Astral ChainSource: Nintendo

Best Action Games for Nintendo Switch iMore 2021

The Nintendo Switch has plenty of awesome adventure games for you to play through. From games best played with friends to journeys through different worlds, there are a variety of different adventure games sure to pique your interest. Of all of them, Astral Chain rises to the top of the pack delivering a sci-fi drama that's oozing with style and packed to the brim with fast paced, combo heavy action.

Best Overall: Astral Chain

Astral ChainSource: iMore

Platinum Games have crafted some of the finest action games we've ever played. They're over the top finesse is matched only by their solid gameplay mechanics. Astral Chain is the latest in that long-standing tradition and delivers fast and stylish action gameplay. Against the backdrop of dystopian earth, you play a recruit of a special police task force that protects humanity's remnants from interdimensional monsters. Using your Astral Chain, the player tether creatures from the other dimension to hack, slash, and investigate crimes.

Astral Chain is an action title that combines intense combat with investigative sections that slow things down. As a rookie detective, players explore The Ark exploring the world, examining evidence, and questioning characters for clues. Once players access the Astral Plane, the game pushes down on the pedal and never stops. The juxtaposition between the action-packed sections of the Astral Plane the investigation sections of The Ark might give players some whiplash. Still, both sections are enjoyable, and that's what matters most.

Astral Chain marks the most recent collaboration with Nintendo, and with results like Bayonetta, Astral Chain, and The Wonderful 101, we pray that the collaboration continues. Platinum Games continues their action game winning streak on the Nintendo Switch. Astral Chain is the best action game on the Nintendo Switch (until Bayonetta 3 comes around, anyway).

Pros:

  • Fast action gameplay
  • Stylish manga/anime influence, with art from artist Masakazu Katsura.
  • A cool sci-fi setting

Cons:

  • Investigative sections are not for everyone

Best Overall

Astral Chain Box Art

Astral Chain

Intense action

Astral Chain is an excellent action game that combines high-octane action and investigate police work into something wildly unique.

Best with Friends: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Super Smash Bros Ultimate Nintendo Switch Battle ScreenshotSource: Amazon

Super Smash Bros is what happens when you build a game around all of your favorite video game characters smashing each other to smithereens. It's a button-mashing, better-with-friends explosion of chaos and fun. Smash Bros Ultimate has more content in one package than the franchise has ever managed before.

Controls in Smash have always been pretty simple, and that trend continues. You use the control stick and two buttons to move and launch attacks. Each character gets access to special moves that can be triggered, but the basics don't change from character to character. You can jump in and start having fun even if you're never played a single moment of Smash before. No health bars in Smash ever show up; instead, a percentile shows above your character. The higher this number goes, the more likely it is that you can be KO'd.

There are 108 different maps in Super Smash Brothers Ultimate; there really is a level that will delight any player. Along with so many levels, there are also a whopping 74 different characters to choose from when playing. You'll need to unlock most of the playable characters by gaming with the initial 11 characters available at the start.

Pros:

  • More than 50 different characters to play
  • Tons of gameplay options
  • Easy for new players to jump in

Cons:

  • Fight can be frustrating until you learn the controls

Best with Friends

Super Smash Bros Ultimate

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

It's an all-out brawl

Super Smash Brothers Ultimate pits dozens of video game characters against each other to fight to be the last one standing!

Best Platformer: Cuphead

Cuphead Screenshot Nintendo SwitchSource: Nintendo

Combining a nostalgia-fueled 1930s animation style with breakneck boss battles, Cuphead is a platformer unlike any other. To begin with, Cuphead is just plain hard from beginning to end. There is no learning curve here, and you may curse the game more than a few times as you play.

Cuphead starts with graphics that look like a love letter to Max Fleisher's art style of 1930s animation. Bright watercolor backgrounds, big eyes, jittery movements make it almost as fun to watch as it is to play. Along with the graphics, you get an excellent score to cement the game's atmosphere, with jazz, ragtime, and big band music showing up at different points of gameplay.

Now, when we say Cuphead is hard, it is with a capital H. We're not kidding in the least. There are no save points during levels, no way to regain lost health, and with levels that can take over an hour to beat, it is not messing around. Boss battles constantly happen, along with streams of enemies. And if you thought opting into co-op mode with a friend would make it a bit easier, you are sorely mistaken.

Pros:

  • Iconic 1930s art style
  • Screen stays focused even with dozens of enemies
  • Fantastic score

Cons:

  • This game is HARD

Best Platformer

Cuphead Box Nintendo Switch

Cuphead

Boss battle central

Cuphead brings back all the nostalgia of classic platformers with endless boss battles and an amazing 1930s art design.

Best Indie: Hades

Hades Nintendo SwitchSource: Supergiant Games

Hades has become one of the most popular games of the year due to its brutal difficulty and sexy pantheon of ancient Greek heroes. Hades is a roguelike, which is a game that makes use of procedurally generated dungeons. That means that every time you play, the enemies and challenges are totally different. While making every playthrough different has been done before, the steps Hades takes to pull away from the pack is what makes it stand out.

In Hades, you control Zagreus, the angsty son of Hades, as he fights his way out of his dad's Underworld. As he fights his way out of literal hell, you meet a sprawling cast of Greek Gods, demons, and heroes, each one beautifully voiced and illustrated. The cast of characters is also pleasantly endearing – Hades may be the Lord of the Dead, but he's also an overworked paper-pusher. The subtle characterizations of this cast of characters are refreshing, but what's even more refreshing are the power-ups they provide.

The longer you survive, the stronger you get, but the moment you get killed, it's back to square one. However, Hades shines brightest thanks to its continuous plot uncovered with every playthrough. There's always something new to discover, whether it's a new power-up or a glimpse at the backstory of one of the many gods of the pantheon. Hades continues to deliver for hours on end. Supergiant has delivered in a big way with Hades.

Pros:

  • Challenging and rewarding gameplay
  • Excellent presentation
  • Endless hours of content

Cons:

  • Difficulty is high

Best Indie

Hades Cover Art

Hades

Get out of Hell

Hades delivers a fast and fun roguelike bolstered by the characterization of the entire pantheon of Greek Gods.

Best for Casual Fans: Yoshi's Crafted World

Yoshi's Crafted World Screenshot Nintendo SwitchSource: Nintendo

Yoshi's Crafted World takes a different gambit when it comes to delivering a fun platformer that anyone can enjoy. With adorable graphics, an outfit system, and a play style that is never so difficult that you want to throw your controller across the room in frustration, it is a fun experience. You'll see items that look handcrafted like signs, and it's clear that many background items are hung in place with string. It adds to the cuteness factor and plays into the personality of Yoshi games.

One of the more amusing features of this game is the outfit system. There are 170 different costumes that you'll use in-game currency to purchase through gachapon capsule machines. You never get handed duplicate outfits; there is always something new to try on. Aside from being adorable, the costumes give you armor, protecting players from any dangers Yoshi might face. So, if you're looking for the most challenging way to play, feel free to collect outfits...just don't put them on.

It's very easy to roll through the 40 levels that are part of the game, even when you try to up the ante. The real fun in Yoshis' Crafted World is going back to find the collectibles hidden throughout each level. Each level hides 20 red coins, along with several smiley flowers. You'll also be able to pick up specific missions that send you back to the level to find hyper-specific items. If you're a completionist, you can expect to play most levels at least 2-3 times before you manage to get that sweet 100% score.

Pros:

  • 40 levels to play and explore
  • Adorable graphics
  • Fun, low-key gameplay

Cons:

  • You'll have to replay levels for 100% status
  • Gameplay becomes repetitive

Best for Casual Fans

Yoshi's Crafted World Nintendo Switch Case

Yoshi's Crafted World

Cute and crafted adventure with Yoshi

Yoshi's Crafted World delivers a fun, easy to play platformer filled with adorable outfits and collectibles to snag.

Best Action Adventure: Super Mario Odyssey

Super Mario Odyssey Nintendo Switch ScreenshotSource: Nintendo

When it comes to Nintendo games, there are few characters or franchises that are as well known as Mario. He appears all over the place, but his platforming adventures have been with gamers now for more than 30 thirty years. Super Mario Odyssey is the next big chapter in Mario's adventures, and it delivers a stellar experience that provides the gameplay you already love with a massive amount of new content.

Super Mario Odyssey starts with the same old story; Princess Peach has been kidnapped by Bowser, who intends to marry her. However, this time, you have a new partner in Cappy, and King Koopa has also captured his sister. Cappy is the major new change to Mario's gameplay; by throwing him at enemies, you can possess them and their abilities to Mario's benefit. It means that you can take control of Goombas, frogs, and even a T-Rex. You'll also end up using Cappy as a weapon instead of just stomping enemies and as a jumping pad during gameplay.

Super Mario Odyssey is massive. There are more than 16 different worlds to explore, and even after you finish the main campaign, there are new levels to unlock. Players do this by collecting power moons. While some moons are easy to find, getting some of them can be pesky. With over 500 moons in the game, there is a lot of replayability in trying to hunt down every one. One of the best parts of the game is that it never attempts to make itself more serious or more difficult than it needs to be. It is great for kids and adults alike.

Pros:

  • Cappy adds new features to gameplay
  • Tons of worlds to unlock and explore
  • Hundreds of moons to collect adds replayability to every level

Cons:

  • Camera angles aren't always ideal

Best Action Adventure

Super Mario Odyssey Nintendo Switch Case

Super Mario Odyssey

Bowser has Princess Peach; it's time to rescue her

Super Mario Odyssey delivers a stellar platforming experience and adds new features that make the game more fun than ever.

Best Hack and Slash: Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity

Hyrule Warriors Age Of Calamity Lynel ZeldaSource: Nintendo

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was a breath of fresh air the 30+-year-old franchise needed. Injecting new life into its well-worn game design, Breath of the Wild introduced a new art style along with new versions of familiar characters, Zelda and Link. Now, three years later, Nintendo returns to the very same Hyrule, but instead of adventuring, you're thrown into the thick of battle as you fight against hundreds of enemy forces.

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is a Dynasty Warriors game with a Zelda skin over it, but that's selling the game short. The team at Koei Tecmo has made strides in representing the characters from Breath of the Wild is the most accurate way possible. Every music cue, every voice, every blade of grass seems to be exactly where we remembered it when we played The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The action itself is hard-hitting, and the game does a great job at making you feel like you're unbeatable.

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is not without its faults. The much-teased story turned out to be a waste of time, and some technical issues push the Switch to its limits. There's not much else to do aside from hacking and slashing everything in sight, but overall, if you're a Zelda fan, you won't want to miss out on this lovingly crafted action game.

Pros:

  • Intense action starring your favorite Breath of the Wild characters
  • Content-rich
  • Lots of details for Zelda fans to enjoy

Cons:

  • Repetitive
  • Slowdown is glaring

Best Hack and Slash

Hyrule Warriors Age Of Calamity Boxart

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity

Save Hyrule and defeat Calamity Ganon

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is a great action title that pays respect to one of the decade's best games.

Bottom line

Nintendo has managed to amass a remarkable number of adventure games that you can take advantage of. These are the best games on Nintendo Switch. With more to come, who knows what's in store for Nintendo! While every game here delivers fun, one does rise above the rest to deliver the most excellent experience possible. Astral Chain is one of the best action games around. With a fully realized sci-fi backdrop and deep action heavy gameplay, action fans won't want to miss this one.

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