So, you're having a party — possibly on a rooftop — dancing to the music and all that jazz, but suddenly there's a lull. Fear not because we've got just the thing to get the party started again! Nintendo Switch has a whole host of crowd-pleasing co-op and competitive party games, whether you're hosting a birthday party for a bunch of kids, throwing a casual soirée for a few select dinner guests or you've got all the furniture in the garage. Regardless of the function, you're sure to find games here for all occasions.
Below you'll find our picks — in no particular order — for the best party games on Switch. While the console's lineup of brilliant co-op games may fit the bill for smaller get-togethers, some games require a little more thought, consideration and co-ordination than the average party-goer might be ready for (or capable of). For this selection we've chosen games that work best with lots of people, including spectators, and ones that let anybody join in with the minimum of fuss.
So, fill those bowls of nibbles to the brim, charge your Joy-Con and pack your party bags, people, because tonight's gonna be a large one...
Get the party started with the plumber and his Mushroom Kingdom pals. While Mario's had his ups and downs when it comes to this minigame series - with some of the recent entries feeling a little sterile - that simply isn't the case with Super Mario Party. This is a well-constructed and beautifully realised Mario Party game which takes the series right back to its frantic stick-swirling, button-mashing roots. It's a true return to form that can get genuinely raucous in the right company. There ain't no party like a Mario Party, and with this Switch entry in the franchise, that's no longer a backhanded compliment.
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This is a great option for anyone at your gathering that might find a controller intimidating. You'll need an internet connection and a smart phone each for this one, but if you can get a decent group together, The Jackbox Party Pack (or one of the other five Packs in the series available on Switch eShop) can be riotous. With a good mixture of trivia, improvisation and interpretation, the brilliant thing is that anyone with a smart device can play and many of the included games cater for up to 8 players, which means fewer spectators standing around wishing they could get involved. Drawful 2 is available as a standalone, release, but whichever of the packs you chose, there's sure to be laughs-a-plenty for everyone concerned.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe delivers a huge amount of racing goodness that's sure to please the crowd. The racing part is best-in-class and there's plenty of tweaks available to make it accessible to all, whether they're racing veterans or this is their first, motion-assisted encounter with the King of Kart Racers.
When you're done with racing, the Battle Mode let's you get into hilarious brawls as you hair around the arenas chasing each other with red shells and Bob-ombs. It's a game that continually raises a smile and, occasionally, induces that trademark Mario Kart rage as shells strike and positions are lost. It's addictive and unifying, unfiltered fun that draws in anyone daring enough to take up the wheel - absolutely perfect for a party.
It might not have set the world alight when it released at the start of the Switch's life, and it may have worked better as a pack-in title to showcase the unique features of the console and its Joy-Con controllers, but when played with a group of friends or family members 1-2-Switch is a proper hoot. What it lacks in longevity it makes up for with the sort of accessible social appeal that made Wii Sports a living room tradition for so many households all over the world. This really is a party game - as in it requires the context of a social gathering to work properly - and if you've only tried it as a solo player we entirely understand if you found it underwhelming. In a group context, though, it really shines and if you can find it for a reasonable price, it's well worth a go. You always fancied trying that HD rumble ice cube trick, didn't you?
Just Dance 2022 is a sleek entry to the franchise that does exactly what it says on the tin. The series has been running for years now with very few changes, so Just Dance 2017 or Just Dance 2018 or Just Dance 2019 or Just Dance 2020 or Just Dance 2021 *breathe* will do just as good a job of getting people on their feet.
The gameplay itself is just as precise and enjoyable as it always has been and anybody with a smartphone can dance along by using Ubisoft's controller app. Little touches like having the Joy-Con’s HD Rumble pulsate to the beat make the Switch version particularly appetising, and if you pay for the Just Dance Unlimited subscription, there's a vast array of tracks to strut your funky stuff to. Get down Saturday night, indeed.
One person's got a bomb which needs diffusing while the rest have a printed (yes, an actual physical printout) manual with all the instructions you need to disarm the explosive. Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes is an absolute nail-biter of a party game. Obviously, you'll need to have the manual prepared beforehand — it's possible to use a PDF, but the game is far better then there's random sheets of A4 flying around as you frantically search for the info you need. This probably wouldn't go down so well with small children as reading it required. With that in mind, you'll need to be in a condition to read while playing this one, so it really depends on the sort of party you're throwing. Too many fizzy drinks can make negotiating the written word challenging, and when it's a race against the clock you don't want to let the team down because you can't focus on the page numbers. Otherwise, this is a blast.
Runbow is a great example of a party game that can cater to solo and multiplayer preferences alike, and almost certainly deserves a cheeky purchase on Switch. It's a party platforming game where the background regularly cycles through different colours, and all platforms that match this colour will disappear until it changes again. It's great fun, with presentation to die for, and unlocking Nindie heroes through a really nicely put together adventure mode is the icing on the cake. However, the real beauty of Runbow as a multiplayer party game is that it supports up to 8 players, so the more the merrier (provided you've got the requisite number of controllers).
Super Bomberman R is a no-frills entry in a series which had been dormant for far too long. The Switch's unique focus on local multiplayer makes this a perfect fit. Support for Switch Pro Controller as well as single and dual Joy-Con play - along with local network and online multiplayer - make this the go-to multiplayer title for both old-school gamers and those who have never played a Bomberman before (really - just who are you inviting to these parties of yours?). Newbies will very quickly get into the frantic swing of things, so if you're looking to share the joy with your friends, Super Bomberman R is as dependably explosive fun as it's ever been.