Best fighting games for Nintendo Switch iMore 2021
Fighting games have come a long way since the days of filling your pockets with quarters and calling next on the beat-up Street Fighter II cabinet at the local pizza joint. Fortunately for us, we can now sit in the comfort of our own home and experience the same fierce competition on the Nintendo Switch. If you're looking for the best fighting game for the Nintendo Switch, look no further than Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. It's accessible, packed to the brim with content, and perfect for competitive and casual players.
- Best overall: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate - Nintendo Switch
- Best for fans of story: Mortal Kombat 11 Standard Edition- Nintendo Switch
- Best for fans of tag team fighters: Dragon Ball FighterZ - Nintendo Switch
- For fans of old-school fighters: Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection - Nintendo Switch
- For fans of 3D fighters: Pokkén Tournament DX - Nintendo Switch
- For casual fans: ARMS - Nintendo Switch
- For family friendly fighting: Kirby Fighters 2
- For fans of weapon-based fighters: Samurai Showdown (2020) - Nintendo Switch
Best overall: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Each Super Smash Bros. series entry has upped the ante, adding more and more with every entry. Keeping with the long-standing tradition, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate adds more of everything — more stages, more music, more features, and of course, more characters. Bringing together beloved characters from legendary Nintendo franchises like Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Star Fox, and Pokemon, and a host of third-party guest characters ranging from Solid Snake of Metal Gear to Steve of Minecraft, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is sure to have something for everyone.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's multiplayer offerings are unrivaled. Play casually with items in eight-player multiplayer matches across over 100 stages brimming with hazards and dangers or cut out the nonsense for competitive one on one brawls over flat terrain. The customization options in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate are staggering, to say the least. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate also offers many different control schemes to accommodate different playstyles. Use the Joy-Cons together, or play with a single Joy-Con, use a Pro Controller, or pull out your old GameCube controller and fight like it's 2001 again.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate also includes a single-player mode. While not as robust as the Subspace Emissary from Super Smash Bros. Brawl, it's still addicting in its own right. Players move across a board, and complete challenges for Spirits, which act like Stickers did in previous entries. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is rewarding the player constantly for every KO earned or match won. There always seems to be something waiting for you at the end.
You can play locally with up to eight players and create lobbies with your friends online. You can even join a game online with another local player by your side. The only downside of the game is its online play, which is better than it has been but still not stable enough to enjoy the fast-paced gameplay properly. You'll have to splurge for the Nintendo Switch LAN adapter for a more stable connection.
Whether you're looking for a party game with friends or looking to settle things with a rival, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a game that keeps on giving. It's a lovingly crafted fighting game that celebrates videogame history and lets you finally settle the great debate — who would win in a fight between Mario, Sonic, Mega Man, and Pac-Man?
- Huge character roster, with more on the way
- Lots of customization options
- A celebration of videogame history
- Online play is still a mess
Best for fans of story: Mortal Kombat 11
Since its blood-soaked arrival in 1992, Mortal Kombat has been best known for its over-the-top gore and violence, and bloody finishing moves, known as fatalities. What fighting fans might not know is that as of late, Mortal Kombat has also become a poster child for story modes in fighting games, which is pretty uncommon for the genre. While it's not poignant in any way, the story mode is a welcome change for those who enjoy battle but maybe not the competitive nature of the genre.
Mortal Kombat's gameplay is classic one-on-one fighting across a 2D plane, much like it has been over the last thirty years. The violence that made it infamous has also remained intact, and the countless bone-breaking, skull-shattering, heart exploding finishers are sure to make you cheer in malicious delight. Another unexpected bonus in Mortal Kombat 11 is its roster, which boasts over 30 characters and many DLC characters that include guest characters from movies like Rambo and The Terminator.
The Switch version impresses from a performance standpoint, as it maintains a stable 60 FPS, which is a necessity for any fighting game. Unfortunately, the game's visuals suffer because of it. It's a noticeable downgrade when stacked against the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions. It also is heavy-handed in its microtransactions, but if you can ignore these issues, you'll find a great (and very bloody) fighting game.
- Large roster featuring some surprise guest characters
- Lengthy story mode
- Plenty of the blood that the series is known for
- Huge visual downgrade
For fans of tag team fighters: Dragonball FighterZ
Some of the most memorable fights in pop culture owe a small debt of gratitude to Dragon Ball Z, the legendary anime and manga series that follows Goku as he fights against aliens, androids, and magical creatures over the span of his entire life. The screaming, energy blast, and lightning-fast jabs and punches have been emulated in video games before, but never like this before.
Developed by Arc System Works, the team responsible for the BlazBlue fighting games brings Dragonball and all of your favorite heroes and rogues to life in these 3 v 3 fighting games. The insane action of the anime is replicated in gorgeous detail, all while maintaining solid performance. If you're craving the fast-paced insanity of games like Marvel Vs. Capcom 2, you'll find it in droves here.
Featuring a story mode with a brand new character created with the supervision of series creator Akira Toriyama himself, crazy six-player party matches, and fast-paced tag-team gameplay, Dragon Ball FighterZ is an excellent game and a testament to what the talented team at Arc System Works can do. The downside, then? With only about 20 characters represented in the base game (and a large portion of them being different versions of Goku, Gohan, and Vegeta) Dragon Ball FighterZ roster leaves a lot to be desired. Still, it's a fun game and a must-have for fans of the series.
- Captures the mayhem of Dragon Ball Z
- Gorgeous visuals
- Tag team action is fast and fun
- The roster doesn't offer as much variety as you'd expect
For fans of old-school fighters: Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection
When most people think of fighting games, they often think of Street Fighter – and why wouldn't they? The 2D fighting game has laid the foundations for every fighting game that proceeded it. This collection celebrates 30 years of fighting in the streets with 12 different Street Fighter games. However, keep in mind that it's actually Street Fighter, six iterations of Street Fighter 2, three versions of Street Fighter Alpha, and three versions of Street Fighter 3.
While these ports recreate the games as they appeared in the arcade, a few bells and whistles were added to the collection. New additions include save states, allowing you to save and resume at any time, online play for Street Fight 2 Turbo: Hyper Fighting, Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo, Street Fighter Alpha 3, and Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike, online lobbies, and Switch exclusive player tournament mode for Super Street Fighter II that can be played locally with four consoles.
This is a delight for Street Fighter fans, who will enjoy all the Street Fighter variations and the concept art, pitch documents, and facts about each release. For the uninitiated, however, it may just seem like different versions of the same game. Special mention should be made to the original Street Fighter, which has not aged well at all.
- Arcade perfect ports of classic Street Fighter games
- A bounty of bonus materials for fans
- Perfect for competitive play
- Not casual friendly
- The first Street Fighter has aged like milk
For fans of 3D fighters: Pokkén Tournament DX
Pokémon fans have long known the pleasure of a successful Pokémon battle, but they've never been able to experience the battle firsthand. Well, if you ever wanted to punch Pikachu in the face, this is the game to do so. Pokkén Tournament DX is the deluxe version of Pokkén Tournament, the Wii U fighting game from 2016 that blends Tekken with Pokémon.
Pokkén comes feature-complete with online play and over 20 characters to choose from, as well as some DLC Pokemon you can purchase. There are also support pokemon that can be used during matches to extend combos or take attacks for you. Since its original release on the Wii U with tournaments to compete in, Nintendo has supported the game since its original release on the Wii U, feeding the dedicated competitive community the game has garnered after the years.
However, aside from the jump in resolution, the game isn't very "deluxe." The playable roster is only just over 20, which is a shame considering there are 800+ to choose from. The game also features no real story mode. Still, despite these issues, the game is fun, especially if you're a Pokemon fan or looking for a Tekken-like fighter on your hybrid console.
- A strange combination of Tekken and Pokemon that works really well
- Dedicated competitive fanbase
- Includes four missing characters from the arcade
- Limited roster
- Not many options
For casual fans: ARMS
ARMS is a wonderfully unique fighting game from Nintendo, which features characters with springy arms, jump, dash, and try to beat each other senseless. The joy of arms comes from its controls. Using a combination of simple button and motion controls, you can clobber foes with ease, whether you're experienced with fighting games or have never picked up a controller before. It almost feels like the boxing minigame from Wii Boxing but taken to the extreme.
Players must adorn their fighters with various fists to give them different abilities that they can use in combat. The combat is fast and goofy and never violent like some of the other games on this list. It revels in cartoon mischief and is a great game to play with younger gamers.
The downside is that there just isn't much to do in the game. Nintendo sponsors occasional tournaments, and you can play with up to four other players; however, the game doesn't really have a story mode or robust online features. Still, this a great game for gamers who prefer a lighter, more playful fighting experience.
- Simple controls and concept
- Easy to pick up and play
- Not violent at all — a perfect choice for younger gamers
- Not many options aside from versus battles
For family friendly fighting: Kirby Fighters 2
Kirby one of Nintendo's most recognizable characters and a fan-favorite for Super Smash Bros. fans since the N64 entry. But what if you removed every character from the game and replaced them with different versions of Kirby? Well, you'd get Kirby Fighters 2, a simple 2D fighter starring the one and only pink puffball.
Kirby might be the only character here, but that doesn't mean there's any variety. Putting Kirby's copy ability to work, pick one of many different Kirbies, each with their own unique move set. But if Kirby's not your thing, other iconic Kirby characters like Meta Knight and Waddle Dee also join the fray.
Kirby Fighters 2 is a simple and basic fighting game, but it's fun for families and a great way to get a party started if Super Smash Bros. is too hectic for your guest. Fans of Kirby will absolutely love the callbacks to previous games and all the pink possibilities.
- Excellent party game
- Basically Super Smash Bros. for Kirby fans
- Simple to learn
- Maybe too much Kirby for some
- No real depth
For fans of weapon-based fighters: Samurai Showdown (2020)
The Switch's fighting game roster is large. However, it's still missing some modern fighting game essentials like Street Fighter V. Still, fans looking for an updated arcade classic will find a good one with Samurai Showdown, a reboot of the classic weapon-focused arcade game. Its simple four-button controls translate nicely to modern platforms and are surprisingly accessible.
Like King of Fighters, Samurai Showdown holds a high level of respect among fighting game fans, and SNK brought the game back to life with a modern coat of paint. Gone is the 2D pixel art, replaced by 3D models and backgrounds. The game looks good, though, like Mortal Kombat 11; the game's visuals take a hit on the Switch to maintain a smooth 60 FPS. The game also features 16 fighters, a modest number considering the game's history, but other characters are available in DLC packs.
It's good to see SNK revive a classic franchise like Samurai Showdown. It is a great entry point for newcomers and those who preferred Samurai Showdown's more methodical fighting style, or using a sword over their fists.
- 60 FPS gameplay
- Decent character roster
- Surprisingly accessible
- Season Pass DLC
- Visuals take a hit on Switch, especially in handheld mode.
What's your favorite?
Those are the best fighting games on the Nintendo Switch. If you're looking to bring over some friends (or rivals) for a night of fierce competition, then make sure you have Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. With support for up to eight players and a huge roster of legendary videogame characters, you're sure to be playing for hours on end, no quarters necessary.
If you prefer to play by yourself, we recommend Mortal Kombat 11. It features a lengthy story that's sure to keep your attention as you beat your foes senseless. Just make sure you're ok with the massive amounts of blood. And don't forget to grab another set of controllers or even a fightstick for the Nintendo Switch as well, you're gonna need it.
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