Top 25 best Switch action games
Updated on May 13th, 2023 - Original article by Mihail Katsoris, updated by Artur Novichenko, Dann Sullivan
It's been almost five years since the Nintendo Switch was released, and during that time, we have been fortunate enough to experience some awesome games. Its ever-expanding library already counts more than 4000 titles of every genre, which is no small feat. Today though, we're looking specifically at the best action games available there.
Adventures, puzzles, shoot 'em ups, simulations, role-playing games on Switch, and the list goes on and on. You can find pretty much anything that you like. With that being said, sometimes having too many options can be an issue because you can't possibly try out ALL of these games: that's unrealistic.
Top 25 best Switch action gamesBut you want to know at least which ones are the very best, right? Well, that's why we are here, to make your life easier! In this article, we've created a list of the best action games for Switch. Platformers, action adventures, fighting titles, we've tried to make the list as diverse as possible, so hopefully, there's something for everyone and you can find your next favourite game.
Let's get right into it!
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
How could we not start with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild? It's perhaps the definitive action game fo the Switch; an action, open-world adventure, single-player title for those who aren't in the know when it comes to Nintendo's catalogue of characters and series. This franchise is legendary, not just when it comes to Switch or Nintendo, but in gaming history. There's an argument to be made that Breath of the Wild is the best Zelda game ever made. What more needs to be said?
Well, I'll tell you what more needs to be said. Breath of the Wild is so vast that it often feels like an wide-reaching sandbox experience, perhaps for the first time in the series existence. This is closer to you Red Dead Redemptions or Skyrim's in its scale and freedom than any other entry, but don't let that scale scare you, there's plenty of direction and more than a few ways that you can specialise your character to your playstyle and save Hyrule.
Monster Hunter Rise
Capcom's Monster Hunter series has gone from strength to strength over the last couple of decades and it's clear to see why. Monster Hunte Rise pushes it beyond its previous pedestal onto true greatness.
For those unaware of the series, Monster Hunter has you exploring vast maps on Boss-hunt-style quests. The Monsters you are hunting are gigantic, and so you need to use all of your guile, equipment and timing in order to overwhelm and ultimately defeat or capture them. It's tough, that's for sure, but it is totally thrilling when you do pull it off and you finally turn the odds against the giant demon-dinosaur-nightmare-bird you're fighting.
Beyond that, Monster Hunter is often talked about in how a lot of items, and your equipment, are gathered from the world itself. Sometimes you can just go out into the wild to collect meat and ingredients for potions so that your next run might be successful, and - of course - how can we forget the fact that you build your weapon and armour out of the body parts of the enemies that you defeat?
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Most Metroidvania fans will already know about Ori and the Blind Forest as it's easily one of the best games ever made in that genre. Ori and the Will of the Wisps, is the sequel to the action platformer, and it somehow manages to be even better than the original.
In it you take Ori beyond the forest and into new, beautiful lands. From there you have to explore the vast world, using your new abilities to travel further and further into dangerous, deadly areas. It's possible to get most of the way through the game without even paying attention to your ability systems, but if you do chase after and locate all of the hidden upgrade shards then you'll completely transform your character through your journey. Mechanically it's impressive, but the true beauty here is its stunning visuals, emotional story and absolutely hypnotizing music. Forget Best Switch Action Games, this might be one of the best ever video games.
Dragon Quest XI
Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age was arguably one of the best JRPGs ever made on the PS4. This is a direct port to the Switch. Normally one would expect a drop in overall quality, especially considering how people harp on about the other home consoles being miles ahead of Nintendo's offering, but no. They pulled it off somehow and the result is nothing sort of amazing.
A large part of that is, no doubt, due to the heavy, treasured style of the Dragon Quest series. Unlike a lot of RPG series (cough, Final Fantasy), Dragon Quest opted for a stylised appearance a few years back and hasn't really needed to refine or reinvent itself since. Dragon Quest is also one of the few series that has stuck with the turn-based combat system, which gives a lot of control to the player and allows them to carefully manage a team of specialists, rather than leaving your buddies to autopilot while you play the sole hero.
Many fans kept asking for a new 2D Metroid over the years. The last one, Metroid Fusion, was released back in 2002. It's been a long time, but finally, Samus is back. The story continues after the events of Metroid Fusion in this amazing action-adventure single-player goodie.
If you are a fan of Switch action games, Astral Chain is a must-have. As a part of a special task force, you must fight against alien-like creatures who have invaded the world. Explosive action, unique chain combat gameplay and exploration mechanics make this a stand out Switch title.
Hades is a single player, roguelike, and dungeon crawler. It's one of the best games that got released in 2020 so, that speaks volumes about its quality. Everything from the art style, to the combat system, will please every gamer, not only the fans of the genre.
Super Mario Odyssey
Super Mario Odyssey is in the discussion for the 'best' Mario game ever. By the way, there are more than 200 Mario titles. It doesn't matter if you are a fan of the franchise or not, this one is definitely one of the best 3D platform experiences one can have on the Switch.
Hollow Knight is one of the top Switch action platformers. This Metroidvania takes place in a vast, dark, atmospheric world. It combines beautiful 2D handmade graphics, with smooth gameplay. Anyone who enjoys exploration and a reasonable challenge should give this one a try.
An action RPG with an epic storyline, set in an open vast world. Even though it's been years since its release, Skyrim is simply one of the best RPGs ever made. It doesn't support the recent mods and upgrades other versions received but this one includes every expansion. Its epic story and a ton of sidequests will keep you up late, and we really envy any soul that's about to play it for the first time.
NEO: The World Ends With You
Neo: The World Ends With You, is a single-player, Switch action JRPG and the sequel to the classic 'The World Ends With You'. Fans of the original will be more than pleased with this release, as it was in contention for the game of the year 2021.
If you've never played BioShock before and single-player action FPS is your thing, you are going to have a great experience with this direct port of the award-winning collection. The Bioshock: The Collection bundle includes all the trilogy's DLCs. We think it's one of the best Switch action games, and for some, it's one of the best titles ever.
Yoshi's Crafted World
Yoshi's Crafted World is a family-friendly, Switch action platformer. Very cute colourful graphics and satisfying exploration, everything makes for a very nice relaxing experience. It also features co-op local play, so you can add some friends to the fray.
Dead Cells is one of the most popular action platformers across all systems. In this roguelike, you play as a failed alchemic experiment trying to figure out what's going on inside an ever-changing castle. You can find it all over our other lists too, but it fits the best Switch action games list perfectly as well.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity tells the story of the calamity that took place, a century before the events of Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Obviously, you don't have to be a fan of the Zelda franchise to enjoy this Switch action-adventure masterpiece, but if you are a fan, then this is a must-have title.
Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin
Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is a single-player game that blends action, platforming, beat 'em up and simulation elements, with a fresh take on Japanese mythology. You play as Sakuna, a harvest goddess banished to a dangerous island with a group of outcast humans. As Sakuna tries to prove herself and better the lives of humans on the island, she will face a lot of challenges.
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury is another title that's pretty much a staple when it comes to Switch action games. It's on everyone's list because it's simply that good. An incredible title that's a blast to play and Bowser's Fury is much more than a simple added bonus. It's more like another title on its own.
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening Switch
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening isn't just another title in the popular franchise, but a remake of one of the most beloved games in the Legend of Zelda series. This is an absolute classic. If you didn't have the chance to play the original one on the Game Boy, this is it.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
There are not a lot of things that we can say about Super Smash Bros Ultimate that hasn't already been said. If you like fighting and brawling, you have to try this one, even if you are not a fan of the Mario franchise. It's simply the best addition to the popular series and one of the best fighting games ever on the Switch.
Ring Fit Adventure
Ring Fit Adventure is the best exercise video game that you can get. With quarantine making it difficult to go out, this Switch action RPG will keep you fit. The workout is certainly real. It blends strength and aerobics training that will push you to the limits.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is a 2D platformer of the highest order. Excellent level design, clean, well-polished graphics and smooth gameplay make it a great experience for all ages. If you didn't play Donkey Kong on Wii before, you should definitely try this one out.
Celeste is a title that we wouldn't recommend to everyone but, if you are an action platformer veteran who's looking for a real challenge, this is for you. However, if you'd prefer to enjoy its beautiful graphics, the difficulty is extremely customisable, allowing you to adjust the challenge to your preferences.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The next game on the list is well-known by many players and definitely can be called a masterpiece. The Witcher 3 is an open-world action game with an incredible story and dynamic gameplay. The world in this game is huge and full of various quests. The game has multiple endings, therefore, be careful because you will have to face the consequences of your action.
Bayonetta 1 + 2
Are you ready to defeat droves of demons with your quad-wielding (yes, one on each hand, one on each foot) guns and magical hair? What do you mean that doesn't make sense?
Bayonetta by Hideki Kamiya, the creator of the Devil May Cry franchise, is a highlyy celebrated third-person 3D hack & slash where you control the titular witch. Even though the original title was released a few console generations back, it is still one of the best titles in the genre and is well worth your time. Better yet, it comes bundled with the fantastic sequel, which builds on the fast-paced, high-stylized combat and amazing character design of the first.
Kirby Star Allies
Kirby Star Allies is the latest outing for Nintendo's notorious pink puff. In keeping with their family-friendly focus, Kirby's latest outing gives you the opportunity to play alongside three other friends or family, or - if you want to play solo - up to three AI-controlled helpers.
This is one that my youngest daughter has absolutely loved, and she's spent a lot of time mixing and matching the AI-abilities (you can also add elemental powers now) so that they balance out how she plays.
Beyond that, it's Kirby. An incredibly approachable, easy-to-play platformer and probably the most forgiving platformer series out there, which means its not only great for all ages, but a fantastic choice for winding down after a long day.
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