10 best Nintendo Switch games

Stop us if you've heard this one before: "The Switch is great, but where are the games?"

Well, they're right here. Sure, Nintendo's latest console (which also happens to be its latest portable) didn't have the most robust launch lineup in history, but if you can't find a Switch game you like, you aren't looking hard enough. As a home for Nintendo's signature franchises, a new way to play some third-party favorites, or a place to find some of the most interesting, quirky, and inventive indie games on the market, the Switch can't be beat—and here's the proof.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

You know what people are saying. It's the best Zelda game ever. One of the strongest launch titles in history. Quite possibly the greatest video game of all time.

It sounds ridiculous—but what if it's true? By questioning everything that makes Zelda Zelda, Nintendo managed to breathe new life into a decades-old formula, and Breath of the Wild is all the better for it. No, you won't collect new items in every dungeon (this time around, there's really only four of 'em anyway), and you won't find your progress blocked by seemingly insurmountable obstacles. After leaving Breath of the Wild's tutorial section, you can go anywhere and do practically anything. Seriously. If you think of something, go ahead and try it. It'll probably work.

And yet, while the game doesn't play like any title that came before it, Breath of the Wild still feels like Zelda. Of course, exploration plays a big part in that—no other game has so perfectly captured the feeling of delving into a strange new world and uncovering the secrets hidden inside. But ultimately, what makes Breath of the Wild work so well is the small things. It's the way ingredients happily bounce around on a frying pan while you're cooking. It's how every non-player character has his or her own name and personality, or how the monstrous Bokoblins seem to have lives of their own, dancing and arguing and napping when the player isn't looking.

Adventuring across a distant land isn't much fun if the world itself isn't interesting, but under Nintendo's guidance, Hyrule feels absolutely alive.In Breath of the Wild, there's always some new discovery lurking just out of view, making for a game that is very, very difficult to put down.

Metascore: Critics – 97/100, Users – 7.6/10

Snipperclips: Cut It Out, Together!

A word of warning: Snipperclips is going to test your relationships like no other game. Oh, it might look like it's just a casual, family-friendly puzzler. It's cute! It's cooperative! It's all about playing together—it even says so right in the title!

Don't be fooled. In Snipperclips, you and up to three friends control little paper-made characters who don't have any hands, and can only get things done—throwing a basketball in a hoop, or turning gears, for example—by changing the shape of their bodies. But here's the catch: you can't alter your own character's form. Your friends have to do it for you. That's the genius of Snipperclips. In order to solve the game's 45 puzzles, many of which don't have clear goals, you'll need to communicate with others, and that way lies madness.

Finishing levels can be hard even when everyone's on the same page, working together to accomplish the same goal. If you disagree over your approach to a puzzle, can't manage to cut the right shapes, or—as tends to happen in large groups—someone decides that they're less interested in solving puzzles than making trouble, it's downright impossible. Thankfully, Snipperclips is never boring, and big conflicts end in laughter more often than tears. Honestly, Snipperclips' biggest (and perhaps only) flaw is its length—the game can be finished in an afternoon, although everyone who plays will likely agree that it'll be a few hours well-spent.

Metascore: Critics – 81/100, Users – 7.3/10

Shovel Knight Treasure Trove

Shovel Knight isn't a new game (despite appearances, it came out in 2014, and not the late '80s), but that doesn't mean that it isn't a perfect fit for Nintendo's latest console. As a throwback to old NES games (in more ways than one—not only does Shovel Knight play like a mix between Mega Man and DuckTales, but its graphics are bright 8-bit masterpieces made up of the exact same color palette used in classic Nintendo games), there's more than a little Nintendo in Shovel Knight's DNA, making the platformer a treat for anyone who yearns for the days when unergonomic controllers gave players blisters, or when you had to blow into a console in order to get a game working.

And yet, Shovel Knight isn't really retro. Modern conveniences, like a generous save system, vibrant characters, and a surprisingly touching storyline help make Shovel Knight more palatable for present-day players, while the Plague of Shadows and Spectre of Torment expansions (both included in Shovel Knight's Treasure Trove edition) help extend the game's life beyond the main campaign.

If you want a shot of nostalgia but don't want to deal with older games' less polished features (or if you just can't be bothered to get your NES down from the attic), give Shovel Knight a try. You'll be pleasantly surprised.

Metascore: Critics – 91/100, Users – 7.6/10

Blaster Master Zero

If it looks like Blaster Master, and it sounds like Blaster Master, and it's on the Switch, then guess what? It's probably Blaster Master Zero.

Of all the classic video game franchises you'd expect to get a sequel, this isn't very high on the list—the series has been dormant since 1988, when the first and only game graced the Nintendo Entertainment System—but here we are in 2017, and not only is there a new Blaster Master on the market, but one that's both a loving, faithful tribute to the original and a solid game in its own right.

As in the original, Blaster Master Zero stars a young boy named Jason and his tank, the SOPHIA III, although this time the duo are fighting to squash a mutant revolution and not rescue Jason's runaway frog. Like the first game, Blaster Master Zero is split into two parts: a 2D platforming mode, which favors the tank, and top-down Zelda-style dungeons, which pop up when Jason unboards the Sophia and dives into caves and other cramped areas.

Blaster Master Zero's graphics and music are inspired by its 8-bit predecessor, but like Shovel Knight, this isn't actually a retro game. Blaster Master Zero is less challenging than its ancestor but far longer (especially if you take the time to hunt down some of the Sophia's optional upgrades), while conveniences like save points, better controls, and a co-op multiplayer mode make the game thoroughly modern. Is Blaster Master Zero the old-school revival fans were clamoring for? Not really, but it doesn't matter. In an industry where surprises feel increasingly rare, Blaster Master Zero is a true gem, and well worth adding to your Switch library.

Metascore: Critics – 78/100, Users – 7.3/10

VOEZ

VOEZ came out on iOS and Android mobile devices in 2016 and became an instant hit (reportedly, it's been downloaded 10 million times since launch), but the Switch edition marks the game's first appearance on a home console. The reason: VOEZ relies heavily on a touchscreen interface. In fact, touch controls are so important to VOEZ that it won't work in the Switch's television dock. If you want to enjoy its unique's brand of rhythm-based gameplay, it's handheld mode or nothing.

Don't let that turn you off, however. As critics and fans noted when the game first hit smartphones, VOEZ is a polished and addictive spin on the classic Guitar Hero formula. You'll need to tap, swipe, and hold your finger on the screen in order to hit notes cascading down various lanes. Unlike other rhythm games, however, the number of lanes and their position on the screen change constantly, requiring you to change your strategy based on where you are in the song.

VOEZ is also more plot-heavy than, say, Rock Band. Finishing daily challenges unlocks an anime-style story about an up-and-coming band (named Voez, of course) and its members' struggles to balance their burgeoning music career with everyday life. The story isn't required, of course, but it's nice to have, and provides some welcome context for VOEZ's rhythmic tapping and sliding.

Oh, and did we mention that, unlike the mobile game, the Switch version of VOEZ doesn't have any microtransactions? You can enjoy all of the game's offerings—over 100 songs, each with three difficulty levels—right off the bat. That's a welcome change, and one that should keep VOEZ fans happily tapping and sliding away for hours and hours (just remember to take breaks—VOEZ can feel repetitive during long play sessions, which is an excellent way to burn out on a very good game).

Metascore: Critics – 81/100, Users – 7.2/10

World of Goo

As a Switch title, the most notable thing about World of Goo isn't the game's collection of mind-bending physics puzzles—those are just as good as they were back in 2008 on the Wii—it's how awesome the Switch's Joy-Con controllers are. While we've known all about features like "HD Rumble" and the accelerometer-enabled motion controls for months now, nobody at Nintendo thought it was worth showing off the Joy-Con's pointer functionality. That's a crime, because as a Wiimote alternative, the Joy-Cons are pretty much perfect.

Remember the Wii? In order to use the Wii controller like a pointer, you had to strap a thin sensor bar to the top of your television. The Switch, which thrives on flexibility, doesn't have any such requirement. As a result, after a very quick configuration process, you can point the Joy-Con controller at the screen and use it to tap, drag, and hurl World of Goo's little blob-like creatures around with ease.

Despite the lack of a sensor bar, it just works, and for more tech-minded gamers, that's nothing short of miraculous. If you've already solved all of World of Goo's puzzles, you won't find any new content here (although co-op is a nice addition), but if you want a piece of software to show off just how versatile the Switch is—or you've never played 2D Boy's ingenious puzzler, which should be a crime and needs to be remedied immediately—World of Goo will get the job done.

Metascore: Critics – 86/100, Users – 7.2/10

Fast RMX

F-Zero is dead and buried, and unless Nintendo has a big surprise up its sleeve, it doesn't look like it's coming back any time soon. Thankfully, there's Fast RMX. Just look at it. The high-speed anti-gravity vehicles? The streamlined, shortcut-filled courses? The blistering fast speeds? Fast RMX is F-Zero in everything but name. Stop bothering Nintendo. If you want a sci-fi racer, Shin'en Multimedia has you covered.

Of course, Fast RMX isn't a straight-up copy and paste job—well, not exactly, anyway (the game is an updated version of the Wii U's Fast Racing Neo, with all that game's DLC and a half-dozen extra tracks added to the mix). In addition to zooming around hairpin turns and executing stunt jumps, you'll also need to collect speed-boosting orbs—which come in two varieties, necessitating some quick mid-race adjustments—if you want to survive. You'll need that help, too. Succeeding in Fast RMX requires both lightning-quick reflexes and expert knowledge of all of the game's tracks, and if you lack either, your opponents will leave you in the dust.

Fast RMX doesn't make a great case for the Switch's multiplayer network (it's one of only two Switch launch games with an online component, and it tends to lag and stutter), but it's early days yet, and that could improve. As a single-player experience or local multiplayer title, however, Fast RMX is the high-octane racer that Nintendo fans have wanted for years. If you're one of 'em, make sure to check Fast RMX out ASAP.

Metascore: Critics – 81/100, Users – 7.4/10

I Am Setsuna

There aren't any Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest games on the Switch—don't worry, they're coming—so for now, I Am Setsuna will have to serve all of your role-playing needs. Thankfully, I Am Setsuna is fantastic. As an assassin named Endir, players trek across a snowbound fantasy kingdom, guiding a young woman named Setsuna to her doom. It's a minor, sad story, but very well told, and while the game tops out at around 25 hours—a pittance compared to most JRPGs—I Am Setsuna doesn't overstay its welcome. At a time when games seem to getting longer, there's something to be said for that.

And while I Am Setsuna isn't tied to any major franchises, it's going to feel very, very familiar to players who cut their teeth on Super Nintendo-era Squaresoft RPGs. Like old-school Final Fantasy games, I Am Setsuna's combat uses an Active Time Battle gauge, letting players issue commands as soon as their characters are ready. As in Chrono Trigger, characters can team up to unleash devastating combo attacks. And like all of Square Enix's classic games, I Am Setsuna uses its story and its gameplay to explore universal themes—in this case, sadness, sacrifice, and "a moment in time," which is articulated in-game by using a stat-boosting momentum button that must be timed perfectly in order for players to receive its full benefits.

Metascore: Critics – 76/100, Users – 7.4/10

1-2-Switch

Let's get this out of the way early: 1-2-Switch isn't a $50 game. Oh, sure, that's how much it costs, but that's not how much it's worth. Most of 1-2-Switch's minigames feel more like tech demos than fully fleshed-out experiences, and for every winner like "Wizards," which pits two players against one another in a Harry Potter-esque duel, there's a dud like "Joy-Con Rotation," in which players put the controller on a table and spin it a specified number of degrees (yes, that's the entire game).

That's too bad, however, because while 1-2-Switch is a hard sell at its price point, it would've slayed as a pack-in title, à la Wii Sports and Nintendo Land. No, there's nothing on 1-2-Switch that's quite as revolutionary as Wii Sports' tennis, but as a whole, these 28 minigames do an excellent job of showing off the Switch's capabilities (especially its innovative Joy-Con controllers). Given that the operating system is fairly spartan, especially when compared to previous Nintendo consoles, there should be something that lets players have fun while learning the ins and outs. 1-2-Switch fits that role nicely—as long as you can justify shelling out the cash. And if you can't, well, Zelda still makes a pretty good first impression.

Metascore: Critics – 57/100, Users – 4.8/10

Puyo Puyo Tetris

C'mon. It's Tetris. That's all you really need to know.

Okay, so Puyo Puyo Tetris isn't just another Tetris port, although the bare-bones edition of Alexey Pajitnov's block-based puzzler was enough to almost single-handedly move 120 million Game Boys back in the '80s and '90s. Instead, Puyo Puyo Tetris fuses the falling Tetriminos that gamers—and pretty much everybody else on the planet—have come to love with the Puyo Puyo series, which has been a gaming mainstay since 1991.

By either clearing lines (Tetris) or popping slime-like Puyo, up to four players can compete against one another in five different competitive modes, each of which fuses the two franchises together in a unique way. In "VS," competitors fight by making space on the board and filling up a special attack gauge, which can be used to clutter the opponent's playing field. In "Fusion," players must deal with both Tetriminos and Puyo on the same board, while "Swap" starts players in one game, only to switch to the other after a predetermined period of time has passed.

It sounds more complicated than it is (if you haven't played Puyo Puyo, it's extremely similar to Tetris, and there's not much of a learning curve), and if you can scrape together four players, competition gets heated very, very quickly. Puyo Puyo Tetris isn't quite as fun alone, but if you're looking for either a raucous party game or something that'll allow you to kick back with a few close friends, it'll get the job done.