Got a Nintendo Switch? Here are our favorite free games
There are a bunch of great games for the Nintendo Switch, and tons of. But there are also some that cost nothing. Good ones too. Free-to-play games are now a growing subset of the console world: Rocket League and are must-haves. Nintendo has a few, but my favorite is Tetris 99.
While these games all offer ways to purchase upgrades, mostly for in-game currency, you don’t need to purchase these extras to enjoy the games. I would generally recommend skipping the extras, actually.
None of these games requireplay, except for Tetris 99.
Read more: The 40 absolute best games on Nintendo Switch
You’re a cuddly little character trying to survive a series of elimination games in this absurd Battle Royale-style platformer. Multiple game modes keep things unexpected, and there are plenty of goals and achievements to unlock. The Switch port has some frame rate slowdown, but it’s still a lot of fun.
This might be the best reimagining of Battle Royale gaming ever. You will try to survive playing Tetris against 99 other players, and you will fail. Many. And love it. Optional in-game purchases provide offline modes and additional challenges, which I purchased because I love this game to bits. One downside: you need a Switch Online subscription to play this one, which costs $20 a year. (Switch Online is required to play most online games, so it’s worth it.)
Playing Fortnite on iOS might not be as easy as it used to be, but Fortnite on the Switch is still pretty good. Fortnite may look better on the PS5, Xbox Series X, and even PS4 and Xbox One, but the Switch version of this ever-evolving game is still great for both TV-connected and portable. It’s also cross-play, so you can play with friends on other platforms.
From the same developer as the indie classic Journey, this beautiful and meditative exploration game sends you flying to magical realms, adding storytelling with minimal touches. The game features online play where you interact with others in a positive way, but not through chat.
This soccer game with racing cars has been great for years, but since moving to a free model, it’s still worth playing. The competition remains extremely addictive and extremely difficult to master. Worth a try if you haven’t already.
Splatoon, but with dodgeballs. This charming game from EA won us over as soon as it was released, but it also recently moved to free-to-play. The competitions in the 3D arenas can get intense, but the Switch controls are perfectly designed. There’s an upgraded version you can buy, but the free version is more than enough to play for casual fun.
Toby Fox, creator of the indie masterpiece Undertale, has been working on an episodic RPG called Deltarune ever since. It feels like a long-lost 8-bit game, it’s super weird, and it’s definitely worth playing if you like RPGs or indie games. The next chapters won’t be free, but enjoy them while they’re here.
Are these games trying to get me to buy things?
Free games work by offering optional in-game purchases, and all (except Deltarune) follow this model. Extras are not required, but often take the form of in-game currency to unlock items, experience, or bonus modes. Just keep an eye out for young children to make sure they don’t try to buy in-game extras, and keep your Switch eShop settings locked with a password just in case.
Do I need Nintendo Switch Online to play?
Most of these games don’t require Nintendo’s subscription-based Switch Online service to play, which makes them even more affordable (and, perhaps, encourages you to buy in-game extras). An exception is Tetris 99, which requires Nintendo Switch Online to play.
What about the free games that come with Nintendo Switch Online?
Nintendo’s subscription service, which starts at $20 a year, includes access to the games, but they’re technically not free: you pay for access and you don’t own the games if you stop subscribing . However, many NES and SNES games come with Nintendo Switch Online, as well as the battle royale game Pac-Man 99. Nintendo’s expansion pack also includes a growing library of N64 and Sega Genesis games.