Since its inception, Nintendo has made a concerted effort to maintain a somewhat squeaky clean image. With the occasional Rare exception, a Nintendo console has always been a place where parents didn't have to give a second thought about what their kids might be playing.

Well, times are changing, and just as society is changing its views about what media should and should not be consumed, so is Nintendo. It's been reported that Nintendo is encouraging developers to make some less family-friendly fare for the Switch. I for one welcome our new M-rated Switch overlords and look forward to what may be coming down the pike when it comes to mature content.

With an eye toward this brave new world, let's take a look at a few of the least child-friendly games currently available on the Nintendo Switch. Using my own experience, a little help from Common Sense Media and the ESRB I worked up this list of the games that a parent may not want their kids getting their hands on. There's no last word on what is and isn't appropriate, since both every kid and every parent is different. So make your own judgment calls.

With all the caveats out of the way, let's get on to the gore and swearing.

GalGun 2

Rated M by the ESRB

This odd little slice of Japanese gaming received a mature rating from the ESRB and it's not much of a shock that it did. You take on the role of a high school student who is constantly being attacked by possessed, swarming young women. Your only method of defending yourself is to use your love gun to send them into the throes of euphoria.

There is no overt violence on display here, but there are plenty of young ladies stuck in suggestive positions while they let out the sort of guttural moans that may have you reaching to the volume button.

Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus

Rated M by the ESRB

If you want blood, Wolfenstein's got it. Spend just a little bit of time with this crazy game and you'll quickly see why it was branded with a scarlet M by the ESRB. Blood and viscera abound in this veritable splatterfest from Bethesda. And if blood and guts aren't enough for you, there is more than enough coarse language to go around.

Another thing to keep in mind about Wolfenstein is that there are some pretty heavy duty concepts at work in this title (such as abuse and racism). If for some reason you should let a young person play this game, a little chat about what's going on may not be a bad idea.


Rated M by the ESRB

The Grandaddy of gory first-person shooters has made its move into the world of Switch. Smashing Doom down to fit in the palm of your hand is quite the achievement. Just as big of an achievement is the very idea that you can engage in the splatter-fest on a Nintendo branded system. This may be one to keep the young-uns away from until they're a bit older.

The violence may be unrealistic but it's most decidedly not cartoonish. Doom is pretty robust nightmare fuel, which could ensure that your kids won't want to sleep alone for months to come.

Resident Evil: Revelations

Rated M by the ESRB

Just as one might expect, the main course of Resident Evil: Revelations is a heapin' helpin' of blood, guts, and exploding viscera. This entry into the Resident Evil franchise made its debut on the Nintendo 3DS and now it can be played on the Switch. Not unlike Doom, this is a game whose imagery and story could leave a young one with some horror-induced insomnia.

As if all that violence wasn't enough, I hear tell that there is exactly one swear word uttered in the dialogue.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skryrim

Rated M by the ESRB

I've probably spent hundreds of hours ensconced in the world of Skyrim. There's no denying that it is a fantastic game. There's also no denying that characters will, on occasion, have their heads removed from the rest of their bodies. Skryim doesn't lean into the gore in the same fashion that Doom or Resident Evil might but there is still a measurable amount of dismemberment.

Aside from the occasional decapitation, Skrim does handle some fairly adult themes. I am far from the last word here but I would think that if you were OK letting your kids watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy then they will probably be OK wandering around Skyrim.

L.A. Noire

Rated M by the ESRB

Developer Rockstar Games is hardly known for its family-friendly output. The house that Grand Theft Auto built is never one to shy away from adult content and L.A. Noire is no exception.

It really ticks all the adult-themed boxes. Gore, nudity, sexual themes, strong language, drug use, and violence all come together to make a hell of a game, but it's still something you should probably keep away from the kids until they're a bit older.

This Is The Police

Rated M by the ESRB

My best guess is that this is a bit of a non-issue, as I can't imagine many kids would have much interest in playing a strategy management game where you take on the role of a police chief in a corrupt city. That being said, if your little one loves stylized art and resource management they may just be dying to play This Is The Police.

Just imagine any gritty film you've watched about dirty cops and that's what you'll find in the game. Strong language, references to drugs, and violence abound.

Bayonetta 1 & 2

Rated M by the ESRB

Bayonetta pretty much does it all when it comes to the sort of things that would get you a Mature rating from the ESRB. There's enough blood, guts, and viscera to make Sam Peckinpah blush. On top of all that, you ought to be prepared for female characters that suggestively gyrate and wear outfits that leave little to the imagination.

This is definitely a game to play when you're sure that the kids aren't around. If you do choose to play with the kids present, be ready to have some conversations in order to put it all in context.

The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth

Rated M by the ESRB

Don't let the charming pixel-based graphics fool you. The Binding of Issac is plenty mature. There is enough blood spatter and dismemberment to go around. Aside from that, however, the themes present are adult enough to creep some out. While it may not be shown directly, the story deals with a violent and abusive mother and your attempt to escape from her.

On top of that, be prepared to wade through all sorts of bodily fluids as you make your way through this 2D dungeon crawl.

Salt and Sanctuary

Rated M by the ESRB

Salt and Sanctuary's M rating comes from its dark themes, gore, and disturbing imagery. You play as a shipwrecked sailor lost in a 2D Metroidvania world full of dark, Lovecraftian horrors and challenging boss fights. The game includes hundreds of weapons, spells, and a crafting system that lead to hours of play, but its heavy dose of violence might be a bit too much for the kids.

Nonetheless, the dark tones of Salt and Sanctuary are perfect for those who love games like Hollow Knight, Dark Souls, or Super Metroid but wish the gore was kicked up a bit higher.


Rated M by the ESRB

Inside is one of the best games of 2016, but it's also one of the most disturbing. From the creators of Limbo, Inside puts you in control of a young boy as he sneaks through a dark world populated by horrors, moving ever closer to the center of some bizarre, terrifying experiment.

Violence and gore are both on the agenda for Inside, but more than either of those, the game is unsettling in the extreme. But it's also one of the best artistic games out right now and worth the experience if you can stomach it.

If you're worried about the content that your child is consuming on their Nintendo Switch, research is your best friend. There are plenty of outlets available to parents which can help you decide which games are right for your kids. Nintendo offers pretty extensive options when it comes to parental controls on the Switch and even gives you the option of controlling those settings from your phone.

Now, if you're looking for even more mature content for your Switch you could always connect to the Japanese Switch store and see what's offered to Japanese gamers.

Updated August 2018: Inside and Salt and Sanctuary.

Nintendo Switch


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