Fun that doesn’t break the bank
For some, the Nintendo Switch can be an expensive investment. Once you’ve purchased the console itself, there are additional Joy-Con controllers, the Nintendo Switch Online membership, and, of course, first-party titles like Super Mario Odyssey that almost never seem to go on sale, even years after their release.
Thankfully, there are some awesome games on this system that cost absolutely nothing to play and are most certainly worth your time and attention. Here are the 10 best free-to-play games on Nintendo Switch you can enjoy right now.
If you don’t have the money right now for an adventure title like Monster Hunter Rise, then Dauntless is another good, and similar, option. The action in this game gets pretty intense, as you take on beasts of all sizes, alone or with your friends. You’ll also be able to craft the armor and weapons you’d like from each monster you slay. Dauntless also offers cross-play between all platforms, unlike the Monster Hunter series, which gives this free-to-play option a leg up on the competition.
Toby Fox’s follow-up from the Undertale series Deltarune is entirely free-to-play with no microtransactions in sight. The story is suitably entertaining, while Toby Fox maintains the much loved, oddly-natured lore of the Undertale world and characters. As you’d expect from the series, there is some stellar battle music and a unique pixel art style. If you’re a fan of Undertale, this is a must-play.
One of the most adorable free-to-play games you can play on the Nintendo Switch is Fall Guys. Against 59 other players, you’re competing to get the crown at the end of several mini-games. You’re going through tough obstacle courses with the silly physics of the game, scoring goals by heading a ball into the net or trying to outlast other players from disappearing platforms. It’s a lot of fun. I’ve only ever been able to get a crown once, but when I finally got it, I felt like a million Show-Bucks.
There are cosmetic items you may want to buy in Fall Guys, but the good thing is that they don’t affect the stats of any player. This isn’t pay-to-win. Something to keep in mind is that developer Mediatonic organizes free events, giving you costumes for finishing tasks.
Some hate it, and others love it, but no matter where you stand you can’t deny that Fortnite is a smash success. Epic Games brings out compelling maps and guns that keep its fanbase entertained. The battle pass every season provides a lot of value, and the quests the developer provides are entertaining enough to keep you invested in the chaos of the game. I personally disliked the building elements of the original concept, but there is now a popular Zero Build mode that has consumed my gaming schedule.
Ninjala is almost as if Splatoon and Super Smash Bros. had a baby. Sporting adorable visuals, this multiplayer masher has you whacking each other with weapons, jumping from place to place with high energy, and mapping out every wildly creative stage. The music is also quite a highlight, similar to the Squid Kid series. Personally, I don’t play this game due to its tendency for expensive microtransactions, but, from a gameplay standpoint it’s an absolute delight, especially with friends.
It’s great that one of the very few big-budget FPS games on the Nintendo Switch is also free to play. This 5v5 hero shooter has all manner of characters with unique abilities and weapons to operate. Teaming up with your friends and forming strategies is so much fun within Overwatch 2‘s elaborate maps. Unfortunately, the skins are locked behind seasonal battle passes and microtransactions on the game’s store, unlike its predecessor. One big positive, however, is that the series finally supports crossplay.
Pokemon Unite is an absolute delight. It takes the MOBA mechanics of a game like League of Legends and places it into a thrilling 3v3 battle arena. The action is frenetic as you master each Pokemon’s specific moves and work together to defeat the enemy team. The graphics are quite delightful, despite the game being available on both mobile and the Nintendo Switch. Like the previous entry on this list, there is also crossplay between those two platforms.
Something to keep in mind is that there are multiple microtransactions in the game. There are cosmetics such as costumes for your Pokemon and trainer, a battle pass, and other purchases that your wallet should be scared of. You can earn in-game rewards, however, through the free battle pass and performing well in Ranked.
Rocket League is a simple concept that works so well on the Switch. You drive RC cars on a football/soccer pitch, flipping and turbo-boosting in order to score goals. If you need help as a beginner, on the other hand, you can enlist your friends from all platforms and still have fun on the field, There are car skins, antennas, rocket trails, and more to unlock through paid content, but some rewards are given to you periodically as you play.
With over 100 gods to choose from and a console-friendly third-person perspective, Smite is one of the best MOBAs out there. There are beginner-friendly modes like Arena and Joust (3v3) to get you started and accustomed to learning your favorite characters. Then there’s the Conquest mode with an expansive map and 5v5 combat. Each move adds a strategic element to the battle; for example, Cupid’s Heart Bomb is a ranged attack that slows enemies on impact, while Hades can pull in his foes towards him with Pillar of Agony. Like most other free-to-play games, there are real money cosmetics to purchase.
One of the best free games on Nintendo Switch, Tetris 99 is engrossing as you survive to be the very last player standing. You have to keep up with the ever-increasing tempo of the gameplay and finish lines to send them to an opposing player. The action gets pretty intense at times, but is always worth it thanks to the compelling and rewarding gameplay. Thankfully, there are no microtransactions in Tetris 99, and you unlock new skins for your playfield by finishing in-game tasks.
Tetris 99 comes free with your Nintendo Switch Online subscription.