Best multiplayer Nintendo Switch games

Social isolation and distancing forces families to endure each other. Provide some friendly, or not so friendly, competition with these multiplayer games.

Nintendo Switch

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With COVID-19 forcing families to retreat into their homes for extended periods, boredom sets in. Siblings, parents, and couples are stuck with little to do in their isolation. Video game sales and internet usage are already on the upswing as isolated gamers turn to their preferred platforms to fight off the monotony. Local and online multiplayer offers trapped players the chance to bond with family or interact with distant friends. The Switch is a unique platform that frequently combines local and online multiplayer options in their games.

Best multiplayer Switch games 

Nintendo is good at many things: quality gameplay, charming characters, cute graphics, stellar visual design. Local multiplayer has been a strong suit since the early iterations of the industry. Now, with the internet and the increasing amount of socially isolated gamers in the world, the Switch excels in both local and online multiplayer games. So whether you’re stuck with your family or home alone looking to own someone in a friendly match, here are the best multiplayer games on the Nintendo Switch.

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Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Mario Kart has a long history of testing relationships along Rainbow Road. Perhaps you’re looking to settle an argument over who is doing the dishes this evening, or if you’re looking for some friendly competition with that annoying sibling, Mario Kart 8 will give you the perfect opportunity to prove you were right all along. Known best for local multiplayer, the game also offers online multiplayer options to connect with friends.

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Super Mario Maker 2

Want to make others suffer? This is the game. Give other players a challenge by creating impossible levels. Super Mario Maker 2 is the Switch sequel to the first game that brought out the sadistic side of creators. Nothing is impossible. Rising lava with a dragon? Go for it. Players can upload their creations for others to play and enjoy. Or hate, depending on the difficulty.

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Super Mario Party

For a company that wants players to interact and play together, Nintendo makes a lot of relationship-straining games. Super Mario Party is no Mario Kart 8 Deluxe in terms of difficulty, but watching your friend get all the best rolls as you circle the same small block of the board will have you rip your hair out. But it’s all in good fun. The game is designed around local multiplayer, providing the best experience for those in the same room. If you find yourself stuck with family during the pandemic, this is a good option.

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Mario Tennis Aces

Mario Tennis Aces is a little more niche than previous entries. And perhaps a little less intense. More along the lines of the old Wii Sports games, Mario Tennis Aces puts players against each other or team up against the computer in a tennis match. There’s an odd, tennis-themed story mode as well.

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Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

The ultimate brawling experience. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is one of the best games on the Nintendo Switch and a fantastic installment in the series. Returning and new characters fight it out in a variety of arenas, pitting their unique skills against each other. While more competitive players might find it infuriating, online and local multiplayer is a good time sink for anyone looking for some friendly competition.

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Pokkén Tournament DX

If you like the idea of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but want more PokémonPokké Tournament is like Street Fighter meets Super Smash Bros. meets Pokémon. The result is an enjoyable multiplayer fighter game featuring some of your favorite ‘mons. Some are better than others, but even the lower-tier monsters can be fun to utilize in battle. Tiers don’t matter much in a friendly, local competition. It’s an older game with an established, competitive base, so be ready to encounter them should you venture into online play.

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Luigi’s Mansion 3

Luigi’s Mansion 3 has an enjoyable local multiplayer component, but it takes some time to get to it. Players hoping to play with a friend, yes, a single friend, will need to complete the beginning section and unlock Gooigi. After unlocking that ectoplasmic doppelganger, a second player can hop in and take control. There are some puzzles that only Gooigi can solve, others for only Luigi, and others that require both parties. If you’d like a break from the competitive environment from the previous listings, the story mode will offer some enjoyable bonding. There is another arcade area where more players can join and play minigames.

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Splatoon 2

Splatoon is one of the cutest and most colorful franchises for the Nintendo Switch. A bit like if Overwatch or Fortnite was based on highly aggressive paintball instead of bullets, the game is charming and enjoyable with light competitive air. Players also have the option to join a ranked or competitive mode.

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Animal Crossing: New Horizons

A more recent addition to the library, Animal Crossing: New Horizons puts players on a deserted island, putting them in perpetual debt to a raccoon, but don’t worry, it’s enjoyable. This is a mostly solo venture, but players are free to travel to their friends’ islands, buy from their shop, steal their resources, and trade goods. There’s something very charming about playing alongside your friends in this game. No competition to speak of, just showing off your cute house and friendly villagers.

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Fortnite Battle Royal

Fortnite may not be a Nintendo exclusive title, but it’s a big one. Fortnite remains at the top of the charts on Twitch for a reason: it’s fun. Players can join friends from all over the world by partnering for duos or squad modes, which can be a boon in these socially distant times. It is highly competitive if the streamers are any indication, and new players may struggle amongst seasoned veterans. It’s a quirky battle royale game where players build up forts to defend themselves as the circle slowly closes them into a smaller and smaller arena. Visually, it excels where many other battle royales have failed: it’s colorful with Disney-like character shapes and designs. And llamas. Lots of llamas.

The Nintendo Switch offers much in the way of multiplayer games. While big titles like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild are the face of the platform, other games do exist, and they thrive on this flexible gaming system.