The Nintendo Switch OLED is the greatest Switch system you can buy right now. It’s not a must-have for those who already own the original Switch, but it’s the model to grab if you haven’t yet. You’ll want to uncover the greatest Switch OLED games to play once you get one.
Many existing Switch games just appear better on the new 7-inch screen, with richer colors and deep contrast on offer, thanks to the evident boost of an OLED display. Smaller improvements, such as stronger speakers and a better kickstand, can all contribute to make the Switch a more premium gaming experience.
Best Games For Nintendo Switch OLED
1. Alien: Isolation
The first five minutes of Alien: Isolation are far and away better than any part of last year’s horrifically disappointing Aliens: Colonial Marines, thanks to a sleek beginning that incorporates nostalgic voiceover and busted-tracking-on-the-VCR visual effects.
But after 15 to 20 (!) hours with the mano-y-xenomorph survival horror show, I wish I’d just stopped after the first half-dozen. That’s not to say Isolation is as terrible as Colonial Marines, but it commits the same crime: it’s a great notion that, in practice, not only outstays its welcome but also goes on for so long that it almost totally erases any sign of the fun I had previously. Which is a very different kind of horror than I had anticipated.
Isolation makes an immediate impression, not only because of the aforementioned intro but also because its graphic direction and sound design faithfully recreate the atmosphere of Ridley Scott’s original 1979 picture. This is something I can’t emphasize enough.
Isolation did its homework in the A/V department, from the DOS-based “futuristic” computers and their scan-lined CRT monitors to the fear-inducing, violin-screeched symphonic score. The use of fog to create an ambient effect is my favorite component of the presentation.
Isolation looks and sounds like it belongs in the Alien universe, from the wisps of smoke that billow out of air vents to clouds of white mist that obscure your eyesight when you rewire an area’s life-support systems to aid your covert objectives.
Given that this is a survival horror game, the alien appears and causes havoc a little later than I expected. I excused myself from feeling intimidated for the first hour since it seemed only fair to allow Isolation time to establish its setting, tone, concept, and characters.
Amanda is endearing, with a tough-as-nails demeanor that is reminiscent of her mother, Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley.
Isolation gets its stride after the xenomorph begins stalking you across the dark and gloomy Sevastopol space station. It is, by design, an extremely stressful game to play.
Because nearly all of your hunter’s movements and behaviors are unscripted, you never know if it’ll leave you alone for minutes at a time, climb into the ceiling ventilation ducts and then drop back down, or sniff around the room you’re hiding in for three minutes, requiring you to wait it out.
The serial-murdering lifeform will charge and kill you at the least sound, light source, or sight of you. It’s unaffected by your weapons, including items, shotguns, flamethrowers, and homemade Molotov cocktails and pipe bombs. In reality, only the last three of these can annoy the alien enough to make it leave the area briefly.
The safest route of movement is generally a slower, quieter hunched trek from locker to storage cabinet to under a desk, but as you’ll learn, the alien’s unpredictability is both Isolation’s greatest strength and its most catastrophic flaw.
In Isolation, a typical encounter goes like this: you get a warning pulse from your painstakingly replicated motion tracker, then you hear the unnerving sound of the alien spawning into the area as it drops in from an overhead air duct.
You hide in a locker, storage cabinet, or under a desk, stare at your motion tracker until the creature departs the area, and then move as quietly as possible toward your next goal.
That formula works to tense, rewarding effect for the first several hours of gameplay. Yes, you’ll die – a lot, if you’re like me – but Isolation effectively keeps the pressure on during this honeymoon phase.
The only method to save your progress is to use manually triggered, wall-mounted telephones, thus getting to the next one feels like a tiny victory in and of itself, and getting stabbed by the alien before you can pick up the receiver feels like a tragic failure.
The clomping of the alien’s footsteps, the bassy whump of it skittering around in the air vents above you, its angry shrieks and hisses, having to lean back and hold your breath as it sniffs for you while you’re hiding in a locker, inches away from its acidic spittle – they all contribute to Isolation’s ability to keep you uncomfortable while trying to get off the Sevastopol.
A slew of timed hacking minigames that must be completed while the thing lurks around every corner is also terrifying.
Rather of presenting you with a new gameplay twist, Isolation, like so many other games before it, spends hours forcing you to run a boring gauntlet and deal with everything it’s thrown at you so far, including human, android, and extraterrestrial adversaries, all at the same time.
As I was crouched still and out of sight in an air duct, fright turned to frustration as I was killed from behind for the hundredth time. The survival-horror thrills of the campaign’s early hours have been utterly and irreversibly lost. Even when you finally – finally! – get to the end, it’s a letdown that doesn’t fully compensate for the 15-20 hours you just put in.
On paper, Alien: Isolation seems to be the ideal Alien game, and for the first few hours, it appears to deliver on its promise thanks to its amazing art and sound, which faithfully recreates the mood of the iconic horror picture.
Instead, what was supposed to be the Great Xenomorphic Hope ends out to be yet another failure for a property with so much potential for interactive entertainment.
2. Bayonetta 2
I couldn’t help but notice how much better Bayonetta 2 looks and plays than its predecessor – or most other action games, for that matter – right from the action-packed moments of its brilliant prologue. Incredibly, Bayonetta 2 only improves from there.
She sashays, punches, postures, and kicks her way through an excellent 10-hour campaign packed with magnificent setpieces and deadly angels and demons with the grace, grace, and precision of a runway model. Bayonetta 2’s free-flowing combat remains its strongest asset, building on the virtues of the first Bayonetta. Each punch, kick, and weapon swing leads to the next inspiring move with ease.
Everything moves at 60 frames per second (it never slowed down), and its sequel feels supercharged thanks to fantastic animation, more opportunities to cancel out of strikes mid-move to evade, and fun new weapons to unlock, such as the Rakshasa swords and the Chernabog scythe. Each has its distinct feel and branching combos that can be mixed and blended to set a variety of play styles.
It’s exciting to pull off long attack chains on a group of enemies, and it seems natural to execute combos. Witch Time, a slow-motion payback for evading at the last second that lets me dig in and crush angelic adversaries, provides a tangible reward for well-timed dodges.
I had lots of methods to shame the opposition once I factored in the new Umbran Climax – a high-power release of demon-summoning strikes that strike in a broad radius. My strikes could send them reeling no matter how big they got (and Bayonetta 2’s enemies get huge).
Bayonetta, on the other hand, isn’t overpowered. The enemies should not be underestimated even on normal difficulty. From small flying underlings to huge bosses, each enemy class has its attack patterns and unique tells that require and reward your attention.
Each boss has a distinct visual style and no two act in the same way. Valor, a flying boss with gold armor that makes him look like an angelic knight, fights in a very different way than Urbane, a ground-based foe with dual fiery gauntlets. I never feel like I’m battling the same adversary for too long or too often because of the constant enemy variety.
Successful last-second dodges trigger purple-hued slow-motion moments, while Angelic minions, with the sculpted appearance of fabled statues, have a shimmering gold effect that indicates they’re about to attack. This kind of clear visual language helps me make quick decisions, allowing me to confidently evade and attack enemies with a powerful offense.
The thorough scoring system encouraged me to set higher goals and try new combos and moves. Each chapter assigns you a score based on your playtime and combo prowess, with penalties for items or continues utilized.
With great prizes like score boosts and more gold to spend on new methods, accessories, amusing Nintendo-themed outfits, and items, it motivates you to do better.
The presentation and gameplay of Bayonetta 2 are intended toward diehard action enthusiasts, but it also tries to appeal to casual novices, with mixed results. To send an A.I.-driven Bayonetta into an attack, the GamePad-focused touch control option uses easy taps, holds, and swipes.
Although the alternate control system is a nice feature, it doesn’t hold up well when there are a lot of enemies on screen because the camera struggles to keep up. Regardless, you’ll have to learn the conventional control scheme after a few hours – and you should since it’s great.
There’s also an online-only, scenario-based co-op feature that makes Bayonetta 2’s terrific combat even better. Each one may be obtained by finishing sections of the main campaign, and they reduce combat to smaller area battles with a group of enemies or even bosses. They’re entertaining, but the action only lasts two or three minutes.
Bayonetta’s wicked weaves, which are transformations incorporating tremendous demonic abilities, punctuate the end of action sequences, frequently skewering enemies in ridiculous death traps.
With brutal enemy-munching routines, they create some of the most spectacular moments. After a stressful fight, mashing buttons as a Godzilla-sized demon is transformed into demonic lunchmeat for one of Bayonetta’s minions is a pleasant climax.
Bayonetta 2’s outstanding combat is bolstered by excellent art direction and tempo, both of which make Bayonetta 1 look bad in contrast. Missions never stop adding new enemy kinds to fight across bustling cityscapes, picturesque mountain towns, and stylized renditions of Heaven and Hell.
Bayonetta’s shapeshifting skills are aided by level designs that allow you to charge through a platforming area as a panther or swim through underwater areas as a sea serpent.
It can also be used in combat. I can quickly change and reduce the spacing between opponents I fight on the ground, in the air, and underwater by double-tapping the dodge button.
Bayonetta 2 is polished and focused in every way. The wording can be silly at times, but I still enjoy how it plays. That’s how good the tempo and combat are. By the end, I was convinced: this sequel builds on the original’s strengths and provides one of the most rewarding action games I’ve ever experienced.
3. Catherine: Full Body
There’s nothing quite like Catherine’s fever dream, even eight years after its first publication. It’s still a fantastic mix of dynamic block-pushing puzzle elements and a gripping love narrative about the deadly consequences of betrayal.
Catherine is a half action-puzzle platformer, part graphic novel, and part dating sim for the uninitiated. Its odd plot unfolds over several days and revolves around the tumultuous love life of Vincent Brooks, who is at times frustratingly stupid but deep down good-hearted.
Vincent is in a solid but unfulfilling relationship with Katherine, his longtime high school crush, and is having difficulty committing to the next step.
When Vincent meets Catherine, a blonde stunner who provides a new relationship option: one that isn’t encumbered by the great stress and expectations for the future that comes with being with Katherine, this simple setup puts you on a roller coaster of emotion.
Catherine’s story is a high point, offering a dark and adult storyline that shapes itself around the type of person you want Vincent to be. Throughout Catherine, you’ll be presented a variety of moral questions, such as “does life begin or end at marriage,” and your choices will have an impact on not only the story’s outcome, but also how Vincent reacts to major events.
It asks a clever take on the “light side/dark side” feature that was popular in games around 2011, in that it asks your alignment based on questions you answer rather than questions your character answers.
Catherine, on the other hand, has a frustrating habit of presenting very dramatic scenarios that appear difficult for Vincent to escape with his relationships intact, but then suddenly ending them before anything is addressed.
When Vincent hears Catherine’s voice, for example, a lunch between Katherine and Vincent becomes highly tense; when she begins to make her way to the smoking area where he is, Vincent walks to the lavatory, and the scenario ends.
It’s as if the writers wrote themselves into a corner and then chose to just put a period in the end and move on to the next page, leaving both me and any satisfactory conclusion to that build-up hanging.
There are a few other such moments, but if you can get past them, Catherine is still a fascinating character. Its characters are endearing and realistic, and with the inclusion of Rin, they get even better in Full Body. Atlus did an excellent job of not making Rin’s story feel grafted on to Catherine’s main plot.
It’s seamlessly integrated into the existing tale. Rin begins working as the Stray Sheep Bar’s resident pianist after being saved by Vincent from a mysterious pursuer and also moves in as Vincent’s next-door neighbor. Rin then appears in cutscenes at the bar and Vincent’s apartment complex regularly, with new sequences and re-recorded transitions that make Rin feel like a true member of the group.
Catherine’s plot is great, but it’s the ridiculously deep and satisfying puzzle gameplay that has me coming back for more. Vincent transforms into a sheep-man at night and is troubled by nightmares that you must play through to make it to the next day.
Conquering the nightmare is a fantastically furious adventure in which you must quickly scale a tower by pushing and pulling individual bricks to make stairways and bridges, all while avoiding traps, hazards, and other nasties.
Catherine keeps my head running on all cylinders as a few other puzzle platformers do once the towers start to get a little more complicated and the hazards start to get a little more dangerous. Whether it’s the anxiety of slowing down to figure out how to rectify a mistake I’ve gotten myself into or the thrill of going on a roll and climbing 50+ stories without pausing.
The puzzle design is incredibly adaptable and allows for a lot of creativity. There’s nothing else quite like it. Full Body adds a Remix Mode for those eager for a new challenge, which introduces big Tetris-like blocks that must be moved all at once or are sometimes unable to be moved at all.
The remix is worth playing through for a new experience, and it really increases the complexity by introducing extremely awkward blocks, but I still prefer the old form.
Remix mode can be inconsistent, with some levels that function well, others that have relatively simple layouts that need little thought, and still others that are so puzzle-heavy that they feel like they only have one solution, losing the improvisational element that makes Catherine so unique.
While the largest additions to Full Body are Remix Mode, Rin, and a new alternate ending for both Catherine and Katherine, there are also several quality of life enhancements. You can now toggle on and off the retry assist option, which allows you to undo the last move you made before dying rather than being sent straight to the game over screen.
It’s a great alternative since it means you won’t have to see that screen a million times and because it makes updos into a precious commodity rather than just something you use until you realize you’re in too deep with your error and have to hit retry.
There’s now a ton of new music from various Atlus games that you can unlock and play in the Jukebox (including some choice songs from the fantastic Persona soundtracks), the Rapunzel arcade game has a new set of levels, and there’s also a fully equipped online competitive option.
Unfortunately, despite all of these tremendous advancements, the voice that still exclaims “New Record!” every time you take a new step in Babel will not be silenced.
Catherine is a timeless classic, and Full Body does a great job of bringing it back to life with new content and minor modifications. It’s a great place to start if you haven’t seen the original from 2011.
Rin’s excellent story arc, remix mode, online multiplayer, and the plethora of new puzzles maybe a little too familiar for those who already experienced everything Catherine had to offer eight years ago, but there’s still value to be had with Rin’s excellent story arc, remix mode, and online multiplayer.
Doom is all it should be when it’s at its best: a single-player campaign with just you, your super shotgun, and just enough ammunition to kill every demon on Mars. As you feverishly try to gather health pickups to keep going, a swarm of demons snaps at your heels, it feels like you’re playing a Doom game.
It’s exhausting, exciting, and a little silly, and once you’re into it, you’re completely immersed. Doom is, at its worst, a repetitious set of enclosed rooms packed with demons that you must kill to progress, accompanied with a derivative and poorly thought-out multiplayer option.
Doom hits all the right notes on first impressions. The Union Aerospace Corporation’s Mars research center is stained with the blood of employees who have discovered a new meaning for the word “wrongful termination,” but that doesn’t seem to bother the mysteriously mute Doomguy, who kills anything that moves.
Developer id Software cleverly exploits these executions to sustain momentum while you play, taking them directly from the still-popular Brutal Doom mod for the original Doom. An executed adversary will drop health packs, which are essential in a game where your health does not recover outside of combat.
The purpose of those health kits becomes obvious as you make through the UAC facility: They let you charge into combat (Doomguy’s baseline mobility speed is a steady run) and kill as many enemies as possible.
If you suffer too much damage or run out of ammunition, you may easily recover by staggering demons and performing an execution, which restores health and eliminates a threat while expending less ammunition.
Executions teleport Doomguy a short distance to his target and make him temporarily invincible while they’re carried out, making them great for two slightly off-the-beaten-path makes: getting a moment of ironic peace in the middle of a firefight, and teleporting yourself loose when you clip through the floor (which happened to me more than a few times).
The demon infestation on the facility is the result of time’s worst business plan – robbing Hell of its energy resources — and security safeguards mean that most doors are locked if any demons are still alive. Kill chambers are relics of a bygone era of shooter design, designed to confine you and compel you into a specific playstyle.
Whereas games with regenerating health encourage players to hide and kill enemies one by one, Doom encourages you to chart out a course through the chamber in search of health without ever becoming overwhelmed.
It’s a design concept that goes against the execution system’s nature. Glory Kills encourage you to go towards enemies to narrow the distance and collect health pickups, whereas the kill chamber map type encourages you to move backwards.
Moving backwards through the chamber, away from the enemies, and doing damage as you go is the ideal tactic. Doom’s AI isn’t particularly intelligent, but you can count on it to approximately converge on your location (even if it can’t see you and shouldn’t).
So, if you run in circles around the kill chamber, shooting behind you and dodging projectiles, you can kill the majority of the enemies inside – only when the herd of Demons has been thinned out can you start rushing forward and killing them by circle-strafing (running around them in circles).
It may seem strange, considering I’ve complimented Doom for how old-school it feels, and circle-strafing in kill chambers is a classic old-school feature. However, spaces like this were created in an era when enemy AI wasn’t capable of the shockingly frightening strategies that we see in today’s shooters.
In Doom, it appears to be more of a crutch; if the enemies were capable of more complex tactics and collaboration, the shooting would be more exciting, and I wouldn’t need to be imprisoned in a room to want to kill everything in sight. That isn’t to say it’s horrible, but it’s Doom’s lone ace in the hole, and it doesn’t take long for it to wear thin.
Depending on which of the eight weapons you employ, the quality of the shooting varies. The Super Shotgun is incredible — so amazing, in fact, that by the end of the campaign, I was only using other weapons to replenish shotgun ammo.
The stunning finish on the double-barrel gun retains the historic vibe of previous games while delivering a strong punch across a broad spread, making it ideal for dealing with the larger enemies you’ll see hundreds of times.
The Rocket Launcher, on the other end, feels underpowered and superfluous. The Rocket Launcher doesn’t seem worth the work to draw, especially once you’ve modified the Heavy Assault Rifle and the Combat Shotgun to have explosive alternate fire options.
Because you receive all the weapons very early (especially if you’re exploring for undiscovered locations), weapons sharing ammunition between archetypes – like the Plasma Cannon and Gauss Rifle both requiring plasmoids – is an unusual concession to nostalgia.
Because I was afraid of burning all my Super Shotgun ammunition on the weaker of the two guns, I confined my employment of weapons like the Combat Shotgun to inadvertent weapon switches.
The BFG 9000, of course, makes an appearance and takes up an unusual position in the armament repertoire. The BFG has its own dedicated button (T or Triangle) that emphasizes its importance in your arsenal by being moved away from the weapons wheel.
When you fire it, it vaporizes everything in a wide radius: green ionic charges arc from the first opponent you hit to every other demon around, and gibs quickly fill the air like confetti at an environmentally irresponsible parade. The BFG is supposed to be a fast-charging Win Button, and that’s exactly what it is. Doom is a story about two separate shooters (and one quirky creation tool).
The single-player campaign’s respectful adoration of the series’ heritage culminates in an old-school run-and-gun shooter that feels like a Doom rip-off, a cover of an old hit that hits all the right power chords but isn’t exactly transformative.
The multiplayer’s attempts to revive the old while borrowing from the new result in an experience that will not satisfy either school of thinking. SnapMap, on the other hand, is a strange mix of basic and charming.
5. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
All of this is included in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, as well as all previously published DLC and some new features. That means you’ll receive 48 great courses and 42 unique characters, including brand-new characters like Bowser Jr.
and the Splatoon Inklings, as well as some cool extras like the insanely fast 200cc speed class. Every circuit, character, and mode are unlocked straight away, allowing you to hop right in and start racing.
Smart Steering, a new function designed to help rookie players stay on the road, is the one oddly handled addition. It’s not a bad idea to think about beginners when designing a game like Mario Kart, but Nintendo elected to leave Smart Steering on by default, and it’s not immediately evident how to turn it off in the menus.
Aside from that unpleasant peculiarity, this is a high-quality kart racing with a lot of material. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe looks great on the Nintendo Switch as well! It’s exactly as beautiful in 2017 as it was in 2014, and the graphics have endured the test of time thanks to great art direction.
The course designs, in particular, are fantastic – I particularly enjoy how Mario Circuit twists and bends like a Mobius strip. Even redone tracks, such as SNES Rainbow Road or F-Mute Zero’s City, offer a lot of detail that you can see whether you’re playing on a handheld or on a TV.
If you play on a single Switch with three or four players, the framerate drops from 60 to 30 frames per second, but that’s hardly a dealbreaker when the racing looks this amazing.
The updated Battle mode is the main incentive to pick up Mario Kart 8 Deluxe if you already own the Wii U edition. Nintendo introduced five clever objective-based modes, each with its own competitive angle to the game’s eight different arenas. Balloon Battle requires you to use items and strategic placement to score points by popping your opponents’ balloons.
Shine Thief is a zany, action-packed take on the classic game of stay away. Bob-bomb Blast is a high-octane, over-the-top brawl. However, I wish I was more driven to play Coin Runners. Gathering or stealing coins from others is fine, but it’s not nearly as exciting.
Renegade Roundup’s tense fight-or-flight aspect is the game’s best attraction. It’s a timed mode in which a team of outlaws attempts desperately to dodge a squad of Piranha Plant officers until the timer runs out. If a teammate is grabbed, you can release them with some deft driving, but if you’re the last man remaining, you risk being caught and losing the match.
This creates dramatic make-or-break situations that, with the proper team, can be truly spectacular. You can play against bots of varied intelligence in any of these modes, but the true enjoyment is found online.
On the other experience, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s online suite on the Switch is still as barebones as it was on the Wii U. Some of the enhancements are noticeable, such as the speed with which you may enter a game and the ability to swap characters or karts between races.
However, in comparison to other systems, the Switch still feels inconvenient because you must connect with pals via external means (such as your phone). It’s also inconvenient because you can’t ask players to join your matches.
Given that this is Switch’s first major online multiplayer game, it’s frustrating that so little has been done to improve the experience. It’s still a beautiful kart racer that’s as as addictive as it was back in 2014. This is the best entry so far in the series, and it has all of the information you’ll need.
Returning players will be familiar with the game, but the revamped Battle mode and its five great ways to play are compelling reasons to pick it up. Nintendo should have done more to make the online experience, but the rest of the game is solid.