The 20 best Nintendo Switch games you can buy right now

10. L.A. Noire

Genre: Murder mystery RPG
Price: $49.99 / £44.99

What is it? You take on the role of Cole Phelps, a detective with a strong moral compass in the corrupt crime world of Los Angeles, solving cases and gradually climbing up the ranks. 

Why should you buy it? Putting bad guys behind bars is what it’s all about, right? Well, kinda. The journey to find out whodunnit is a long process, and will have you investigating crime scenes to find clues (and yes, sometimes that means corpses) which you’ll use to track down suspects and witnesses. You know, like a real detective! The interrogation mechanic is top notch and will have you trying to read increasingly discrete facial ticks to try and discern whether your suspect is lying or telling the truth. Simply put, L.A. Noire is for all you true crime lovers who want a slice of the action. But not in a murdery way. Hopefully. 

9. Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim

Genre: Openworld RPG
Price: $59.99 / £49.99

What is it? A sprawling, decadent openworld RPG filled with dragons, magic, and a bloody civil war with you right at the centre.

Why should you buy it? Let’s ignore the fact that in Skyrim Nintendo Switch you can fight dragons with your bare hands. Let’s also ignore the stunning scenery that oozes character, whether it’s the dismal, unnerving forest of Falkreath or the golden trees swaying near Riften. Don’t pay attention to the grand total of 244 quests, or the DLCs included in the Switch edition that’ll have you journeying to new lands. Instead focus on the motion controls. They’re damn good, allowing you to raise a hand to your chest to block with a shield, or tilt the Joy-Cons to aim where you’re firing a handful of fire. You can even pick locks with your bare hands now, for Talos’ sake (as long as they’re holding Joy-Cons, that is). Skyrim on the Switch will make you feel connected to Tamriel’s world like never before, and is essential for any RPG lover. 

8. Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove

Genre: Platformer
Price: $24.99/£19.99

What is it? A collection containing the excellent Shovel Knight and every expansion to date, including the brand new Specter of Torment and the upcoming King Knight expansion

Why should you buy it? Shovel Knight (PC review here) may look and sound like a game from the 1980s, but it so much more than simple nostalgia. Featuring inventive level design and action that echoes some of the best elements from Mega Man, Mario, and Ducktales, along with a few tricks of its own, Shovel Knight still stands as one of the best modern 2D platformers out there. The Treasure Trove edition compiles every bit of shovelry released to date: the base campaign, the previously released Plague of Shadows expansion, the brand-new Specter of Torment expansion, the upcoming King Knight expansion, and a brand-new four-player battle mode.

7. Stardew Valley

Genre: Simulation
Price: $14.99/£10.99

What is it? A cute, pixel-art farming simulator that has stolen the hearts of most of the GamesRadar+ office. 

Why should you buy it? There's a reason Stardew Valley was one of the most highly anticipated titles coming to the Nintendo Switch. This adorable, simple life, farming simulator is the perfect game for taking advantage of the Switch's portability. Farming at home, farming on the go, farming wherever the heck you fancy farming. It's a fantastic game for whiling away the evenings with a spot of farming, mining, animal rearing, fishing and other super relaxed activites. Trust us, you'll soon be as immersed in the world of Stardew as we are.

6. Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition

Genre: Platformer
Price: $39.99/£29.99

What is it? The brilliant platformer has leapt onto the Switch at last, bringing Rayman and co to a portable platform in the best way. 

Why should you buy it? There's no denying that Rayman Legends is one of the best platformers to emerge in the last decade. Our favourite limbless hero's adventure has been ported to the Switch with a few new features, but to be honest it's worth picking up even if it was exactly the same as the PS4 and Xbox One versions. Not only does it look wonderful on Switch, it also complements the hybrid perfectly. It's a fantastic game to jump into on the go thanks to its level structure, but looks wonderful on the big screen too.  

5. Splatoon 2

Genre: Third-person shooter
Price: $59.99/£49.99

What is it? A sequel that brings more multiplayer ink-splatting madness than the Wii U exclusive original and more Splatfests too.

Why should you buy it? If you missed out on the Wii U exclusive that was Splatoon, the sequel, suprisingly named Splatoon 2, is one of the Switch's best games. It again sees you teaming up with your fellow inklings – that's half squid, half human – to try and paint the most of the map your team's colour in the multiplayer. It's easy to pick up and play, and although it doesn't feel totally fresh anymore as it's a sequel, it's still a refreshing take on the traditional shooter. There's also a robust single-player Hero Mode and a new Horde-esque mode known as Salmon Rush that is dangerously addictive and devilishly difficult on the highest levels.

4. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle

(Image: © Ubisoft)

Genre: Strategy
Price: $59.99/£49.99

What is it? If you mix Super Mario with XCOM you basically get Mario + Rabbids,  a strange strategy hybrid with tons of charm. 

Why should you buy it? Don't be put off by the XCOM comment, Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle is a strategy game that works incredibly well even if you're not a fan of strategy games. It features brilliant, polished game mechanics that are introduced in stages to let you get to grips with the game's surprisingly deep tactical gameplay. But it mixes that gameplay with real knowledge of the Super Mario universe and wraps it up in a level of detail and graphical quality that you can regularly mistake it for a Nintendo-made title. It's an absolute joy.

3. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Genre: Racing
Price: $59.99/£39.99  

What is it? The best version of Mario Kart 8 money can buy.

Why should you buy it? Apart from the telling clue in the line above, the Nintendo experience isn't complete until you've enraged your closest friends by beating them at Mario Kart. It's a rite of passage on every Nintendo console. This immediate, relatable, pick-up-and-play fun is exactly what the Switch was created for. Up to eight people can locally, letting you pretend that you're in a Nintendo lifestyle advert, and it's a novelty that two people can play anywhere using a single console. But best of all, this is the ultimate version of an already amazing game, and perhaps the most clear and brilliant example of how great the Switch could be. 

2. Super Mario Odyssey

Genre: Adventure
Price: $59.99/£49.99

What is it? Mario's biggest 3D adventure yet, taking him all over the globe for some hat-themed adventures. 

Why should you buy it? If you're only buying two games for the Nintendo Switch, it has to be Zelda and it has to be Mario. Thanks to Mario's new friend Cappy, Super Mario Odyssey manages to successfully bring the series up to date by gifting Mario a ton of new moves. And by moving out of the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario feels fresh and new while still retaining every ounce of its nostalgia and retro charm - there are still ground pounds and green pipes don't worry. This is very much Mario as his best self so far, and his latest adventure looks absolutely beautiful on the Switch. 

1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Genre: Action RPG
Price: $59.99/£49.99

What is it? The latest entry in Nintendo's venerable fantasy franchise, which embraces its own history as often as it upends it

Why should you buy it? This is, perhaps more than anything, the biggest showpiece for what the Nintendo Switch can do. Breath of the Wild takes ideas originally introduced in the first Legend of Zelda game along with concepts expanded on by Skyrim and other modern open-world RPGs and Nintendoizes them, distilling them into purest parts, and polishes the hell out of them. It's a world of wonder, and for the first time what feels like ages, it actually lets you experience that wonder without beating you over the head with hours of tutorials and incessant text boxes re-explaining everything you already know. Playing it on the TV is a treat, but being able to lift the Switch from the dock and take a game of this size and scope wherever you want is a perfect summation of the Switch's potential.

Find out what's coming out in 2017 and beyond with our list of upcoming Nintendo Switch games!