Nintendo has countless classics in its library with the best selling Nintendo Switch games taking centre stage as some of the greatest experiences of all time. In almost 40 years of gaming excellence with multiple consoles, Nintendo have been pumping out the gold standard of gaming for many moons.
Super Mario World, Ocarina of Time, Goldeneye 007, Eternal Darkness, Pokemon Gold & Silver, Banjo-Kazooie, Super Smash Brothers Melee, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Super Metroid, the list goes on and on. In particular, the lineup of kids switch games across generations has been particularly impressive.
While many will have their favourites and games that lie close to their heart, today, our editors are paying homage to the best Nintendo Switch games that we’ve played over the past few years. We’re looking at our own selections, plus cold hard sales numbers, to bring to you the best-selling games for the latest Nintendo console, the Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite.
Ready to get started?
Best Selling Nintendo Switch Games
Before we showcase the world’s best selling Nintendo Switch games, we’ve pinched, punched, scratched and spent hours debating our all-time favourites. From 5-year-old classics to some of Nintendo’s latest arrivals, here’s our take on the best Nintendo Switch games that you must play before you die.
We promise you, there’s a few gems in here that you probably wouldn’t have picked as the best Nintendo switch game for yourself. However, they are all quality selections nonetheless – *Humble Brag*
Reason: Best Shooter Switch Game Release Date: 8th October 2021 Total Sales: 3.5 Million (To date)
Now the best-selling Metroid game on the Switch, Metroid Dread has already clocked 3 million sales since release on 8th October 2021. While nowhere near as many sales as the best selling Nintendo Switch game, 3 million sales is not a bad number considering Metroid does not have anywhere near the brand prestige as some of Nintendo’s more classic titles.
Why we do like this game so much?
Well, it’s perfect for both speed runners and completion-junkies. Of which, we would very much put ourselves into that bracket. From insane bosses to the ability to skip sections on the map, the way you play through Metroid Dread is entirely up to you and we absolutely love that about the game.
It’s come such a long way from the original 2D game which also happened to feature on our list of best Gameboy Advance Games. So that kind of says it all about the series, really.
As for combat mechanics, they are incredibly fast-paced and are best suited to newer switch consoles like the Nintendo Switch OLED rather than the original Nintendo Switch Lite. Although there are many buttons used to control Samus, the gameplay is extremely comfortable and will not hinder your experience.
Regardless of whether you are a Metroid fan or not, for a fast-paced action-adventure game, there is not much better out there right now than Metroid Dread. It is without question the best Nintendo Switch game for anybody who wants new mechanics but a hint of nostalgic arcade gaming.
Reason: Best Action RPG Switch Game
Release Date: 26th March 2021 Total Sales: 8 Million+ (To date)
Selling over 8 million units on Switch alone to date, Monster Hunter rise absolutely towers over Resident Evil: Village which was tipped to be a far more popular game. Poised to become one of Monster Hunter’s best selling Nintendo Switch games, Monster Hunter Rise is an awesome JRPG adventure from start to finish.
As series veterans, what grabbed us immediately was all the cool new tricks, options and attacks at our disposal. The addition of the Palamute and Wirebugs, in particular, drastically change the flow of battle for the better. Besides being AI partners, the trusty pooches are also mounted both outside and inside of combat. Of which, the latter is actually quite important.
As a game that’s been clearly developed to align with a variety of taste buds, Capcom’s Monster Hunter Rise is an action RPG game that’s definitely worth adding to the list. While far better to enjoy on PC, the Nintendo Switch version is also still a lot of fun and will potentially go down as one of the best monster RPG games of a generation.
Reason: Best Fitness Switch Game
Release Date: 18th October 2019 Total Sales: 13.5 Million
Just making the cut of the top 10 best selling Switch games is the spiritual and next-gen successor to wildly successful Wii Fit. Sweat your eyeballs off which playing a variety of sports and games with Ring Fit Adventure.
Defined as an “exercise action RPG” (a very niche genre), Ring Fit Adventure has you play as an athlete travelling the kingdom after meeting a sentient ring (befittingly called Ring) to defeat a huge bodybuilding dragon named Dragaux before he spreads his dark influence across the land. Standard.
Nintendo actually managed to weave the exercises and activities into the gameplay pretty smoothly while keeping them challenging. Speaking from personal experience, some of the exercises they have you doing are far from easy, but that’s exactly the point.
Much more than just a novelty, Ring Fit Adventure is a fun and legitimate way to stay active and healthy. Thanks to country-wide lockdowns during the pandemic, sales of Ring Fit Adventure were boosted as people turned to Nintendo to get their fitness fix. In turn, this has made Ring Fit Adventure one of the best selling Switch games of all time.
Release Date: 19th November 2021 Total Sales: 13.9 Million
An updated remake of one of the latter Pokemon Games for Switch players, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl show that Nintendo hasn’t lost its knack when it comes to bringing old concepts to new platforms.
The first of three Pokemon games on the Nintendo Switch’s best-selling list, the updated remakes of the two games for the Nintendo DS sees you take the role of a fresh Pokemon trainer in the region of Sinnoh as you seek to collect the Pokemon of the 4th Generation and thwart the plans of the nefarious Team Galactic.
Despite shifting a very impressive amount of units, fans of Pokemon were somewhat divided over the remakes of the 2006 titles. This division spawned not really over the improvements to the gameplay (although many were critical of how little content from Pokemon Platinum was seen) but in the graphical quality and chosen art style.
Nintendo did make some quality of life changes and special inclusions for the newer versions, some people lamented that the remake was “too faithful” to the originals and didn’t make the leaps in improvements that the amazing Fire Red/Leaf Green and Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire games did previously.
Despite these grumblings, the game managed to shift over 1 million copies within 3 days in Japan alone, almost 20% of its total lifetime sales to date.
Release Date: 16th November 2018 Total Sales: 14.3 Million
What some would describe as the original Pokemon Red, Blue and Yellow on easy mode, this reimagining of the first games that started the global franchise mixed with the easy to grasp mechanics of Pokemon Go made sure this title was in every Switch owners collection.
Like all main series Pokemon games, you take the role of a newly qualified trainer as you set out to become a Pokemon master by catching all of the available pocket monsters and conquering the Elite Four of the Pokemon League.
While Pokemon LGP/LGE follows the very core of the original game that started the series back on the Game Boy back in the 1990s, its changes to the gameplay mechanics make it a much more “user-friendly” experience that swaps challenge in favour of accessibility.
With the mobile title Pokemon Go bringing the media property back into the mainstream limelight across a wide number of demographics, this no doubt helped immensely in boosting Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee’s sales numbers since many people were already very familiar with the experience they would be getting.
Reason: Best Switch Party Game
Release Date: 5th October 2018 Total Sales: 17.3 Million
While not as treasured as some of the other Mario Party games from back in the day (Mario Party 3 is the best and I’m not open to discussion on that), the Nintendo Switch’s position of the more social or “family” centric of the consoles has lead to Super Mario Party racking up high sales numbers.
Adopting the style of a virtual board game (quite literally), the Mario Party series sees players travelling around different themed maps as they collect coins to purchase and earn as many Power Stars as possible before the turn limit is reached. Players also participate in minigames in order to win (or possibly steal) coins from their opponents as well as chance events that can turn things on their head.
While it can definitely be played solo, Super Mario Party is a game that thrives on the social element it brings. The random elements of fortune keep a constant level of anxiety among all the players where no one is truly safe until the final turn is played.
Compared to other games in its series Super Mario Party is a little light on content, particularly with the available boards. However, Mario Party Superstars gives even more MP content to Switch owners should they need it.
Reason: Best Switch Game For Platforming
Release Date: 27th October 2017 Total Sales: 23 Million
What Nintendo console top-selling lineup would be complete without a traditional Super Mario adventure in it? Truth be told, I’m surprised this hasn’t sold more copies, or maybe my rose-tinted memories of past Super Mario games need some dilution from reality.
An ode to the great 3D platforming Mario games that came before it like the legendary Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy, Super Mario Odyssey has Mario once again chasing after a kidnapped Princess Peach as Bowser attempts to force her hand in marriage in order to take control of the Mushroom Kingdom.
Incorporating a greater sense of freedom that was seen in the aforementioned titles as opposed to a more linear nature of games design, Odyssey introduces Cappy, a sentient hat that Mario uses to take control of enemies so he can traverse environments and solve puzzles to acquire Power Moons, the fuel source of his ship.
Cappy is to Odyssey is what the FLUDD is to Sunshine. The anchor of the gameplay, the masterful design of the way the worlds work in cohesion with their mysteries and challenges are all unlocked via the key that is Cappy, adding in flavour and variation to the game.
Level design in particular is the shining jewel in the crown of Super Mario Odyssey.
Reason: Best Adventure Switch Game
Release Date: 15th November 2019 Total Sales: 23.9 Million
Outselling two other Pokemon games to take the number five spot on this list, Pokemon Sword and Shield was Nintendo’s leap into the next generation of possibly one of its most lucrative (I’d imagine second only to Super Mario) franchises actually left people yearning for more, so it’s surprising (to me at least) that I see it so high up on this ranking.
Also coming with an element of controversy, Sword and Shield follows the same formula as the other mainline games but this time in the Galar region, a location based on the United Kingdom. The Pokemon League is the ultimate goal, with Team Yell playing the pantomime villain in this piece.
The introduction of the Eighth Generation saw Nintendo make the decision to not include a large number of Pokemon from previous Gens in the game, which caused a movement in a number of fans dubbed “Dexit” where players wanted to boycott the game.
Even with this cloud looming over it, Sword and Shield provided fans with an experience that added new and exciting pieces to the game, most notably the Dynamaxing and Gigantamaxing which saw Pokemon take on huge forms with special powers. Co-op Battles also made a comeback which was met with high praise.
While not to everyone’s taste due to some of its creative choices, Sword and Shied has (so far) launched into not only the 5th best-selling Switch game, but the 2nd best-selling Pokemon game ever, beaten only by the original Red, Blue, and Yellow.
Reason: Best Single Player Switch Game Release Date: 3rd March 2017 Total Sales: 25.8 Million
Possibly my personal favourite video game of all time, it pains me to a certain degree to see Link’s adventure sit at only the fourth best-selling game on the Nintendo Switch, but twenty-five million is still a lot of copies.
Whilst not the most recent Legend of Zelda adventure, in Breath of the Wild, Link has awakened thousands of years after the great battle with the Calamity known as Ganon. Seeing signs of his return, Link must gather his memories and awaken the spirit of the Champions and their Divine Beasts to defeat Ganon once again.
A truly open-world adventure, Breath of the Wild is a masterpiece for the freedom it offers to its players. If you want to explore every nook and cranny in Hyrule, you’re more than welcome to. If you’d like to charge headfirst towards Hyrule Castle to go toe-to-toe with the King of Evil, you can do that. Players have the ultimate autonomy over their own quests and also the armour sets in Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom.
The Legend of Zelda as a series has built up a hallmark over the years that few series are afforded; it’s almost prequalified as being a classic before even being played. The finest developers at Nintendo work tirelessly and diligently on each LoZ game to ensure it continues the carry the torch of the phenomenal lineage forward.
Reason: Best Fighting Nintendo Switch Game Release Date: 7th December 2018 Total Sales: 27.4 Million
An avid and semi-competitive Super Smash Brothers Ultimate player myself (and frequent spectator of tournaments via YouTube), I’ve put almost 1000 hours into the game, and I’m sure many other people have put hundreds of their own in as well.
A stage-based fighting title, Super Smash Brothers Ultimate is an all-star cast of some of Nintendo’s biggest characters (and a few guest faces) as they square off to become the top fighter. In the World of Light adventure mode, Mario, Samus, and co join forces to stop the forces of light and darkness from taking control of their world and imprisoning the Spirits of the denizens.
Nintendo aren’t really known for their fighting or PvP games, but Smash has always been the flagship of this genre for them. Case in point: Super Smash Brothers Melee for the Gamecube is still played competitively to this day. It’s just that good.
The fact that Smash games are won and lost by not only a character’s moves and viability, but also their more gimmicky and idiosyncratic elements as well as their ability to return back to the stage allows an unparalleled level of drama and showmanship to take place for players and spectators alike.
While not as prominent as other fighting games like Street Fighter and Tekken, SSBU’s competitive scene will have given it a healthy addition to its sales figures.
Reason: Best Social Nintendo Switch Game
Release Date: 2nd March 2020 Total Sales: 37.6 Million
Twice as cuddly as The Sims and about ten times more addictive, the Nintendo Switch’s Animal Crossing entry encapsulated people’s infatuation with buying designer curtains and paying off insurmountable debts (that sounds eerily familiar to my own life come to think of it…)
A life-building simulator like the other Animal Crossing games, New Horizons has the player set themselves on an island as they build their new home and contribute to the world around as they develop a thriving community and economy.
While Minecraft and The Sims series favour PC orientated crowd with their menus, UI choices, and laundry list of options, Animal Crossing manages to find a blend that works for console (and probably more casual) players that gives you just enough to keep going while withholding enough to get you coming back for more.
While it would have no doubt been popular in its own right, coming out in March of 2020 as lockdowns around the globe came into force, this made Nintendo’s swath of player-created islands a substitute for social settings and occasions as people were confined to their homes, with some free from work obligations after being placed on furlough.
Reason: Best Racing Nintendo Switch Game
Release Date: 29th May 2014 Total Sales: 43.3 Million
An unsurprising victor perched at the top of the mountain, Mario Kart 8 takes the crown as the best selling Switch game of our generation. Its simplicity coupled with its content makes it a joy to play for veterans and casuals alike. As with the Legend of Zelda and Super Mario 64, Mario Kart set the standard of what a Kart Racer needs to achieve in order to be considered a worthwhile purchase. Which, Mario Kart 8: Deluxe is the pinnacle of this standard.
There are no real “bad” Mario Kart games and all have their own charm, with player preference playing a large part of their game of choice. Mario Kart 8 includes all the content from the Wii U game, plus additional content, improved graphical performance, and an expanded battle mode that critics and players adored (and for good reason).
In addition, MK8 Deluxe added in the Booster Course Pass that gave players over 40 tracks from older Mario Kart games, adding even more to the package.
Although we have our personal favourites, that does not mean that you will agree with our list of the best Nintendo 64 games. Take a look at this shortlist of the best selling N64 games of all time. Will Turok make the cut? Or are we looking at more familiar titles? Scroll down to find out! –
As much as we would all love to think that GoldenEye would make a return on the Switch, Super Mario 64 pips this classic to the post by some 3 million copies. As the very first game to be released on the Nintendo 64, Super Mario 64 would go on to become the world’s most sold N64 game with nearly a whopping 12 million unit sales.
Now, while that might not seem like a lot compared to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe which was awarded by our editors as the best children’s Nintendo Switch game, you must remember that gaming was nowhere near as popularised back in 1996 as you will find today. Therefore, to sell over 12 million units was a phenomenal achievement during ’90s gaming.
Best Switch Games Roundup
It’s no surprise that Mario Kart 8 wins our award for the best Nintendo Switch game and the legacy of Mario Kart continues. While you might be disappointed to not see another title taking the crown, you simply cannot deny Mario’s frantic arcade racer the throne. Especially when you include the fact that Mario Kart 8 is absolutely littered throughout every traditional arcade you will come across.
When writing our roundup of the best Nintendo Switch games, we have to say that were most surprised by Zelda not making it into the top 3. Despite competition, breath of the wild is without question one of the best releases from Zelda’s saga and we had of hoped of stronger results.
Nevertheless, with some many phenomenal Nintendo Switch games to choose from, we could have easily extended our list to another 10 titles. However, we wanted to provide you with a comprehensive selection of a variety of titles that you could easily add to your collection today!
Did we miss any titles? Luigi’s Mansion 3, perhaps?
Give us your top 5 best switch games in the comments below. Meanwhile, feel free to check out some of these other incredible roundups and game reviews:
Content Disclaimer: This handpicked shortlist of the best Nintendo Switch games of all time has been independently written. We have not been commissioned by any manufacturers featured on this list, nor have we received any royalties for this article. This includes financial reimbursement, free advertising or free gifts. In addition, all statistics are estimates based upon publications from manufacturers.
Should you click on any link to Amazon and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission. But that’s just how we keep this website alive and free to use! Please hit us up in the comments with any questions you may have about the Nintendo Switch or some of its greatest games.
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