[Top 15] Best Nintendo Switch Ports

Best Nintendo Switch Ports
Triple A games that fit in your pocket

Despite it being the least powerful of the 8th generation consoles, the Nintendo Switch has some incredibly impressive titles that really test the limits of the hardware. 


It is not just Nintendo exclusive titles that impress however. No, the Nintendo Switch library is full of incredibly ambitious ports from the more powerful consoles. 


I have omitted Nintendo licensed titles from this list (e.g. Breath of the Wild) since these games are often better known for their Switch ports. My list is made up of 3rd party titles, some of which should have never made it on the Switch.


I rank the following games on two main criteria: 1) how visually impressive they are 2) how appropriate they feel on the Switch.


15) Okami HD (PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, Microsoft Windows, Xbox One)

Released back in 2006 on the PS2, Okami is low on this list due to the software it was originally running on: the Switch, even in handheld mode, is more graphically impressive than the PS2, so it is no miracle to see it running well. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not a great port.

Okami is an action adventure game with a cartoony, Japanese aesthetic. The story draws from Japanese mythology and follows a white wolf named Amatseru on his quest to save the world from a mystical darkness. 

Okami puts an emphasis on exploration and has great fighting gameplay, but it really shines in the puzzle sequences. Early on in the game, Amatseru receives the Celestial Brush power, a magical ability which allows the player to draw on the screen to solve environmental puzzles. For example, lily pads can be drawn on screen and used as platforms to cross rivers.

This game mechanic was and remains original. It really encourages the player to consider the environment as something adaptable to their objectives. Since the Switch has a touch screen, the drawing is more fluid than ever before, and adds a great deal of creativity to puzzle solving in Okami.

The game has an absolutely timeless art style. This, along with the more natural Celestial Brush feature make the Switch port the ideal way to play Okami HD.


14) Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled (PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One)

It might be a slightly bold claim, what with a certain racing Italian plumber amongst the competition, but Crash Team Racing is the best kart racer money can buy on the Switch.

A remaster of the 1999 PS1 classic - along with virtually all the content from the 2003 PS2 sequel - Crash Team Racing is a hard game to put down.

The main gimmick of CTR is the drifting mechanic, which is hard to master, but endlessly satisfying when you do. It has been tweaked slightly for the 8th generation, and the controls feel as good on Switch as they do on the Xbox One and PS4.

The game also looks incredible. CTR is an intensely colourful and detailed game, but every minute detail has been recaptured in this mightily impressive port. The tracks are some of the most memorable in any racing title ever.

Once you are done mastering the story mode, CTR boasts hours of additional content. On top of a near endless cycle of unlockables (carts, characters, skins, paint jobs), for the first year after the games release, new tracks, characters and time trials were added to the game in the Grand Prix mode for free. 

In an age of micro transactions, CTR bucked the trend and really seemed to care about its audience. 

This would’ve been much higher on the list, but the end of the Grand Prix days have had an effect on the online matchmaking, which is where the game really shone.

Regardless, CTR provides hours of fun and is hardly distinguishable from the versions on other consoles.


13) Spyro Reignited Trilogy (PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows)

Nostalgia gaming is so powerful that developers could throw a £50 price tag at a Switch port of a  Nintendo 64 game without any updates and we’d still bite their hands off for it (I’m looking at you, Mario 3D All-Stars). 

Luckily for us, Toys for Bob have gone above and beyond in recreating both the Crash and Spyro games from the PS1 era. The new visual style donned in the Spyro world maintains that childlike, fantastical wonder that made the original trilogy so impressive all those years ago.

I have opted for the Spyro trilogy here as the game’s HUB world is more technically impressive on the Switch than the overworld menu in the Crash trilogy.

Spyro Reignited includes the first three Spyro games in full, with a fully rebooted graphics engine, new cutscenes and voice acting. Non playable characters, such as the dragons you save in the first title, are more fully fledged out here, as well as being genuinely charming .

This one doesn’t rank higher because, although it looks stunning on Switch, it is arguable that a childlike, fantasy  art style is much easier to recreate on the Switch than something with more realistic graphics, like…


12) L.A Noire (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One)

How, just how?

Being able to play Rockstar’s detective action game on the go is a true testament to the Switch’s power.

Released back in 2011, L.A Nore was visually stunning. Besides the 1940s Los Angeles aesthetic being spot on, the game also makes use of top of the line facial animations, most noticeable in interrogation missions.

The game sees you play as Cole Phelps, a war Veteran and LAPD detective, solving a string of crimes. The gameplay involves puzzle solving at crime scenes, interrogations, chase scenes, and shootouts. On top of this, L.A Noire boasts an open world and 1940s vehicles to navigate it in.

Although the game still looks good today, its open world is a little lacking, and the driving remains awkward. A little more care and attention to these elements would have seen it slide a little higher up this list.

Despite this though, L.A. Noire is an open world Rockstar game on the Nintendo Switch. Sure, it is a port of a 2011 game and not GTA V, but the mere fact that this even exists is testament to the powers of both the Switch and to handheld gaming more generally.


11) Cuphead (PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, macOS, Macintosh operating systems)

Originally released in 2017 for the Xbox One, Cuphead is a rubber hose animation style 2D boss battle/run and gun game. At its release, it won many fans due to its intense but fair gameplay and its unique visuals. 

Somehow, just 2 years on, the unthinkable happened; Cuphead, a Microsoft exclusive, came to the Nintendo Switch.

This game is absolutely perfect for the Switch. Although the game is hand drawn to perfection, it is not particularly gruelling to run. Meaning, the version of Cuphead we’ve got on the Switch is no worse than its Xbox One counterpart. However, this is also why the game isn’t higher on my list.

The creative boss battles are a marvel to behold, and one of the best games the Switch has to offer. 

Cuphead is often on sale on the Switch Estore, and is an absolute blast. Plus, playing it in handheld mode really seems to capture the retro feel the game developers were aiming for.

If you’re going to play Cuphead for the first time, then the Switch may well be the best place to do so.


10) Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch)

Like L.A Noire - and other games to come on this list - playing Wolfenstein on the Switch is a bit of a pinch me moment. 

Wolfenstein II:The New Colossus is a triple A title that you can carry around in your pocket. It is the second game in the BJ Blzkowicz series, and packs even more of a punch than the original title, also ported to Switch.

As you plow through futuristic Nazis, attempting to liberate America from Irene Engel and co, you will be surprised at how smoothly this thing runs. Loading times are the same as on consoles, the environs impressively maintain all details. 

The developers obviously worked with limited software, but wherever they had to make cuts, it’s not noticeable on this port.

The first game in the series is also well worth it, but the more bombastic story and gameplay in the sequel earn it a respectable spot on my list.


9) Burnout: Paradise Remastered (Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Playstation 4)

Burnout is another game that just seems tailor made for the Switch. Like Cuphead, Burnout is one you’ll have fun with whether you’re playing for 5 minutes or 5 hours.

Originally released in 2008, Burnout Paradise is an open world racing game with driving controls that to this day stand up.

My favourite thing to do in Burnout is play Crash mode - now known as Showtime mode, which gives the player bizarre scenarios to cause the biggest crash in. Think of Skate’s Hall of Meat mode, but with cars.

The remastered version throws in the DLC and a great deal of polish. The online community is surprisingly active too.

This one is so much fun to play, and I’d like to put it higher, but the fact that it retails at a staggering £50 seems like a kick in the teeth.


8) Dark Souls Remastered (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5)

Oh, Dark Souls, you can do no wrong. 

The action role playing series has a heavy emphasis on exploration and trial & error: as you, an undead spirit, trail through a massive world, you will come up against countless enemies and puzzles that will not be beaten intuitively. 

Dark Souls encourages players to understand the game’s mechanics, which might sound a little tedious, but slaying a mighty monster after multiple attempts is oddly satisfying.

The gameplay itself is a blast. The RPG elements and combat still feel natural today, a decade after the original release.

Considering how epic the scale of Dark Souls is, it might shock you to know that I haven’t noticed any slow down whatsoever. Fighting graphically complex enemies or taking on a hoard of smaller foes is not too overwhelming for our handheld console. 

Load times aren’t as bad you as might expect. 

This one handles really well, and would actually be much higher on my list, if not for the incredibly low lighting in game.

Yes, Dark Souls is a gloomy title, but this can be a little ridiculous at times. If you wanna take this one on the go, then you better have some shade nearby.


7) Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Cloud Gaming, Nintendo Switch)

The motion capture and sound design in this one are to die for. Hellblade oozes atmosphere, and is one of the most engrossing games on this list.

Initially released back in 2017, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice follows the story of Senua, a warrior who fights her way through a Norse mythology inspired landscape to save her dead lover from a goddess.

This game is atmospheric. There is no HUD, beautiful environs and a lot of psychological horror. Senua believes that she suffers from a curse, which makes her hear voices. This schizophrenia element is actually incredibly well done. I will avoid spoilers, but the player will be totally engrossed in this one.

Hellblade looks beautiful on the Switch, and at a decent price considering other titles on the console, it’s one you really should pick up.


6) Borderlands Legendary Collection (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch)

The cell shading style of Borderlands might make it slightly easier to translate to the Switch’s limited hardware, but the series has had troubles with pop in textures on more powerful systems. 

When it launched, it’s fair to say there were no complaints. Borderlands 1, 2 and the Pre-sequel all came to the Switch looking silky smooth. Even though there’s a lot going on at once in the Borderlands titles, the Switch port itself doesn’t seem to suffer from any frame rate drops. 

The game is excellent to revisit in solo, but if you can find some friends to play along with, then Borderlands is that much better.

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past 15 years, Borderlands is a FPS with looting and RPG elements. It’s cell shaded world is a joy to behold and the gameplay is beyond addictive. There are literally millions of weapons to find in the Borderlands games, meaning every playthrough will be a totally unique experience.

This one often goes on sale, but even the retail price is fair when you consider all the DLC that is thrown in.


5) Doom Eternal (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows, Google Stadia)

If you thought Doom 2016 was too good to be true on the Switch, then just wait til you get your hands on Doom Eternal.

In Doom Eternal, you once more play as the Doom Slayer as he goes on a rampage, slaying demons from hell. There are a range of new enemies to fight in this game, and a whole load of new weapons and perks.

The gameplay is smoother than what we saw back in 2016, as well as being a considerable graphical upgrade. 

The Switch can handle Doom surprisingly well. The heavy metal soundtrack does a great job at capturing that Doom tone.

Both online and offline,  Doom Eternal is a blast to play, and arguably the best FPS money can buy on Switch.


4) Alien Isolation (Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Linux, OS X, Nintendo Switch)


This list is full of great ports, but Alien Isolation is the only game here that actually looks better on the Switch’s limited software than elsewhere. No, seriously!

Somehow - you tell me - the image quality is better here than on the PS4. Yes, the Switch port came out a few years after the PS4, and some new lighting techniques may have been discovered in that time, but this doesn’t get talked about enough. The PS4 was lauded as a powerful machine with stellar graphical capacities, but the pocket sized Nintendo device has a port that looks better.

That fact alone is stunning. It looks so clean, even in handheld mode, and the atmosphere is perfectly recaptured.

If you’re not sold yet, then I suppose I ought to tell you what the game’s about instead of just raving about how it looks.

Inspired by RIdley Scott’s masterpiece, Alien Isolation sees you play as Amanda Ripley, daughter of Ellen Ripley from the first movie. You go out to space after the flight recorder from your mother’s ship is discovered. The story is paced immensely, and I don’t want to spoil anything, but the encounters you have with the xenomorph are some of the tensest moments in gaming.

This is survival horror at its best. It really feels like there is death round every corner, and the manual saving system ramps up the fear factor.

Alongside the story mode, Survival Mode provides a great set of challenges that task you from getting from A to B, outwitting the xenomorph. 

The benefits of a Switch port are handheld mode, but with Alien Isolation, it actually looks better too!


3) Skyrim (Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows)

Earlier on this list, I bemoaned the fact that the empty world of L.A. Noire’s 2011 release sadly wasn’t fixed in the Switch port. 

The same cannot be said about Syrim on the Switch. Like it was at release, the land of Skyrim is densely populated with characters, monsters, quests, and a thousand other things to keep you busy. 

Yes, the gameplay engine is slightly dated now, but that doesn’t mean the game isn’t still a hell of a lot of fun ten years on. Just the core campaign itself will absorb you for weeks, and with the rest of the DLC thrown in here too, you’re in for a good time. Prepare not to socialise for a while.

I personally think the game looks as good as it did when it initially came out on Xbox 360 and PS3. It runs at a solid 30FPS and at 720p in handheld mode.

The fact that Skyrim is on the Switch really seems like a statement from Nintendo: handheld gaming is capable of delivering triple A experiences and delivering them well.

It should go without saying, but you can easily sink hundreds of hours into Skyrim. This one’s a must have for all Switch owners.


2) The Witcher 3 (Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch)

Okay, this is more impressive than a PC running Crysis back in the day. 

The fact that I can carry The Witcher 3 around in my pocket is astonishing in and of itself, but it actually plays well too! 

Sure, it is only running at 540p when in handheld mode, but I don’t think anyone expected the visuals to be exactly the same as on more powerful consoles.

This marginal graphic drop is forgotten about quickly enough though when you see how smoothly this thing plays. In my playthroughs, I haven’t noticed a single frame rate drop, or any excruciatingly long loading screens that certain Switch ports seem burdened with.

For those of you out of the loop, The Witcher games are based on a series of novels by Andrzej Sapkowski and have you play as monster hunter Geralt of Rivia. 

With the amount going on in this game - you can put 100s of hours into this one easily - it is absolutely shocking that this game is on the Switch without being a complete train wreck. There are ports a lot smaller that run a lot worse than this one (ahem, Outer Worlds…)

Yes, this is the most impressive Switch port we have seen to date, but a modicum of bias means it doesn’t top our list.


1) Bioshock Collection (Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, Xbox One)

The Bioshock series was one of the defining moments of the 7th console generation. It was the perfect blend of engaging, intelligent and dynamic storytelling, with innovative and punchy FPS gameplay.

The series is known for its larger than life stories, so it is an absolute delight to see them on the Switch. It really shows the ambition of Nintendo for their handheld console to be taken seriously.

Being able to play Bioshock on the go is one thing, but the fact that these are remastered versions of all 3 titles is just stunning. The visuals - most notably the glorious colour palette of Bioshock infinite - remain beautiful on Switch. 

For those of you who need it, Bioshock is a series of dystopian first person shooters, dealing with grand themes such as objectivism and quantum mechanics. It’s refreshing to see these themes in gaming, which is often painted as a much more shallow and 2D art medium.

In all three titles, special abilities and fun RPG elements come together to create a gaming experience like no other.

With all the DLC included - most notably Minerva’s Den and the Burial at Sea episodes - the Bioshock Collection on Switch is the best thing since sliced bread. 

Yes, you might argue the open world games on this list are more impressive, but I think just having Bioshock on the Switch is a massive sign of the Switch’s power and ambition to be taken seriously. Having one of the best games ever in your pocket is not a bad state of affairs, to say the least.

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As a Philosophy graduate and published creative writer, I write about gaming from a fresh and original perspective. I like browsing bookstores and reading when I can get away from Hyrule.
Gamer Since: 2002
Favorite Genre: Sports
Currently Playing: Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Top 3 Favorite Games:Bioshock Infinite, Crysis 2-Maximum Edition, Grand Theft Auto V

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