The 10 best single-player Nintendo Switch games

Even though the Nintendo Switch is a console seemingly designed around co-op play due to its inclusions of two controllers, the hybrid console is also ideal for anyone who wants to cosy up on the couch and embark on an exciting solo jaunt. And there sure is plenty to choose from, so to prove it we thought it’d be useful to rank the 10 best single-player Nintendo Switch games available to play.

Whether you want to “catch em all” within a whole new region or feel like becoming a super cop intent on saving Earth from monsters from an alternate dimension, there’s sure to be an ideal single-player Nintendo Switch game for you. What’s more, we’ll even pull in the best current price for all the games feature below from around the web. Here’s our list of the 10 best single-player Nintendo Switch games. As you’ll soon see, it’s never been easier to get invested.

10. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

Originally a Wii U exclusive released back in 2014, we’re going to also give Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze some credit on Nintendo Switch too seeing as it’s simply one of the best 2D platformers ever made. Featuring several colourful stages that all riff on the game’s icy theme, you’ll need to depend on quick reaction times and smart traversal in order to reach the end of each level. Spikey thorns, dangerous enemies and deadly platforms are all standing in your way, making for some of the most challenging but ultimately satisfying side-scrolling experiences out there.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze might be a port, but it earns a place on this list as one of the 10 best single-player Nintendo Switch games because it’s the definitive version. Added content is present by way of Funky Kong, who replaces Donkey Kong as your main character should you ever need a helping hand getting through stages. Funky Kong features unlimited hover and can take five hits instead of two. Little additions like this make Tropical Freeze on Switch the ultimate package.

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9. Pokémon Sword and Shield

Pokémon Sword camera

After constant teases and various spin-off titles, Switch players eventually were treated to a mainline Pokémon title back in late 2019 via Pokémon Sword and Shield. Set within a world highly inspired by the idyllic British Isles, the Galar region features a wealth of new creatures to catch and brand-new mechanics like Dynamax and Gigantamax evolutions. It’s one of the best single-player Nintendo Switch games because catching them all has never been made more fun.

As is typically the case, there are very few differences between Pokémon Sword and Shield aside from a few exclusive Pokémon and a different gym leader battle. This means that you’re guaranteed a fully-fledged Pokémon RPG adventure no matter the version you pick up. This generation has been specifically designed by Game Freak to onboard new players as well as to tantalise veteran ones. It easily makes our list of the 10 best single-player Nintendo Switch games.

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8. Octopath Traveller

One of the earliest Nintendo Switch titles revealed shortly before the hybrid console’s launch, Octopath Traveler is a love-letter to the pixel-based RPGs of yesterday – sure to be familiar to fans of early Final Fantasy and ChronoTrigger. The difference here is that you get to play through the stories of all eight party members before bringing them together for an epic conclusion, sure to satiate the needs of anyone hankering for a meaty and narrative-driven RPG.

Octopath Traveler boasts an incredibly unique art style known as “HD-2D”, where the characters and worlds are all sprite-based but have a 3D appearance instead of the traditional flat look. The game further differentiates itself from RPG classics on the gameplay side, too, with all eight characters touting unique player abilities that are useful in battle, as well as a boost system that lets you enhance attacks the more time goes on. When it comes to RPGS, Octopath Traveller is one of the best single-player games on Nintendo Switch.

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7. Bayonetta 2

Originally a Wii U exclusive that didn’t take too long to come to Nintendo Switch, Bayonetta 2 has been dubbed one of the best and most stylish third-person action games from recent years. It once again casts you as the titular witch, yet again forced to do battle with all manner of angels and demons while building up as many score multiplayers and grades as possible. Bayonetta 2 is far more vibrant than the 2009 original, looking great on the Switch’s HD screen.

It’s one of the 10 best single-player Nintendo Switch games because it serves as a homage to a style of game that you don’t too often see these days, and it’s not playable anywhere else other than the Nintendo Switch. The series has proven so popular that a third entry is already in development. So, if you want to get excited for the next chapter in Bayonetta’s story and enjoy tight action, look no further than Bayonetta 2.

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6. Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Great strategy RPGS are few and far between these days, but Nintendo has shown this genre a lot of love by way of the Fire Emblem series. Three Houses marks the first time the franchise has made its way onto the Switch in its truest form, casting players as the teacher of a school who must balance the relationships between the warriors of the titular three houses. All of Fodlan’s nations have been divided, so it falls to you to try and save it.

Part social-sim and part turn-based strategy battler, Fire Emblem: Three Houses features the same overhead tactical gameplay fans will love, where you’re required to move warrior units on the battlefield to best thwart the enemy, but introduces dialogue options and character choices. No player will have exactly the same Fire Emblem: Three Houses experience because of this, making it a more than worthy entry for our list of the 10 best single-player Nintendo Switch games.

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5. Astral Chain

One of 2019’s sneakiest Nintendo Switch games – in the sense that no-one saw it coming – was PlatinumGames’ Astral Chain. In it, you play as a future super cop that must protect a city and hold back a menacing alien race using your martial art skills and your tamed legion. The bond between you and your legion proves essential and is core to the game’s action, where different legions are equipped with certain abilities that lets you approach combat scenarios uniquely each time.

The story is fairly melodramatic, but it turns out to be a fun ride filled with sibling rivalries, alternate dimensions and various super-stylish settings to roam. Very few original IPs come over as confident as Astral Chain when first coming out of the gate, but the result here is one of the 1- best single-player Nintendo Switch games. It’s also exclusive, too, so don’t pass up on this must-play title from the creators of Bayonetta and The Wonderful 101.

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4. Hades

After a long period spent in Early Access on PC, Supergiant Games’ Greek-inspired roguelite exploded when it first launched on Nintendo Switch towards the end of 2020. You play as the son of the titular god trying to escape the underworld by constantly doing battle with enemies. The kicker here, though, is that you do so as part of repeated runs, in which protagonist Zagreus can become stronger each time depending on your choice of weapon, playstyle and randomized boons you pick up. This lays the framework for a moreish dungeon-based battler that is never quite the same.

As well as Hades’ inherently addictive gameplay loop, also keeping you engaged is the game’s gorgeous cell-shaded art style that almost sees the action appear like a comic book read in motion. Venturing through each of the four biomes is never a chore because of this, forcing you to stay on your toes as more and more enemies are introduced, and you’re encouraged to play smarter. Story, aesthetic and gameplay… Hades has it all. Hence why it makes our list of the 10 best single-player Nintendo Switch games.

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3. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Let’s be clear about something. On this planet there are two types of people: Those that have already played The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and those that are yet to play it. When it was originally revealed last year that CDProjektRed’s fantasy epic would be coming to Nintendo Switch, people were understandably sceptical. Fast forward a couple months later, however, and Geralt’s adventure looks and plays flawlessly both on the big screen and on the go.

If you’re prepared to put in 150 hours of time, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a thoroughly rewarding experience. You play as the titular Witcher, a monster-slaying warrior in search of his ward that has gone missing. The Switch version places the base game and both DLC expansions all under one roof, making it the definitive way to play and easily one of the best single-player Nintendo Switch games to dive into.

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2. Super Mario Odyssey

Super Mario Odyssey

While the Wii U generation may have left players wanting for a true successor to Super Mario 64, this has since been remedied on Nintendo Switch thanks to the release of Super Mario Odyssey. As the famous moustachioued plumber, you’ll embark on an adventure to save Princess Peach from the grasp of Bowser, who this time is trying to marry the poor girl. Equipped with a sentient cap that allows Mario to transport his consciousness into almost any enemy, the search for as many moons as possible is on.

Moons are what powers up Mario’s ship and lets him travel further, so you’ll need to keep your eyes out while exploring in order to track them down. Super Mario Odyssey is simply a masterclass in 3D puzzle-platformer design, being the perfect title to experience solo and just while away the hours. When it comes to the best single-player games on Nintendo Switch Odyssey almost tops off our list.

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1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild set players off in a bold new direction when it released alongside the Nintendo Switch back in 2017. Throwing away a lot of series staples – like traditional dungeons and the boomerang – for plenty that’s new, it’s an open world adventure like no other, where you can roam wherever you want to and almost always find something worth discovering. This is nonlinear gameplay at its most refined, rewarding your curiosity at every turn.

Set in a version of Hyrule Kingdom that’s suffered from mass devastation, one day Link awakens on the Great Platau to try and embarks on a quest to try and save it. You’re free to explore the vast open world at your own pace and seek out the many shrines laced through the land. These serve as Breath of the Wild’s main puzzles, which when solved will power Link up appropriately.  Single-player Nintendo Switch games don’t get better than The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, hence why it’s our number one pick.

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Honourable mentions

Already played a bunch of the single-player Nintendo Switch games listed above and are in need of some more? See below for our honourable mentions:

Dead Cells

The metroidvania genre continues to go from strength to strength, but it took Dead Cells to show players what could happen when you tack that exploratory gameplay loop and mix it with procedural level design. It serves as a modern homage to classic Castlevania, encouraging you to undertake multiple runs by randomising power-ups and bosses so that you never know what to expect. It’s a premier single-player Nintendo Switch experience.

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Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

Initially released on the Nintendo DS before eventually finding its way over to PS3, this definitive Nintendo Switch version serves as the absolute best way to play this charming JRPG. Players take on the role of Oliver, who after a traumatic event must step into a whole other world populated by magical creatures. From here he’ll grow and get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding the White Witch, which is an inherently whimsical premise that ties in nicely to the Studio Ghibli vibes.

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Assassin’s Creed The Rebel Collection

What’s better than one incredibly deep and engrossing Assassin’s Creed game? Two of course, and that’s exactly what Assassin’s Creed The Rebel Collection gets you. Bundling in both Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and spin-off entry Rogue, both games allow you to set sail on the high seas, stealthing and stabbing your way across history while being the captain of your own ship. Assassin’s Creed The Rebel Collection offers exceptional value, hence why it almost made our list of the best single-player Nintendo Switch games.

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Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Very much the saving grace of 2020 for most Nintendo Switch players, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the best the cutesy life simulator series has ever been. And while a lot of the game can be about sharing experiences with friends, New Horizons is also the perfect opportunity to temporarily transport to the island of your dreams. You can while away the hours catching bugs, fishing in the local lake, and getting to know your fellow residents. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the perfect paradise for solo Nintendo Switch players to invest in.

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Pikmin 3: Deluxe

Real-time strategy games on Switch are a dime a dozen, but thankfully no longer thanks to the release of Pikmin 3: Deluxe earlier this year. Once again casting players as budding young astronaut Olimar, this remastering of the colourful cult classic challenges you to get back home by commanding different coloured members of the titular beings. It’s a miniscule garden romp where time is against you, and you must manage resources wisely. Pikmin 3: Deluxe is a treat!

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Paper Mario: The Origami King

The Paper Mario series had been on ice since Color Splash on the Wii U back in 2016. However, Paper Mario: The Origami King finally arrived on Nintendo Switch and saw some new gameplay improvements enter the fold – literally! Battles this time revolve around a circle system, where mario must navigate different pathways to attack enemies at the centre. All this you do in the effort to save Peach against the Origami King.

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Super Mario 3D All Stars

What’s better than one Super Mario game? If you’re answer is three, you’d be absolutely correct, as evidenced by the release of Super Mario 3D All Stars. Compiling together Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy in one neat package, this is the best way to celebrate the Nintendo icons 35th anniversary. All three games sever as great first-party single-player games that all play uniquely and serve to show how influential the Super Mario games have become.

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New Pokemon Snap!

A sequel 20 years in the making, New Pokémon Snap! is the perfect way to get up close and personal with everyone’s favourite collectible creatures. You play as a new trainer tasked with filling out the “Photodex” by snapping perfect shots of all the different types of Pokémon. Doing this involves witnessing them at the exact right moment, as you truck along in a minecart using a variety berry types to change their mood and movements. New Pokémon Snap! lives up to the name, and it barely misses our list of the best single-player Nintendo Switch games. 

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Xenoblade Chronicles 2

Another narrative-driven Nintendo Switch exclusive with a sweeping single-player campaign, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is actually the seventh main entry into the series but is a great point for anyone to jump on. It all takes place within the incredibly vibrant world of Alrest, where humans live on top of giant creatures sky-high in the clouds. You play as an orphan salvager called Rex, who suddenly gets caught up in an adventure bigger than himself. Undertake quests, explore an open world and level up your party of characters.

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