The Best Free Games On Nintendo Switch (Right Now)

The Best Free Games On Nintendo Switch (Right Now)
Image: Velan / Digital Extremes / Bethesda

It’s not quite Steam, but the Nintendo Switch is full of free games. There are plenty of obvious ones, of course — y’know, games like Rocket League, Pokémon Unite, Apex Legends, or that one battle royale named after a frankly silly British chronological term. But Nintendo’s handheld is full of zero-dollar gems, with more than 250 listings marked as “free to start” on the Nintendo eShop. (Some of those are applications or DLC for other games.) Here’s what’s worth checking out.

Fall Guys

Screenshot: MediatonicScreenshot: Mediatonic

It’s hard to believe that Fall Guys once came with a price tag, seeing as it’s got so many hallmarks of a free-to-play game (a battle pass, huge player lobbies, constant updates, pop culture crossovers seemingly every week, and, y’know, was actually free for a few weeks on one platform). But yes, last month, Fall Guys pivoted to a free-to-play model. At the same time, after spending two years as the ideal Switch game without actually being playable on Switch, Fall Guys launched on Nintendo’s platform, which has helped spur a renaissance for the game.

Download from: Nintendo eShop

Tetris 99

Screenshot: NintendoScreenshot: Nintendo

To some, the concept of Tetris 99 might sound like a bad elevator pitch (“Get this: It’s Tetris…but a battle royale”). But combining everyone’s favourite block-clearing puzzler with the multiplayer game design trend du jour is a triumph. Turns out, playing Tetris against nearly 100 other people is a blast. The only catch? Tetris 99 doesn’t give you an easy on-ramp, so you have to learn how it works through trial by fire — or, alternatively, Kotaku’s got you covered.

Download from: Nintendo eShop

Fallout Shelter

Screenshot: BethesdaScreenshot: Bethesda

Yes, it’s been around the block, having first gained prominence as a mobile game in the mid-2010s, but I will always and forever stand by the management sim bona fides of Fallout Shelter. It’s set in the same universe as Bethesda’s post-apocalyptic series of role-playing games, most of which open up with your character in a so-called Vault, meant to protect humans from planet-spanning nuclear radiation. In Fallout Shelter, you play god with one of those vaults, designing it as you would a burgeoning city. Cool art, too.

Download from: Nintendo eShop

Warframe

Screenshot: Digital ExtremesScreenshot: Digital Extremes

Got 80 hours free? You just might be able to make it to the start of Warframe’s story! The sci-fi parkour action game from Digital Extremes has evolved dramatically since its release nearly a decade ago. Over the years, it’s added pets, planets to explore, aerial combat (with portals), and more. That’s to say nothing of the already killer core hack-and-slash mechanics, which are as blisteringly fast-paced as they are butter-smooth. But yes, beware the time sink: The plot doesn’t really get started until that 80-hour mark. Good thing the game’s compelling enough to hold your attention ‘til then.

Download from: Nintendo eShop

Sky: Children of the Light

Screenshot: thatgamecompanyScreenshot: thatgamecompany

It’s no surprise to hear that Sky: Children of the Light, from the makers of indie pathmaker Journey, is a gorgeous game. Like its hauntingly beautiful predecessor, the quote-unquote gameplay is probably best described as a mix of exploration and environmental puzzles. But the real joy of Sky, as with Journey, is just…existing in its vivid, abstract world. Sky has heavy social elements, allowing you, an ethereal being, to run around with other ethereal beings. Also, you can give them gifts (that aspect isn’t totally free).

Download from: Nintendo eShop

Knockout City

Screenshot: Velan StudiosScreenshot: Velan Studios

The dodgeball game Knockout City had an incandescent launch last summer, garnering more than 5 million players in less than two weeks. Then, interest cratered. But earlier this year, Knockout City moved to a free to play model. If you’re pining for a solid multiplayer arena game that isn’t a shooter, Knockout City is as good a place to start as any. The rounds are fast and snappy, and the dodgeball-tossing mechanics have a low barrier for mastery. Plus, the future-chic ‘50s-inspired art style is genuinely, impressively unique.

Download from: Nintendo eShop

Super Kirby Clash

Screenshot: NintendoScreenshot: Nintendo

Super Kirby Clash is a spiffed-up version of the side-scrolling 3DS game Team Kirby Clash Deluxe. You team up with up to three other Kirby clones, each party member taking on a fantasy-inspired class. There’s a brutal grind to the levelling system, and no shortage of microtransactions, but the combat is pretty fun. Super Kirby Clash is by no means amazing, but for the price tag, sure, it’s worth the internal storage space and a few hours of your life. You can’t say that for all free-to-play games on Switch.

Download from: Nintendo eShop

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