Best Nintendo Switch Online Games 2023

Considering signing up for Nintendo's online subscription? Here's a list of the best Switch Online games included with the service.

Nintendo Switch Online is a great gaming subscription service for anyone who mainly plays Nintendo games and wants to take advantage of online multiplayer and cloud saves.

Additionally, a subscription grants access to a selection of retro NES, SNES, N64, and Genesis titles along with Nintendo exclusives like Pac-Man 99.

In this list, we’ll highlight the best Nintendo Switch Online games for 2024, including the best retro titles and best free games included with Nintendo Switch Online.

We encourage you to check back for new games as Nintendo continues to update the Nintendo Switch Online library with more titles in the future.

Related:The Best Nintendo Switch Accessories (2023 Reviews)Best Free Switch Games 2023

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It will take some time to heal after the loss of Super Mario Bros. 35 from NSO’s library, but at least it’s succeeded by one of the most iconic franchises in video game history.

Pac-Man 99 is a battle royale game that maintains the series’ maze chase gameplay but spices things up by turning ghosts Pac-Man eats into Jammer Pac-Man that get sent to other players.

Jammer Pac-Man will target players and slow them down once hit except for Red Jammer Pac-Man, which can eliminate Pac-Man with a single touch.

It’s a fun twist on classic Pac-Man that takes the best parts of Tetris 99 and Super Mario Bros. 35, so if you enjoyed either of those, you’re in for a treat.

Speaking about it, Tetris 99 is an additional battle royale game, which is built upon the famous puzzle collection and comes bundled with NSO.

It sees up to 99-players competing in rounds of traditional Tetris in real-time, with the goal of clearing lines as quickly as possible and sending ‘junk’ pieces to your opponents until they lose.

You have the option of focusing on one opponent or letting the game automatically target enemies for you.

Because of this, matches can ramp up pretty quickly and end up feeling a lot more intense than you would expect from a puzzle game.

Along with full games, Nintendo Switch Online subscribers can access certain DLC for titles they already own at no additional cost via the Expansion Pack.

This includes add-ons like the Booster Course Pass for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe which adds a total of 48 remastered courses from throughout the series.

New courses are released in waves starting from March 18, 2022 through til the end of 2023.

Switch Online subscribers can also take advantage of the service to play through Splatoon 2’s Octo Expansion DLC.

This single-player-focused add-on introduces 80 new missions starring the Octoling character Agent 8 and their journey to explore a mysterious underground test facilitiy.

For completing the DLC, players are rewarded with a new playable race as well as new missions, gear, and lore.

Happy Home Paradise is the third DLC add-on included with the Switch Online Expansion Pack.

Originally releasing alongside the game’s 2.0 update, it offers a host of new content that focuses on helping bring villagers’ dream vacation homes to life.

In it, players set out to design home exteriors and interiors using a wide selection of tools, recipes, and resources not featured in the base game.

Without a doubt one of the best N64 titles included with Switch Online, Super Mario 64 is a legendary 3D platformer that brought the hero into the modern era.

In it, Mario sets out to rescue Princess Peach by collecting stars from different worlds housed in paintings throughout her castle before battling Bowser himself.

Switch Online is an excellent way to experience this classic title in all its glory to see how far Mario has come or relive your favorite childhood memories.

Despite Mario and Sonic’s longstanding rivalry, both mascots have their own share of memorable titles released throughout the years.

Originally released for the Sega Genesis, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a stand out entry in the 2D platformer series that offers faster gameplay, larger levels, and multiplayer.

It’s a great recommendation for anyone who enjoyed playing Sonic Mania and wants to dive deeper into Sonic’s retro catalog.

Developed by Rare for the Nintendo 64 console, Banjo-Kazooie is a cult classic 3D platformer that follows the adventures of the titular bear and bird duo.

Harnessing both character’s abilities, it sees players collecting items, solving puzzles, clearing obstacles, and defeating foes throughout vibrant 3D environments.

Furthermore, it’s worth playing through if you enjoy old school platformers or want to learn more about Rare’s interesting history as a developer.

Streets of Rage 2 is another third-party Genesis title included with Switch Online that’s worth revisiting for anyone who enjoys retro side-scrolling beat ’em ups.

Acting as a sequel to the original Streets of Rage, it introduces two new characters alongside protagonists Axel and Blaze as they fight criminals across the city.

The game is fondly remembered as the best entry in the series and titles included with the Sega Genesis library.

The original Donkey Kong Country for SNES was recently added to Switch Online and is worth revisiting for anyone who hasn’t played it since they were a kid.

Believe it or not, the game’s graphics were seen as revolutionary at the time of its release during the mid-90s, and the platforming gameplay is still enjoyable by today’s standards. 

Donkey Kong Country played a crucial role in revitalizing the franchise and shining a spotlight on developer Rare during their beloved partnership with Nintendo.

Serving as a spin-off to the traditional 2D platformer Mario games, Paper Mario features RPG elements and a distinct papercrafted art style.

In it, Mario is tasked with saving the Mushroom Kingdom and rescuuing Peach from Bowser by locating Star Spirits, solving puzzles, and defeating enemies in turn-based battles.

Paper Mario has been critically acclaimed and gone on to kickstart an entire new franchise that’s still active today, with the most recent entry being Paper Mario: The Origami King.

Metroid is another heavy hitter in Nintendo’s extensive retro catalog that’s now available through Switch Online.

It focuses on a bounty hunter who travels to an alien planet to retrieve parasitic Metroids stolen by Space Pirates.

The game features sprawling 2D platforming environments that can be explored further by obtaining new tools that double as weapons.

Structuring a game this way was seen as bold at the time, but today we commonly refer to them as Metroidvanias.

Often cited as one of the more overlooked entries in the beloved Castlevania series, Bloodlines is a spin-off that takes place in a different era with new characters.

Designed specifically for the Sega Genesis, the game features more fast-paced and action-orientated gameplay that sees you battling supernatural enemies.

It has been previously included with the Castlevania Anniversary Collection, Sega Genesis Mini, and now the Switch Online Expansion Pack.

Regarded as one of the best Zelda games of all time, Ocarina of Time is the first game in the series to feature 3D graphics, a target-lock system, and context-sensitive inputs.

In it, players follow Link as he traverses Hyrule while on a quest to stop Ganondorf by traveling through time to explore dungeons and an overworld.

Since its release, the game has received widespread acclaim for its visuals, soundtrack, and gameplay, which make it a worthy addition to the Switch Online library.

While Mario Kart has gone on to become a household name since its first incarnation on the Super Nintendo, F-Zero hasn’t fared as well, with the latest entry having released back in 2004.

Still, it’s worth checking out for anyone fond of the futuristic racer or who would like to dive into Nintendo’s vast catalog of beloved series that gone dormant over the years.

F-Zero is known for its fast-paced racing, high difficulty, fantastic soundtrack, and unique racers, including the series mascot Captain Falcon.

Despite not being the version that includes Mike Tyson’s likeness, Punch-Out!! on Switch Online is still a fun arcade boxing game with puzzle-like gameplay.

It revolves around dodging incoming blows while landing your own hits on the enemy using a combination of memorization and quick reflexes.

Punch-Out!! ‘s visuals were deemed impressive at the time of its launch, and the game is still nostalgically recalled for characters like Little Mac and his boxing mentor, Doc Louis.

The fact that Nintendo managed to get a pseudo-3D-shooter running on the SNES was quite remarkable considering the console’s hardware limitations.

While the original Star Fox may not be as revered as its N64 sequel, it features some of the best graphics and visual effects possible at the time.

Switch Online subscribers can also check out Star Fox 2, which never received an official release until the launch of the SNES classic in 2017.

There’s no shortage of Super Mario games to help scratch that old school Nintendo itch, but if we had to pick from Switch Online’s offerings, we’d say Super Mario Bros. 3 is a cut above the rest.

While the original take on the formula is still quite enjoyable, SMB3 takes things a step further by raising the number of worlds to eight and including an overworld map for each one.

Additionally, new power-ups like the Super Leaf and Tanooki Suit allowed for new platforming level designs and challenges.

Functioning as an enhanced remake of the origianl Dr. Mario for NES and Game Boy, Dr. Mario 64 is a stellar tile-matching puzzle game with six different modes.

In it, players must get rid of viruses by matching them with medical capsules while being scored.

The Switch Online version greatly benefits from the handheld’s portability and is fun for a few rounds while traveling.

Created in the same vein as Dr. Mario, Mean Bean Machine is a falling block puzzle game reminiscent of titles like Tetris and Puyo Puyo.

It centers on characters from the Sonic series and sees players matching together bean-like creatures as they drop from the top to the bottom of the screen.

While it’s core gameplay premise is relatively simple, it can be satisfingly addictive to anyone who enjoys playing puzzle games on the go.

The Super Mario World series features some of the best 2D platformers Nintendo ever made, and the original is definitely a must-play for any Nintendo fan.

Launching alongside the SNES, the game elevated Super Mario’s level design with new elements, better graphics, and a memorable soundtrack.

It also marks the first appearance of Yoshi as we know him today. While riding a Yoshi, Mario and Luigi can wield different powers to help them reach the end of a level.

Although it’s technically a sequel to Super Mario World, Yoshi’s Island is structured very differently, so much so that Nintendo would make later Yoshi games their own separate subseries.

Instead of controlling Mario himself, you play as a Yoshi who’s been assigned to protect Baby Mario from enemies and hazards as you traverse 2D levels.

It’s paced a lot slower than other Super Mario games and places a bigger emphasis on puzzle-solving using Yoshi’s egg abilities.

Super Metroid greatly benefited from the addition of 16-bit graphics, which allowed for more dramatic storytelling, immersive environments, and complex game mechanics.

In it, Samus returns to the tunnels of Zebes from the original Metroid in order to retrieve an infant Metroid that was stolen by Ridley.

Although the game revisits the underground labyrinth of its NES predecessor, it features more elaborate paths, puzzles, and secret objects you could reveal using Samus’ new visor tool.

Super Metroid is thought to be one of the most impactful games ever and has motivated numerous games since it came out.

The original Legend of Zelda introduced all of the core elements we’ve come to expect from a Zelda title, marking the first appearance of Zelda, Link, and Ganon, as well as the Triforce and Hyrule.

Played from a 2D overhead perspective, the game has you controlling a young hero as he sets out to save a Princess and kingdom from the Prince of Darkness, later known as Ganon.

It was one of the first video games to let players save their progress as well as feature an open-world map, allowing you to explore the kingdom of Hyrule without restrictions.

A Link to the Past is a prequel to the first two games in the series and revisits the gameplay found in the original Legend of Zelda.

While the game refines many of the mechanics and concepts of the first Zelda, it also introduces some of its own, such as making arrows separate items.

Link can walk diagonally and even run after obtaining the Pegasus Boots. Combat was expanded to give Link a new sideway sword attack in addition to his standard forward-facing one.

A Link to the Past also introduced the concept of multiple dimensions within the Zelda universe and is partially responsible for the messiness of the series’ separate timelines.

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Justin Fernandez

As a fan of both indie and triple-A games, Justin finds joy in discovering and sharing hidden gems with other passionate gamers. In addition to reporting on the latest and greatest titles, he manages GamingScan’s social media channels.

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