In the past, free-to-play games were often considered to be low quality and/or too repetitive.
However, the best free-to-play games on Switch are nothing to scoff at, offering hours of entertaining gameplay at no upfront cost.
If you feel like we forgot to include your favorite game, sound off in the comments and let us know.
Lastly, remember to check back as we continue to update this list with new games in the future.
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Pokémon Café Mix
Developer: Genius Sonority
Whether you’re a Pokémon fan or someone who gets enjoyment from solving puzzles, Pokémon Café Mix is a great way to kill time while honing your skills as a cafe owner.
Gameplay is centered around preparing menu items for customers through a tile-matching mini-game and recruiting different Pokémon to work in your cafe.
Each Pokémon staff member has a special skill that can come in hand when facing obstacles like sugar cubes, dollops of whipped cream, and tomatoes.
Since it’s free to start, you’ll eventually have to deal with annoyances like limited moves and heart meters; however, you can get around this by stocking up on Golden Acorns, the game’s currency.
Developer: First Watch Games
Publisher: Hi-Rez Studios
Rogue Company is a new contender in the online shooter arena that draws inspiration from multiplayer shooters like Fortnite, Overwatch, and Call of Duty.
The game tries to strike a balance between fast-paced action and tactical combat that requires teamwork and coordination.
You play as one of 13 elite agents, called “Rogues,” who each have a special set of skills that can come in hand across game modes like Extraction, Demolition, and Strikeout.
Although the game is primarily free-to-play, you can unlock additional rewards at a faster rate by signing up for a season-based battle pass.
Developer: Phoenix Labs
Publisher: Epic Games
If you’re a Monster Hunter fan counting down the days until the release of Monster Hunter Rise on the Switch, why not bide your time with a free-to-play substitute.
While it may not be as polished or intricate as Capcom’s action RPG, Dauntless offers similar gameplay and variety in both its monster designs and weapon selection.
Tracking and hunting down each Behemoth presents a unique challenge determined by the monster’s distinct attack patterns and behaviors.
Similar to Monster Hunter, the game rewards you for completing each hunt with monster parts and other materials that can be used to craft and upgrade your gear.
Developer: Sirlin Games
Publisher: Sirlin Games
Designed with the casual player in mind, Fantasy Strike is a 2.5D fighting game that strives to be as welcoming as possible by prioritizing simple and intuitive controls.
Every move in your fighter’s repertoire can be performed with a single button press, allowing you to chain together powerful combos with minimal practice and memorization.
Despite these accommodations, Fantasy Strike still finds ways to encourage unique strategies and playstyles thanks to its character class system.
Fighters fall into one of the following categories: Zoners, Rushdowns, Grapplers, or Wild Cards, with each having well-defined strengths and weaknesses in battle.
As one of the rare games that support cross-play, Rocket League has managed to amass a huge community that’s only grown in size since Psyonix made the game free-to-play.
Best described as a cross between vehicular combat and soccer, it sees two teams competing to score the most goals before the clock runs out.
It’s a simple yet effective formula that’s sure to provide hours of enjoyment for no cost aside from custom vehicle skins which are totally optional.
Despite it’s close proximity to esports, Rocket League can still be enjoyed casually, making it great for gamers of all ages.
Developer: Proletariat, Inc.
Publisher: Proletariat, Inc.
Spellbreak is a fantasy-themed battle royale that sees you developing your skills as a ‘Breaker,’ powerful mages that can take flight and cast spells using magical gauntlets.
Spells are broken up into separate elements and have different effects based on their nature, such as poison that deals damage over time and fire that causes enemies to burn.
Additionally, your character’s powers operate on cooldowns and can be swapped out or modified by equipping different equipment found throughout the game world.
Spellbreak emphasizes traversal more than most battle royales, with players able to levitate, dash, fly, and even teleport across the map as an ever-shrinking storm surrounds them.
Developer: Digital Extremes
Publisher: Digital Extremes
Warframe is a fast-paced third-person shooter that’s managed to stick around and remain popular for quite some time.
In it, you play as space ninja exploring sprawling levels set on different planets while battling waves of alien and robot enemies.
Although that may sound like a recipe for repetition, Warframe keeps things interesting by offering various activities for players to check out at any given time.
The game also features a massive roster of 30 fully-customizable character classes that will expose you to different playstyles and strategies.
Developer: Evil Mojo Games
Publisher: Hi-Rez Games
Paladins has become a lot more popular since releasing for the Switch, amassing a community of over 25 million players.
The fantasy-themed hero shooter sees you competing in 5v5 team battles in familiar modes like Siege, Team Deathmatch, and Onslaught.
The main appeal stems from the game’s diverse roster of 40+ “Champions” combined with its unique deck-building system that lets you modify a character’s abilities.
It also happens to be one of the few Switch games that support crossplay with consoles and PC, making it easier to play with friends.
Developer: Epic Games
Publisher: Epic Games
Fortnite’s Battle Royale mode continues to dominate as the most popular free-to-play game around, so it came as no surprise when a Switch version was announced.
The game has you dropping down on a huge map with an ever-shrinking circle where you’ll have to loot, shoot, and build on-the-fly for a shot at being the last player standing.
Finding a match is never a challenge thanks to the game’s insanely large player base as well as crossplay support across all platforms.
Based on how successful Fortnite’s been for Epic, we’re confident they’ll continue to rollout quality of life improvements and updates for years to come.
Tetris 99 is a free-to-play battle royale game that sees up to 99-players competing in rounds of traditional Tetris in real-time, with the goal of clearing lines as quickly as possible.
Removed lines then turn into piles of ‘junk’ that clutter up other players’ boards and can cause them to get eliminated.
You have the option of focusing on one opponent or letting the game automatically target enemies for you.
The only caveat is you need to be a Nintendo Switch Online subscriber in order to play Tetris 99 or purchase it’s DLC, which adds offline CPU Battles and an endless “Marathon” mode.
Developer: Game Freak
Pokémon Quest a free-to-start action game that sees you battling Pokémon throughout various islands and cooking meals to convince new ones to join your camp.
Unlike the mainline Pokémon games, battles are carried out in real-time and see you assigning up to three Pokémon to your party before heading out on an expedition.
Pokémon can perform both normal and special attacks that have cooldowns, and the game provides a way to boost a creature’s stats via “Power Stones.”
The inclusion of real-time combat is a nice change of pace for the series, and the base camp feature provides a deeper level of interactivity between you and your Pokémon than the mainline games.
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Bethesda’s free-to-play base builder Fallout Shelter is just as addictive today as it was when it released in 2017.
The game puts you in charge of designing, managing, and upgrading your very own fallout bunker with the goal of recruiting vault dwellers and building a functioning community.
Customization tools allows you to change the name and appearance of every vault dweller as well as assign them special roles across various stations like water filtration, broadcasting, etc.
Your vault dwellers will form relationships, have children, and venture out into the wasteland to fight Radroaches, Super Mutants, and even Deathclaws.
Developer: Titan Forge Games
Publisher: Hi-Rez Studios
Smite is currently the most-played MOBA, with around 30 million registered players across each platform, including the Switch.
The game has you playing as one of over 100 different mythological gods, goddesses, and creatures with unique abilities and weapons in 5v5 competitive game modes.
Inexperienced players can build confidence by taking advantage of onboarding features such as CPU Arena Battles and turning on auto-buying and leveling.
A diverse roster of playable characters and crossplay support makes SMITE one of the most appealing free-to-play titles on Switch.
Developer: Blue Mammoth Games
Brawlhalla is a 2D arena fighter that takes some cues from the popular Nintendo series Super Smash Bros. while introducing an original roster of 40+ playable characters.
The goal of the game is simple and straightforward: fight your way to victory by knocking opponents off the stage in 1v1, 2v2, and 4-8 Player free-for-alls and team battles.
There are also alternate game modes like Brawlball and Bombsketball that offer a more casual-friendly experience to balance out competitive matches.
While many free-to-play games try to keep a consistent update schedule, Brawlhalla has pretty much all of them beat by constantly adding new characters and special events.
Developer: Large Animal
Color Zen is a relaxing minimalist puzzle game in which you match corresponding colors in order, with the goal of filling the entire screen with a specified color.
Failing to solve a puzzle doesn’t bring any real penalty other than having to start from the beginning of a level, of which there are 460 included.
Complimenting Color Zen’s vibrant visuals is the game’s immersive sound design, which blends smooth background instrumentals with player-input sound effects.
The game’s simple and intuitive controls allow you to use the touch screen in handheld mode and Joy-Con when docked, making it suitable for playing at home or on the go.
Developer: Zen Studios
Publisher: Zen Studios
You will find there are many free pinball games on the eShop but few with as many officially-licensed tables as Pinball FX3.
The game features 35+ real pinball table designs, including some from iconic pinball manufacturer, Williams.
Pinball FX3 goes beyond just replicating the look of each table by adding in realistic physics, HD rumble, a vertical display mode for a more immersive experience.
The base game includes a decent number of free tables to check out with plenty more available for purchase.