Nintendo's Switch has become home to an almost overwhelming number of fantastic games since launching back in 2017. A great deal of them have appeared on other platforms — whether celebrated indie games or huge AAA releases getting a second wind on Nintendo's handheld hybrid — but the console is also home to a clutch of brilliant exclusive titles.
We have collected together the best exclusive Switch games — in no particular order — for your perusal below. If you're not concerned with exclusivity, check out our best Nintendo Switch games guide for the top 50 best games on the platform, period.
All of the games below are available only on Nintendo Switch and can't currently be found on PC or any other platform (Nintendo consoles included — sorry Breath of the Wild). As such, they form the bedrock of its software library and you'll obviously see lots of first-party titles. Regardless of their origin, the following represent the best exclusive games on Switch.
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Super Mario Odyssey is arguably Nintendo's finest hour on Nintendo Switch so far, returning Mario to the sandbox-style environments of Super Mario 64. The creativity and pure inventiveness on display is incredible, thanks largely to the introduction of Cappy, Mario's trademark hat which he can use to perform insane platforming moves and possess enemies to solve puzzles. If this isn't on your Switch yet, what are you waiting for?
Splatoon 2 builds on the success of its awesome predecessor with more weapons, maps, and – more recently – the introduction of Octolings as playable characters. Splatoon 2 also introduces the awesome Salmon Run to the mix, providing a co-op option for those that just want to play together.
Mario Tennis Aces is the latest entry in the sports franchise that marks a glorious return of the single-player campaign. This time around it's more of an adventure though, with minigames and boss battles splitting up the matches. There's also plenty of room for multiplayer – both local and online – and you can even play with the Joy-Con's gyroscope just like in the Wii Sports days.
Speaking of creativity and cutting out stuff, Nintendo went and reinvented itself twice in a single generation with the introduction of Nintendo Labo. This solves the problem of all of those plastic peripherals you have lying around the house from previous Nintendo consoles by making the peripherals cardboard. It doesn't lose any of the magic though – you can play a piano, drive a motorbike, and make friends with a little pet inside a toy house. All with cardboard and your Nintendo Switch.
The Labo Toy Con 04: VR Kit even enables you to explore the world of VR using just your Switch, a pair of plastic goggles with lenses and a bunch of rubber bands and plastic O-rings. And, of course, cardboard. It's great, and it also allows you to experience certain other titles including Super Mario Odyssey, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and even Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in special VR modes.
Exclusive to Nintendo Switch Online subscribers, Tetris 99 offers a truly unique way to play the tried-and-tested classic, even if the overall package feels a little lightweight. Essentially a battle royale take on Tetris, playing live against 98 others is chaotic, and the action feels fast, precise, and wonderfully addictive. It’s seriously difficult, too – we’d fancy our chances in Fortnite over this any day – and we’re impressed with the fact that it's forced us to play the game with a completely different approach to our usual slow-and-steady ways. Signing up for Nintendo Switch Online just to play this game might be a bit of a stretch, but if you’re already a member, what are you waiting for? It’s 'free', and it might just become your next favourite time sink.
While Nintendo fans are falling over themselves begging for a new F-Zero (seriously Ninty, it's about time), the folks over at Shin'en Multimedia weren't in the mood to beg. Instead, the developer just went and made the Fast franchise on Nintendo platforms. You've got a wide variety of vehicles, racetracks, and an unrivalled sense of speed. Unrivalled, that is, until Nintendo pulls its finger out. F-Zero is actually quite different, but until that arrives, Fast RMX is filling the speedy anti-grav racing void admirably.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle surprised us all when it launched. Who would have thought that an XCOM-inspired tactical RPG featuring Mario and Ubisoft's Rabbids could be so good?! So good, in fact, that it remains one of the best Nintendo Switch exclusives to this day.
Golf Story is like a spiritual successor to Mario Golf on the Game Boy Color, in that it marries RPG gameplay with golf. It's an odd combination that, perhaps more oddly, works really well. You'll explore eight unique environments, solving the world's (and your own!) problems by hitting them with a golf ball.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is the sequel to arguably the best JRPG on Nintendo Wii (soon available on Switch). You play as Rex, a young orphaned salvager who lives on Alrest, a world drowning in a see topped with clouds. Rex has to save the world by finding a paradise land called Elysium, which involves an awful lot of strategic battles with a variety of different blades.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order isn’t a groundbreaking, narrative-heavy reinterpretation of the comic characters you know and love, but then again neither were the first two games. In that regard, it’s a very faithful sequel that mines the vast roster of characters from the comics while including plenty of nods to the current state of the more modern Marvel Cinematic Universe. While it doesn’t do anything particularly new or outstanding, it embraces the brainless fun of its brawler combat with gusto, and it’s at its absolute best when played with a team of player-controlled supers. Excelsior!
If you’re new to the series, Yoshi’s Crafted World has colour and charm to spare, even if its inventiveness is largely limited to its looks for returning fans of the series. It’s delightfully presented and makes for another very solid entry in Nintendo’s ever-growing pantheon of material-based platformers. If you’re looking to share a lighthearted romp with the family, or simply relax in a big chair with a cup of something warm and a comfy pair of socks, be sure to have a spare pair ready – Yoshi's Crafted World will charm the ones you’re wearing right off.