The best Nintendo Switch games typically cost $50 or more, meaning it can be pricey to build up a good collection. While you're saving up for more, you can check out some of the best free games on Nintendo Switch. Many of these are family-friendly titles that include microtransactions, so you might want to check out our guide on how to set up parental controls on Nintendo Switch to keep your kids from making unwanted purchases.
Set up Parental Controls to prevent in-game purchases
Usually, when a game is free that means that in-game purchases are available. If you're trying to find games for your kids to play, but don't want them buying anything, then you'll want to set up Nintendo Switch Parental Controls.
Set up boundaries for what kind of games your kids can access, when they can play, and even prevent in-game purchases.
This super popular battle royale game lets up to 100 people fight to be the last one standing while teaming up with friends locally and online. Build forts, destroy your opponents' protection, and gather resources throughout the vast world used to build weapons. The game is constantly releasing new content, including big crossover events with the MCU and Star Wars. Fortnite is by far one of the most popular free Switch games and it offers crossplatform play with Xbox, PlayStation, PC, and mobile players. That way you can play with friends no matter what device they're using.
Participate in silly obstacle courses and minigames against dozens of other players online. Rounds escalate in difficulty and slowly shave off the number of contestants until only one winner remains. See how well you perform when going up against so many other players.
Gems of War
The makers of the Puzzle Quest games are behind this gem-matching RPG, where you'll collect hundreds of troops with their own spells that you can use in PvP matches and weekly events. Complete hundreds of quests spread across 30 zones to earn rewards and new heroes.
Pokémon Unite eschews the traditional formula of the franchise for a MOBA. Here, you'll directly control a Pokémon on a team and engage in 5v5 battles, using unique abilities and strategy to overcome the enemy team. Best of all, you don't have to pay to collect and have fun.
Use each Pokémon's unique skill to try and score against the opposing team. More Pokémon are added on a regular basis.
Join 99-player battles where your reflexes and strategy will be put to the test as you try to clear blocks from your screen and send Garbage Blocks to clog up your opponents' boards. Completing daily missions will unlock themes to personalize your game's look. You can also play offline to sharpen your skills or team up with a friend against the computer. New updates are added all the time that incoporate themes from larger Nintendo Switch franchises.
This take on Tetris regularly gets updates that incorporates Nintendo's latest game launches.
Join the elite agents of Rogue Company in this 4v4 tactical third-person shooter, where you'll complete objectives like extraction or demolition in various game modes. Each agent has their own skills and a variety of weapons and gadgets they can use to save the day and get paid.
Choose from one of six classes of battlemage with their own playstyles and talents as you battle across floating islands and explore the world looking for a way to defeat those who have forbidden magic. Form a party to compete in battle royale, searching the map to find hidden equipment and runes that will give you an edge.
Choose which magical elements you control as your team works to be the last group standing on the field.
Put on your headphones and listen to the immersive soundtrack from electronic musician Steve Woodzell as you use the game's intuitive controls to match colors and win the game's 460 levels. There are no points to earn or penalties for failure, so you can just relax and play at your own pace.
Relax with this chill coloring puzzle game that never penalizes you for doing the wrong moves.
Fantasy Strike is focused more on strategy than on hard-to-execute combo attacks, so it's a great gateway to fighting games. Fight a series of AI opponents in arcade mode, test your skills in a daily endless survival challenge, or compete in eight-person tournaments to improve your rank. All of the characters are free to play, so you won't need to pay or grind to unlock new ones.
Take on AI opponents while mastering your fighting skills.
Mythology fans can choose to play one of more than 100 gods, including Zeus, Loki, and Sun Wukong in this MOBA, where you'll use your divine abilities to compete in close-quarters combat. Auto-buy and auto-level tools make the game easy to get into if you don't have much experience with the genre, while serious competitors can strive for a spot at the top of the game's more than 35 million players.
This MOBA has you playing with millions of other players as you take on the role of a classic god.
Arena of Valor
Choose from a roster of nearly 40 heroes representing several roles and compete in a variety of game modes, including 1v1 and 5v5. The arena battler will let you test your skills across a wide variety of maps with fast-paced, intense matches. Join a guild so you can play with your friends and players around the world.
The Pinball Arcade
You won't need a pocket full of quarters to play this game, which offers a digital version of more than 35 real pinball tables with themes including Ghostbusters, Star Trek, and Doctor Who. Complete locally or online using the Switch in handheld mode, tabletop, or docked with a controller
Nothing's quite as relaxing as a classic game of pinball. Choose from 35 different tables based on real-life pinball arcades.
Up to eight players can compete in this car-based soccer game. Hone your skills to improve your rank and earn titles. You'll also want to collect vehicles that range from the Ford F-150 to the DeLorean from Back to the Future. The game can be played across platforms, so you can challenge friends no matter what console they have.
This game asks, "what could make soccer better?" And then answers by saying if the players are cars. Collect various vehicles as you score on opponents and rank higher.
The sweetest deal is free
You can always trust iMore. Our team of Apple experts have years of experience testing all kinds of tech and gadgets, so you can be sure our recommendations and criticisms are accurate and helpful. Find out more about how we test.
You don't have to pay a lot of money to get a new game for your Nintendo Switch. Fortnite tops our list of best free games on Nintendo Switch because it offers so much flexibility to show off your creativity while also giving you the chance to encounter some of your favorite characters from movies and games.
If you want something new compared to the traditional formula of Pokémon games, then Pokémon Unite is a great option, bringing all the classic Pokémon to an entirely new genre, with five players on each team in a multiplayer online battle arena, or MOBA.
If you prefer RPGs to battle royale, Gems of War is a great option. Its depth of strategic gameplay and constant release of new content will keep you coming back every day to puzzle out new ways to achieve victory. Tetris 99 is another great pick, spicing up the classic puzzle game to let you compete against others while sharpening your own skills. Since all these games are free, you can always try something else on this list if you don't like one!
Updated May 2022: With a parental controls section.
Master your iPhone in minutes
iMore offers spot-on advice and guidance from our team of experts, with decades of Apple device experience to lean on. Learn more with iMore!
Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.