Playing video games; it’s fun. We like it. It helps us get through tough days, and is a great stress release. Indeed, there’s just one problem with video games: the cost of buying them can pile up in a hurry. Sometimes you have to give your bank account a little cooldown time to recover its HP, and that’s where free games can come in handy. The Switch has a decent assortment of them, and I’ve decided to pick out ten of my favorites for you to try out. Note that only a couple of these are truly free. The rest have things to sell you. I suggest you resist that temptation, unless you are really enjoying yourself and want to spend some money. I am not your boss. Anyway, in no particular order, here are ten free (or free-to-start/play) games I recommend on the Nintendo Switch.
Okay, let’s get this one out of the way fast. Fortnite is an incredibly popular game and it is incredibly popular on Switch, and while that seems to chafe some people, the reality is that the game is very good at what it does. It’s fun to play, you can enjoy it perfectly well without paying anything, and when it hits a high note it’s genuinely awesome. Sure, all the crossovers and collaborations make it feel a bit like pop culture vomits at times, but it’s bear pop culture vomits.
Asphalt 9: Legends
If you’re less into shooting and more into racing, you might want to check out Asphalt 9: Legends. It can be a bit of a grind if you’re playing without paying, but the racing is enjoyable enough that having to play the game more isn’t exactly hard punishment. There’s a wide array of licensed cars in the game, plus a ton of tracks to race on. Events are always ongoing, so there’s almost always something to do. Most importantly, the arcade-style gameplay is really well-done. Gameloft’s experience in this genre pays off well here.
There’s a game-making utility available on the Switch called FUZE, and it’s rather versatile. With this free app, you’re able to enjoy the fruits of others’ hard work and play a wide array of titles across many different genres. Of course, if you want to try your hand at making your own game, you can buy the main software and have at it. But as free experiences go on the Switch, there’s probably nothing more varied than what you’ll get here.
The fervor around Fall Guys has cooled a bit, but it remains a popular multiplayer experience that is really easy to get into. Taking cues from the likes of MXC and Wipeout, it throws players into a random assortment of minigames, with some of the players being peeled off in each one. Only one person can win, and that person could be you! Statistically speaking, probably not. But maybe! The important thing is that you’ll have fun whether you win or lose. It’s just that kind of game.
Warframe is one of those really outstanding Switch ports that has to be seen to be believed, and it’s one of the few that you can play for free. It’s a third-person action where you play as what is effectively a biomechanical alien ninja. It has a knack for making you feel really cool, as it’s easy to bust out a wide array of cool tricks. You can play this one solo if you feel like it, and it works well enough that way. You can also team up with other players in PvE, or if you want to prove you’re the coolest space warrior around you can take a swing at some PvP stuff too. It’s been around a while now, so there’s a ton of content to enjoy here even if you don’t pay a cent.
I didn’t want to fill this list out with the usual suspects, and wanted to call attention to some cool lesser-seen titles. Fantasy-Strike qualify. This one started as a paid game and shifted to free-to-play, but it’s a solid fighter either way. The idea behind this was to make a more accessible one-on-one fighter without sacrificing the strategic depth the genre brings with it. This free version gives you full access to all characters in online casual and ranked modes, plus offline practice and single match CPU fights. If you like it well enough, you can buy DLC that will unlock a bunch of extra modes and features.
Moving away from the more traditional fighting game trappings of Fantasy-Strike, brawlhalla is more similar to the likes of the Super Smash Bros. series. An arena fighter for up to four players, it features tons of characters, some cool battlefields, and a lot of things that will remind you of Nintendo’s flagship brawler. Heck, it even has Rayman in its roster! This game does a lot of crossover events where you can get skins for characters from everything from Shovel Knight to the WWE, but that’s where you’ll usually have to spend some money. If you want to play for free, there’s plenty to love in the base game.
Okay, this is another obvious one. But I can’t not include Rocket League. This is such pure, unbridled video gamey joy that I’d feel bad if someone didn’t find it because I failed to do my job. It’s like soccer with cars, an idea that has been done before many times. The way this game does it, however, is what makes the difference. It’s perfectly over the top, and it controls great. If you haven’t tried Rocket League yet, I’ll have to do that cliche thing where I ask you what you’re waiting for. Ahem: what are you waiting for?
Super Kirby Clash
Nintendo doesn’t do a lot of free-to-play games on the Switch, but HAL Laboratory and Kirby have an established history of fun, free games starring the pink puff and it’s nice to see them carry it forward onto the Switch. Work in a team of four Kirbys and take on some mega bosses in this fun spin on the classic gameplay. Make use of Kirby’s various powers to give yourself an edge. Sure, it’s not a patch on any of the full-sized Kirby games on the Switch, but it’s a really solid diversion.
Deltarune Chapter 1&2
This one is no-strings free, and it’s something any fan of Undertale should play. And probably has already played, come to think of it. If you’re wondering what the fuss is about Undertale but don’t want to spend any money to find out, Deltarune will give you a good idea of the charms of Toby Fox’s creations. The only catch here is that this is but the first two chapters of a story that probably won’t be complete for a while, and you’ll have to pay for the rest of it when it comes. Still, you get a lot of bang for no buck here, and you really have nothing to lose except the money you’ll inevitably spend on the rest of the game when it arrives.
And that’s the list! I had to make some tough cuts as I brought the number down to just ten, and found myself surprised at how many solid free experiences the Switch has to offer. That isn’t even counting the wide range of demos for full games you can sample. So hey, if you’re broke, at least there’s a lot to play. Did I leave off a favorite free game of yours? Comment below and let the world know! Thanks for reading!