Any Switch owner looking to justify their investment in the platform is welcome to check out the best Nintendo exclusives of 2023.
This includes the usual slew of first-party platformers and RPGs, as well as some surprising games you wouldn’t expect to see on the Switch.
In this list, we’ll showcase the best Nintendo exclusives worth adding to your Switch’s library in 2023.
Make sure to check back in the future for new Nintendo exclusives and recommendations!
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Fire Emblem Engage
Categories: Tactics, RPG
First up on our list of the best Nintendo exclusives is Fire Emblem Engage, the latest installment in the tactical RPG series developed by Intelligent Systems
Set in the continent of Elyos, the story sees you teaming up with past Fire Emblem heroes to defeat the powerful Fell Dragon.
This requires your character to gather the Emblem Rings scattered across Elyos while fighting their way through tactical turn-based battles.
The new “Engage” mechanic will let your character merge appearances with heroes to unlock new weapons, skills, and more.
Metroid Prime Remastered
Categories: Metroidvania, FPS
Our next suggestion for the best Nintendo exclusives is Metroid Prime Remastered, an enhanced port of the GameCube classic FPS title.
Upgraded for the Switch, this version of the game includes new visuals, control schemes, and unlockable art.
However, at its core Metroid Prime’s gameplay is largely the same, casting you as Samus Aran on a new sci-fi adventure.
Whether you’re a fan of the Metroid series or want to learn more about Nintendo’s history, this is one of the better remasters released in recent years.
Categories: Shooter, Colorful
The Switch is home to a number of the best Nintendo exclusives that offer family-friendly gameplay and eye-catching visuals.
One of the greatest is Splatoon, a set of third-person shooters consisting of three games where you control trendy squid children battling against each other.
Splatoon 3 is the latest entry and introduces a host of new weapons, maps, and clothing to keep your Inkling looking fresh.
What’s more, the game has been well-supported since its launch, with new seasonal and Expansion Pass content on the horizon.
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury
Categories: Action, Platforming
Nintendo’s been spending a lot of time porting Wii U and 3DS games over to the Switch, and their latest effort is Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury.
The original Wii U title saw Mario and friends attempting to rescue cute fairy-like creatures from the clutches of Bowser after he invades the Sprixie Kingdom.
Gameplay is similar to previous Mario games with the addition of a character selector and new Super Bell power-up.
The Switch version includes the base game along with a new standalone story in which Mario and Bowser Jr. team up to defeat Fury Bowser and save Lake Lapcat.
Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope
Categories: Strategy, Action-adventure
Moving along, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle was a sleeper hit for the Switch library that was recently followed up by an even better sequel.
In Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope, we catch up with the Mushroom Kingdom crew and their new Rabbid family.
Joining the fight are new Rabbid versions of both Rosalina and Bowser as well as a new character named Edge.
Together, they’ll set out to rescue the Sparks throughout the Mario galaxy while navigating open environments with turn-based battles.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Categories: Social Sim, Crafting
While Animal Crossing has been around for years, Nintendo really hit it out of the park with the latest installment, Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
The series has always focused on personalization, whether decorating towns or populating them with a cast of eccentric animals.
New Horizons takes the formula to new heights by introducing crafting mechanics, terraforming, and more customization tools.
While there are also many new items to catalog, animals to befriend, and loans to pay off, you’re encouraged to take things one day at a time.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Categories: Racing, Party
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is another modified port with roots from the Wii U that offers additional content bundled in.
The original roster has been expanded to include Bowser Jr., Dry Bones, King Boo, Gold Mario, and male/female Inklings from Splatoon.
Additionally, Boo and Super Mario Kart Feathers return as items, and the Battle Mode has been reworked following criticism of how it played in the original.
As such, the Switch version is a much more accessible version with all-around improvements that only gets better with each Booster Course wave.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Categories: Fighting, Party
Despite Nintendo’s rocky relationship with the Smash community, the company made sure to pull out all the stops with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
The end result is an action-packed arena fighter with an extensive roster that serves as a “who’s who” of Nintendo first-party mascots as well as some guest characters.
One of the game’s biggest strengths is its flexible ruleset, allowing you to adjust the level of challenge based on who’s playing.
You could have a go at chaotic 4-player battles with environmental hazards, game-breaking items, and power-ups, or battle to the death in competitive matches.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Categories: Action-adventure, RPG
Breath of the Wild is without a doubt one of the best Nintendo exclusives that’s gone on to sell more units than the system itself.
The option to play handheld combined with the game’s old-school Zelda serve as great justifiers for picking up this magnificent game.
Furthermore, new series mechanics like cooking and weapon durability are welcome additions that provide an extra layer of challenge and strategy.
Lastly, BOTW features the largest, most detailed world of any other game in the series, with tons of hidden secrets and locations to discover.
Super Mario Odyssey
Categories: Action, Platforming
Super Mario Odyssey is everything you could ever want in a 3D Mario game spanning 16 worlds with coins and collectibles, and costumes to track down.
It all feels like a throwback to Super Mario 64, with Mario able to perform a wide range of jumps and tricks that lead to incredible platforming challenges.
On top of this, Cappy gives Mario access to new powers, such as the ability to possess other creatures and objects.
This adds an extra layer of strategy when traversing environments, defeating enemies, and solving puzzles throughout Odyssey’s worlds.
Yoshi’s Crafted World
Categories: Platforming, Casual
Nintendo likes to play favorites with their various mascots by giving them their own standalone games, with Yoshi being among the most coveted.
There are many puzzle-platformer games featuring the nice green dinosaur, but the one we want to showcase here is Yoshi’s Crafted World.
It builds off of the tactile nature of Kirby’s Epic Yarn and Woolly World while introducing a new switch mechanic that shifts perspectives to reveal hidden objects.
We really want to praise the game for its unique visuals and level variety while pointing out issues regarding its lack of difficulty and messy co-op controls.
WarioWare: Get It Together!
Categories: Party, Platforming
The WarioWare games are great for some bite-sized mini-game fun and Get It Together throws co-op in the mix to make things even more exciting.
In this game, Wario and his friends get transported inside his latest gaming device, forcing them to work together to try and escape.
This is depicted in-game as various “microgames”, in which players have to complete a certain goal with just a few seconds to spare.
Similar to previous entries, Get It Together’s microgames are designed to be simple and straightforward while being infinitely replayable and fun.
Super Mario Maker 2
Categories: Game Creation, Platforming
Super Mario Maker 2 builds off of its predecessor’s success while introducing a host of new features and quality of life improvements.
This time around, players are given more creative freedom when designing levels, thanks to the new slope and scrolling tools.
Additionally, the sequel sports many new block types and themes, namely the option to create levels inspired by Super Mario 3D World.
Whether you fancy yourself a self-proclaimed “Maker” or someone who enjoys checking out others’ creations, SMM2 has something to offer to every Mario fan.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Categories: Platforming, Action
Much like Yoshi, Donkey Kong is no stranger to standalone releases, namely the DK Country subseries of side-scrolling platformers.
Many regard these games as the best platformers Nintendo’s ever made, and the latest entry is very much a return to form for the series.
Tropical Freeze sees the banana-loving, tie-wearing ape battling a band of arctic-inspired villains that plan to turn his tropical paradise into an icy tundra.
The Switch version includes some neat bonuses, such as extra collectibles for dedicated players to track down and an optional Funky Mode.
Luigi’s Mansion 3
Categories: Action-adventure, Puzzle
Luigi’s Mansion 3 sees Mario’s lanky and neurotic younger brother exploring a haunted hotel after each of his friends goes missing.
To assist him in his ghostly affairs, Luigi dons his Poltergust device yet again, which has since been upgraded courtesy of Professor E. Gadd.
This reveals new ghost-catching techniques such as Gooigi, an ectoplasmic doppelganger of Luigi that can slip between metal bars and dissolve in water.
The addition of local co-op and online multiplayer modes are welcome surprises that go a long way towards boosting replayability beyond the main story.
Paper Mario: The Origami King
Categories: Action-adventure, RPG
The Paper Mario RPG subseries has had its fair share of ups and downs over the years but made a comeback in 2020 with the release of The Origami King for the Switch.
The story follows a paper-fied Mario tasked with preventing a wicked king from turning the Mushroom Kingdom into origami.
Gameplay introduces several new innovations for the series, including a revamped combat system that involves rotating rings on a radial battlefield.
The Origami King has been well-received by critics and quickly became the fastest-selling entry in the series.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
Categories: Action-adventure, Dungeon Crawler
We’ve decided to include the remake of Link’s Awakening over the original Game Boy version due to its better graphics, controls, and accessibility.
It’s also incredibly unique as far as Zelda games are concerned, with a story set beyond the confines of Hyrule.
The remake retains the top-down perspective, gameplay, and story in which Link sets out to wake the legendary Wind Fish by gathering eight magical instruments.
While retro fans may be adverse to the remake’s shiny, plasticine look, the addition of a new in-game dungeon creator is worth checking out for any Zelda die-hard.
Categories: Deck Builder, RPG
Right up there with Supergiant Games, Swedish indie developer Image & Form continues to impress us with every new game they put out.
They’re most well-known for the SteamWorld series of action-platformers and turn-based RPGs, including their most recent title, SteamWorld Quest.
It sees you guiding a party of courageous heroes through a hand-drawn world and battling enemies using personalized decks of 100+ character-related cards.
There’s a tremendous amount of depth to card battles, with players able to carve out strategies while exploring a fantasy steampunk world.