The Best Open World Games On The Nintendo Switch

Open-world games are a dime a dozen in modern gaming, and the Nintendo Switch has some of the finest examples in the genre. From modern-day classics to reimaginings of classic Nintendo franchises, the Switch is host to a plentiful bounty of open-world adventures.

Switch gamers have access to some of the best open worlds in gaming in, quite literally, the palm of their hand. The novelty of having access to console-scale worlds on a handheld device hasn't quite rubbed off yet, here are the best open-world games on the Nintendo Switch.

Updated July 10, 2024 By Matthew Mckeown: Nothing beats an open-world game. The low-stakes wandering, taking everything in at your own pace, unraveling a mystery and finding secrets, and generally just immersing yourself in the environment. There are different variations on it and they all tend to be pretty great in their own right.

Nintendo has a proven track record with creating great open-world games and they’re pretty reliable when it comes to backing other studios or producing their own games. If you’re in the market for something that feeds your wanderlust, then check out our latest look at the best open-world games on the Nintendo Switch.

41 Tchia

A Magical Mediterranean Mystery

The Best Open World Games On The Nintendo Switch

Tchia

Released March 21, 2023 Developer(s) Awaceb Publisher(s) Awaceb

A gorgeous tropical open-world game from Awaceb, Tchia is reminiscent of Breath of The Wild through a colorful Carribean filter. Set sail around the beautiful archipelagos and discover magical islands, explore new locales, and meet strange new people and creatures whilst customizing Tchia however you like.

Or just use your enchanted Ukulele to summon items or just jam out. There’s special gifts that let you take control of animals and objects to explore, look for treasure, or complete quests. Plus, there are just tons of activities to do around these pleasant little spots. Highly recommended if you’re looking for a low-stakes open-world game to mess around in for hours.

40 Downward

Parkour Across The Post-Apocalypse

The Best Open World Games On The Nintendo Switch

Even though it launched in 2017, Downward from Caracal Games has returned once again with a brand new enhanced edition that’s worth checking out. For those familiar, Downward is a first-person open-world parkour game set on a post-apocalyptic Earth.

The environment has been rendered down into ruins and the game tasks you with exploring these wrecks to save what’s left of humanity. There are plenty of puzzles and parkour involved, deadly monsters and bosses as well as stat upgrades to improve your ability to clamber across objects like an adrenaline-fuelled monkey.

39 Fading Afternoon

Pixel Perfect Yakuza Punching

The Best Open World Games On The Nintendo Switch2

Things haven’t been going well for Seiji Maruyama in Fading Afternoon from Yeo. An ex-Yakuza and freshly released from prison, Seiji has to figure out how he’s going to fit back into society. Will he fall back on old habits, or forge a new path, it’s all up to you.

There are multiple endings, a wide open Japanese city filled with the classic tropes, tons of mini-games and some fun beat’em up gameplay sections to keep things exciting. Plus, don’t let its cutesy art style fool you, there are a lot of strong, dark themes dealt with in the story. If you loved the Sega Yakuza games, then you’ll enjoy Fading Afternoon.

38 Moonstone Island

A Cross Of Pokemon And Stardew Valley

The Best Open World Games On The Nintendo Switch

Moonston

Moonstone Island

Released September 20, 2023 Developer(s) Studio Supersoft Publisher(s) Raw Fury

An absolutely adorable open-world game that will look right at home on your Nintendo Switch. Moonstone Island from Studio Supersoft is a surprisingly in-depth creature collecting and life-sim game set against a backdrop of an absolutely gigantic world.

There are over 100 islands to explore, and on those strange locales are odd creatures and spirits that you’ll need to collect and tame through a unique deck-building combat system. Meet and marry NPCs, befriend over 70 spirits, and throw away your free time in the Infini Dungeon. Highly recommended and very well received, Moonstone Island is a must-play.

37 Pixelshire

Build Society Your Way

The Best Open World Games On The Nintendo Switch

Build and grow your own town in Pixelshire from Kappa Bits. A quaint and cozy open-world RPG meets sim game, Pixelshire lets your imagination go wild on a large scale as you craft, build, and create your town how you like.

Master a trade, meet new neighbors, or go out and explore the wilderness of Arcadia to bring home better materials for your growing community. NPCs bring new skills to learn, so you’re encouraged to play nice and meet the needs of your new tenants and there’s a lot of personalization that you can put into each home. If you like something that lets you tinker with your very own town, then pick up Pixelshire.

36 Outward

The Best Open World Games On The Nintendo Switch

An absolutely massive open land of Aurai awaits in Outward from Ninte Dots Studio. The game sells itself as an immersive RPG and it’s not wrong as it’s very easy to lose yourself in the environment and atmosphere as you’re bumbling around in a cave or taking long confident strides across the hills, dales, and fields of Aurai.

Forge your own path, spec your character how you want, and take on every hostile creature out there in any way you like. Whether that’s fist-to-face in combat or being sneaky and using hazards in the environment to your benefit. There are plenty of survivor stats to manage and lots of towns, cities, and tombs to ransack, explore, and strip for treasure. Trickier than you would think and more enjoyable than you would expect, Outward comes with a hearty recommendation.

Outward can be played solo or in co-op with friends if you prefer having a large party on your fantasy adventure.

35 Expeditions

The Best Open World Games On The Nintendo Switch

If you’re a fan of the in-depth off-roading experience of the Mudrunner and Snowrunner franchise from Saber Interactive then you’re going to feel right at home here. Expeditions is a slightly slimmed down but more action-oriented version of past games and if you like driving cars up big hills then it’s worth adding to your library.

The task this time around is to use a series of research vehicles to explore areas like a ruined Arizona or Carpathian mountains as you perform surveys, gather research materials, and perform other unique science tasks with high-tech tools. There are a ton of cars as usual, but the focus this time around is less haulage and more offroading with fancy gadgets. If you wanted more Mudrunner with less trucking, then this is the one worth checking out.

New cars and tech are still being routinely added to the game. So it’s worth regularly coming back to it to see if there’s anything new that’s been dumped.

34 Core Keeper

The Best Open World Games On The Nintendo Switch

An endless cavern of riches, rewards, and risks are at your fingertips in this unique open-world exploration and mining Early Acces game from Pugstorm. It’s a mix of Dungeon Keeper, Minecraft, and Terraria all smushed into one in a very pleasant, simple, and surprisingly satisfying indie game.

After waking in a long and forgotten cavern, it’s up to you to build up your base, mine resources, defeat giant titans, and get to the bottom of the mystery behind the Core. It’s a simple premise but there’s a lot of depth once you start carving into it, plus there’s a lot of space to explore. From lost towns, subterranean seas, islands, deserts and more all locked away under tons of rock that only you can dig up.

Core Keeper can be played on your own or with a group of up to eight friends at once.

33 Europa

The Best Open World Games On The Nintendo Switch

A low-stakes open-world game from a small group of Indie Devs, Europa carries a lot of Breath of The Wild energy for all the right reasons. You play as Zee, an android that’s stuck on the terraformed paradise on Europa as he tries to explore his new surroundings.

In the heart of a fallen civilization Zee will have secrets to uncover, puzzles to solve, and foes to fight as he learns the story of the last human being left alive on the planet. To help him get around Zee can glide and soar short distances through the air and there’s a lot of emphasis on momentum and using physics to get around or figure out tricky brain teasers. If you’re in the market for something that’s very pretty but has some relaxing low stakes, then check out Europa.

32 Master Key

The Best Open World Games On The Nintendo Switch

A streamlined and super simple top-down open-world adventure game from Achromi, Master Key is an adorable indie game that brings with it some nostalgic Super Nintendo-era Zelda energy mixed with an adorable fox protagonist in the same vein as Tunic. And it all works exceedingly well.

It’s adorable and thoroughly enjoyable in its simplicity and since none of the story is gated and the land is open from the start, it’s up to you to figure out how it all pieces together as you forge your own tale. There’s a ton of enemy variety, lots of unique weapons to discover or buy, and secrets and dungeons to discover all wrapped up in 20 hours of gameplay that you’ll struggle to stop playing. It’s low-priced, highly recommended, and chock-full of things to do, so check out Master Key.

The developer continually pushes that this game has no ‘hand-holding’. So if you find it a little obtuse at times, that’s why.

31 Unicorn Overlord

The Best Open World Games On The Nintendo Switch

Released March 8, 2024 Developer(s) Vanillaware Publisher(s) Sega , Atlus $60 at Nintendo eShop

From the minds behind 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim comes Unicorn Overlord, a tactical RPG in a brilliantly drawn fantasy art style. Embark on an adventure to regain your royal reign with a cast of unique characters that you’ll need to ally yourself with in order to secure your kingdom.

There’s a massive vibrant land to explore and you’ll need to use the terrain of this world to your advantage as you position your troops. There’s over 60 unique troops ranging from normal lads in armor to Elves, Angels, and even huge beasts that will tear apart enemy formations. Master diplomacy, plan your rise to power, and leave none standing in your wake as you make your way to the top.

Unicorn Overlord is a huge enjoyable time sink , so don’t go into it expecting a generic and fast fantasy RPG. You’re going to be there for a while.

30 Kingdom Come Deliverance

The Best Open World Games On The Nintendo Switch

An unexpected port of a game that took the gaming community by storm with its uniqueness, Kingdom Come Deliverance has finally made the jump to the Nintendo Switch. Avenge your parent's death as Henry, the son of a Blacksmith and survivor of an attack on his village that saw all his friends and family slaughtered.

Join the resistance against the invasion as you explore and thrive on a massive map set in Medieval Europe. Each storybeat can be solved in your own way and combat is unique and tricky to master but satisfying once you do. Plus, there are plenty of perks, skills, and upgrades for your gear to unlock as Henry works his way up the proverbial Medieval ladder of life.

Kingdom Come Deliverance is a historically accurate game. So expect a lot of medieval grime and unexpectedly educational moments.

29 Passing By: A Tailwind Journey

The Best Open World Games On The Nintendo Switch

Travel through the open blue skies to floating islands filled with quirky characters and brain-teasing puzzles in Passing By: A Tailwind Journey from Studio Windsocke. You play as Curly, a red hood-wearing woman and aspiring Balloonist who delivers the mail.

One day a mysterious letter comes in and what follows is an adventure into the unknown. Manage the intricacies of your Airship as you travel between islands, manage and collect resources to keep your boat afloat, and solve puzzles as you progress through this wholesome world that’s full of these airborne archipelagos.

Your Airship can be fully customized with attachments and whimsical colors that meet all tastes.

28 Pentiment

The Best Open World Games On The Nintendo Switch

Released November 15, 2022 Developer(s) Obsidian Entertainment Publisher(s) Xbox Game Studios

A hand illustrated Medieval mystery game from Obsidian Entertainment, Pentiment dives right into the accurate odd art of that old period in history. In a time of religious and political upheaval, you follow the steps of Andreas Maler, an artist who becomes immersed in murder, intrigue, and scandal.

Set in the Bavarian Alps, Pentiment is absolutely gorgeous and its animation has this great comic strip aesthetic to it that you can easily become immersed in. The tale constantly twists and turns, plus there are multiple ways events can play out. So it’s always worth stepping back into the shoddy shoes of Andreas to see how different the story can get.

Pentiment got a lot of positive reviews on a number of platforms, so it comes highly recommended by critics.

27 Haven

The Best Open World Games On The Nintendo Switch

A romantic game from The Game Bakers that follows two lovers lost on a planet in far-flung space, Haven is an anime-inspired survival game that will hit you right in the heart hard. A brilliant and vibrant action RPG, Haven is a story-rich experience that’s worth checking out.

You play as Yu and Kay, who left behind everything to start fresh in a far-off world. However, the planet is filled with monsters, but they’re not too difficult to deal with when the pair work together. Your ship needs to be fixed, your home needs to be made more cozy and there are recipes to learn to spice up your evenings. It’s a heartwarming tale that will hook you right from the start and it went down well with a lot of critics.

A nice touch in Haven is that both the couple's genders can be changed in the beginning.

26 Tunic

The Best Open World Games On The Nintendo Switch15 Released March 16, 2022 Developer(s) Andrew Shouldice Publisher(s) Finji See at Nintendo eShop

An adorable Zelda-esque game that puts you in the boots of a cute Fox warrior who has to explore the land, recover ancient powers, and defeat horrible and tough monsters. It’s a surprisingly challenging isometric game whose art style is an absolute highlight.

Combat is tight and technical, the world is sprawling and filled with plenty of unique areas to keep things fresh and there are some pretty big boss fights to sink your teeth into. There are plenty of secrets to find and a soundtrack from Lifeformed that will get stuck in your head for hours afterward.

25 Dragons Dogma: Dark Arisen

The Best Open World Games On The Nintendo Switch

A critically acclaimed classic that brought a lot of great game mechanics to the table, Dragon’s Dogma is a solid action RPG worth checking out. You play as the Arisen, fresh off a Dragon attack you set off on a quest for vengeance and glory.

There are nine unique classes to dig into and three different starter classes that can all be subclassed and customized to your heart's content as you go along. To keep you company as you delve into dungeons there’s a unique Pawn system that allows the summoning of other player-created NPCs. Plus, there’s a sequel.

There’s also a Dragons Dogma animated show that roughly covers the plot of the game.

24 Dying Light

The Best Open World Games On The Nintendo Switch

So far there has been no better blend of Parkour and Zombies than Dying Light. Stuck in a city that’s besieged by the undead and other viral mutants, you play as Crane, an agent of the GRE who’s been sent into the quarantine zone around Harran.

Crane is undercover and through the help from local survivors he plans on finding Kadir Suleiman, a political figure turned rogue dictator who has important information on the viral epidemic. Complete tons of quests, craft powerful melee weapons and outrun the incredibly terrifying Volatiles that roam the streets when the sun goes down.

Dying Light would have a less-than-successful sequel, but the DLC of the original is worth checking out as it s out Crane's story in a very odd way.

23 Red Dead Redemption

The Best Open World Games On The Nintendo Switch18 Released July 21, 2023 Developer(s) Nintendo Publisher(s) Nintendo

The latest in a fan-favorite series, Pikmin 4 brilliantly recaptures the beauty, brutality, and charm of leading an army of incredibly tiny minions in a big hostile world. Olimar and crew are back, but this time things are different as everyone is much more prepared.

Joining them on their adventures are a bunch of brand-new Pikmin. Including some elemental and even flying types, there’s also an adorable alien canine companion that’s both packhorse and battering ram as well as a larger crew of characters that you can Hot-Swap between on the fly. Whether you’re a returning fan or a first-timer, Pikmin 4 has something for everyone.

Pikmin 4 brings back the classic "Remaining-Days" Timer. Though you can operate at night now, you only have a finite amount of time to get things done before the game ends, so plan ahead.

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