Just taken the plunge and shelled out for the top-of-line Nintendo Switch OLED model? Good for you – now you just need to figure out which games to buy for it. After all, you don’t just want the most popular games for the standard Switch. No, you’ll want to stock up on the best Switch OLED games specifically.
But how do you choose? After all, every title in the Nintendo Switch’s 5,000+ strong library of games is compatible with the OLED model. So the real challenge is to pick games that make the most of the Switch OLED’s upgraded capabilities – particularly its larger, brighter, higher-contrast screen.
Fortunately, we’ve got you covered with this round-up of the best Nintendo Switch OLED games. The titles on this list were chosen not only because they’re a blast to play, but also because they get the most out of the improved console’s specs. The entries are also ranked so that if you can only afford to buy one game for your Switch OLED, you can be sure you’ve chosen the best of the best.
The Best Switch OLED Games
10. DOOM (2016)
Developer: id Software / Panic Button
Pretty much everyone agrees that Panic Button performed a minor miracle when it ported id Software’s DOOM (2016) to the Switch. Somehow the developer made this then-current gen, AAA title run on the Switch’s relatively modest hardware, which meant Nintendo diehards could now play one of the best FPS games of the last decade just like everybody else.
But even the DOOM Switch port’s most ardent admirers would admit this version of the game is markedly less impressive when viewed on a large TV screen. As such, the best (some would say only) way to play it is in handheld mode, since the smaller display largely compensates for the blurriness caused by the port’s aggressive use of dynamic resolution. At the same time, a shooter like DOOM can be tricky to play on a smaller screen – which is why the game is best-suited to the Switch OLED model.
The OLED’s bigger screen at least partially makes up for the loss of screen real estate that comes with playing on the go, without highlighting DOOM’s graphical shortcomings, either. Better still, the brighter OLED display means the game’s red-heavy colour palette is more vibrant and its more shadowy environments much sharper than on an LCD screen, too.
Panic Button also handled the Nintendo Switch port of DOOM’s equally-acclaimed 2020 sequel DOOM Eternal and, like its predecessor, it’s a worthy addition to any OLED owner’s game library, too.
9. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
First-party Switch titles are renowned for overcoming the console’s hardware limitations with best-in-class design and art direction. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe exemplifies this fact – particularly when you play it on the Switch OLED. All of this beloved racing title’s 32 tracks (48, if you fork out for the DLC) positively shine on the OLED’s display, especially psychedelic, high-contrast circuits like “Rainbow Road (N64)”.
The same goes for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s character models and special effects. Everything from the bright hues of the racers’ outfits to the explosive impact of the game’s dreaded Blue Shells is twice as vivid on the OLED. The newer model Switch also boasts a much better kickstand than its vanilla counterpart, which is a must-have when playing a multiplayer-centric game like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe in split-screen mode.
This is a scenario where the OLED’s larger display and improved speaker also pay dividends – and is further proof of why Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and the OLED are such a great fit.
8. Hollow Knight
Developer: Team Cherry
Publisher: Team Cherry
Indie Metroidvania action-adventure outing Hollow Knight was one of the critical darlings of 2017, and it still plays just as well five years on. Sure, the game is punishingly difficult, but the boss fights never feel cheap and there’s a genuinely rewarding feeling that comes with mastering the well-tuned gameplay mechanics. Besides, the tougher the game, the longer it takes to finish – which means Hollow Knight represents some of the best value for money around.
But what makes Hollow Knight one of the best Nintendo Switch OLED games on the market? Two words: light and darkness. Hollow Knight’s sublime 2D graphics are built upon the interplay between these two visual elements – and the Switch OLED caters to this contrast better than any other model. Then there are the game’s hard-edged cartoony sprites, which also look much crisper on the OLED’s display versus the standard and Lite models’ LCD screens.
Honestly? There’s no better way to experience Hollow Knight than on the OLED.
7. Splatoon 2
Splatoon 2 is all about colour. The whole point of this innovative family-friendly third-person shooter is to coat the battlefield in as much ink as possible. And thanks to the Nintendo Switch OLED model’s brighter screen, Splatoon 2’s colours now pop like never before. In particular, players who favour the game’s trademark hot pink or electric green “ammunition” are in for a particular treat, since both hues practically leap off the OLED’s display.
Yet as much as Splatoon 2 is about colour, it’s also about fun – which probably explains why it’s one of the best-selling Switch games of all time. General consensus is that the game is never more entertaining than in multiplayer mode, and again, this plays to the strengths of the Switch OLED.
The OLED’s larger screen makes it easier to target paintable surfaces, while players who forgo headphones will find the rapid-fire sound effect of their ink gun is decidedly more satisfying pumping out of the console’s enhanced speakers.
6. Dark Souls Remastered
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Full disclosure: Dark Souls Remastered on the Switch lacks the visual polish of the versions released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. But the Switch port has one major advantage over these other, more graphically-accomplished editions of the game: it’s portable.
That’s ultimately what makes Dark Souls Remastered a must-buy title for any model of the Switch – the opportunity to play one of the greatest (and most notoriously difficult) games of all time on the bus, at your local coffee shop, or anywhere else you fancy.
But what makes Dark Souls Remastered one of the best Switch OLED games specifically? You guessed it: it’s that bright, contrast-friendly screen again. The Kingdom of Lordran can be a gloomy place, so much so that the vanilla Switch’s LCD screen makes it hard to explore (much less fight) at times.
The same doesn’t apply when you play Dark Souls Remastered on the OLED model, however. The display’s greater contrast and richer colours mean you’ll stand a far better chance of emerging from even the most dimly-lit garden, courtyard or sewer unscathed.
5. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Arguably the greatest Nintendo Switch game ever made, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is best enjoyed in docked mode and displayed on the biggest screen possible. Yes, there are issues with the game’s frame rate in handheld mode, however, these are negated by the greater visibility and option to use the more precise Pro Controller that comes with playing on a TV screen.
That said, Breath of the Wild is still very playable in handheld mode – especially if you own the Switch OLED. This is thanks to the OLED’s 7-inch screen, which makes navigating the sprawling world of Hyrule that much easier than on the standard Switch’s 6.2-inch screen, or worse, the Switch Lite’s comparatively tiny 5.5-inch screen.
Breath of the Wild also happens to be one of the best-looking Switch games yet released, and its lush anime-inspired graphics are even prettier on the OLED model. Any activity you can think of – from admiring desert sunsets atop one of Gerudo’s seven heroine statues, to horse rides across the beaches of the Necluda Sea – is twice as, well, breathtaking when you play Breath of the Wild on the OLED.
4. Tetris Effect Connected
Developer: Monstars Inc., Resonair, Stage Games
The Tetris franchise is famous for its blocky, low-fi graphics – not exactly the kind of visuals you think of when you’re shopping around for the best games on the Nintendo Switch OLED. Fortunately, Tetris Effect Connected spices up the puzzle series’ classic minimalist aesthetic with some of the most jaw-dropping visuals around.
The playfield in this updated spin on Tetris is superimposed over stunning, vaguely-trippy “zones” that slowly emerge out of a plain black backdrop. These vistas (which comprise everything from tranquil forests and oceans to majestic celestial bodies) look uniformly gorgeous on the bright OLED display, as do the various particle effects used to add extra life to each zone. The inky background is twice as dark (and twice as sublime) on the OLED, too.
Toss in Tetris Effect Connected’s addictive gameplay – which somehow manages to reinvent Tetris without breaking the beloved puzzle franchise’s tried and tested mechanics – and, frankly, there’s no excuse not to own it.
3. Luigi’s Mansion 3
Developer: Next Level Games
The contrast between light and dark is a recurring theme on this list – and with good reason. It’s one of the main areas where the Nintendo Switch OLED model outshines (literally) both the standard Switch and the Switch Lite. Because of this, games like Luigi’s Mansion 3 – which are built around shadowy environments and nifty lighting effects – were always going to feature heavily among the top picks.
Of course, Luigi’s Mansion 3 has more going for it than merely its impressive light/dark contrast. The third-person action-adventure game is (like the other first-party titles on this list) blessed with the kind of strong visual design sensibility that’s almost tailor-made for the OLED’s enhanced screen. The luminous ghosts, reflective mansion floors, and heck, even Luigi himself all look that much sharper and shinier on the upgraded Switch.
Best of all, Luigi’s Mansion 3 is an absolute blast to play – boasting inventive puzzles, varied level design and inspired gameplay mechanics. Whether you come across this title at full price or on sale, your only reaction should be (to quote Luigi) “Okie dokie”.
Developer: Supergiant Games
Publisher: Supergiant Games
Every colour looks better on the Nintendo Switch OLED model, but red is the hue that really stands out on the console’s improved screen. So a title like Supergiant Games’ 2020 roguelike Hades – with its hellish, crimson-heavy palette – can’t fail to look even better on the Switch OLED’s display.
What’s more, the finer details of Hades’ celebrated cel-shaded graphics are far crisper on the Switch OLED, just as the flat black areas of each map are that much, well, blacker. This was already an eye-catching game on the standard Switch and the Switch Lite but on the OLED model? It’s so good-looking, it’s downright devilish.
Hades also takes full advantage of the Switch OLED’s larger screen, which is a literal lifesaver when the game’s hack-and-slash combat gets especially chaotic. Sure, you’ll still die countless times on your journey through the Underworld, but it won’t be because you couldn’t keep track of the action, at least.
1. Metroid Dread
Developer: Mercury Steam, Nintendo
There’s a reason why Nintendo chose Metroid Dread as the quasi-launch title for the Switch OLED: because there’s no better example of what the new model’s hardware is capable of. Pretty much everything the OLED does well is present and accounted for in this 2D action-adventure game (except for the improved kickstand).
Colours that pop? Look no further than the neon bursts of Samus Aran’s laser cannon and dash attacks. High contrast environments? The game is full of shadowy corridors and laboratories backlit by volcanic hellscapes, lightning-streaked skylines and the like. Audio that makes the most of the OLED’s high-quality, in-built speakers? Wait for an EMMI robot to show up and you’ll instantly notice how much better Metroid Dread’s distinctive sound design is on the OLED.
Some critics have even suggested that Metroid Dread is more satisfying in handheld mode on the Switch OLED than it is when played in docked mode on even the best of TV screens. And if that’s not enough to sell you on this game, nothing is.
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