The Nintendo Switch is quickly becoming one of the most successful home consoles of all time. It’s already outsold the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)! That means it is the second-best-selling Nintendo home console ever. If you have one, you likely play it all the time and might need some new game ideas. To help you out, we have a list below of the best free Nintendo Switch games you can get!
If you’re confused, you read that right: these games are totally free, as in you can play them on your Switch today without spending a cent. The developers hope you’ll spend money in the game buying upgrades, more content, and other extras — but the base gameplay is 100% free.
We tried to make our list as well-rounded as possible. You’ll find racing games, platformers, first-person shooters, battle royales, puzzlers, and even pinball simulators. Chances are good that if you like video games, one of these best free Switch games will work for you.
Still don’t own a Nintendo Switch or Switch Lite? Click here to grab one today. Otherwise, continue on to find out the best free Nintendo Switch games available now!
Best free Nintendo Switch games:
Editor’s note: This list of the best free Nintendo Switch games will be updated regularly as new games launch.
1. Asphalt 9: Legends
There aren’t too many free-to-play racing titles for the Switch, which makes Asphalt 9: Legends a shoo-in for inclusion on this list of the best free Nintendo Switch games. If you like cars, custom modifications, and riding around in various beautiful environments, this is the game for you!
We’ll be upfront, though — the free version of Asphalt 9: Legends is pretty limiting. Without spending any money, you’ll get a car that you can ride around in various locations, true, but some of those rides will be limited by a timer. Plus, there are so many other cars, mods, and environments to play in, but for those, you’ll need to pony up some cash.
If you play this game and decide you like it, heed our advice and don’t buy individual tokens. Instead, buy the Starting Racer Pack which gives you tons of blueprints, 200,000 credits, and 300 tokens, which should be more than enough to get you through the bulk of the game without needing to worry about any microtransactions. If all you want to do is drive a cool car, though, you don’t need to spend anything.
Without a doubt, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is one of the best games for the Nintendo Switch. However, that’s a full-price title, so it will set you back at least $50. Enter Brawlhalla, which is a lot like Smash but doesn’t cost anything, making it one of the best free Nintendo Switch games.
As with Super Smash Bros., Brawlhalla lets you pick from dozens of different fighters so you can brawl it out in various environments. It’s a lot simpler than Smash, though, with a bit more restraint on speed and fighting combos. If you like the concept of Smash but find it to be a bit overwhelming, you might like Brawlhalla (and it’s free, so you don’t lose anything by giving it a go).
There are microtransactions in Brawlhalla but there is no benefit to spending any money other than aesthetics. In other words, it is not a situation where the more you spend the better chances you have at winning. As long as you don’t care about what skins your characters have or anything like that, you can enjoy the game indefinitely without spending a cent.
3. Color Zen
It’s very appropriate that the word “Zen” is in the title of this game, as that’s the kind of feeling you get playing it. Between the trip-hop-inspired chillout soundtrack to the floating colors smoothly gliding into each other, Color Zen is probably one of the most relaxing games ever.
As with most puzzle games, Color Zen starts out incredibly simple and then gets more and more difficult the longer you play. The free version of the game comes with dozens of such levels and the developers hope you’ll like them enough to want more. That’s where the surprisingly cheap (we’re talking one dollar) DLC packs come in, which offer themed levels to keep you in that Zen moment.
If you like this game a lot and want even more mobility, don’t worry: it’s available on Android, too.
4. Fallout Shelter
While the likelihood of a AAA title such as Fallout ever coming to the Nintendo Switch is slim, that doesn’t mean Fallout fans can’t get their fix on the console. One of the best free Nintendo Switch games is called Fallout Shelter, and it takes its cues from the much-loved franchise.
However, this isn’t like the Fallout games you play on your PC, PlayStation, or Xbox. This is a simulation game where you control various Vaults from Vault-Tec. You need to build and maintain those Vaults and make sure the dwellers stay happy and thrive.
The game features some of the trademark humor of the Fallout franchise but could be appealing to people who don’t even like Fallout games, as this really isn’t a traditional Fallout title. And hey, it’s one of the best free Switch games, so give it a shot and risk nothing.
It was inevitable that Fortnite would end up on this list of the best free Nintendo Switch games, as the thing is nothing short of a phenomenon. Although it certainly didn’t invent the battle royale genre, it pretty much defines it at this point considering how its popularity has grown beyond anyone’s expectations.
We’re not going to go deep into the game as most gamers have played it on any number of the platforms on which you can get it (including Android). Basically, the gameplay is the same as on any other console, it’s just that now it’s on the Switch.
As usual, the game is totally free and will stay that way forever. If you’d like to upgrade your character’s looks in some way, that will cost you some cash, but the game itself can be downloaded right now and played for hundreds of hours without spending a dime.
6. Pokémon Quest
The mainline Pokémon games for the Switch — Pokémon Sword and Shield and the earlier Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Let’s Go, Eevee — are some of the best-selling titles on the console. In many respects, Pokémon Quest is not as good as those other games, but Quest has the distinction of being one of the best free Nintendo Switch games, something the other games can’t claim.
As one would expect, Pokémon Quest involves you searching for and befriending Pokémon. However, the distinctive cube-art design of the game makes it look different from other Pokémon titles, and its smaller scale (not to mention microtransactions) makes it feel different, too.
Truth be told, you don’t need to spend any money at all to play Pokémon Quest. However, since so much of the game is based on you making Tumblecube Island your own, the idea of buying some cute things to decorate your base camp with might be too tempting. If you can resist, though, you can easily enjoy Pokémon Quest without spending any cash.
7. Super Kirby Clash
Nintendo keeps its star characters tightly reserved, which is why there are only a limited number of titles featuring Mario, Link, etc. Kirby, however, is a character the company feels less strongly about, it seems, as he gets used quite a bit in more experimental ways. One of those experiments is Super Kirby Clash, a game exclusive to the Switch that is also one of the best free Nintendo Switch games you can play today.
Super Kirby Clash is built for multiplayer, either online or local. You go on quests with up to four different Kirbys — each with their own specialty — and fight it out with bosses in the colorful world.
Nintendo hopes you’ll pony up some dough to buy weapon upgrades, skins, and other trinkets. However, you (and your friends) can enjoy Super Kirby Clash for free if you like.
8. Tetris 99
How do you take Tetris — one of the most popular and famous games of all-time — and modernize it for something as advanced as the Nintendo Switch? Well, someone thought pitting 99 Tetris players against each other would do the trick. It worked, because Tetris 99 is easily one of the best free Nintendo Switch games, and might even be the very best of the free Switch games.
If you know how to play Tetris (and honestly, who doesn’t at this point?), you know how to play Tetris 99. The only difference is that you’ll be going up against nearly 100 other players when you play, and only one person is going to walk away as the champion of the round.
There is a caveat here: in order to play Tetris 99 the way it’s intended, you’ll need to be a Nintendo Switch Online subscriber. This is what enables you to log on to online games. There is a way to play Tetris 99 offline against 98 CPU players, but that will cost you a one-time fee of $10. Assuming you’re a Switch Online subscriber though, the free version is likely all you need.
One of the most popular free-to-play games on the Switch is Warframe. It’s an action RPG with over-the-shoulder third-person controls. Set in the distant future, the game centers on an ancient alien race awoken from suspended animation only to find themselves at war with the various factions of the future.
Most of Warframe’s levels are procedurally-generated, but there are some story-specific levels that advance the game’s plot. In general, you run-and-gun your character around taking out baddies, leveling up, equipping new gear, etc.
Warframe is totally free to play and makes its money in the same way as many other games on this list: microtransaction upgrades. However, the good news is that you can earn every upgrade in the game through grinding if you don’t want to spend any cash. This levels the playing field a bit, as every player can access every upgrade — although players with money to burn will advance much quicker.
10. Zaccaria Pinball
This might be the most unexpected entry on this list of the best free Nintendo Switch games. However, there aren’t too many pinball machine sims available on the Switch, and it’s a fun — if oft-overlooked — genre of game.
As one would expect, Zaccaria Pinball lets you play virtual pinball machines. However, what’s really cool is that many of the tables are replicas of actual machines created by Zaccaria, which was the third-largest manufacturer of pinball machines in the world.
There are two tables offered for free play when you download the game (Time Machine and Time Machine Retro). You can also play all the other tables, but they are locked behind a score limiter (meaning you will only be able to play them until you reach the score limit and then you’ll need to stop). You can pay to unlock more tables, though, so if there’s one you really love it is available to you.
However, if you just want to zone out with some pinball, you don’t need to spend anything to enjoy Zaccaria Pinball.
That’s it for our list of the best free Nintendo Switch games. Be sure to bookmark this page so you can see the future updates we make to this list of the best free Switch games!