Best fighting games for Nintendo Switch iMore 2022
Fighting games have a long history in the gaming world, starting with the days of playing arcade games with a few quarters. Since then they have grown and improved alongside gaming in general and now you can play these competitive games at home on your Nintendo Switch. My top pick has to be the Nintendo favorite Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The final fighters have been brought in, providing a whole cast of characters to choose from and many stage options. Plus, it's easy to play for seasoned or new players.
- Best overall: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate - Nintendo Switch
- Best story: Mortal Kombat 11 Standard Edition- Nintendo Switch
- Best for tag team fighters: Dragon Ball FighterZ - Nintendo Switch
- Best old-school option: Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection - Nintendo Switch
- Best 3D fighters: Pokkén Tournament DX - Nintendo Switch
- Best casual game: ARMS - Nintendo Switch
- Best family-friendly game: Kirby Fighters 2
- Best weapon-based fighter: SAMURAI SHODOWN (2020) - Nintendo Switch
Best overall: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has been a long time contender in the battle for best fighting games and has improved with every new game. When Ultimate came into the Smash Bros. family on the Nintendo Switch it added more characters, music, stages, and other game features. From Super Mario, to The Legend of Zelda, to Pokémon, to Minecraft and more familiar franchises, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate brings in characters from all over Nintendo and other popular games.
When it comes to multiplayer, there's a lot to offer. You can have eight players all at once on any of the 100+ stages with many options to give your battles variety. For a more classic feel you can also take out the items and the extra players and take it mano a mano. Whether you want to play with your friends locally, play online, or do a combination, these are all possible! Just be careful with connection online, as it may not be stable. It may be best to get the Nintendo Switch LAN adapter if you plan to do this regularly.
In the single-player mode, there's a fun story where the fighters have been taken and duplicated as evil versions. As you battle, you collect Spirits that can be used to customize your fighters. There are other rewards for matches and KOs as you play more, too.
This title is the perfect way to bring together fans of all franchises, players of all skill levels, and friends and family near and far. Enjoy this homage to the history of gaming and choose your fighter wisely.
- Many characters to choose from
- Plenty of customization
- Connection for online play can be rough
Best story: Mortal Kombat 11
This beloved title not only has a lot of gore, violence, and fatalities, but also a captivating story. While the story mode may not be the first thing most people look for in a fighting game, it's a nice extra to have one worth following. Especially if competition isn't what you look for most.
Mortal Kombat 11 has stuck to the one-on-one battle style it has had since it first began. It also hasn't backed down from being a very visually brutal game with aggressive moves, holding back no broken bones and various body crushing blows. Fighters can choose from more than 30 characters as well as a variety of DLC fighters like The Terminator, Robocop, Rambo, and more.
While the Switch version isn't at the same visual level as the PlayStation and Xbox versions, it is steady and smooth. You will also notice that there are a lot of options for items via micro transactions. While they're not necessary to have a good playing experience, it can be annoying for those who want all the bells and whistles.
- Many fighters to choose from and even a few surprises
- A lot of story to play with
- No holding back on the gore
- Not as visually impressive as other consoles
- Micro transactions
Best for tag team fighters: Dragon Ball FighterZ
In the anime and manga version of Dragon Ball Z, the story shows Goku in various battles with creatures of many abilities. This makes it the perfect story for a fighting game of its own. There are energy blasts, quick punches, and the iconic yelling while enjoying the single player and tag-team modes.
The developers did a great job of capturing the essence of the show in the way they created the battles, and the performance is just as fast paced as it should be with no slowing down. It's a relief to Dragon Ball Z fans to see all the amazing details stay true to what you're used to seeing. You'll even get a new character made specifically for the game with the help of series creator Akira Toriyama.
While the Dragon Ball Z world has a huge cast of characters, the game only has about 20 characters and a few of the characters are just different versions of base characters. You can purchase the DLC packs for more characters to expand the roster, but we were hoping for more out of the base game. However, if you love the series, it's definitely still a must play.
- A great representation of the Dragon Ball Z series
- Visually stunning
- Playing with friends in tag team is enjoyable
- Disappointing roster of characters
Best old-school option: Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection
Another original that has stood the test of time is Street Fighter. From its time in the arcade to now being available on the go with Switch, Street Fighter has stuck to the 2D fight style it was built on throughout the years. The perfect way to enjoy this game's history is with the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection. Players can enjoy Street Fighter, Street Fighter 2, Street Fighter Alpha, and Street Fighter 3. Multiple versions are available in this collection for 2, Alpha, and 3.
There were some new features added to these classic titles including saving. Now you can pause and save anywhere in the game and pick it up another time. A feature that definitely wasn't available originally is online play which is offered with Street Fight 2 Turbo: Hyper Fighting, Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo, Street Fighter Alpha 3, and Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike. You can also play in online lobbies and local play as well as a new tournament mode.
If you've enjoyed Street Fighter from the beginning, the game comes equipped with facts about all the released, concept art, and other features made to celebrate the art that went into creating these games. Those who haven't played may just see a bunch of different versions of a few games but those who are familiar will enjoy the changes each iteration brings.
- True to arcade-style remake
- Celebratory bonus materials
- Play competitively
- There isn't a good way to play casually
- Original Street Fighter's age is obvious
Best 3D fighters: Pokkén Tournament DX
Pokémon battles are a whole new experience with Pokkén Tournament DX. For the first time in Pokémon history, players get to battle first hand controlling every kick, punch, and Blast Attack. Pokkén Tournament was originally released for the Wii U and was made for Switch with better graphics.
There are 20 Pokémon you can battle as in the base game and there is an option to purchase others through DLC. This version does offer a few new characters from the Wii U version, in addition to the main character you battle, which allows you to also have a support for combos. This number of characters is kind of disappointing given the huge number of Pokémon that have been created throughout the whole series.
When you get into the game you can either choose to play solo or go head to head with a friend. However there isn't a true story mode to play with when playing solo. Regardless, this is a fun new experience for Pokémon fans and Tekken fans alike as it brings the two together.
- Combines Tekken and Pokémon well
- Has competitive followers
- Small character choice
- Options are minimal
Best casual game: ARMS
In ARMS, players have a unique ability to throw their arms, quite literally. These fighters have springs for arms and their fists have varying special abilities. Playing with Joy-Cons gives you the ability to bring together the motion of the controller and the buttons to play, so it brings you a little more into the game.
The battles are more than just one on one combat, there are also sports modes you can compete in. It deviates from the classic fighter style in its 3D visuals and ability to move around the ring in all directions. Players will also notice it isn't graphic, but more cutesy and light.
Every once in a while there is a Nintendo sponsored tournament to play. If you're playing at home you can play with as many as four others. Playing on your own there isn't really a story mode but your battles can help you unlock new fist features. If you're looking to just play for fun and not to compete, this is a lighter experience.
- Easy to play
- Calm, cartoon gameplay - nothing graphic
- Not many play options
Best family-friendly game: Kirby Fighters 2
Nintendo brought all the lovable versions of Kirby from this classic franchise together for a 2D fighting game! Each Kirby has unique abilities to choose from. But Kirby isn't alone, he's joined by Meta Knight, Waddle Dee, King Dedede, and Gooey.
This family-friendly game is easy to catch onto and is a little more simple than other popular fighting games. All the different hats Kirby wears makes for a lot of unique moves and cute characters. Plus if you've played Kirby before, you'll enjoy seeing the throwback to previous games. Unfortunately, this game doesn't offer too much of a story and focuses more on the many faces of Kirby.
- Great for a group
- Better pace for inexperienced players
- Easy to play
- A lot of Kirby options may not be appealing to non-Kirby fans
- Not a lot for story
Best weapon-based fighter: SAMURAI SHODOWN (2020)
Fighting doesn't have to just be kicks and punches. The classic arcade title SAMURAI SHODOWN proves that weapons make for a great fighting game. This title is updated from the arcade version for Switch and the port was made very smoothly.
Originally, this title was in 2D pixel graphics and has since been upgraded to a 3D environment. It does seem to have been taken down a peg to make the 60 FPS run correctly. While there is a large number of fighters in the game's history, there are 16 in the base version of this remake with more available in DLC.
Players who are new to the game will find it easy to play. Those who enjoy finding new toys to try out in battle will enjoy testing out the swords.
- 60 FPS
- 16 characters in the base game
- Season Pass DLC
- Graphics had to be toned down to match the 60 FPS
The biggest and the best in our opinion is Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. This is a great choice for game nights with a lot of friends or something for family to play together, all while being a great tournament title. There are many familiar faces to choose from and hours of entertainment available with all the stages.
For a great solo experience with a full story, you'll want to look at Mortal Kombat 11. While the story give you purpose in beating your enemies, don't forget all the gore that comes along in combat. This title is known for its graphic finishing moves.
Credits - The team that worked on this guide
Alex Huebner Alex is an iMore writer who has grown up playing video games — with a special love for Nintendo. As a member of a large family, she enjoys the opportunity to take them on in some friendly, competitive fighting games.
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