The Nintendo Switch is out and is off to a great start. The system doubles as a traditional game console (that you can play on a TV at home) and as a handheld that you can play on the go, either on a tabletop or held in your hands.
Finding the Switch has been difficult, as stores tend to sell out soon after new shipments arrive, but if you've managed to get your hands on one, you may need some guidance on what to get, especially once you connect the system to the internet and see all of the games there.
Here's a list of what I think are the 10 best games on the system, followed by thoughts on everything else you can get your hands on.
Last updated on July 21.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Breath of the Wild is the flagship game for the Switch launch, and it earns its position as crown jewel. It's the biggest shakeup the series has ever seen, but many of its changes make the game feel more like the 1986 original NES game that any of its sequels.
The game drops you right into the middle of the land of Hyrule and never holds your hand. While recent Zelda games have been bogged down by hours of tutorials, Breath of the Wild just says, "Here you go. Explore."
And it's amazing. This might sound crazy when talking about a series that's revered as highly as Zelda is, but this might actually be the best that Zelda has ever been. It's at least the greatest game in the series in many years, and if nothing else, it's incredibly interesting.
There is easily dozens (if not 100+) of hours of stuff to do in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, so if you can only afford to buy one game with the system, this is the one that will keep you busy the longest.
Nintendo not only created one of the most fun, original and addictive multiplayer games ever with the original Splatoon, they also created one of the most family-friendly shooters to grace a game console.
Your weapons in Splatoon don't shoot bullets, they spread ink. The purpose of every match isn't to kill your opponents, but rather to cover the surface of the playing field in your team's color. Your team of four tries to accomplish this with a wide variety of weapons that shoot (or roll) ink in different ways. One weapon works like a machine gun, for instance, while another is essentially a giant paint roller.
Splatoon 2 builds on everything that made the original such a cult success. New maps, weapons, modes and a more interesting single-player adventure make it worthwhile for Switch owners, and Nintendo promises more free content is on the way.
The downside: If you want to team up with friends (and voice chat with them), it's a laborious process that requires using Nintendo's new smart phone app. It's far from ideal. Thankfully, the game is good enough to recommend regardless.
When Nintendo announced Arms alongside the Nintendo Switch, many people didn't know what to think of it. A fighting game played with motion controls? With goofy characters whose arms are way too long? Why isn't this just a Punch-Out!! game?
But Nintendo pulled off something special with this game, which is better than most of us expected it to be.
Flailing your virtual arms at your opponent won't get you very far. There's a surprising amount of strategy to when you decide to punch -- and how you decide to curve your punches after you throw them. The cast of fighters is fun, the moment-to-moment action is enjoyable and the competition heats up quickly.
One of the game's bigger flaws, though, is that there isn't a ton of stuff for a single player to do. If you don't have friends nearby to play with and don't see yourself playing the game much online, maybe wait for a price drop.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
The latest Mario Kart game was pretty stellar when it originally launch on the Wii U, but it had a glaring flaw: The battle mode, in which players fight each other in an arena instead of race, was terrible.
So in this upgraded version of that multiplayer hit, Nintendo fixed that by providing the more "classic" battle mode experience that fans demanded. That, along with several other tweaks and fixes, makes Mario Kart 8 Deluxe a phenomenal multiplayer racing game and possibly the best game in the long-running series.
If you already own the original game on the Wii U, it's a tougher sell. This version does have all of the extra characters and tracks that were released as paid expansion packs (including Link, the Animal Crossing villager and tracks inspired by other Nintendo series like F-Zero), plus several more racers, so it might justify its asking price if you missed those the first time.
Minecraft: Switch Edition
Minecraft has always been a game that people of all ages can sink hours upon hours into. With the recently releasedSwitch version of the game, though, the Lego-like formula is dialed up a notch with the inclusion of Super Mario Bros. items, sounds and skins. So instead of crafting a generic fantasy world, now you can create a Mushroom Kingdom masterpiece and roam around it as Mario and Luigi.
If you want something to play cooperatively with a friend or loved one, Snipperclips is the killer app that you need to hear about.
It's an extremely clever puzzle game in which you cut each other into various different shapes to solve puzzles and accomplish tasks. You might be filling in specific outlines (like tangram puzzles) or attempting to do things like maneuver eggs safely into colored baskets.
While the main collection of puzzles can be played alone, it shines most when you have a second player solving puzzles with you. If there are four of you, even better, as there is a collection of puzzles specifically tailored to a higher number of players.
Puyo Puyo Tetris
You're probably familiar with Tetris. You might even be familiar with Puyo Puyo (a puzzle game about matching the colors of falling blocks). But you probably aren't prepared for just how crazy the two series are when mixed together.
You know what's crazier? There's a story mode, and it has a shocking amount of dialogue and voice acting. Yes, about Tetris and Puyo Puyo. And spaceships. And a talking dog. And a cool robot. And a lot of other zany stuff.
Even if you completely ignore the story, though, Puyo Puyo Tetris shines brightest as a multiplayer game, both locally and online. Getting four people on the same couch to shout at the TV while making lines and using power-ups is a blast, and it could be the highlight of your next party.
Disgaea 5 Complete
If you want, you can make the argument that Disgaea 5 Complete (originally released in 2015 on the PS4) is a worthwhile Switch purchase due to quantity if not quality. The main story of this goofy, light-hearted strategy game will probably take you more than 40 hours, and if you want to do everything? You're looking at well over 100.
It's not for everybody, though. Its over-the-top anime style could turn some people away, and the idea of managing dozens of characters across more than 40 different job types will be daunting to people who don't enjoy games like Fire Emblem or Final Fantasy Tactics. But if you want a long, deep experience to really sink your teeth into (especially in a portable format), there's a lot to love here.
The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+
One of the most popular indie games in recent history, The Binding of Isaac is an addictive action game that takes cues from the original Legend of Zelda -- only with more combat and a lot fewer puzzles. It's a "rogue-like," a randomly generated game where when you die, that's it. No continues, no save states to return to. It's a brutal test of skill that will require a lot of dexterity and a little bit of luck.
$40 might seem steep for a simple-looking game that originally came out in 2011, but a hefty amount of extra content (released on PC in the form of multiple paid expansion packs) make the Switch release of this classic a game that you can replay over and over again for dozens of hours, if not more.
Note: Pay attention to the M for Mature ESRB rating on the box. While the graphics occasionally look cute and old-school, it's a game filled with blood, disturbing imagery and some mature themes.
Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove
If you're the kind of Nintendo fan who goes crazy with nostalgia for games like Mega Man, then Shovel Knight is absolutely a must-play. It's a throwback to some of retro gaming's best features, and it's one of the best indie game releases of the last few years.
Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove is the definitive version of the game, featuring the original campaign (now called Shovel of Hope) plus two more, in addition to several other game modes and features that have been added to the game over the years.
If you just want brand new content, you can buy the newest campaign, Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment on its own. In it, you play as the villain Specter Knight, who can dash through enemies both to attack and to get around levels. It's great new content, and it's exclusive to the Switch until next month.
1-2 Switch is Nintendo's big party game for the Switch at launch. It's a collection of 28 mini-games, most of which are played simultaneously between two players. The main gimmick throughout these games is that instead of looking at the TV, players are supposed to look each other in the eye and follow sound cues from the game.
It's also a good showcase for the Switch's new Joy-Con controllers, though, as different games show off different features. "Ball Count" uses the HD Rumble feature to make it feel as if small metal balls are rolling around inside your controller, and it tasks you with guessing how many there are. (Amazingly, this totally works.) "Treasure Chest" shows off the fidelity of the motion controls as you work to unwrap a treasure chest from a set of chains. Other games have you dancing, boxing, playing baseball and more.
There's definitely fun to be had here, especially with a group of good friends (and possibly some alcohol), but the experience is also thin. I didn't have a strong desire to replay each game with the same friend after we'd done it once or twice.
At $50, 1-2 Switch is overpriced. $30 would have been more convincing, but it really would have worked best as a game packed in with the system, like Wii Sports was with the Wii. Still, if you want to show off your new game console at a party, this game can do that.
Blaster Master Zero
Blaster Master is a fondly-remembered classic on the original Nintendo Entertainment System, so if you were playing video games in the late 80s and early 90s, this retro remake might be worth the $9.99 asking price for nostalgia alone. It's made in the style of a lost NES game, evoking all of the feelings -- and some of the problems -- of that era.
If you never played the original, it's a fun blend of 2D side-scrolling exploration (mostly in a fun-to-drive tank-like vehicle that can jump) and top-down fighting sequences that are all about shooting enemies and bosses.
I wish I liked Has-Been Heroes more than I do. A group of (surprise) has-been heroes, seen as past their prime, are given their trickiest quest yet: Taking the kingdom's twin princesses to school. It's a fun setup for a roleplaying strategy game that had potential but that lacks the charm of its premise.
At launch, the game was also extremely difficult, to the point of being not fun. They've scaled the difficulty back post-release, but I'd still list this one as a disappointment of the Switch lineup.
Human Resource Machine
This clever puzzle game has a secret: It's teaching you the basics of coding as you play. You are presented with seemingly simple goals involving moving numbered tiles from one area to another. To do so, however, you have to uses the commands at your disposal to essentially write a program to solve the puzzle for you.
If you've ever thought programming as too hard to learn, give Human Resource Machine a try. You might be surprised at how much it just boils down to problem solving.
Fast RMX is an an update/sequel to the well-received Wii U game Fast Racing Neo, and its blazing speed can be compared to the classic F-Zero series.
For $19.99 you get 30 intense tracks to race on (many of which are new), either against AI racers or with up to seven other human players either locally or online. (If you don't have more than one Switch, you can play with up to four players split-screen.)
It looks great, runs smoothly and can definitely deliver a dose of octane.
If you're into quick gaming hits, Gonner is a great game to play once or twice a day. It's a side-scrolling action game that rewards risky, high-paced play but in which death can come quickly.
Similar to games like Spelunky and The Binding of Isaac, Gonner operates on the premise that once you die, it really is game over. While you can re-use unlocked weapons and abilities, you will start at the beginning every time you play. Levels are randomized, though, so you won't get tired of seeing the same old platform formations any time soon.
Gonner is best for the old-school, high score-seeking player who wants a challenge.
Graceful Explosion Machine
This stylish arcade shooter is great as a "pick up and play when you have 15 spare minutes" game, which makes it a great fit for the Switch's portable mode. It's a Defender like shoot-em-up with a simple but effective graphical style. Just getting through each level in the game is fun on its own, but Graceful Explosion Machine shines as a high score chase, with an emphasis on creating combos by defeating enemies effectively. At $12.99, it's also some of the cheaper fun you can have on the system.
I Am Setsuna
To quote my review of the the PS4 version of this retro-inspired RPG, "It's a love letter to the 16-bit days of fantasy RPGs, and it will appeal most to nostalgic fans from that time." If you have fond memories of SNES games like Chrono Trigger, I Am Setsuna might be perfect for you.
The Switch version holds up well, with one of the biggest selling points being its portability. I Am Setsuna is a fine game to play on your couch, but it's a great game to have on the go.
Jackbox Party Pack 3
The Jackbox Party Pack games, from the makers of You Don't Know Jack, are some of the best party games on the market right now. Their main hook: Everybody plays the games with their cell phones (or tablets or computers, if you need to), meaning you can play with a large group of friends without the need to spend a lot of money on additional Nintendo Switch controllers.
The five games included in this Party Pack are "Quiplash 2," "Trivia Murder Party," "Guesspionage," Tee K.O.," and "Fakin' It." Personally, I think "Quiplash 2" (in which players answer prompts as cleverly as possible, with everybody blindly voting on their favorites) is the highlight, but "Fakin' It" can make lying to your friends a blast.
One thing to be aware of with the Switch version in particular, though: An internet connection is required. So even though the Switch is portable, you probably won't be playing this one in a car. Save it for the living room.
Just Dance 2017
Ubisoft's dancing series was a surprise hit on the Wii, so it's no shock that the latest game is launching alongside the Switch. Just grab one of the system's Joy-Cons and dance along with hit music from artists like Ariana Grande ("Into You"), Beyonce ("Put a Ring On It"), Justin Bieber ("Sorry") and even digital Japanese pop star Hatsune Miku.
If you have more than one friend over but you all want to dance? No problem. You can use smartphones as controllers and get up to six people in on the action.
Personally, I've typically found the Just Dance experience to be underwhelming as games, because they only track one limb of motion (the arm with which you're holding the controller), making it easy to cheat for points and not actually learn any moves. But if you look at it more like a series of lighthearted dance instruction videos that you earn points for when playing with friends, good times can be had.
And if nothing else, it can make for a good workout.
On the surface, there's almost nothing going on in Little Inferno. You burn things and... that's it. You can't look away from the fireplace in front of you. All you can do is order items from a catalog and toss them into the fire as soon as they arrive. How else are you going to stay warm, right?
But there's a surprising depth to Little Inferno, with puzzles to solve and an important lesson to learn.
Lego City Undercover
A port of a game that was exclusive to the Wii U back in 2013, Lego City Undercover takes the joy and simplicity of the Lego video games, throws in just a dash of family-friendly Grand Theft Auto and wraps it all in a funny (if purposefully cliched) cop story. It's not the most in-depth game experience for adults, but it can be a great option for younger players.
This top-down action game is most notable for your character's signature teleporting ability, which makes you feel like Nightcrawler as you zip through doors and walls, beating up criminals before they can shoot you or whack you with weapons.
It's not a long game (easily finished in six hours or less), but it's a fun action romp with some puzzle and strategy elements. For the $14.99 asking price, it can make for a fun weekend.
Neo Geo arcade classics
There are too many of these available (with more on the way) for me to cover them all, but they're worth mentioning. Game publisher Hamster has emulated a bunch of Neo Geo arcade classics on the Nintendo Switch, and they can be purchased for $7.99 each (which is a bargain when you consider that the Neo Geo originals can be very pricey on eBay these days).
What kind of games are available? There are several fighting games (King of Fighters '98 is a highlight), some action classics (Metal Slug 3, anybody?) and a pretty great, if simple, golf game (Neo Turf Masters). They're best if you have nostalgia for the originals, but they can be fun regardless.
This is Othello. It's $5. There's... not really a lot more to say about it.
This is the same Skylanders game that released last year on other platforms, but if you missed out on it then, this is a great opportunity for a family friendly cooperative adventure.
If you're not familiar with the mega-popular series, its main hook is that players use real toys (most of which are sold separately, though the game's starter pack comes with three) as their characters. Want to play as new and exciting Skylanders? Well, you'll have to buy more toys, but at least you get cool figures out of it. In previous versions of the game, you scanned toys by placing them on a "Portal of Power" accessory, where you would leave them the entire time you play. The Switch version has no such accessory, because the ability to scan toys (via an NFC reader) is built into the system's right Joy-Con controller.
The big new feature in Imaginators is the ability to create your own Skylanders by selecting heads, legs, arms, accessories and special moves that you unlock as you play.
One notable pro of the Switch version: You can store several Skylanders within the game itself (so you don't have to scan the toys every time you want to swap), making the game far more portable. Also, you can play the game with a single Joy-Con controller, and the Switch comes with two, meaning you can play cooperatively right out of the gate without buying additional accessories.
Snake Pass is all about being a snake, which is more interesting than it might sound. Every level of the game is filled with collectibles for you to pick up, but since you can't jump (or, heck, walk), the environment around you becomes one giant puzzle. Figuring out how to slither your way up, under and around various obstacles is more interesting than it has any right to be thanks to an intuitive control scheme and colorful landscapes.
Super Bomberman R
Bomberman is back after a bit of a hiatus, with Super Bomberman R trying hard to evoke some of the good party game vibes present in the games that came out in the '90s. It's a game in which players lay down bombs on a grid-based battlefield in the hope of catching other players in the explosion.
As a multiplayer game, it can be a blast with 4-8 other players who have at least some idea what they're doing. (You can play with AI-controlled players if you don't have enough humans nearby, but it's really best with friends.) There are plenty of customization options in terms of the rules (allowing you to turn off features to make the experience more old-school and "pure") and a lot of different arena types to battle on.
If you're used to playing on retro consoles with only a four-directional d-pad, then the analog controls take a bit of getting used to. Still, 8-player Bomberman can still be as entertaining on the Switch as it was on the Sega Saturn.
While Bomberman is always best as a local multiplayer game, Super Bomberman R also features online multiplayer. As of this writing, the online functionality is not available.
There is also a story mode that can be played by one or two players cooperatively. It's an OK distraction if you love the core Bomberman gameplay and are desperate for more things to play on your Switch, but it's also far from mind-blowing. The campaign is basically a series of Bomberman arenas in which you have to accomplish goals like killing all of the enemies or hitting all of the switches. At the end of each world, you fight a boss.
This is fine, but it's a more thin single-player experience than previous games in the series -- even games from way back in the Game Boy Color days. So if you're looking for something purely to play alone, Super Bomberman R isn't your best choice.
This run-based, arcade-style game is simple, addictive and remarkably difficult to master. Tumbleseed is played primarily with no buttons -- you just use the analog sticks to tilt the left and right sides of a plank in order to navigate a ball-like seed higher and higher up a mountain.
The challenge is that there are a ton of holes in the ground for you to fall through, and if that wasn't enough, there are also various enemies intent on getting in your way. Every stage is randomized, so you can't simply remember the most efficient path to take. You can pick up more than 30 powers to help you along the way, but in order to be successful you'll need to be quick and learn to roll with the punches.
Your run might last five minutes or it might last 30, but regardless, you start from square one next time you play. Rather than being frustrating, failure usually leads to you saying, "OK, just one more run. I've got it this time." You'll get better, and that improvement is satisfying.
On the Nintendo Switch specifically, the system's HD rumble helps make it feel like there is actually something rolling back and forth in your hands (particularly in the system's portable handheld mode), but it's a superficial thing that has no effect on the gameplay.
Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers
There's something awesome and nostalgic about the fact that Street Fighter II (which was at the height of its popularity back when the Super Nintendo was popular in the '90s) is back on the Nintendo Switch. It's got a couple of new characters, online play and some news modes, but it's ultimately the same game you know and love.
Unfortunately, it's a very overpriced version of that game you know and love.
Look, Street Fighter II is one of the greatest fighting games ever made, and it remains solid in 2017, but $39.99 is way too much to ask for an updated port of a 26-year-old game. The new modes (one of which, a 3D motion-controlled mode, is actually quite bad) don't justify the high price. The new visuals don't justify the high price. The new characters don't justify the high price. The whole things is just unjustified.
Which is a shame, because in another world I would love to recommend that you buy Ultra Street Fighter II if only so that you can throw down in a classic Ken vs. Ryu match at your local laundromat even if they don't have an arcade machine.
Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap
First things first: This remake of a Sega Master System 1989 game is gorgeous. The hand-drawn graphics are a joy to look at and the music is a great complement to the visuals.
Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap is also a lot of fun to play. Throughout the adventure you will transform into a variety of different creatures -- a lizard, a mouse, a pirahna-man, a lion and a hawk, each with their own unique abilities. The mouse, for example, can walk on certain walls and ceilings, allowing you to reach places you can't get to in bigger forms.
There are some caveats, though. Primarily, it's a game that's big on exploration that was originally made before game designers had fully figured out how best to handle exploring 2D spaces. What I mean by that is that even though the world isn't massive by today's standards, it's still easy to get lost due to the lack of a map or any sort of marker to guide you to your next destination. Still, many retro game fans might see this as a positive, and there are plenty of secrets to find while you're getting lost in the world.
And if you have nostalgia for the original game? You can switch over to 8-bit graphics and old-school music on the fly. Wonder Boy is a shining example of how a classic side-scroller can be remade for modern systems.
World of Goo
World of Goo is a great, simple puzzle game about building structures out of, well, goo. It's all physics-based, so you have to be careful about where to place the pieces of your bridge or tower or whatever it is you're tasked with creating.
World of Goo was actually one of the first big downloadable games on the Wii, but it has stood the test of time and is a welcome addition on the Switch.