Open world games are defined by their emphasis on exploration and experimentation, allowing players to experience the world in an organic, challenging way. The best of them keep players coming back for more, always offering a little bit more depth and a strange new mystery to discover. Sometimes the story is secondary to this sense of wonder and excitement, but that doesn’t mean these titles can’t have a fantastic tale to tell. If you’re looking for a great open world game for the Switch, here are our top picks.
What are the best open world games for Nintendo Switch
Being able to explore a game world both at home and on the go is one of the best features of the Nintendo Switch, offering players more flexibility when playing open world games. The system’s hardware sometimes struggles to keep up with the most demanding titles, but there are still plenty of open world titles to play on the Switch.
Don’t Starve is a highly addictive open-world survival game that is challenging and unforgiving. The central mechanic is scavenging for resources and equipment in the unforgiving wilderness. There is enough exploration involved that players will be able to spend hours looking for the right materials and not get bored. The Switch version is one of the best ways to play the game, allowing players to sink dozens of hours into the simple but comfortable gameplay.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Though it has become something of a punchline for the number of ports and remasters Bethesda has put out of Skyrim, it is still one of the best open-world games of all time. Skyrim offers beautiful vistas, a high-fantasy story to discover, and the freedom to approach the game in whatever way you want. This game set the standard for open-world games when it was first released and remains incredibly fun on the Switch.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
It is no surprise to see Breath of the Wild on this list. It is one of the best games in the Legend of Zelda series, but the latest title offers more emphasis on exploration than ever before. Whether you’re finding all the Korok seeds or simply want to see what is on top of that mountain in the distance, there is plenty to find in Breath of the Wild. The fact that players are still discovering new tricks five years after its release is a testament that this game is deep and alive.
Saints Row IV: Re-Elected
Though it was originally a cheap imitation of Grand Theft Auto, the Saints Row franchise eventually found its footing as an outlandish, silly, and beautifully over-the-top game. This port of the fourth title in the series is an open-world game where players take control of the superpowered President of the United States as he fights off an alien invasion with the help of his street gang allies. It isn’t as deep or as polished as some games on this list, but it is still deeply fun and worth playing on the Switch if you haven’t yet.
The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt
Long considered impossible to port to the Switch, The Witcher 3 is one of the most technically demanding games on this list. Admittedly, the textures aren’t as polished as on the PlayStation or PC versions of the game, but all the gritty charm of Geralt’s journey is there for you to enjoy. The Witcher 3 has a great story, even better characters, and some of the most fun and vibrant worlds to explore. If you don’t mind the game running slightly slower than on other platforms, this is easily one of the best open world games you can find on the Switch.