfying.

Hades (Switch eShop)

Hard to say exactly when Hades ends, because you can keep playing indefinitely, but the true ending — the reason you're trying to escape Hades in the first place — is a cathartic one. Your father, Hades himself, begins as a tyrant of a dad, but gradually he learns to soften, like a certain God of War over on the PlayStation side of things. And you know we love a dad gone good.

After all the hours Zagreus puts into climbing out of hell, the ending between him and Persephone — which is metered out slowly, and requires more complete runs to finish, of course — is a touching one of families, not deities.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Complete Edition (Switch)

The Witcher 3 has a handful of endings, many bad, depending on how Geralt has behaved in several key moments throughout the story. They're all great, even if they aren't all satisfying — getting to see Ciri walk off into a miserable tundra because we were a particularly over-protective dad was a hard moment — but the "best" ending cements Ciri as the true purpose of Geralt's adventures, allowing her to fulfil the destiny she has always wanted, rather than continuing to get embroiled in the politics of this blood-drenched land.

BioShock Infinite: The Complete Edition (Switch eShop)

Even if you have mixed feelings about the middle parts of Bioshock Infinite — which is entirely fair — you can't deny that the ending, which tangles with Bioshock's multiverse — is a good one. It goes hard on the idea of determinism, forked paths in time, and ending the cycle of violence instead of perpetuating it, even accidentally. Sometimes the best thing we can do to help is to remove ourselves from the equation entirely.

Disco Elysium: The Final Cut (Switch eShop)

Arguably the first ending many people will see in Disco Elysium is the, ahem, "fart around and find out" ending, in which the protagonist — a hungover, amnesiac wreck at the start of the game — has a heart attack after trying a little too hard to get his tie off the ceiling fan, mere minutes into the game.

But the ending we're talking about is the culmination of that protagonist's actual journey through the mundane and the insane, leaping between real-world politics and the absurdism at the heart of Disco Elysium, until finally he reaches a conclusion that is both the answer to the question that you are seeking, and an answer to a question you didn't know you had. It is, all at once, a bizarre non-sequitur, and the only way it could all end.

The House in Fata Morgana: Dreams of the Revenants Edition (Switch eShop)

You would hope that a game that takes 40 hours to reach its conclusion doesn't fumble the ball at the end, and you'll be glad to know that The House In Fata Morgana pulls it off perfectly. What starts out as a mysterious story about a maid and a mansion, with about ten thousand questions to answer, ends as a tale of people who deserved better — and who eventually get what they deserve, even if it is just an ounce of human kindness.

Firewatch (Switch eShop)

In Firewatch, you begin the game by finding out that your wife has early onset dementia, and that you have escaped to spend the summer alone as a fire lookout. The game unfolds by presenting you with some mysterious, almost supernatural goings-on — but by the end, you'll realise that you can't escape grief, and you can't escape yourself.

The heartbreaking, grounded ending deftly undoes all the unnerving red herrings about missing teens and government experimentation, while leaving you with a conclusion that's just a sad, lonely truth. And it's beautiful.