From the moment we first saw the Nintendo Switch, it was advertised as being a device tailor made for socializing. The portability, plus the fact that each Joycon can be used as an individual controller, make it the easiest console to bring out for some quick multiplayer fun. As a company, Nintendo has always been focused on making games fun and social experiences first and foremost, and it’s certainly exemplified this ideology with the Switch. However, not every game on the Switch is suitable for a party environment. These games need to be more than just multiplayer games, but also titles that are easy for anyone to pick up and play.
The first party lineup of Switch games contains a majority of the best party games. Obviously, no one knows their hardware better than Nintendo, and it’s gone out of its way to craft some perfect party games that even people who don’t traditionally play games can have fun with, similar to the Wii previously. That being said, there are way more games on the Switch that can be perfect for small and large gatherings of friends and family. If you want to spice up a party with some games, here are the best party games for Nintendo Switch.
OK, you may say this one is obvious, but it even has party in the name so we couldn’t ignore it! Super Mario Party is the newest entry in the series that started all the way back on the N64. There’s hardly anyone out there who hasn’t played at least one round of a Mario Party game, being the video game equivalent of a board game. The version on the Switch isn’t quite at the same level as the more beloved games in the series, but that kind of works in its favor. The smaller boards, more forgiving mechanics, and intuitive mini-games make it an easy game to jump into.
Super Mario Party is about as perfect of a party game as you can get. The basic concept of rolling dice to move around a board toward a goal is a universal concept everyone knows, and each mini-game is simple, quick, and easily understood. You’re hardly ever asked to do more than one or two things at a time, and there’s no penalty for losing. Sure, there’s still that element of luck that can feel like it’s targeting one player a little too favorably, or unfavorably, but as long as everyone doesn’t take it too seriously, Super Mario Party is a super way to party.
While we’re on Mario, and we’ll of course be back, another fantastic game to bring out is the endlessly fun Mario Maker 2. The major selling point of this game is the ability for users to design and share their own Mario levels, or even worlds of levels, with others. While the creating aspect is more suited to a single person, playing levels is a blast with friends. Not only can you challenge your friends to take on your levels, but you can even partner up and have up to four people running through a level at once. This will make things quite hectic, certainly, but isn’t that what parties are all about?
The best part of Mario Maker 2 is that it can work for just about any audience. Are you and your friends old-school players who loved the early Mario games? Play levels with the classic 8 -or 16-bit art styles. Have newer fans who don’t like that pixel art style? Throw on the New Super Mario coat of paint. Levels can be sorted based on difficulty, ranging from kid-friendly to nearly impossible levels of challenge. There are races, puzzles, mazes, and so much more to explore in the created levels shared online. Grab some friends, load up some levels, and watch the time fly by.
If you and your friends are more on the same page about gaming and are a little more dedicated to focusing on gaming, rather than some other picks where it can be more of a background element, then don’t overlook Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes. This was originally a VR game but is a perfect fit for the Switch’s unique capabilities. The concept is simple: One of you will be looking at a complex bomb you need to defuse before the timer runs out, and everyone else has the instructions on how to defuse the bomb. In order to disarm the bomb before it goes off, well, you need to keep talking.
This game is basically the most fun team-building exercise ever. Since each team, the one defusing the bomb and those with the manual, has information the other doesn’t, and the game isn’t exactly designed to be simple, communication is key. You’ll be laughing and shouting as the timer ticks down, scrambling to find the right page in the manual or the right panel on the bomb. It can be as tense or as comical as the group you’re playing with lets it, and again is so accessible that anyone can play with no prior gaming experience at all.
Speaking of team-building-style games, what requires more teamwork than being chefs in a restaurant? Well, according to Overcooked! All You Can Eat, the answer is being chefs in the worst-designed kitchens of all time. Each level presents a new challenge, either in the kitchen layout or recipes you’re making, but most often both. Challenges start out simple, like working in a kitchen where the space between counters is only wide enough for one person to pass, to more crazy scenarios where the kitchen is split in half between two trucks driving down a highway. You and up to four other chefs need to work together to prep ingredients, build orders, and get them out as fast as you can to earn up to three stars per stage.
Overcooked! All You Can Eat is technically two games in one. It combines the original Overcooked! and its sequel, plus all the DLC both games received in one massive package. That means there are tons of levels to try out depending on how much your fellow party members want to invest in playing. Each stage stands alone and doesn’t take more than a few minutes, so even if you have more than four people, no one will be waiting long for their turn to put on a chef’s hat. Plus, the game basically just uses the D-pad and two buttons, making the challenge come purely from how well you all can communicate and coordinate.
The Jackbox games have always carved out a niche audience with their funny presentation and creativity, but only in the past few years really took off and were recognized as hilariously fun and addicting party games. The latest game on the Switch, Jackbox Party Pack 7, comes with five unique games that test your creativity in various ways. Each game has dozens of variables built in, but are essentially endless if you can find new people to play with since no two people will ever interpret a prompt or answer a question in the same way. And, to make things even easier, the game only requires players to have a phone. There’s no crowding around a single screen, passing controllers, or teaching anyone button layouts. Just whip out your phones, listen to the game’s instructions, and you’re ready to have a blast!
Jackbox Party Pack 7 comes with the following games: Quiplash 3, The Devils and the Details, Champ’d Up, Talking Points, and Blather ‘Round. These all can support between two and eight players, with Quiplash being one of the series’ most popular. It’s a simple concept of writing in the most funny, creative, surprising, or whatever else you want type of response to a prompt in the hopes of getting your fellow players to vote for yours as the best. The others include drawing games, improvising speeches with unknown slides, and trying to get a partner to guess your prompt without using keywords. Games are fast, funny, and always a hit.
Who hasn’t wondered who would win in a fight between Mario and Link, or Samus and Fox? Well, Nintendo has provided the answer to all those schoolyard questions with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. This truly is the ultimate version of this series, too. Not only does it come with every character ever featured in the series, but plenty of new characters no one could’ve predicted. Want to arrange a fight between Little Mac and Cloud Strife? What about a duel between Megaman and Banjo Kazooie? The lineup of playable characters here is almost overwhelming at this point, but there’s also a very good chance that everyone’s favorite character, or at least someone from their favorite franchise, is represented here.
As a platform fighting game, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate can be as competitive or casual as you want. You can control nearly all aspects of the game to suit your group of people. You can play on teams against A.I., play with items or infinite lives, or strip it all down and go head to head on a stage with no hazards. Plus, with up to eight-player local matches, you and all your friends can brawl together. While it’s not the most technical game, a bit of controller knowledge is required to enjoy Smash, but you don’t need to know much more than the attack buttons and how to move around to have a great time.
Some might call this entry cheating, but we would rather call it efficient. Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics is exactly what it claims to be: 51 traditional card, board, and other games you’d pull out for a game night. Only now, rather than dusting off a box with half the pieces missing and a broken board, you can get all these games on your Switch. And there’s a ton of variety here too. Obviously, there are 51 games in total, but the range of games, and number of players they support, is great. You have classics like checkers, backgammon, chess, various poker games, and Connect Four, but also some less common ones you might learn to love like Hex, Renegade, Shogi, and Pig’s Tail.
Most games will already be familiar to a group of friends and family, so finding at least one that your group will like is easy. Thanks to the handheld mode, you can set up this game on a table and let people shift in and out, switching games on the fly if they want. Between the most complex and most simple games, even kids will be able to enjoy this suite of classic games without the risk of losing a bunch of small pieces. As a more chill time, Clubhouse Games is the perfect way to spend an evening.
Sometimes a party just isn’t a real party until the dancing starts. But why not compete to see who has the best moves while you’re at it? That’s how the Just Dance series has made its mark. There’s almost no game as intuitive as Just Dance 2021. All you have to do is hold a controller and follow the dance moves on screen as best you can. Aside from some basic menu controls, there’s basically no button pressing or stick moving required! That ease of use is what makes this series such a hit with all ages year after year. That and the tracklist brimming with popular artists, of course.
Just Dance 2021 has dozens of songs from top artists new and old like Eminem, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Lizzo, and many, many more. If you have the space, up to six players can all dance together at once, making it great for larger gatherings. Even if not everyone can jump on the dance floor at once, watching and cheering along is nearly as much fun. Also, this edition adds a new Kids Mode, which limits the song selection to kid-friendly songs and simplified moves. Plus, if you become hooked, you can even subscribe to the Just Dance Unlimited service to add more than 500 more songs to your collection, plus new ones added every month for nearly endless dancing possibilities.
In almost any other circumstance, golf would probably be the last type of game you’d think would make a good party game. However, once you add Mario into the mix, suddenly everything changes. Just like every sport or game Mario attaches himself to, this golf game only uses the basic framework of the sport and dumps a heap of Nintendo fun on top of it. Even the modes most similar to golf are more fun thanks to the colorful and creative courses and different characters with their own strengths and weaknesses. There is a little more of a learning curve with Mario Golf: Super Rush due to the timing-based gameplay of nailing your shot, but there are modes where even that isn’t too important.
You could play a normal, turn-based run of golf in the Standard Golf mode, or get crazy and load up Speed Golf or Battle Golf. Speed Golf has everyone playing at once to try and get their ball in the hole as fast as possible. But, since everyone is moving and acting at once, you have the opportunity to sabotage other players on the way to the hole. Battle Golf is similar but adds new hazards to the course and just one hole everyone is trying to reach. Once one player sinks a shot, a new one opens up somewhere else. These are wild fun and chaotic enough that less skilled golfers won’t feel too disadvantaged.
Based on sales numbers alone, it’s more likely than not that you already own Mario Kart 8 Deluxe if you have a Switch. Mario Kart has been the king of the kart racing genre ever since, well, it invented it. Others have attempted to emulate the formula, but none can match the controls, items, characters, and perfectly designed tracks of the original. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe took the original game from the WiiU, packed in all the DLC, and made it run even better on the Switch. The result is possibly the best racing game ever made, bar none. Just like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, this game is tuned to be accessible for gamers of all ages and skill levels.
At the most basic, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is about as easy to learn as any racing game can be. You have the gas, brake, steering, and button to use items, and that’s all you need to get going. If that’s too much, there’s even a mode that helps players steer and stay on the course. On the other hand, you can crank it up to 200cc for the most fast-paced experience possible. Aside from normal races and Grand Prix modes, you can mix things up with a Battle Mode that is all about popping the other player’s balloons with offensive items like shells and bob-ombs. The only reason we tucked this entry at the bottom of the list, despite it being arguable the number 1 choice, is because we suspect everyone either owns this game already or at least knows how perfect it is to share with friends.