A social gamer’s guide to all the best Nintendo Switch games to play with your friends from home!
Growing up, I was never a heavy gamer. Sure, I played the occasional Quake game and was part of the rogue group that set up our senior boarding house’s first (but certainly not last) Quake LAN party.
Through the years, I’ve got my hands on a few gaming devices like Playstation, but with COVID-19 and everyone staying home at the moment, I really got to let my inner gamer free and start a healthy balance of gaming and with my work.
I was looking for games that I could play casually, and would act as an excuse to hang out with friends digitally. That’s why, when it seemed like Sydney might be going under lockdown, I headed out late night shopping to buy myself a Nintendo Switch. Good thing too, because by the time the weekend rolled around and I’d convinced a friend of mine to get one too, he said all stores had sold out, Sydney-wide!
So, here are my picks for the best Nintendo Switch games to play on Switch with your friends. I’m coming out of this lockdown a proud gamer.
Animal Crossing – New Horizons
This is a big lockdown lifesaver. This super wholesome game is all about spending the day building up your imaginary island, fishing, growing flowers, building cute furniture and enticing adorable villagers to come join your island. The best thing about this game is how social it is. If you have friends online, you can go visit their islands and gift each other items like peaches or rice cookers. One night, I had 5 friends online at once and we all converged on one’s island, hopped on an old-school conference call and had a good old virtual gathering that lasted for a couple of hours and just felt like we were all hanging out together again. It’s definitely one of my top recommendations for staying social while in lockdown.
If Animal Crossing is the game that brings people together, then Overcooked 2 will be the one to break you apart. In China, it’s sometimes known as the ‘Divorce Kitchen.’ This doesn’t make the game any less fun, though. The premise here is that players are working in a kitchen together, and have to collaborate to prepare dishes and race against the clock. It sounds simple, and the game is wonderfully easy to pick up, but it’s true what they say – too many cooks here truly spoil the session! I definitely will caution against playing with a loved one, but playing this with four or more people via online play is definitely the answer. I played this with my cousins one night and we had so much fun we lost track of time and didn’t even realise it was well past 2AM before we even thought about stopping. Another good game to call up your friends and play together. The banter is always guaranteed to be hilarious.
Mario Kart Deluxe
This game needs no introduction. It’s a classic Nintendo game but with the Switch’s play functionality and intuitive controls, they’ve really kicked it up a notch. All of your classic tracks are back, (yes, even Rainbow Road!), but updated to Switch’s stunning graphics. This game is a real treat, and unlike Overcooked, definitely won’t lead to divorce. The multiplayer mode is a lot of fun – you can play your classic race, vs battle, or the balloon-popping battle mode is equal parts hectic and joyous. If you’ve got a new Switch and wonder which game to go with it, this one’s definitely a top choice.
Another Nintendo classic just built for online play. This one is best for those of you like me with a short attention span. Players go around a game board, and whatever square you land on is either a reward, punishment or, most likely, a mini game. These mini games are for all players playing (we’ve done up to 4) and they always give you a practice round. I won’t give them away, but after a whole night playing, you still won’t likely repeat a mini game, so there’s plenty of variety, and every game starts with a mini demo and practice run so that you’ll master it quickly enough to get competitive!
This game is a Wii U import – which I’ve never played so can’t compare – but this version is super fun. To me, it’s like the MarioKart Battle Mode, but with a lot more neon paint splatter and strategy involved. You play with a crew to spray paint using various different weapons to claim turf and hit opponents. Each weapon though has its own strengths and weaknesses, and the ground that you’ve claimed through the paint gives you advantages as well, so strategy is a big part of it. Truth is though, unless you’ve really mastered it, most of the time the win comes from being at the right place at the right time. It’s definitely a good pick if you’re looking for a more collaborative game!
This online juggernaut is next on my list to buy, but all my cousins are raving about it! It’s available on so many platforms, but the Switch version seems to have really taken off. The gameplay is deceptively simple: use blocks to create your world – whatever you want – or visit others. The challenge? It’s all real-time. So, if you’ve built yourself a lovely pool of sharks with laser beams and you wake up to your nemesis having burnt it to the ground in the morning, there’s no “undo” button. Yes, that’s oddly specific, and yes, that happened to my cousin. If you’re into The Sims or have run out of things to do on your Animal Crossing island (if that’s even possible), then you’ll love this. There are also heaps of online and offline resources to help you build up your Minecraft world, so it’s a game that will keep you sustained for a long while yet.
I’m not much of a boy’s boy, so this game didn’t make it to my initial Switch Starter pack. But, I’ve since come to realise that there are more secret (and not-so-secret) Switch lovers within my friends and they have almost all unanimously said I should try out Rocket League. Rocket League has been sold to me as soccer – but played by cars. Two things that again, I could take or leave. I’ve been assured though that this has an excellent online play experience and is quick to pick up but hard to master, so you’ll have tons of upskilling and fun with this one.
Go ahead and post on your social feed that you’re thinking of buying a Nintendo Switch, you will be amazed at how many come out to say they’ve got one too! That’s it! Happy gaming!