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
- Best for fans of story: Mortal Kombat 11
- Best for fans of tag team fighters: Dragon Ball FighterZ
- For fans of old-school fighters: Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection
- For fans of 3D fighters: Pokkén Tournament DX
- For casual fans: ARMS
Best overall: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Each entry of the Super Smash Bros. series 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 8 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 is 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 still pretty uncommon in fighting games. While it's not deep or poignant in any way (these games aren't known for their subtlety) the story mode is a welcome change for those who enjoy fighting games 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 a bunch of 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 videogames 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 game. 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, there are a few bells and whistles 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 been 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. Nintendo has supported the game since it's original release on the Wii U with tournaments to compete in, 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 a variety of different fist 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. There are occasional tournaments sponsored by Nintendo, and you can play with up to four other players, but 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
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) over 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 for the Nintendo Switch as well, you're gonna need it.
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