Developer: Garena, Timi Studio Group Publisher: Tencent Games
A big hit in the mobile gaming market, Arena of Valor has been optimised for the Switch so that any fan of MOBAs can jump straight into the action.
Described by the devs as “Free to Play Forever”, Arena of Valor currently has almost forty heroes, with more on the way. From 5v5 team battles to 1v1 duels, there’s everything here you’d expect from any good MOBA – including the classic roles of Tank, Assassin, and Support, and new features such as the Hook Wars mode.
If the titles so far haven’t made your download queue yet, maybe this one will. Keeping in the spirit of genre diversity, Onigiri is an action MMO set in an alternate ancient Japan filled with aspects of Japanese mythology, as well as a mix of Eastern and Western monsters.
There’s also an anime series which coincides with the game universe, involving a hero surrounded by eight beautiful women who fight demons together. The game itself incorporates a unique partner system, in which the player is accompanied by eight NPCs with their own abilities and “affection levels”.
So, if Japanese folklore and a harem of bodyguards sounds like your thing, go check out Onigiri.
Developer: Hi-Rez Studios/Evil Mojo Games Publisher: Hi-Rez Studios
Have you ever wished for an Overwatch* port to the Switch? Or maybe just any team-shooter inspired by Team Fortress 2, ideally one which you don’t have to pay for?
Well, developer Hi-Rez Studios has what you need. Paladins covers all the bases which you’d expect from a team-shooter; individual heroes with unique special abilities, three separate classes which complement each other on the battlefield, and vibrant and over-the-top visuals.
Like a lot of free games these days, there’s always the opportunity for players to drop their hard-earned cash is they so wish. Doing so will allow you to choose from the entire roster of heroes, instead of the limited free-to-play option. Still, if you’re curious whether Paladins will scratch that team-shooter itch, it won’t cost you anything to give it a try.
Full disclosure before I get you all excited about this one: Tetris 99 is only free for Nintendo Switch Online members. If you haven’t made the leap to Nintendo’s online subscription, maybe this is the push you need.
Just when you think there’s no way they can repackage these old classics for a current-gen audience, developer ARIKA comes out of nowhere to reignite that Tetris addiction you kicked decades ago. The basic gameplay is the same, but there’s a distinct new twist.
The battle royale craze shows no sign of slowing down, and Tetris 99 proves that the genre is not limited to shooters. It’s you against 99 other Tetris players in a last-man-standing competition, with the speed and difficulty increasing gradually to wean out the weak until only one person is left.
Not only is it super-addictive and undeniably gratifying, but it also opens up the door to further expansion on the battle royale formula. Considering that the majority of these games tend to be free, this is exciting news for the future of low-budget gaming.
10. Fortnite: Battle Royale
Developer: Epic Games Publisher: Nintendo
Come on, you knew this was coming. Whether you’re a fan, a hater, or someone who’s never played a second but has watched in confusion as all the kids in the grocery store dance in unison, I couldn’t make this list of the best free Switch games without including Epic Games’ battle royale hit.
Fortnite steamrollered the world when it blew up, escaping the confines of the gaming world and confusing parents everywhere. A big part of that is that Fortnite costs nothing more than the time it takes for you to download its many updates.
Though certainly not the first of its kind, Fortnite brought battle royale to the mainstream in a wave of cartoony graphics, purchasable skins, and a growing catalogue of merchandise that would make even the developers of Angry Birds blush. I should mention here that although it’s free to download and play, Fortnite can, technically, cost a small fortune for those easily susceptible to microtransactions.
But if you’re fine with rocking the default character amidst a battlefield of techno dancers and viking warriors, you have yourself an immersive multiplayer game for your Switch. Whether you’re teamed up with a regular squad or you just like to jump in solo, Fortnite is one of the best free Switch games.