The Best Nintendo Switch Exclusives

The Best Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite Games of 2021: A Comprehensive Guide

The Nintendo Switch has amassed a vast library of excellent games since its launch, capturing the hearts of gamers worldwide. Nintendo has not only continued to release new titles in beloved franchises but has also embraced a wider array of third-party games, offering something for everyone. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the best exclusive games available only on the Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite, as well as standout cross-platform titles.

Exclusive Nintendo Switch Games

1. Luigi’s Mansion 3

Who would have thought that Luigi could shine so brightly on a console packed with Mario and Zelda games? Luigi’s Mansion 3 builds on the foundation of its predecessors with a hilariously spooky story, classic ghost-vacuuming gameplay, and the return of the quirky Professor Elvin Gadd. This time, Luigi ventures into a haunted hotel to rescue his friends, who have been trapped in paintings, navigating themed floors and capturing ghosts along the way.

The game also includes ScreamPark and ScareScraper modes for competitive and cooperative play, respectively. Luigi’s Mansion 3 is a perfect first “horror” game for kids and an adventure every Switch owner should experience.

2. Animal Crossing: New Horizons

In need of a virtual getaway? Animal Crossing: New Horizons lets you create and design your own island paradise from scratch. You control almost every aspect of the island, from home placement to river paths. The game encourages creativity, with players building magnificent islands, some rooted in reality and others fantastical.

Daily visitors and seasonal updates ensure there’s always something new to do. Although the pace can be slow, it’s a relaxing way to shape your island exactly as you envision. Check out our guides on how to make money in Animal Crossing and how to catch fish to get started.

3. Astral Chain

Combining manga-inspired visuals, PlatinumGames’ fast-paced gameplay, and Nier: Automata’s combat expertise, Astral Chain is a standout Nintendo Switch exclusive. It mixes character-action gameplay, investigation elements, and open-world exploration, all set against the backdrop of an interdimensional invasion threatening humanity.

The game features unique combat mechanics where you fight alongside a chained “Legion,” adding depth and strategy to battles. These Legions are also crucial for solving puzzles, offering a refreshing twist on traditional gameplay.

4. Super Mario Odyssey

Nintendo returned to its open-ended 3D platforming roots with Super Mario Odyssey, a game reminiscent of Super Mario 64 but enhanced with modern twists. Mario’s new companion, Cappy, allows him to possess and transform into various objects and enemies, adding layers of creativity to solving puzzles and navigating obstacles.

With a jazzy soundtrack and imaginative environments, Super Mario Odyssey is a joyous adventure that stands out as one of the best Mario games ever made.

5. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order

After a decade-long hiatus, the Marvel Ultimate Alliance series returns with Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order, exclusively for the Switch. Assemble a team of Marvel superheroes, including the Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and X-Men, to stop Thanos and the Black Order from obtaining the Infinity Stones.

The game features both an over-the-shoulder “Heroic Camera” view and traditional top-down gameplay, providing an immersive experience for Marvel fans.

6. Super Mario Maker 2

A sequel to one of the Wii U’s best games, Super Mario Maker 2 is a joy for both level designers and 2D Mario enthusiasts. Nintendo added new features like custom clear conditions and slopes, enhancing the level creation experience. The game also includes a full-fledged campaign mode with over 100 zany levels.

Even if you’re not into creating levels, Super Mario Maker 2 offers a wealth of platforming content, making it a must-have for Mario fans.

7. Yoshi’s Crafted World

One of the cutest games on the Switch, Yoshi’s Crafted World offers a charming side-scrolling adventure set in a world made of cardboard and paper. The game introduces depth to the classic Yoshi formula, allowing players to move into the background of environments and toss eggs both behind and in front of them.

With cooperative gameplay and inventive level design, Yoshi’s Crafted World is a delightful experience for players of all ages.

8. Kirby Star Allies

Kirby Star Allies brings the beloved pink puffball to the Switch in a game that captures the essence of the Kirby franchise. Kirby can float through the air, copy enemies’ abilities, and now recruit enemies to join his squad. Combining powers to create new attacks adds depth to the gameplay.

The game supports up to four players, making it an excellent choice for family gaming sessions.

9. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate lives up to its name with a staggering amount of content, including every character from previous games and new additions through DLC. With more than 100 stages, the game supports local multiplayer with the Switch’s handheld mode and classic GameCube controllers for veteran players.

Ultimate caters to both Nintendo fans and fighting game enthusiasts, offering a comprehensive and enjoyable experience.

10. Arms

Arms showcases the versatility of the Switch with its unique hybrid fighting gameplay. Players can use Joy-Con motion controls or traditional analog sticks to throw punches in this over-the-top boxing game. With a variety of characters and post-launch DLC, Arms offers a fun and competitive experience.

11. Mario Tennis Aces

Mario Tennis Aces redeems the franchise with strategic, intense matches and a hilarious campaign mode. The game includes a special Swing mode for motion controls, making it accessible for newcomers and a hit at parties.

12. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild revolutionizes the series with an open-world design that encourages exploration and discovery. The game’s breathtaking environments and addictive gameplay have made it a timeless classic. With a sequel in development, it’s a must-play for any Switch owner.

13. Super Mario Party

Super Mario Party returns to the series’ roots with a board game format and 80 minigames that are fun for the whole family. The new Partner Party mode allows cooperative play, making it a great choice for family game nights.

14. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe expands on the Wii U original with all DLC included, new characters, and additional content. It’s the perfect racing game for the Switch, offering hours of fun in both handheld and console modes.

15. Tetris 99

Tetris 99 reinvents the classic puzzle game with a battle royale twist, pitting 99 players against each other online. The game is thrilling and addictive, offering a fresh take on the timeless Tetris formula.

16. Snipperclips: Cut it out, together!

Snipperclips: Cut it out, together! is a cooperative puzzle game that challenges players to solve paper-based puzzles by cutting out segments of their characters. The game’s charming art style and innovative gameplay make it a delightful experience.

17. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle combines the Mushroom Kingdom with Ubisoft’s Rabbids in a surprisingly excellent strategy game. The turn-based combat and puzzle-solving elements make it a standout title on the Switch.

18. Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Fire Emblem: Three Houses offers a deep and engaging strategy-role-playing experience. With its intricate story, character development, and revamped combat system, it’s one of the best entries in the series.

19. Splatoon 2

Splatoon 2 builds on the original’s unique multiplayer shooter formula with an exciting campaign mode and cooperative Salmon Run. The game’s competitive multiplayer and special events keep it fresh and engaging.

20. Pokémon Sword and Shield

Pokémon Sword and Shield bring the beloved franchise to the Switch with stunning graphics and new gameplay features. The games are accessible for newcomers while offering plenty of depth for longtime fans.

21. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is a beautifully remade classic, with enhanced graphics and gameplay improvements. The game retains its charm and offers a compelling adventure for new and returning players.

22. Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee!

Pokémon: Let’s Go games blend the classic Pokémon experience with modern mechanics inspired by Pokémon Go. These remakes of Pokémon Yellow are perfect for both newcomers and nostalgic fans.

23. Octopath Traveler

Octopath Traveler is a love letter to the golden age of RPGs, featuring a unique visual style and engaging turn-based combat. The game’s deep storytelling and challenging gameplay make it a must-play for RPG fans.

24. SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech

SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech combines card-based combat with traditional RPG elements in a charming and humorous package. The game’s art style and strategic gameplay are captivating from start to finish.

25. Paper Mario: The Origami King

Paper Mario: The Origami King introduces a new twist on the series with puzzle-based combat and a whimsical story. The game’s delightful art style and engaging gameplay make it a standout title.

26. Xenoblade Chronicles 2

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is an epic RPG with a sprawling story and beautiful world. The game’s deep combat system and expansive exploration make it a rewarding experience.

27. Nintendo Labo

Nintendo Labo offers a creative blend of DIY projects and interactive gameplay. The kits allow players to build various contraptions using cardboard and other materials, providing a unique gaming experience.

28. Ring Fit Adventure

Ring Fit Adventure combines fitness and gaming, encouraging players to get active while exploring an adventure world. The game’s innovative use of the Ring-Con and Leg Strap makes exercising fun and engaging.

29. Cadence of Hyrule

Cadence of Hyrule blends rhythm-based gameplay with the beloved Zelda universe. The game’s unique mechanics and charming presentation make it a standout indie title on the Switch.

Cross-Platform Games Worth Playing on Switch

While the Nintendo Switch boasts an impressive lineup of exclusives, it also supports a variety of excellent cross-platform games. These titles are perfect for enjoying on the go or at home.

1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt brings its expansive open world and rich storytelling to the Switch, offering an immersive RPG experience. The game’s deep lore and engaging combat make it a must-play for RPG fans.

2. Doom Eternal

Doom Eternal delivers fast-paced, adrenaline-pumping action with stunning visuals and tight gameplay. The Switch version retains the core experience, making it a great choice for action game enthusiasts.

3. Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley offers a charming and addictive farming simulation experience. The game’s relaxing gameplay and endless customization options make it a perfect fit for the Switch.

4. Hollow Knight

Hollow Knight is a beautifully crafted Metroidvania game with challenging gameplay and a captivating art style. The game’s rich world and tight controls make it a standout title on the Switch.

5. Celeste

Celeste is a critically acclaimed platformer that combines precise controls with a touching narrative. The game’s challenging levels and emotional story make it a must-play.

6. Hades

Hades is a rogue-like dungeon crawler with fast-paced combat and an engaging story. The game’s replayability and dynamic gameplay make it a standout title on the Switch.

7. Ori and the Blind Forest

Ori and the Blind Forest is a visually stunning platformer with heartfelt storytelling and challenging gameplay. The game’s beautiful world and tight mechanics make it a joy to play.

8. Cuphead

Cuphead offers challenging run-and-gun gameplay with a unique 1930s cartoon art style. The game’s tough but fair difficulty and charming presentation make it a standout title.

9. Dead Cells

Dead Cells combines rogue-like and Metroidvania elements to create a dynamic and challenging gameplay experience. The game’s fluid combat and procedurally generated levels ensure replayability.

10. Among Us

Among Us is a social deduction game that has taken the world by storm. The game’s simple mechanics and engaging multiplayer make it a perfect fit for the Switch.

Conclusion

The Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite offer a vast library of games that cater to all types of players. From exclusive titles that showcase the best of Nintendo’s creativity to cross-platform games that provide rich, immersive experiences, there is something for everyone. Whether you’re a longtime Nintendo fan or a newcomer to the console, these games are sure to provide countless hours of entertainment. Happy gaming!

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