If you’ve been at this for a while, you probably remember the days of gaming magazines and free demo discs. You had no say in which games you received, you’d often have to make do with the first level or two, and the games usually came locked down with a time limit.
Still, free is free. And, other than crude sites filled with questionable flash games, this was the only way a gamer on a budget could get by in the world. But times have changed.
No longer do you have to buy the magazine (or risk the wrath of the store’s security guard by helping yourself. You know who you are). No longer do you have to take what you’re given, on the hope that at least one out of the handful will be something you’re into. And no longer are you contained to your living room when taking advantage of your free games.
The Switch is Nintendo’s latest example of their dominance in the realm of portable gaming. What you might not be aware of, however, is all the fun you could be having without spending a penny.
So clear some space in your Switch’s library, because we’re taking a look at the best free Switch games you can get right now from the Nintendo eShop.
If you want something similar we also have stuff on the best free PS4 games and the best free games for PC, too.
The Best Free Switch Games
1. Fallout Shelter
You know those games where you start playing, just to check it out, and before you know it the clock is showing 7am and the mailman is staring at you in judgement through the window?
Fallout Shelter offers an impressive amount of depth for a free game. If micromanagement is your thing, you’ll be happy to find there’s a lot to do here, all of it delivered with a post-apocalyptic twist and classic Fallout quirks.
Fans of Bethesda’s massively-popular series will find a refreshing way to enjoy the Wasteland here, and those new to Fallout can enjoy the atmosphere and dark humour without being mauled apart by a deathclaw.
Acting as an Overseer for Vault-Tec, you’ll be responsible for a small society of Dwellers who ech come with their own talents and abilities. Fallout Shelter requires you to be pulling all of the strings, from influencing the love lives of the Dwellers to protecting them from raiders.
War is hell, but managing your own shelter is fun. And free.
Developer: Digital Extremes
Publisher: Digital Extremes
First released in 2013, Warframe has earned a loyal fanbase through combining the best elements of RPGs, shooters and stealth games. And sleek cyber-ninjas.
Once you’ve created and customized your very own Warframe, you can head out solo or team up online with three others, taking to massive areas filled with hordes of enemies. You choose how you want to complete each mission, depending on your preference for guns-blazing or stealth.
It’s a beloved title which has retained an active community of players due to its immersive mechanics, ongoing support, and the fact that it has managed to stay away from a pay-to-win model. While perks and upgrades can be purchased, everything in-game can be earned without an unreasonable period of grinding.
There’s a lot more to say about Warframe – but you should really just go check it out for yourself. It’s quite possibly the most expansive experience you can have on your Switch for free.
3. DELTARUNE: Chapter 1
Developer: Toby Fox
Publisher: Toby Fox
You may be familiar with Undertale, the indie RPG which came out back in 2015 and quickly became regarded as a cult classic. The follow-up, DELTARUNE, is now available for free on Switch – well, the first chapter anyway.
Though not a sequel to Undertale, developer Toby Fox recommends that Switch players give it a play-through before jumping into DELTARUNE. Though the graphics have a distinct (and awesome) retro style, the game provides a deep story which I won’t spoil here – as even the opening character creation sequence will catch you off guard.
The second chapter has yet to be released, something that might not surprise you when you find out that the opening chapter alone took years to develop. If a 16-bit RPG which is equal parts cryptic and delightful sounds like a fun time right now, go do yourself a favour and download the first chapter of DELTARUNE.
Developer: Blue Mammoth Games
Well, this is turning out to be a pretty diverse list. So, in the spirit of diversity, let’s talk about Brawlhalla. Itching to play Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but not wanting to drop the money on it just yet? Then look no further – Brawlhalla has you covered.
As you may have guessed, the point of the game is to knock your opponent off of the stage. It won’t take you long to get to grips with the controls, and there are eight characters on rotation to choose from, which are swapped out regularly. You can of course purchase a character for permanent use – but we’re working on a budget of zero here, and there’s plenty to use for free.
Unlike most fighting games, the learning curve for Brawlhalla is not steep at all. There’s also a variety of game modes, so you can take your newfound skills online or challenge a friend locally.
5. Color Zen
Developer: Cypronia/Large Animal
Look, I’m not going to get into a whole debate on what constitutes a video game here. Color Zen is meant to be a meditative, relaxing experience in which you crack puzzles through matching colours and shapes.
There’s not much to say really, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. You can’t lose, because there’s no score and no penalties, but you can relax with the simple controls, calming soundtrack and pretty colors.
One of the perfect free Switch games for those who need a distraction during a bumpy flight or noisy train ride.
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