Who doesn’t love gaming? For some, these are casino slots, for others these are browser games, and there are many people who enjoy Nintendo Switch titles. The Nintendo Switch is the premier handheld console of recent years with many exclusives. These include shooters, platformers and third-person action games. And Nintendo is purposely releasing games with a low entry threshold to make it easier for newcomers to master unfamiliar genres.
Here’s what games are best to start familiarizing yourself with the console to get the most out of it.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Breath of the Wild is a great entry point into the legendary The Legend of Zelda series. It begins much like most of the other installments: the valiant warrior Link once again sets out to save the kingdom of Hyrule and Princess Zelda from the forces of evil.
How Link fulfills his duty is up to you. The game gives unprecedented freedom of action. You can go straight to the center of the map and try to defeat the final boss.
But it’s better to look for allies and weapons first. Look into the town hidden among the waterfalls or a mining settlement near the volcano, explore the snowy mountain region. Every rock can be climbed, every fruit can be cooked, and every enemy can be defeated in a dozen different ways. For example, you can drop a boulder on him or drive him into a field and set fire to the grass.
And if the fighting is boring, you can go solve puzzles. In some dungeons, there are bosses on which you want to hone certain tricks, in others to solve problems in speed.
Super Mario Odyssey
In Super Mario Odyssey 3D platformer, Mario travels through the worlds in an airship looking for the kidnapped princess. Each world is built on a unique idea: the hero enters a modern metropolis, a Mexican style town and a big underwater level.
Odyssey’s main and most fun mechanic is the “slapstick”. Almost every living creature, be it an ally or an enemy, can be taken under control. To do so, all you have to do is throw a Mario hat at it. Here you can play as intelligent gumbo mushrooms or lake fish. This only makes it more interesting: you never know how the next “slamming” will affect the gameplay.
“Odyssey” also surprises with a variety of gameplay situations. In each world, the game offers new challenges and forces you to learn as you go. In one of the first worlds you can inhabit a huge dinosaur and destroy interfering obstacles. And in another, Mario is transported to two-dimensional levels inspired by the 1985 Super Mario Bros. platformer.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is a turn-based tactic with a cute design that combines the Mario franchise with Ubisoft’s Rabbids series.
The Mushroom Kingdom of Mario is in danger: it’s about to be swept away by hordes of crazy rabbits. Mario and his friends will have to save the world from their invasion. To do so the player will have to fight with the enemy: shoot them, hide the heroes in hiding and use special skills. For example, the Peach Rabbit heals allies, and Mario weakens enemies with a powerful fighting trick.
Besides, the heroes are waiting for bosses, and each of them requires a different approach. To defeat Donkey Kong in the form of a rabbit, you must destroy the bananas that restore his health.
Mario + Rabbids is easy and won’t cause difficulties even at late levels, including beginners in the genre of strategies. Moreover it’s a great option for those who missed XCOM, but don’t want to understand the intricacies of combat.
Super Smash Bros Ultimate
Nintendo’s ultimate party game. Nearly 90 characters, mostly from Japanese games, clash in its arenas.
The arenas are designed in the style of different franchises, in some places you can even put the songs with the thematic soundtrack. Some of the battlefields are animated: for example, on ShadowMoses Island from the Metal Gear series, huge battle robots appear in the background.
Super Smash Bros Ultimate is different from traditional fighting games like Tekken and Mortal Kombat: you have to push your enemies out of the arena to win, not reduce your health bar to zero.
The game is easy to master, you can figure it out in a couple of rounds. But the many skills of the fighters open up a lot of room to hone their skills. Just watch any professional Ultimate match to see for yourself.
There is no plot in Super Smash Bros Ultimate: the whole campaign is a set of fights with the discovery of new heroes.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is a remake of the 1993 action game of the same name. The pixel graphics have been replaced by cartoonish 3D pictures, but the game is no worse than the original, it conveys what the series was once loved for.
The protagonist Link finds himself on a mysterious island in the middle of the ocean. There is a mountain on the island, and on top of it rests a giant egg with some kind of mystery associated with it. Link’s job is to figure out what’s going on and get off the island. The game’s simple plot is gripping in its delivery: the hints are vague, the characters are wacky, and the twists feel like they’re spoofed from the TV series Twin Peaks.
Unlike Breath of the Wild, this part is much more linear. And yet, in a surprising way, it gives a sense of freedom. You can distract yourself from the main plot and go fishing. You can not buy items from the merchant, but steal – then Link will be called a thief until the end of the game.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a racing game that races through fantastic tracks, where many bonuses help you to reach the finish line before your opponents. Deluxe is an improved and expanded version of the original Mario Kart 8, released in 2014 for Nintendo Wii U. MK8D is now the most popular game on Switch, with more than 45 million copies sold worldwide.
The longer you play the Deluxe, the better it reveals itself. Once you memorize all the turns on the tracks and learn the action of the power-ups, the racing becomes a lot more fun.
The Ark City of the Future is raided by chimera monsters that turn humans into monsters. They almost exterminate humanity, so a special police unit called “Neuron” is formed to fight them. Its officers are able to tame the Chimeras and turn them into Legions – friendly creatures under the control of the astral chain.
You shouldn’t expect much from the plot. The main villain can still be guessed in the opening reel, and the characters are weathered out of your head immediately after the passage. The game unfolds in dynamic battles, where you get to control two characters at once – the hero and his Legion.
To defeat the enemies you have to combine the attacks of the hero and his ally, chain and crush the enemies, moving from one enemy to another. You also need to seize the moment to combine the hero and the Legion into one entity: that way they deal more damage.
Astral Chain’s combat system pleasantly surprises with its visuals and depth. There are few such games in general, so you should pay attention to it at least for the sake of battles.
Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer Featuring The Legend of Zelda
Cadence of Hyrule is a gift for fans of Zelda and rhythm games. It’s a spin-off of another rhythm game, the Crypt of the NecroDancer, featuring characters from the Japanese series.
The plot unfolds around the protagonist of Crypt of the Necrodancer, Cadence. She has to save the kingdom of Hyrule from the forces of evil, who put the king to sleep with magic music.
The composers of Cadence of Hyrule have refreshed the legendary tunes from previous installments and tied them to the gameplay: all blows must be struck to the beat of the music. This is the basis of both ordinary battles and unique battles with bosses. For the sake of dynamic gameplay, Cadence of Hyrule is worth a try even for those who are not familiar with the series, or with rhythm games.
The plot of Metroid Dread is simple: the bounty hunter Samus once again escapes from the bowels of a distant planet and along the way destroys dozens of monsters. But the charm of the series is not in the story, but in the gameplay: the game gives the same feeling of freedom as The Legend of Zelda.
On the big map you need to find new abilities that open the way to the previously inaccessible places. Move around the walls with a spider magnet, and climb high points with a gravilator. Somewhere in the levels caught secret bonuses. If you want to test yourself, you can go for the boss ahead of time or try to defeat it with a single shot.
Metroid Dread is extremely intuitive. A detailed map highlighted where abilities are needed, and at the same time marked points of rapid movement. So, the game does not irritate the constant hitches that are peculiar to the genre.
Luigi’s Mansion 3
In Luigi’s Mansion, Luigi explores haunted houses and catches ghosts with a special vacuum cleaner. To pass a level, you must suck up otherworldly creatures and solve puzzles.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 is perhaps the most technologically advanced game on the Nintendo Switch. Interior objects react to Luigi’s vacuum cleaner: they fly in all directions or simply turn to dust. Each level in the game is a floor of a giant hotel dedicated to a specific theme. You have to fight the ghost of the maid on one floor and the spirit of the chef on another.
You can call a friend and catch ghosts together. The second player gets the role of Guigi, a green slime with Luigi’s face that can pass through obstacles but is afraid of water.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Fire Emblem: Three Houses is set on the fictional continent of Fodlan. Knight Geralt and his child find themselves in a monastery and join the local warriors. The player chooses the gender of the child, takes control of the character and becomes a mentor at the local officer’s academy. Your task is to teach the students and develop the institution.
Unlike most games on this list, Three Houses is notable for its story. The scenario is written in the spirit of popular fantasy novels, with global conspiracies and political intrigue.
The best aspect of the game, however, are the characters, academy students with well-defined characters. Each of them can die in battle, and you become attached to all of them over the course of the playthrough. So, every loss in battle feels like a personal failure.
Outside of combat, the game becomes a mix of visual novel and dating simulation. The protagonist trains students, builds friendships and romantic relationships, and improves the academy. Students with whom the hero has a strong relationship are more effective in combat.
Super Mario Maker 2
Super Mario Maker 2 is perfect for those who like to create puzzles: you can spend hundreds of hours creating locations. It’s all thanks to the handy editor, for which Nintendo even puts a special stylus in the cartridge package.
The main purpose of the story is to show how much you can create in the level editor. At the very beginning of the game, Princess Peach’s castle is destroyed by a rocket blast, and now Mario must collect enough coins to rebuild it.
Mario Maker fans have created and posted many obstacle courses in different visual styles. For example, in the Self Destruct Activated level, Mario is chased by a cannon that gradually destroys the environment. Automatic 1-1 repeats the very first level of the original Super Mario Bros, but with one difference: it’s useless to control the plumber here, because a series of platform blocks pushes him to the finish line.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Animal Crossing is a series of therapeutic games in the spirit of Stardew Valley or The Sims. A great option for those who want to relax after a hard day and get away from their problems.
The protagonist of New Horizons is the mayor of an island town. He must develop the settlement: equip his own dwelling and the surrounding areas, help neighbors, extract resources for them. The game takes into account the time set on the console. That is, if you play at night, it will be night on the island.
In New Horizons, there is a single player mode, but the network mode is much more fun. There you can invite other people and visit their towns, invent unique anthems and flags for your settlement, and mine resources together with your comrades. Not for nothing did Animal Crossing: New Horizons become popular during the quarantine in 2020, when people were looking for new ways to communicate.