Nintendo's latest entry in the fitness games genre succeeds in properly gamifying exercise where Wii Fit never quite hit the mark. If you're a gym addict you probably shouldn't throw out your membership card just yet, but for everyone else looking to get fitter, Ring Fit Adventure is a fantastic way to do it that won't bore you senseless. Play it properly and you'll definitely feel it the next morning – a sure sign that it's at least doing you some good – while the compelling adventure mode with its RPG elements ensures that you'll keep coming back for more.
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Pokémon Sword and Shield succeed in bringing some new ideas to the table, although there are areas where it could be pushed further. It's an experience full of highs and lows, from the unadulterated wonder and joy of seeing a brand-new Pokémon in a stadium full of cheering crowds, to the monotonous and dragged-out dialogue we just wanted to skip. The wonders of exploring the Wild Area feel like the true evolution of the series. On the whole, Pokémon Sword and Shield are a very solid start to the HD generation of Pokémon games.
Good Job! Is a wonderful surprise that everyone should try out. Thanks to its hilarious physics, seemingly menial tasks have the potential to descend into utter carnage – whether intentional or not – and its grading system means there are plenty of opportunities to replay. Slight technical hiccups aside, Good Job! is absolutely guaranteed to have you in fits of laughter.
Paper Mario: The Origami King tries to do something different with its combat system and, to be honest, we aren't feeling it. That doesn't mean the rest of the game isn't thoroughly entertaining, however, and while the puzzle-based battles aren't quite what a new Paper Mario game needed, they aren't so awful that everything else shouldn't be experienced as a result. It still isn't the new Thousand-Year Door fans will have been hoping for, but it's still one of the funniest games in the series and it's got a truly likeable companion character, and while the combat is far from ideal the fact that we still thoroughly recommend the game regardless speaks volumes about every other aspect of it.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons takes the series and not only drags it back onto home consoles, but improves upon every single facet imaginable. There's more to do, more to see, more to change, more to mould, and more to love; fans and first-time players are going to find themselves losing hours at a time gathering materials, creating new furniture, and making their island undeniably theirs. Every moment is unashamedly blissful, with excellently-written characters that truly feel alive and an island paradise that gives back infinitely more than you put in. Back when Animal Crossing: New Leaf hit the shelves all those years ago and created a whole new generation of fans, many people were wondering how Nintendo could possibly top it, but here we have our answer. This is a masterpiece that it's worth buying a Switch (or two) to play.
Exclusives? Okay, we're stretching the definition a tad here seeing as this is a compilation release of three games that have appeared elsewhere before, but this compilation is definitely exclusive. These Mario classics have never looked better or been more convenient to play on official hardware than on Switch, either, although there's a complication: this triple pack was only available on Switch until 31st March 2021, so you'll have to rely on the secondhand market if you want to get hold of a copy now.
We had an absolute blast playing through these three gems all over again, especially now they look sharper than ever. It’s a shame that the presentation is practically barebones with no bonus content beyond the soundtracks, but there can still be no denying the quality of the games on offer here. Super Mario 3D All-Stars is the Beatles’ Greatest Hits of the video game world, and is an absolute treat whether you’re reliving it in HD or discovering it for the first time.
Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit is a startlingly authentic "mixed reality" recreation of Nintendo's most popular racing series which encourages you to be inventive with your course designs and does an excellent job of combining your real-world surroundings with the fantasy environments of the Mushroom Kingdom; add in a second player (or three, or four) and it becomes even more compelling. The tech side of things is undeniably impressive and it's impossible to not raise a smile the first time you play; the question is how long that magic will last, especially if your home limits your track designs and you've only got the budget to cover the cost of a single car.
Approached with the knowledge that this is a full-featured side-dish, you'll have a very good time hacking and slashing your way through Calamity Ganon's minions in Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity; just remember that despite its sparkling presentation, it is still not a Zelda game. What it is is a brilliant Zelda-infused Musou experience filled with varied and satisfying combat and Breath of the Wild additions that work beautifully within the boundaries of the Warriors template. The care and attention given to detail here is hugely impressive. We found performance to be adequate and, crucially, it didn't affect our enjoyment throughout — just be prepared for a slideshow once the pyrotechnics start in two-player co-op. Regardless of framerate, though, there's definite catharsis in grabbing the Master Sword, sprinting out there and giving all the prowling nasties a sound thrashing.
New mechanics, monsters and a gorgeous setting make Monster Hunter Rise a new high-water mark for the franchise. The Wirebug, Switch Skills, Palamute and carefully thought-out monsters shake things up enough to make the game feel fresh for hunters who have previously spent thousands of hours with the series, and while the package could be slightly intimidating for newcomers, it's arguably the ideal place to get started if you're serious about getting into the franchise. And, with a peerless four-player multiplayer experience, the new Rampage quests are a blast. After spending some serious time with the game, it’s very easy to say that Monster Hunter Rise is one of the strongest entries into the franchise to date, and another stone-cold classic for the Nintendo Switch. It'll be available on PC at some point, but until then it's a Nintendo Switch exclusive, and a ruddy good one.
Are your favourite games included? Did we miss anything entirely that you think deserves a spot? This is an ever-evolving list that will be updated as-and-when worthy exclusive games crop up. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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, 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, Visual Novels, Fighting Games, Hidden Gems, 2D Platformers, 3D Platformers, Run and Gun Games, Sports Games, Beat 'Em Ups, Chill Games, Family Games, Retro-Inspired Games, Short Games, Card Games and Deck-builders, 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, and the Best Switch Collections And Compilations.
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, and 2020. And finally, if you're interested in other Nintendo consoles and retro games, check out the Best Game Boy Games, Best Nintendo DS Games, Best Nintendo 3DS Games, Best SNES Games, Best N64 Games, Best GameCube Games, and Best Wii Games, as well as Every Nintendo Switch Online NES Game and Every Nintendo Switch Online SNES Game.