It's taken a while, but as with most other genres since Switch launched back in 2017, Nintendo's console has steadily built a good library of flight combat games. Whether you're shooting bogeys and blasting your way though the clouds or the cosmos, there's a host of quality dogfighting games available.
All the games here lean heavily towards the arcade-y end of the scale — you won't find any hardcore flight simulations here — but below we've rounded up, in no particular order, the very best 3D (or simulated 3D) flight sim and flight combat Switch games we've come across.
For some unknown reason, Bandai Namco's excellent Ace Combat series is still MIA on Nintendo's console, and we've yet to see a fully-fledged, brand new Star Fox on the system either, although Ubisoft's underrated Starlink: Battle for Atlas offers a cracking Star Fox fix on Switch — see below for more details.
If you're into 2D aircraft-based shooting, you may want to peruse our selection of the best Switch shmups. Here, though — while we wait for Ace Combat or the Star Fox crew to land (or, if we're really dreaming, Rogue Squadron to somehow shoot its way out of the vaults with an HD remake) — grab your goggles, leg it to the airfield and strap yourself in for the best flight combat games on Nintendo Switch.
Don't worry, we'll be back home in time for tea and medals. Tally bally-ho!
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Sky Rogue (Switch eShop)
While it lacks any storyline and the randomised nature of the missions may strike some as lazy, arcade-style dogfighter Sky Rogue has plenty of gameplay where it counts. The jet combat action is superb, aided by excellent controls, a wide range of weapons and plenty of stuff to unlock. The 12-stage campaign mode will keep you coming back for quite some time – thanks largely to the unique roguelike approach where death means losing everything, but the experience gained means a better chance of success next time around – and the ability to rope in a friend in co-op adds even more longevity. Granted, when you do eventually complete the game there's not a great deal to bring you back, but it will take quite some time and effort to reach that point – and you'll have had such a blast you won't feel short-changed.
Skies Of Fury DX (Switch eShop)
Despite that glaring lack of online multiplayer — and a slightly awkward off-screen targeting system — Skies Of Fury DX brings a slice of fun, fast and furious dogfighting to Switch. Whether you’re playing on your own through its 100 campaign missions or shooting your friend’s biplane to smithereens in local multiplayer, it’s one addition to Switch’s digital library of plane-based battlers.
Manticore: Galaxy On Fire (Switch eShop)
Manticore: Galaxy on Fire is an outstanding example of mobile-to-Switch done right. A gorgeous looking, content-heavy slice of space shooting action with a deep plot, set in a lore filled universe that has matured over years since the Galaxy on Fire series premiered in the mobile market. It has niche appear, but if this itches your trigger finger, jump right in and be prepared for some great space antics ahead, hunting down alien criminals we're fairly sure were named when the developer’s cat ran over their keyboards. See you, space cowboys.
Starlink: Battle for Atlas (Switch)
With its exclusive use of some substantial Star Fox content that gets you in the cockpit of an Arwing on Switch, you’re getting the best version of Starlink: Battle for Atlas on Nintendo's console. And with a more accessible and ultimately enjoyable version of No Man’s Sky's gameplay mechanics and Mass Effect’s original vision, you’re getting one of the best dogfighting/space exploration games you can buy outside of Elite: Dangerous. Its gameplay loop does run out of steam after a while thanks to the required grind, but with a surprisingly ungreedy approach to content access and toys-to-life integration, Starlink makes you think there might be some life in the genre yet. What's more, you can pick it up for a pittance now — it's certainly worth investigation.
Star Fox 2 (SNES)
While we're on the subject, Star Fox 2 was previously exclusive to the Super Nintendo Classic Mini console but is now also part of the SNES catalogue available to Nintendo Switch Online subscribers. This game was fully developed for the Super Nintendo but shelved at the last minute when Nintendo saw the writing on the wall for 16-bit 3D graphics.
The original game is a classic, and its use of the Super FX chip resulted in an experience that felt awe-inspiring to anybody who witnessed it on their SNES back in 1993. Its unreleased sequel is a fascinating curio and fans of the series will enjoy seeing the ideas that began here and eventually saw the light of day in other games. This includes sections where you're able to move freely in every direction as you would in the 'All-Range mode' in later games.
If you're not one to forgive frame rates in the single digits, you may want to look elsewhere. However, having this is museum piece in your hands is an utter treat and anyone with a Nintendo Switch Online subscription and an interest in space combat should set aside a couple of hours for Star Fox 2.
Bomber Crew (Switch eShop)
Despite its unyielding nature and curiously juxtaposing approach to its characters, Bomber Crew is a sometimes thrilling and constantly rewarding title. It's a half-flight/half-management sim title, so be prepared for more than just dogfighting. Favouring roguelite progression, strategy and resource management over frantic arcade-style combat, if you can get past the simple, cute visuals and steep learning curve you’ll find a rich, intense and satisfying experience here.
Space Crew, Runner Duck Games' space-based follow-up, is also pretty good.
Everspace - Stellar Edition (Switch eShop)
While reminding us just how much we’d love to see FTL on Switch, Everspace manages to carve out an impressive identity for itself as you warp between sectors steadily increasing your arsenal and skill-level. With gratifying space combat, an addictive roguelite core loop and even some light, entertaining writing along the way, it performs admirably – though not flawlessly – on Nintendo’s console. We had a hell of a time with it and this port does a cracking job of preserving the full experience on a handheld.
SEGA AGES G-LOC: Air Battle (Switch eShop)
An action-packed arcade title with a greater focus on offensive play than the likes of After Burner. G-LOC's first-ever home release is a welcome one. It's got a couple of frustrating stages and, as is the case with most arcade games, it has longevity issues, but as long as you don't mind playing the same short series of stages over and over again to edge yourself up the online rankings, it's a good way to pass 10 minutes at a time and a classic dose of old school fighter jet action on Switch.
Another entry from the Nintendo Switch Online SNES catalogue available to subscribers, Pilotwings is a relaxing salve of a game that requires equal parts concentration and relaxation - a perfect antidote to the distractions of the times we live in. Balancing accessibility and skill-based gameplay in that time-honoured Nintendo way, it's a great title to return to on Switch, especially given the series' lack of new entries of late.
Rebel Galaxy Outlaw (Switch eShop)
Rebel Galaxy Outlaw is a wonderfully well-realised and stylish slice of space-sim action set in a satisfyingly seedy galaxy full of untrustworthy scum and illegal activity. The dogfighting action here is wonderfully tight and engaging thanks to the game's clever auto-pursuit mechanic, resulting in explosive ship-to-ship combat that allows you to get up close and personal, tracking your prey without much of the laborious fuss of other efforts in the genre. Juno Markev may not be the most exciting of protagonists and the story doesn't really come to much in the end, but there's a ton of side missions and a dynamic economy and morality system to keep you busy as you slowly unravel the mystery behind who killed her husband and left her for dead. Overall, this one's an easy recommendation for space-sim fans, dogfighting fiends and anyone else looking to indulge their inner space rebel.
Let us know your favourites from above in the comments below and feel free to nominate any other deserving candidates. We'll be updating this great new flight combat games arrive on Switch.
This article is one of our Switch Essentials guides which cover a wide variety of genres, including the Best Switch FPS Games, the Best Switch RPGs, the Best Switch Games For Kids, the Best Switch Couch Co-Op Games and the Best Switch Fitness and Exercise Games. We can also help out hunting down the Best Switch Horror Games, the Best Switch Racing Games, the Best Switch Action-RPGs, the Best Nintendo Switch Roguelikes, Roguelites and Run-Based Games, the Best Free Switch Games, the Best Remakes And Remasters, the Best Switch Music And Rhythm Games, Best Feel-Good Switch Games, Best Switch Open-World Games, Best Switch Soulslike Games, Best LGBTQ+ Switch Games, and even Games to Play After You've Finished Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Whatever your favourite genre, we've got you covered: Strategy Games, Metroidvanias, Puzzle Games, Party Games, Online Multiplayer Games, Local Wireless Multiplayer Games, Shmups, Twin-Stick Shooters, Visual Novels, Kart Racers, Fighting Games, Football Games, Funny Games, Golf Games, 'Walking Sims' And Narrative Games, Switch Games For Lovers And Lonely Hearts, Detective Games, Hidden Gems, 2D Platformers, 3D Platformers, Puzzle Platformers, Tabletop Mode Games, Run and Gun Games, LEGO Games, Sports Games, Survival Games, Beat 'Em Ups, Camera Games, Chill Games, Family Games, Retro-Inspired Games, Short Games, Card Games and Deck-Builders, and Life Sims And Farming Games.
Still hungry for more? Elsewhere we look at Wholesome Games, TATE Mode Games, Flight Sim and Space Combat, Point and Click Adventure Games, and the Best Switch Exclusives, as well as Every Arcade Archives Game, Every ACA Neo Geo Game, Every SEGA AGES Game On Switch, plus the Best Switch Ports, Best Wii U-To-Switch Ports, Best Switch Collections And Compilations, Best Cheap Switch Games, Best Switch Demos, Games That Are Better On Switch OLED, Switch Games Under $10, $20, $50, and Switch games with the Best Soundtracks and the Best Graphics. Phew!
If you're looking for the best Switch games regardless of genre, our reader-voted selection of the Best Nintendo Switch Games should help you out, and you can also find the Best Nintendo Switch Games of 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. And finally, if you're interested in other Nintendo consoles and retro games, check out the Best Game Boy Games, Best GBC Games, Best GBA Games, Best Nintendo DS Games, Best Nintendo 3DS Games, Best NES Games, Best SNES Games, Best N64 Games, Best GameCube Games, and Best Wii Games, and Best Wii U Games, as well as Every Available Nintendo Switch Online Retro Game, and ranked lists of Every Nintendo Switch Online NES, SNES, N64 and Sega Genesis / Mega Drive Game.
I found Starlink for 2 Bucks on eBay lol
StarLink is really fun. If someone has it tried it by now, $10 is a flippin' steal.
I thought @shiryu was going to be behind this feature! Ha
I don't know if it counts as a "flight sim," but Void Space Racing is an oft-on-sale (well, anecdotally, that seems to be the case) space racer that is worth picking out from the eShop's bargain bin.
Air Conflicts: Pacific Carriers is worthy of inclusion on this list, in my opinion. It leans (very) slightly towards the sim side of arcade and does a good job with the campaigns being centered in specific carriers and their role in the war. It's a little rough here and there but there's not much else on switch that is as serious an attempt at a ww2 flight sim. Great cockpit views for those that like it that way (right stick to look around as well, very nice).
@HobbitGamer Do you have to use the toys every time you play, or do they give permanent unlocks?
@judaspete Everything that's included in that 'Starter Set' is also unlocked digitally.
@Stocksy I'm Gav's RIO. I hope I live a long and prosper life.
Starlink looks really fun, I wish I could get it. I also think Daemon X Machina belongs on this list, but I get why it isn’t.
Great feature thanks. Just yesterday I thought "hmm I am in the mood for some Wing-Commander-esk game"
Might give Starlink a try next time it is reduced digitally. (Don't want that toy crap to play)
This is a good selection of good games. I love this genre. It's a bit different but if you have Star Fox on here, Panzer Dragoon needs a mention since they are both 3D rail shooters (mostly).
I still hope we get another Star Fox, or Zero's complex controls fixing for Switch.
Much as I admire Starlink, It's absolutely no substitute for a new Star Fox game because it doesn't control anything like a Star Fox game.
Star Fox is fun because you can not stop in mid-flight and turn around like a helicopter. It's the constant forward motion that makes the game exciting and give it the risk and reward of trying to shoot as much as possible before you either miss something or crash into it.
I wish Starlink had understood that. But hey, it's its own thing.
I have starlink...Play for about 30 mins. Might go back. I need to try Sky Rogue
I have a few of those.
Sky Rogue is really good in particular for me. Manticore is gorgeous and starts of great but gets repititive (still good overall imo). SEGA AGES G-loc is a sweet retro playthrough once you get a little used to the odd thing.
Yet to start Star link, Rebel Galaxy or Everspace.
interesting article, thanks.
I have Everspace, Manticore, and Starlink, but the problem I have with all of them is inherent to how space combat usually works in video games. For me, being able to come to a complete stop and also having what seems like slower movement speed isn't nearly as satisfying as jet fighter games where I move fast, am forced to keep moving forward, and have to use aerial maneuvers to reposition myself to get a kill. I want to actually complete the games, but I find it hard to stay focused when playing them as a result.
I have Sky Rogue but haven't played much of it. I'd like to sometime when I'm done playing all the Mario games I've been working through. It'd be awesome if Switch got some Ace Combat games.
I always loved Sky Rogue, reminds me of old Sega arcade games.
Not seeing Air Conflicts on the list - Pacific Carriers has already been commented on, and I've already got some experience with Secret Wars. Neat flight controls with a touch of simulation feel (including the cockpit view among others), a storyline, a variety of missions... quality stuff. And both games have seen significant discounts to date.
What I wouldn’t give for an Ace Combat game on the Switch. The 3DS’ Cross Rumble was so much better than it needed to be, I still love going back to it. Unfortunately I just don’t see it happening. It seems that Project Aces will instead aim to develop and then support a single AC Project at any one time.
@Yanina Totally worth the investment for digital. It’s great.
Also, Sky Rogue ftw
So nice to see Sky Rogue get love. Fantastic game on PC and on the go. Over the years playing it, the joy of combat and the different variety of planes has been enough to bring me back, many a time.
For a good Flight Sim on NSW, take Ultrawings up for a spin! Frankly quite surprised it didn't make this list.
I wonder why the Sky Gamblers series is not being mentioned here, neither in the article nor in the comments. Not an outstanding game but still a quite decent arcade sim, especially the WW2-based ones.
@Yanina it gives you the option to swap things in the menu if you bought it physical. That way you could play undocked.
Going to give another shout-out to Sky Gambers. I have SG: Storm Raiders and while it's obviously no Ace Combat it's good enough to scratch that itch when it hits.
Subdivision infinity was a good one as well, should have been on here, slow to start but got better and more challenging in later missions.
Roguelite games aren't fun, stop making them please, tedium. Immediate turn off for me, ruined everspace for me, especially that final boss fight, 2 hours to get to it then missiles don't work. Too many enemy spawn then you die.
@Thwomp_Stomper Ah ok! Thanks for mentioning it. The physical version is almost free here.
Starlink isn't for everyone, but it was easily one of my favorite games to sit back and relax with. I really enjoyed flying in and out of planets completing missions and shooting baddies. Great gameplay!
I would certainly recommend the digital version though. I can't imagine having had the fun I did if I had to play with plastic toys hanging from my controller.
@HobbitGamer but the starter set does not include much content and this does impact the game. Physical games do not unlock digital games permanently. The version on the eshop includes more content and eliminates the toys. I suppose for 10usd it is ok as a sample but when the eshop version is on a deep sale it would be much better. Extra ships count as extra lives and shipsweapons mix up the rEpetitive gameplay a little. The physical starter pack has lots of ships and weapons missing. I wouldn't buy the physical because, if you enjoy the game, you will have to spend significantly more money on dlc to match the content of the digital release. I didn't enjoy the game personally, too repetitive.
Sky Rogue, StarLink, Manticore and Everspace - all really good. Although, I have Everspace on PS4. I plan to get Rebel Galaxy Outlaw once cheap.
Would be fun to have something like X-Plane on the Switch.
For sure if it was 2D flight based shooters.
Can’t believe Air Missions: HIND was not listed either. Probably more “Sim” than all the others in the article (Russian helicopter simulator).
I haven’t played on Switch but have it on Xbox and the flight model is pretty convincing IMO.
And yes Ultrawings as someone commented is definitely a true physics based sim! Come on NL
Just picked up Everspace for $7 on clearance at Walmart. Great FTL comparison, but when you fail at a run, you keep all your money and perk upgrades for the following runs. Good preservation of progress!
@Needeep Yeah I think Air Missions HIND has been really overlooked, and Ultrawings is the only real flight sim game I can think of with an emphasis on just flying.
Everspace is awesome, going to download Rebel Galaxy soon.
What about Sine Mora EX?
@Needeep I picked up Air Missions: Hind on switch and it has some pretty serious frame rate and bug issues. Enough to keep it off a Best Of list, in my opinion. That being said it is still very enjoyable and as there's nothing else like it on the platform I'd give it a recommendation to anyone who wants a tricky helicopter sim that rewards a bit of tactical thinking (and can put up with some jank).
Is star link worth the purchase? Havent played it.
If you would reccomend, starlink or rebel galaxy?
@Speedo Because you don't like a genre, developers should stop making those games and deprive the people who do like them?
@FantasiaWHT I really don't think developers will stop making them based on my opinion from 3 years ago in an Internet forum, I'm sure they've got other things to be worrying about lol I'm not that cool
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