Maximum fun, minimum fuss

guides, nintendo switch, switch essentials, best switch games

Image: Nintendo Life

We’ve added a few new games to the list, including Puyo Puyo Tetris 2, Kirby’s Dream Buffet, and Let’s Sing ABBA. Party on!


So, you’re having a party, possibly on a rooftop, dancing to the music and all that jazz, but suddenly there’s a lull. Fear not because we’ve got just the thing to get the party started again! Nintendo Switch has a whole host of crowd-pleasing co-op and competitive party games, whether you’re hosting a birthday party for a bunch of kids, throwing a casual soirée for a few select dinner guests or you’ve got all the furniture in the garage. Regardless of the function, you’re sure to find games here for all occasions.

Below you’ll find our picks — in no particular order — for the best party games on Switch. While the console’s lineup of brilliant co-op games may fit the bill for smaller get-togethers, some games require a little more thought, consideration and co-ordination than the average party-goer might be ready for (or capable of). For this selection we’ve chosen games that work best with lots of people, including spectators, and ones that let anybody join in with the minimum of fuss.

So, fill those bowls of nibbles to the brim, charge your Joy-Con and pack your party bags, people, because tonight’s gonna be a large one…

Super Mario Party (Switch)

guides, nintendo switch, switch essentials, best switch games
guides, nintendo switch, switch essentials, best switch games

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nd Cube

Release Date: 16th Nov 2018 (USA) / 5th Oct 2018 (UK/EU)

Get the party started with the plumber and his Mushroom Kingdom pals. While Mario’s had his ups and downs when it comes to this minigame series – with some of the recent entries feeling a little sterile – that simply isn’t the case with Super Mario Party. This is a well-constructed and beautifully realised Mario Party game which takes the series right back to its frantic stick-swirling, button-mashing roots. It’s a true return to form that can get genuinely raucous in the right company. There ain’t no party like a Mario Party, and with this Switch entry in the franchise, that’s no longer a backhanded compliment.

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Super Mario Party

The Jackbox Party Pack 3 (Switch eShop)

guides, nintendo switch, switch essentials, best switch games
guides, nintendo switch, switch essentials, best switch games

Publisher: Jackbox Games / Developer: Jackbox Games

Release Date: 13th Apr 2017 (USA) / 13th Apr 2017 (UK/EU)

This is a great option for anyone at your gathering that might find a controller intimidating. You’ll need an internet connection and a smart phone each for this one, but if you can get a decent group together, The Jackbox Party Pack 3 is a laugh riot for up to 8 players.

We’ve specifically chosen the third instalment in the series because it includes Quiplash 2, Tee K.O., and Trivia Murder Party — three of the most popular Jackbox games, which offer word-based funnies, drawing-based giggles, and trivia-based triumph. Something for everyone!

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Switch)

guides, nintendo switch, switch essentials, best switch games
guides, nintendo switch, switch essentials, best switch games

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo

Release Date: 28th Apr 2017 (USA) / 28th Apr 2017 (UK/EU)

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe delivers a huge amount of racing goodness that’s sure to please the crowd. The racing part is best-in-class and there’s plenty of tweaks available to make it accessible to all, whether they’re racing veterans or this is their first, motion-assisted encounter with the King of Kart Racers.

When you’re done with racing, the Battle Mode let’s you get into hilarious brawls as you hair around the arenas chasing each other with red shells and Bob-ombs. It’s a game that continually raises a smile and, occasionally, induces that trademark Mario Kart rage as shells strike and positions are lost. It’s addictive and unifying, unfiltered fun that draws in anyone daring enough to take up the wheel – absolutely perfect for a party.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

1-2-Switch (Switch)

guides, nintendo switch, switch essentials, best switch games
guides, nintendo switch, switch essentials, best switch games

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo

Release Date: 3rd Mar 2017 (USA) / 3rd Mar 2017 (UK/EU)

It might not have set the world alight when it released at the start of the Switch’s life, and it may have worked better as a pack-in title to showcase the unique features of the console and its Joy-Con controllers, but when played with a group of friends or family members 1-2-Switch is a proper hoot. What it lacks in longevity it makes up for with the sort of accessible social appeal that made Wii Sports a living room tradition for so many households all over the world.

This really is a party game – as in it requires the context of a social gathering to work properly – and if you’ve only tried it as a solo player we entirely understand if you found it underwhelming. In a group context, though, it really shines and if you can find it for a reasonable price, it’s well worth a go. You always fancied trying that HD rumble ice cube trick, didn’t you?

1-2-Switch

Just Dance 2023 Edition (Switch eShop)

guides, nintendo switch, switch essentials, best switch games
guides, nintendo switch, switch essentials, best switch games

Publisher: Ubisoft / Developer: Ubisoft

Release Date: 22nd Nov 2022 (USA) / 22nd Nov 2022 (UK/EU)

Just Dance 2023 is a sleek entry to the franchise that does exactly what it says on the tin. The series has been running for years now with very few changes, so Just Dance 2017 or Just Dance 2018 or Just Dance 2019 or Just Dance 2020 or Just Dance 2021 or Just Dance 2022 *breathe* will do just as good a job of getting people on their feet.

With 40 tracks included and more to purchase through the game’s subscription service, plus a handy category list that splits the songs between workout hits, party anthems, and chilled-out groove beats, you can create the dance playlist of your dreams.

Just Dance 2023 Special Edition (Download Code)

Just Dance 2023 (Code in Box)

Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes (Switch eShop)

guides, nintendo switch, switch essentials, best switch games
guides, nintendo switch, switch essentials, best switch games

    Publisher: Steel Crate Games / Developer: Steel Crate Games

    Release Date: 16th Aug 2018 (USA) / 16th Aug 2018 (UK/EU)

    One person’s got a bomb which needs diffusing while the rest have a printed (yes, an actual physical printout) manual with all the instructions you need to disarm the explosive. Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes is an absolute nail-biter of a party game. Obviously, you’ll need to have the manual prepared beforehand — it’s possible to use a PDF, but the game is far better then there’s random sheets of A4 flying around as you frantically search for the info you need.

    You’ll need to be in a condition to read while playing this one, so it really depends on the sort of party you’re throwing. Too many grown-up drinks can make negotiating the written word challenging, and when it’s a race against the clock, you don’t want to let the team down because you can’t focus on the page numbers. Otherwise, this is a blast.

    Runbow (Switch eShop)

    guides, nintendo switch, switch essentials, best switch games
    guides, nintendo switch, switch essentials, best switch games

    Publisher: Headup Games / Developer: 13AM Games

    Release Date: 3rd Jul 2018 (USA) / 3rd Jul 2018 (UK/EU)

    Runbow is a great example of a party game that can cater to solo and multiplayer preferences alike, and almost certainly deserves a cheeky purchase on Switch. It’s a party platforming game where the background regularly cycles through different colours, and all platforms that match this colour will disappear until it changes again. It’s great fun, with presentation to die for, and unlocking Nindie heroes through a really nicely put together adventure mode is the icing on the cake.

    However, the real beauty of Runbow as a multiplayer party game is that it supports up to 8 players, so the more the merrier (provided you’ve got the requisite number of controllers).

    Runbow Deluxe Edition

    Super Bomberman R (Switch)

    guides, nintendo switch, switch essentials, best switch games
    guides, nintendo switch, switch essentials, best switch games

    Publisher: Konami / Developer: Konami

    Release Date: 3rd Mar 2017 (USA) / 3rd Mar 2017 (UK/EU)

    Super Bomberman R is a no-frills entry in a series which had been dormant for far too long. The Switch’s unique focus on local multiplayer makes this a perfect fit. Support for Switch Pro Controller as well as single and dual Joy-Con play – along with local network and online multiplayer – make this the go-to multiplayer title for both old-school gamers and those who have never played a Bomberman before (really – just who are you inviting to these parties of yours?). Newbies will very quickly get into the frantic swing of things, so if you’re looking to share the joy with your friends, Super Bomberman R is as dependably explosive fun as it’s ever been.

    Super Bomberman R

    Rocket League (Switch eShop)

    guides, nintendo switch, switch essentials, best switch games
    guides, nintendo switch, switch essentials, best switch games

    Publisher: Psyonix Studios / Developer: Psyonix Studios

    Release Date: 14th Nov 2017 (USA) / 14th Nov 2017 (UK/EU)

    One of modern gaming’s true multiplayer success stories, Rocket League is a brilliant addition to the Switch party game line up. The core game is so addictive, so compelling, so enjoyable that it makes for a fine option for spectators as well as participants.

    As much as this is a game that rewards skilful play and perseverance, it’s also hilarious to watch when inept drivers take to the wheel and careen past the ball at breakneck speed as they get to grips with its 3v3 motorised football. It won’t take long before everyone’s hooked and the colour, speed and sheer fun of Rocket League make it a great choice to have on your party playlist.

    Rocket League Collector’s Edition

    Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Switch)

    guides, nintendo switch, switch essentials, best switch games
    guides, nintendo switch, switch essentials, best switch games

    Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo

    Release Date: 7th Dec 2018 (USA) / 7th Dec 2018 (UK/EU)

    Everyone is here! The beauty of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is that it caters to everybody, from the deep-diving series stalwarts who analyse each frame and peruse patch notes to the novice button-masher who’s simply excited at the chance to smash seven shades out of Pikachu.

    With its huge (and ever-growing) roster of famous fighters, there truly is something for everyone, and with support for up to 8 players, it’s a frantic, fantastic party game that should most definitely be ready and waiting on your Switch when your friends roll up fashionably late. Fight!


    Plug in your second controller and head to player page two for more party games…

    Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

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