Illustration by Sam Woolley

You just bought a new Nintendo Switch. First of all, good job! They’re still kind of hard to find. Now it’s time to figure out what games you want to play. We’ve got you covered.

The Switch’s library has been growing all year. Nintendo has managed to maintain a solid ratio of good games on their system, and at this point there’s a healthy selection of fantastic Switch games to choose from.

As with all of our Bests lists, we’ll be updating this one over the months and years to come. Each game we add in the future will need to replace an existing entry. Expect the list to continue to expand and improve over the months to come.

Here are the 12 best games you can get for the Nintendo Switch.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a monumental artistic achievement, a video game so creative and full of surprises that we’ll be talking about it for years to come. It’s also unlike any Zelda game before it. For years, Zelda games were defined by “no.” You can’t reach this place until later; you can’t solve this puzzle until you get the right item. Breath of the Wild is the best Zelda game to date, and it accomplishes that simply by saying yes.

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A Good Match For: Anyone who likes games that let you explore and make your own fun; horse lovers.

Not A Good Match For: Anyone who preferred the strict structure of other recent Zelda games.

Read our review.

Study our tips for the game.

Watch it in action.

Purchase From: Amazon | Walmart | Best Buy | Gamestop

Stardew Valley is an already-great game made indispensable by the Switch. The 2016 farming/dating/life sim lets you forget your worries and embrace a soothingly banal life in the countryside. You water your crops in the morning, and think about how you’re going to improve your farm. You head in to town and stop by the general store to get seeds and chat up the cute boy you’ve had your eye on. And if you want, you explore the mysterious mine, gather magical materials, and uncover the deeper secrets of the valley. It’s a game with a seemingly endless amount to do, and it fits perfectly onto a handheld.

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A Good Match For: Fans of games like Animal Crossing, Harvest Moon, or Minecraft. Anyone looking for a relaxing but terrifyingly addictive game.

Not A Good Match For: Anyone looking for a straightforward game. Stardew Valley is calming and low-key, but it’s also extremely complex and doesn’t alway explain itself that well.

Read our impressions of the Switch version.

Study our tips for playing the game.

Watch it in action.

Purchase From: Available digitally on the Nintendo eShop.

Look, we weren’t expecting much from Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle either. We were right there laughing along with the rest of the internet when we first saw those leaked promotional images of Ubisoft’s annoying Rabbid mascots dressed up as iconic Mario characters. But then Ubisoft showed the game itself, and… wait, a Mario-inspired take on XCOM tactics? One that looks like a first-party Nintendo game thanks to Nintendo’s developers lending a hand with production? As it turned out, yep, Mario + Rabbids is a fantastic game. It’s a smart, streamlined take on the XCOM style of turn-based, positional tactics. It’s beautiful looking, and has an excellent musical score. And it’s just really goofy and fun. Each fight is an unpredictable scrum between team Mario and a bunch of chittering, idiot Rabbids, and the constantly escalating challenge will force you to think on your toes. And its digestible, 5-10 minute battles and “just one more match!” addictiveness make it a perfect fit for the handheld Switch.

A Good Match For: Anyone waiting for a good Switch strategy game, XCOM fans, people who think they might like XCOM but are put off by how complicated it seems.

Not A Good Match For: Anyone who just can’t stand Ubisoft’s Rabbids. The game is actually a lot more charming than the corny, Minions-like mascots on the cover might suggest, but if you really hate ‘em, you really hate ‘em.

Read our review.

Watch it in action.

Purchase From: Amazon | Walmart | Best Buy | Gamestop

The makers of Thumper bill it as a “rhythm violence game,” which is a cheeky description but also an accurate one. The setup is simple: You control a glowing beetle as it zooms along a track through some sort of neon Hell dimension. In your path are glowing gems and various obstacles. You press buttons in time with the grinding, undulating music to get past those obstacles without blowing up. The music is relentless. The beats are ferocious. The pace is unstoppable. Thumper takes a classic formula and strips it down to its rawest, most hypnotic base elements. The result is one of the finest rhythm games in years.

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A Good Match For: People who like rhythm games, people who like difficult rhythm games.

Not A Good Match For: Those who don’t want to play Switch games with headphones, those who get easily frustrated.

Read our impressions of the PC version.

Watch it in action.

Purchase From: Available digitally on the Nintendo eShop.

Why have one good thing when you can have two? Good question. In the case of Puyo Puyo Tetris, those two good things are... Tetris and Puyo Puyo, a pair of place-the-dropping-shapes games that are equally beloved, if not equally well-known, all around the world. In single-player, online or splitscreen multiplayer, you and up to three friends can compete in hectic matches that flip and flop from Tetris to Puyo Puyo and back again. It’s a chaotic good time.

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A Good Match For: Fans of Tetris and fans of Puyo Puyo, obviously. Also, anyone looking for a fun competitive puzzle game to play with friends.

Not A Good Match For: Those looking for a fleshed-out singleplayer game, anyone who prefers to solve puzzles without a time limitation.

Read our impressions of the game.

Watch it in action.

Purchase From: Amazon | Walmart | Best Buy | Gamestop

SteamWorld Dig 2 takes the backtracking, exploration and gradual upgrades of a Metroid game and combines them with the strategic spelunking of Dig Dug. The result is a charming, engrossing side-scroller loaded with smart ideas and clever challenges. That’s... pretty much all we need to say about it. It’s a straightforward gaming pleasure.

A Good Match For: Fans of sidescrollers, Metroid-inspired games, and digging.

Not A Good Match For: Anyone who hates platforming. SteamWorld Dig 2 isn’t as hard as some other similar games, but it does have some tricky challenges.

Read our impressions of the Switch version.

Watch it in action.

Purchase From: Available digitally on the Nintendo eShop.

Something is wrong with Isaac’s mom: She thinks that she can hear God. And God, disturbingly enough, has instructed her to kill Isaac. The only way Isaac can get out of that hellish situation is by jumping into his basement—which happens to be endless, and full of terrors. Thankfully, these demons can be defeated by directing Isaac’s tears, twin-stick shooter style, across Zelda-like dungeons. Well... if Zelda dungeons were full of horrifying hellspawn, poop, and tons of mysterious items that you don’t know how to use. The Binding of Isaac has gotten several iterations over the years, and Afterbirth+ is the biggest expansion yet.

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A Good Match For: Players who like a challenge, especially of the roguelike variety. A lot of the appeal with the Binding of Isaac is how constantly it will surprise you with challenges you’ve never encountered before.

Not A Good Match For: Players who are sensitive to gross stuff or jokes about religion, or people who are just looking to relax while playing a game.

Watch it in action.

Purchase From: Amazon | Walmart | Best Buy | Gamestop

Ah, the blue shell. There may be no better metaphor for the bleakness of life. One minute you’re cruising along, on top of the world, and then… BAM, you’re totally hosed. Just when you thought you had it in the bag, life throws a blue shell.

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Mario Kart 8 isn’t really all that philosophical, of course. It’s the same Mario Kart formula re-tuned and polished to an absurd degree, easily one of the most fun party games you can play on the Switch or any other console. Best of all, the Deluxe version on Switch includes all the DLC maps and characters from the Wii U game and also completely overhauls that version’s woebegone battle mode. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the definitive version of an already great game.

A Good Match For: People who like moving really fast, people who like seeing Luigi look really mean.

Not a Good Match For: People who don’t like Mario Kart? Do those people exist?

Read our review of the Wii U version, and of the Deluxe Switch version.

Watch a tournament that we staged at company HQ. 

Purchase From: Amazon | Walmart | Best Buy | Gamestop

Golf Story is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a story about golf, and the emphasis is placed equally on both words in the title. It’s a narrative game with light RPG elements that also happens to have an in-depth golfing system. Combining aspects of pop golf movies like Caddyshack and Happy Gilmore with a more traditional underdog sports story, it tells the tale of a talented young wannabe golf pro and his rise through the ranks to the heights of golfing glory. To do that, you’ll need to master the intricacies of its golf gameplay, which gracefully walk the line between realistic and arcade-y. This one’s a real charmer, and a lovely Switch surprise.

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A Good Match For: Fans of story-heavy sports games, people who like golf but want something less dry than your average PGA-licensed game.

Not A Good Match For: People who hate golf. Golf Story may be a story-centric game, but you still play a lot of golf.

Read our impressions.

Study our tips for playing the game.

Watch it in action.

Purchase From: Available digitally on the Nintendo eShop.

Splatoon 2 builds on the foundation laid by its fantastic Wii U predecessor with a more fleshed-out singleplayer mode, an addictive new co-op mode, and league play at launch. At its core, though, it’s the same brilliant mix of fine-tuned gameplay, Nickelodeon slime and J-pop dazzle that made the original great. It’s a simple idea: you paint the floors, then swim through your paint to move faster and reload your gun, and it works beautifully. It’s easy to get sucked into the grind for the freshest fashion and the highest ranks, but none of that would work if the game weren’t fun, which it most certainly is.

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A Good Match For: Anyone looking for an online shooting game that’s a little bit different from the rest. People who like colorful style, fashion, and goofy memes.

Not A Good Match For: Those looking for a more traditional online shooter to play with friends. Splatoon’s party and chat systems are pretty terrible, and it’s way too difficult to casually play with a group.

Read our review.

Study or tips for inking your spawn, motion controls, and drawing good art.

Watch it in action.

Purchase From: Amazon | Walmart | Best Buy | Gamestop

Shovel Knight is a brilliant reminder of what we loved about the best classic NES-era platformers. It combines tight controls, bouncy game feel, an extremely good soundtrack, and a charming cast of characters into a game that feels like a classic, even if it comes with many of the conveniences we associate with newer games. The Treasure Trove includes two expansions, with a third free one on the way. The first two let you play as Plague Knight and Specter Knight, and while the latter campaign is more fun than the former, both expand on an already fun game. It all looks and plays great on the Switch, and is a natural fit for on-the-go gaming.

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A Good Match For: Fans of old-school platformers, people who like a little challenge—and a lot of good music—in their games.

Not A Good Match For: Anyone looking for something with modern graphics, or who doesn’t like challenging 2D platformers.

Read our review of the original, and the new Specter Knight campaign.

Watch it in action.

Purchase From: Available on the Nintendo eShop

In Arms, you get in a ring and punch people with your long, slinky arms. That’s pretty much it. Pick one of ten fighters, pick a pair of super long arms, and get fighting. It’s fun enough in single-player or split-screen at a party, but this game thrives on its 1v1 online battles. The basic fighting is easier to understand than it is to master, and you’ll have to adjust your tactics on the fly to beat your opponents. Each character plays a little bit differently, and each arm you equip changes things further. The game displays Nintendo’s signature fine-tuning and polish, and every punch you land feels like a small, satisfying victory. Arms does one thing, and it does it well. Nintendo will be support the game with free updates for the foreseeable future, too.

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A Good Match For: Competitive people, Punch-Out!! fans, anyone looking for an approachable fighting game.

Not A Good Match For: Anyone looking for substantial singleplayer content. At launch, Arms doesn’t have a whole lot going on outside of its enjoyable online duels.

Read our review.

Study our tips for the game.

Watch it in action.

Purchase From: Amazon | Walmart | Best Buy | Gamestop

How has this list changed? Read back through our update history:

10/12/2017: We’ve added Golf Story, SteamWorld Dig 2 and Stardew Valley and taken off Jackbox Party Pack 3, Minecraft, and Snipperclips.

9/14/2017: We’ve added Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle and removed Cave Story +.

8/9/2017: We’ve added Splatoon 2 and bumped off Disgaea 5.

6/28/2017: Time for our first update, and it’s a big one. We’ve added Minecraft, Arms, Cave Story+, Disgaea 5, Jackbox Party Pack 3 and Thumper, and removed I Am Setsuna and Mr. Shifty. The list will remain capped at 12 games from here on out.

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5/3/2017: And lo, the Switch Bests list was created! No updates yet. Expect more in the near future as we add more games, eventually capping the list at 12.

Want more of the best games on each system? Check out our complete directory:

The Best PC GamesThe Best PS4 GamesThe Best Xbox One GamesThe Best Wii U GamesThe Best PC Virtual Reality GamesThe Best 3DS GamesThe Best PS Vita GamesThe Best Xbox 360 GamesThe Best PS3 GamesThe Best Wii GamesThe Best iPhone GamesThe Best iPad GamesThe Best Android GamesThe Best PSP GamesThe Best Facebook GamesThe Best DS GamesThe Best Mac GamesThe Best Browser GamesThe Best PC Mods

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Note: If you buy any of these games through the retail links in this post, our parent company may get a small share of the sale through the retailers’ affiliates program.