Since launching back in 2017, Switch’s success has arguably been down to its chameleon-like ability to suit any gamer’s preferred style of play. You can play it where you want and how you want. The ability to crack off the Joy-Con for impromptu multiplayer sessions on the TV (or on-the-go) makes it the go-to console for gaming sessions with friends. Everyone loves a bit of couch co-op, right?
However, while it’s easy to focus on the console’s local multiplayer potential, its portability also lends itself perfectly to engrossing single-player experiences, and in the list below we’ve collected together the very best single player games on Switch.
In order to qualify for this list, the games have to single-player only, which means no co-op or competitive modes, online or otherwise. Check out our reader-ranked Best Switch Games article for the top 50 Switch games ever if you just want the best Switch games, period; here, we’re focusing on games you can only play on your lonesome. Or with a pal watching over your shoulder, perhaps.
So here they are: the best single player games on Nintendo Switch, in no particular order…
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo SPD
Let’s get the most obvious one out of the way first, shall we?
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was a landmark release for its franchise and Nintendo. It’s the first time that Nintendo truly took on the open-world genre, and by arriving late to the party it embraces the strengths from top-of-the-class games while also forging its own unique identity. This game was a revolution for the series, but the Legend of Zelda essence is still there — its soul remains. After years of following the same old template, Nintendo bravely took the Zelda series in a new direction, and delivered an absolute triumph which still has us regularly revisiting its iteration of Hyrule.
No wonder we’re so excited about the prospect of a direct sequel; Breath of the Wild forged a new and exciting path in a franchise that had been treading old ground for a while on home consoles and we cannot wait to see where it goes next. Engrossing single-player exploration doesn’t get much better than this.
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Publisher: Image & Form / Developer: Image & Form
SteamWorld Dig 2 is another confident effort from Image & Form, and a worthy successor to the original. Stylish and good-looking, it also has the series’ trademark humour and a great soundtrack. It refines and expands upon the qualities of SteamWorld Dig and hits some delicious high points. Whether you played the first game or not, SteamWorld Dig 2 is a must-have — its charming aesthetic and cast set the scene for a tightly designed and clever exploration game.
Shin Megami Tensei V is a modern masterpiece. It successfully delivers on all the aspects that have made the series thus far so popular with fans — namely through its high difficulty, heavy narrative themes, and expansive team-building options — while polishing up and tightening the weaker aspects. Things like a more easily navigable map and more difficulty options to cater to players of all skill levels comfortably make this the most approachable entry in the series, and it feels like there are more things to do in the world than ever before. If you are at all a fan of RPGs or have been looking for a good entry point into this oft-overlooked series, we would strongly encourage you to pick this up as soon as you can.
Publisher: Devolver Digital / Developer: Acid Nerve
Another modern classic, Death’s Door utilises old gameplay ideas in a new setting to make for a short and sweet experience you won’t want to miss. The snappy combat, rewarding exploration, and relaxing music will stick with you once you’ve finished, and while it may not have anything ‘new’ to offer, Death’s Door is so high quality that you’ll hardly have time to think about it’s lack of innovation. We’d give this one a very high recommendation, especially to any fans of Zelda or Soulslike games — Acid Nerve has crafted an experience that’s absolutely worth your time and money.
Publisher: Matt Makes Games / Developer: Matt Makes Games
Celeste is an exemplary amalgamation of style, mechanics and character. A devilishly brilliant action platformer with enough skill required to excite genre purists and the speedrunning community, while at the same time featuring a breakdown of gameplay elements to customize and cater for all audiences. While the game mechanically is great, if familiar, the art style and narrative are truly special, showing both a visual and emotional range and depth that will resonate and inspire. Celeste is the absolute peak of personal exploration and discovery on Nintendo Switch.
Publisher: Supergiant Games / Developer: Supergiant Games
Hades is a sublime mix of satisfyingly gritty and flexible combat, a wonderfully vibrant art style and genuinely fun and engaging narrative. Supergiant Games has an excellent track record with games like Bastion and Transistor, but this really does feel its finest hour, a rip-roaring rampage through the underworld that’s arrived here on Switch in a port that’s nigh-on perfect. Even if you’re yet to be swayed by the admittedly repetitive ebb and flow of roguelikes, we passionately urge you to at least give this roguelite a try; for fans of the genre or anyone even remotely interested, this is one heavenly vision of hell that we highly recommend you sacrifice yourself to.
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Square Enix
Triangle Strategy is an absolute triumph for Artdink and Square Enix, a fantastic mix of satisfyingly strategic battles, an excellent choice-driven campaign narrative and top-notch world-building, all of which come together to form one of the finest tactical RPGs we’ve played in a very long time. There’s an absolute ton of content here, with a huge story featuring multiple paths to take depending on the choices you make and several properly impactful endings to enjoy on return visits. Serenoa Wollfort’s epic journey is a joy from start to finish, a grand and ambitious adventure that stands proud as one of the very finest examples of its genre on Switch.
If turn-based tactics aren’t you’re thing, Octopath Traveler is a great alternative if you love the HD-2D art style.
Publisher: iam8bit / Developer: Moon Studios
Ori and the Will of the Wisps is not just a great sequel; in many ways, it outdoes Ori and the Blind Forest. The addition of more customization options, a greater focus on combat and a better-developed story (all in an incredibly beautiful game that’s running at 60 frames per second) means it comprehensively outshines the original. It pushes technical boundaries so far beyond the previous game that performance was shaky even on Xbox One X at launch; that it runs on Switch at all is, well, utterly remarkable. That’s not to say it was flawless when it launched on Switch, but following a patch from Moon Studios, the game is in even better shape than ever and we really can’t recommend it enough. It’s a supremely enjoyable platform adventure which everyone should experience.