The Best Nintendo Switch Games Everyone Should Own

·12 min read

Advertiser Disclosure: At Slickdeals, we work hard to find the best deals. Some products in our articles are from partners who may provide us with compensation, but this doesn’t change our opinions.

After spending several generations as separate entities with their own unique releases, handheld and home consoles merged into something completely new when the Nintendo Switch came out in 2017. Universally popular series like Mario and The Legend of Zelda got to shine in never-before-seen ways, while Fire Emblem and other underappreciated franchises were finally paid their due.

With such a cool console concept and so many different games to choose from, how do you build a perfect Nintendo Switch library that embodies everything there is to love about the Switch and Nintendo’s creations?

Well, we have a few ideas. This is Slickdeals after all, so it’s important to take sale history and typical deal prices into consideration when shopping for relatively new video games.

Here are the top 15 Nintendo Switch games to add to your collection. If the game you want isn’t on sale, click “Register for Deal Alerts” to start receiving related sale notifications.

Must-Have Nintendo Switch Games

New Pokémon Snap
Credit: Nintendo

New Pokémon Snap

Die-hard fans of Nintendo’s classic photography rail-shooter had long since lost hope that there would ever be another Pokémon Snap. While this spinoff deserves recognition for its subtle beauty and unique objective, it also deserves a spot on the list because Nintendo finally gave the people what they wanted. Staying true to the mechanics and atmosphere of its Nintendo 64 incarnation, New Pokémon Snap offers a unique insight into the wild world of Pokémon in their natural habitat.

Register for Deal Alerts

First-party Nintendo games rarely go on sale until they’ve been out for a while. This game is only a few months old, so it might be a while before you find a New Pokémon Snap deal – act fast if you stumble upon one.

Check Price on Amazon

Paper Mario_ The Origami King
Paper Mario_ The Origami King

Paper Mario: The Origami King

  • Typical Sale Price: $44.99

  • Deal Frequency: Semi-regular

  • Metacritic Score: 80, Generally Favorable

The seventh installation of Paper Mario combines its signature interactive paper puzzle environment and turn-based battle system with new action RPG mechanics and clever use of the Switch’s gyroscopic motion controls, creating a rambunctious and surprisingly challenging game that can melt hours away if you aren’t careful. It might not be the best Mario game for those who prefer action-packed real-time combat, but Paper Mario: Origami King is a great open-world take on this classic Mario series.

Register for Deal Alerts

Since this installation of Paper Mario came out about a year ago, there have been no recorded deals in the eShop. However it didn’t make as big a splash as Animal Crossing did in 2020, so you can usually find it for $45 or less at stores like Amazon or Walmart.

Check Price on Amazon

Pokémon Sword and Shield
Pokémon Sword and Shield

Pokémon Sword and Shield

Compared to the fanatical reception that followed each handheld Pokémon game release, the overall public opinion of 3D console titles (such as Pokémon Stadium and Pokémon Battle Revolution) has always been lukewarm. The versatility of the Nintendo Switch has bridged the gap, offering console-level graphics and gameplay in a handheld system. Longtime Pokémon fans have spent years constricted by pesky cliffs and tall grasses, so the freedom of Sword and Shield is exhilarating. Players are able to run freely through the open world of the Galar region, set up camp and spend quality time with their team.

Register for Deal Alerts

While the surge in Pokémon resale prices has not been lost on Nintendo, it’s still possible to snag one of the newest games for less than full price. We started seeing small discounts on the game in Spring 2020, and it dropped down to $40 around Black Friday/holiday season 2020. However, discounts are still few and far between, so act fast if you see one!

Check Price on Amazon

Splatoon 2
Splatoon 2

Splatoon 2

The original Splatoon was a smash-hit title developed for a widely-maligned console, the Wii U. The franchise’s popularity soared to new heights following the release of Splatoon 2, a vibrant and creative take on the third-person shooter genre. The popular addition of a single-player campaign along with several co-op and multiplayer modes generated enough fanfare to warrant the upcoming release of Splatoon 3, cementing its place in the wider Nintendo canon.

Register for Deal Alerts

Splatoon 2 has gone on sale more often than comparable first-party titles, and you can usually find it for around $40 at least once every couple of months. Since this game has been around for about as long as the Switch, we’re pretty confident the price won’t drop much lower.

Check Price on Amazon

Tetris 99
Tetris 99

Tetris 99

There’s no reason to completely overhaul the tried-and-true Tetris formula, but Nintendo has managed to create a new style of play by incorporating battle-royale elements and special competition events. Not only do you have to stack more quickly and efficiently than 98 other players (or bots)— you must be prepared to receive other people’s “garbage” lines that pile on top of your ever-growing pile of tetrominoes. You have a one-in-99 chance of winning, think fast!

You’ll have no trouble finding a Tetris 99 deal as long as you’re fine with downloading the digital version. You can buy a physical copy bundled with a one-year subscription for $29.99 if you don’t want to sacrifice your storage space.

Check Price at Nintendo

Xenoblade Chronicles 2
Xenoblade Chronicles 2

Xenoblade Chronicles 2

Following the return of the series creator Tetsuya Takahashi, the third entry in the Xenoblade series reinstates the picturesque scenery and story-driven gameplay that made the original Xenoblade Chronicles so engrossing. Xenoblade 2 captures the sweeping open-world design of the previous two games, enhanced by a quick travel system that allows players to explore different lands across the map.

Register for Deal Alerts

Even though this game has been around since late 2017, deals are still surprisingly rare. We did see it drop down to $40, around Black Friday 2019 and 2020, but outside of those events it almost never is on sale. If you’re just looking for a taste of the Xenoblade universe, consider looking for the first game, which goes on sale for around $30 all the time.

Check Price on Amazon

Luigi's Mansion 3
Credit: Nintendo

Luigi’s Mansion 3

  • Typical Sale Price: $30-$40

  • Deal Frequency: Semi-regular

  • Metacritic Score: 86, Generally Favorable

Mario might be highly visible in this list, but he is conspicuously absent in the third installment of this fan-favorite GameCube standby, Luigi’s Mansion. In an effort to save his brother, Luigi must buck up and enlist the help of Gooigi and his Poltergust G-00 ghost vacuum. Fans have reacted positively to the addition of multiplayer gameplay and a wider variety of ghost-catching tools, proving that Mario’s anxious green brother is just as popular as the omnipresent plumber himself.

Register for Deal Alerts

Unlike many Nintendo games, Luigi’s Mansion tends to go on sale for a range of prices. While it’s not unusual to find it at $40, we have seen more than one sale that brought it down to $30, so if you’re dead-set on getting the best price, you may need to be patient.

Check Price on Amazon

Astral Chain
Credit: Nintendo

Astral Chain

  • Typical Sale Price: $41.99

  • Deal Frequency: Semi-regular

  • Metacritic Score: 87, Generally Favorable

Astral Chain is one of the few featured titles that comes from a Nintendo-exclusive franchise born during the Nintendo Switch era. In order to protect a futuristic metropolis riddled with hostile chimeras, the player controls both the protagonist and a legion of sentient weapons. Comprised of hack-n-slash elements with a side of open-world exploration and puzzle-solving, Astral Chain takes full advantage of the Switch’s adaptability.

Register for Deal Alerts

While we haven’t seen any great discounts on Astral Chain in 2021, the game went on sale for $42-$45 all the time in 2020, so we’re hoping to see that trend continue later in the year.

Check Price on Amazon

Super Mario Maker 2
Super Mario Maker 2

Super Mario Maker 2

While there is plenty of fun to be had throughout the glut of its Nintendo-created Story Mode levels, Super Mario Maker 2 is especially remarkable because it contains a near-infinite number of different Mario levels, maps and objectives. The only limitation is your creativity and an internet connection that allows you to visit other players’ created levels. This is a must-have title if you loved classics from the original Super Mario World or the Super Mario Bros. series and want to see their best features and characters filled with new life.

Register for Deal Alerts

Super Mario Maker 2 feels like it’s pretty much always going on sale for $40. You likely won’t find it for cheaper, but if you’re on the fence it’s probably worth waiting until the next sale.

Check Price on Amazon

Fire Emblem_ Three Houses
Fire Emblem_ Three Houses

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Home console Fire Emblem games did not perform as well as Nintendo expected during their respective release periods, so the six games following 2007’s Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn were only available on handheld consoles. During that time, a cult following grew around the Fire Emblem series, partially because Marth and Roy were popular player-fighters in Super Smash Bros. Melee, Brawl and Ultimate. Three Houses signals the franchise’s triumphant return to television screens, which have gotten significantly nicer looking since 2007.

Register for Deal Alerts

While Fire Emblem: Three Houses only goes on sale a couple times a year, it usually drops down to somewhere between $30 and $40 when it does.

Check Price on Amazon

Animal Crossing_ New Horizons
Credit: Nintendo

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

  • Typical Sale Price: $49.94

  • Deal Frequency: Common

  • Metacritic Score: 90, Universal Acclaim

The whole “adorable real-life simulator where nothing bad happens” concept really got to shine during the early weeks of a burgeoning global pandemic, but that certainly doesn’t undermine the remarkable creativity and consideration put into every element of the most popular Animal Crossing game to date. Nintendo removed many of the limitations preventing truly expressive and unique home improvement and island decoration, and even added a bevy of new villagers, terraforming and an all-new multiplayer experience.

Register for Deal Alerts

Animal Crossing’s enduring popularity has made massive discounts virtually non-existent, but you can usually get it for around $49.94 at Walmart or Amazon.

Check Price on Amazon

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Credit: Nintendo

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

  • Typical Sale Price: $40

  • Deal Frequency: Semi-regular

  • Metacritic Score: 92, Universal Acclaim

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a reboot of Mario Kart 8 and a follow-up to various spinoffs, remakes and handheld editions of Nintendo’s most popular racing game. On top of all-new tracks and characters, Mario Kart 8 lives up to its Deluxe designation with 48 courses total, the majority of which are updated and beautified remakes of historic favorites from SNES Mario Kart onwards. This attention to detail truly makes Mario Kart 8 Deluxe the definitive Mario Kart game that displays everything great about the series.

Register for Deal Alerts

This game has been out for years, yet straight deals are still surprisingly hard to come by. While you can sometimes catch a surprise discount, we recommend you keep an eye out for bundle deals to get the overall best value. In the past, Nintendo has offered bundles that include Mario Kart and another game for $60, and the game is also one of the most common Switch bundle items.

Check Price on Amazon

Super Smash Bros Ultimate
Super Smash Bros Ultimate

Super Smash Bros Ultimate

  • Typical Sale Price: $49.94

  • Deal Frequency: Common

  • Metacritic Score: 93, Universal Acclaim

We didn’t think the Nintendo Cinematic Universe could expand any further when Nintendo surprised everyone with Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games in 2008, but Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has proven that virtually any popular video game character can be a worthy opponent or a promising ally in battle. The addition of new stages, echo fighters and the Stage Morph feature presents new challenges to veteran Smash fans, even if they’re just going to duke it out in that one corner of Hyrule Castle anyways.

Register for Deal Alerts

While anything more than a $10 discount is wishful thinking, you can pretty much always find Smash on sale for $49.94 on Amazon.

Check Price on Amazon

Super Mario Odyssey
Super Mario Odyssey

Super Mario Odyssey

Losing Mario’s hat is tantamount to certain death in Super Mario 64, but it’s just another day at the office for everyone’s favorite plumber-doctor-racer-athlete in Super Mario Odyssey. Cappy can be utilized for battle, exploration and just plain fun in this gigantic open-world Mario platformer. If you are looking for a game to sink your teeth into for a long time, this is the one; you can’t 100% Odyssey until you have beaten the game’s story and collected all 880 Power Moons hidden throughout 15 kingdoms.

Register for Deal Alerts

Even though it is one of the first and most popular Switch games, Nintendo is stingy with the Super Mario Odyssey deals. It usually goes on sale for around $40 a few times a year, but with less frequency than other popular Mario titles.

Check Price on Amazon

Legend of Zelda_ Breath of the Wild
Legend of Zelda_ Breath of the Wild

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

As the console’s flagship release and most popular title, it’s only fitting that Breath of the Wild sits on the very top of our list of must-have Nintendo Switch games. The strict and sequential formula native to most Zelda games is completely shattered, creating a truly open-world where you can easily kill quite literally hundreds and hundreds of hours — and you can even beat the game if you feel like it. With no set order of objectives or “correct” ways to solve most puzzles, you are fully in charge of Link’s destiny and the future of Hyrule.

Register for Deal Alerts

Okay, Breath of the Wild is literally a launch title for the Switch, and for a while that meant you could get it for $30. Unfortunately, the new class of Switch owners introduced by the pandemic has pushed the sale price back up, and it’s been difficult to find for less than $40 for over a year now.

Check Price on Amazon

So, there are a lot of games that might go on sale for a day once every year or two. No pressure or anything! Thankfully, success is as easy as setting a Deal Alert. We’ll let you know when your favorite Nintendo title drops down into your price range.

Up Next

Our editors strive to ensure that the information in this article is accurate as of the date published, but please keep in mind that offers can change. We encourage you to verify all terms and conditions of any product before you apply.