My Favourite Multiplayer Games for the Nintendo Switch

I remember being extremely nervous about what the reveal of the then coded “Nintendo NX” would be like after the Wii U’s commercial failure. I had bought a Wii U, and loved it (even though I was salty about the lack of an Animal Crossing game), but understood that its low popularity was due to poor marketing and difficult architecture to build for, which resulted in lacklustre third party support. I really, really wanted it to be good, but I tried to keep my expectations low.

Nintendo proceeded to amaze us with a trailer showcasing the most notable Switch features – including the coveted Switch rooftop parties that I have yet to attend. I loved the focus on multiplayer, particularly, local multiplayer. As someone who has to spend most of their time alone, local multiplayer is something I cherish on the rare occasions that it happens.

Here are the multiplayer games that bring me the most joy, in no particular order:

Splatoon 2

Which came first, the squid or the kid?
(Credit: Nintendo)

Okay, this one is a bit of an anomaly because it’s the only game on this list where the majority of the multiplayer is online. There is an option for local multiplayer at The Shoal, but it requires each participant to have their own copy of the game and their own Nintendo Switch system.

Pictured: The Online and Local Play lobbies
(Credit: Nintendo)

Splatoon 2 is the sequel to the Wii U’s Splatoon, a third-person multiplayer shooter whose main mode, Turf War, is not about shooting (or, as this game calls it, “splatting”) other players, but about each team of 4 squid-kid hybrid players duking it out to cover the floor with the most ink. Ink is this game’s ammunition and can be used to cover turf, traverse the map faster and reload by swimming in it, and splat enemy team members, reducing their team’s ability to complete the objective.

Splatoon 2 has a variety of game modes to be enjoyed by everyone:

  • Turf War – The 4v4 basic mode available to everyone
  • Salmon Run – A 4vE mode where a team of players must defeat Salmonid monsters and collect a certain number of eggs over 3 rounds
  • Splat Zones – A ranked mode similar to Turf War but concentrated on one area of the map
  • Tower Control – A ranked mode reminiscent of “capture the flag” where teams attempt to stand on a moving tower and guide it to the other team’s base
  • Rainmaker – Another ranked mode “capture the flag” remix which features teams scrambling to get the Rainmaker, a powerful weapon in the middle of the map and guide it to the other team’s base
  • Clam Blitz – A ranked mode where teams pick up clams scattered around the map and deposit them into a basket on the opposing team’s side

One game event that made Splatoon really great, although it has since been discontinued, was Splatfests. Players must choose between 2 teams within a theme and fight for their team by trying to win as many Turf Wars as possible. Splatfest themes included gems like Cake vs Ice Cream, Sci-Fi vs Fantasy, and “Which came first? The chicken or the egg?” Splatfests brought even dormant players back to the game and were the source of my best memories with it.

Some images from the “Final” Splatfest. Sigh, good times.
(Credit: Nintendo)

Splatoon 2 is available on Nintendo Switch for $59.99 USD/€59,99 EUR.

Shovel Knight

Anyone who knows me, knows that I will proudly recommend Shovel Knight as soon as I’m given the chance to. It is one of the best crafted platforming experiences in recent times, and anyone who plays it can plainly see how much love and effort went into polishing them game from the developers, Yacht Club Games.

After crowdfunding on Kickstarter in 2013, Yacht Club Games not only raised enough to release their original game Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope in 2014, but also achieved every stretch goal which allowed them to develop an additional 3 single player campaigns and a new multiplayer mode. Those with the base game Shovel of Hope got this additional content for free (!!!!) as a thank-you for supporting the game. Newcomers had the option of buying Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove, which the entire package of 5 games for $39.99 USD/€39,99 EUR, the main Shovel of Hope campaign for $14.99 USD/€14,99 EUR or the DLC games standalone for $9.99 USD/€8,99 EUR.

I absolutely love the pixel art in this game.
(Credit: Yacht Club Games)

There are two ways to play locally with friends:

  • Co-Op mode: Those with the Shovel of Hope game can play through the entire campaign with a friend, helping each other collect gems, defeat enemies and boost each other up onto platforms with Shovel Knight’s signature shovel drop move.
  • Shovel Knight Showdown: A DLC local multiplayer game in which up to 4 players try to eliminate each other with one of 20 available characters, using platforms to help them.
The Shovel Knight Showdown character select screen.
(Credit: Yacht Club Games)

Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove is available on Nintendo Switch for $39.99 USD/€39,99 EUR.

Just Dance 2020

This entry could technically be filled by any JD game, but the latest entry in the series from Ubisoft is one of my absolute favourites. Being the latest entry also means that it is updated with new songs on the Just Dance Unlimited service – a subscription service that allows you to access over 500 songs from older games as well as JDU exclusives for $24.99 USD/€24,99 EUR per year.

What can I say? Just Dance is the game that everyone bought on the Wii for Christmas, played with their parents and never touched again. However, Ubisoft have worked exceptionally hard to create amazing choreographies for songs from a plethora of cultures, tailored to every skill level. It’s great for getting up and moving – I’ve put about 45 hours into the game since its release last November, and everyone I’ve forced convinced to play with me is always surprised at how much they work up a sweat.

It be like that sometimes.
(Credit: Huffington Post)

Even without the JDU subscription, the base game features 42 songs with 13 alternate dances, meaning that there are a total of 55 choreographies to choose from (even if some of the Extreme difficulty ones kick your butt). There is a sense of progression as some alternate dances require you to get good at the base dances in order for you to unlock them, and completing challenges allows you to unlock avatars, skins, stickers and taglines for your dancer card. Dancing with a friend will surely help you unlock everything a lot quicker!

Even if you don’t have anybody to play with you in the same space, there is the World Dance Floor that allows you to compete along hundreds of online players in pre-determined playlists for the top spot. The WDF is cross-play as well, meaning that your friends on Xbox One and PS4 will be dancing to the same songs as you. Things are shaken up every now and then in the WDF as you can vote for songs, compete in tournaments, play on a team and cooperate with other players to get a score high enough to beat a boss in a battle. Ever so often, there’s a Happy Hour, where songs from older games are played on the WDF.

The Just Dance World Dance Floor. Wow, what a mouthful.
(Credit: Ubisoft, as played by Pamela at atomix.vg)

And for you lonesome kids like me, there’s a campaign mode called “All Stars” mode which celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Just Dance series by having a playlist of popular songs from every Just Dance game.

This series brings me a lot of joy. I hope you guys pick it up!

Just Dance 2020 is available on Nintendo Switch for $39.99 USD/€59,99 EUR. There is also a free demo version available on the eShop!

Astro Bears

If you frequent the Switch eShop, you’ve probably seen this game on sale for $0.99 USD/€0,99 EUR. If you’re on a tight budget, this game can give you a lot of bang for your buck.

Astro Bears, developed by SONKA, is a peculiar game. Remember the Snake game you played on those old Nokia phones? Astro Bears is Snake, but on a 3D sphere.

These were the good old days.
(Credit: phonearena.com)

In the main party mode, up to 4 players can choose from 8 bears with varying stats, the size of the sphere they want to play on, the length of the ribbon that trails behind them and how many points it takes to win. There is also a competitive mode with random elements, and a third mode called Jetfish Hunting where 1-2 players can work together to collect items called Jetfish, while avoiding each other’s ribbons.

The character select screen.
(Credit: SONKA)

Astro Bears provides surprisingly chaotic pick-up-and-play gameplay that is easy for even non-gamers to learn and enjoy.

Astro Bears is available on Nintendo Switch for $6.99 USD/€6,99 EUR. It often goes on sale for a dollar though, so it’s worth waiting for.

Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun!

I’ve only ever seen the weebiest of weebs play this game, but hear me out. If you like games along the lines of Rhythm Heaven (new Switch game when?!), Theatrhythm, Thumper or even the Runner series, you might want to check it out.

Taiko no Tatsujin is a rhythm drumming game developed and published by Bandai Namco where you have to hit one of two notes to the beat: Don (in the centre of them drum) and Ka (on the rim of the drum). There is a special Taiko drum controller that you can buy for this game, but it’s not necessary to enjoy the experience. You can play just fine by using the touch screen to beat a virtual drum in handheld mode, by pressing buttons on the Joy-Con or pro controller to the beat, or swinging the Joy-Con to the beat.

Do you even drum, bro?
(Credit: Bandai Namco, HORI)

There is a main Taiko mode that features over 70 songs including Japanese Pop, anime songs, video game music, classical music, and original music from the developers. You can play these songs on 4 difficulty levels by yourself, or with a friend, either competing against each other or working together to achieve a high score.

The meat and bones of the game: Taiko Mode.
(Credit: Bandai Namco)

Another mode called Don Katsu Fight allows 1-2 players to bring their opponent’s HP level down by performing well in songs. Things can get super competitive!

My favourite multiplayer mode, though, is Party Game, which allows for 1-4 players to battle against each other in rhythm-based minigames, like Hopscotch and Red Light, Green Light. This mode is great for non-gamers and gamers alike and doesn’t require people to be good at the drumming game like the previous two modes do, as it’s mostly just mashing buttons.

My favourite minigame, Red Light Green Light.
(Credit: Bandai Namco)

Most of the people I play with are sceptical at first, but it quickly turns into a constant cycle of, “Okay, one more game!” If you enjoy the game, there are tons of DLC songs from all genres that can be bought in the eShop.

Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun! Is available on Nintendo Switch for $49.99 USD/€59.99 EUR. There is also a free demo version available on the eShop!

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

I mean… come on guys, it’s Mario Kart. You go zoom, everyone else goes zoom, you throw a banana, get hit by a green shell (even though you can’t hit anyone else with a green shell for the life of you), and ruin a couple of friendships before the night’s end. It’s a classic!

For those of you who may not know (though I’d be surprised if you were on my blog and didn’t know), Mario Kart is a racing game developed by Nintendo that features characters from the Mario games. In MK8D, you can also play characters from the Animal Crossing, Splatoon and Legend of Zelda series. Players race around/down a track for 3-7 laps and can use items to help themselves or hinder others.

There are different speeds, from 50 CC (slowest) to 200 CC (break-neck speed, very intimidating) and 12 different cups with 4 tracks each, for a total of 48 tracks to race on. You can engage in time trials, where the objective is to finish the race in the fastest time possible.

If I’m being honest, I’m too scared to play 200 CC.
(Credit: Nintendo)

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe also features an improved Battle Mode from its predecessor, where players can compete on one of 8 unique battle tracks in the following game modes:

  • Balloon Battle – Pop your opponent’s balloons to win!
  • Renegade Roundup – A “Cops ‘n’ Robbers” mode where the cops must round up the renegades, who can only be freed by other renegades.
  • Bob-omb Blast – Blast opponents with bob-ombs to rack up points!
  • Coin Runners – Collect the most coins to win!
  • Shine Thief – Retrieve and hold the Shine Sprite for 20 seconds to win! This sounds easy, but gets chaotic quickly.

Seriously, get Mario Kart. The single-player and multiplayer modes are oodles of fun, and you can also play online to test your skills!

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is available on Nintendo Switch for $59.99 USD/€59,99 EUR.

Snipperclips: Cut It Out, Together!

This has got to be the cutest gosh-darned game on this list, honestly. Developed by SFB Games and published by Nintendo, Snipperclips is a multiplayer game where 1-4 players play as regenerative pieces of paper (?), solving puzzles and completing tasks by cutting each other into different shapes. Don’t worry if you make a mistake, though – you can reform yourself if your partners get a bit too happy with the snipping and clipping.

Not to be dramatic, but I would die for Snip and Clip.
(Credit: SFB Games, Nintendo)

The base game has 3 worlds with a total of 45 stages, and is immensely fun. For an extra $9.99 USD/€9,99 EUR, you can buy the Snipperclips Plus DLC, which adds two new worlds, the ability to start each puzzle as a random shape for increased difficulty, and a new multiplayer mode. I personally recommend buying the DLC package for $29.99 USD/€29,99 EUR, but the base game is here for those on a tight budget.

Snipperclips: Cut It Out, Together! is available on Nintendo Switch for $19.99 USD/€19,99 EUR. There is also a free demo version available on the eShop!

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

Remember earlier, when I said that these games were listed in no particular order? Okay so, that’s not entirely true. The other games were listed at random, but this is my number one game.

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is a multiplayer game developed and published by Steel Crate Games in which one person views a bomb with several modules, each with module having one type of disarm-able obstacle (such as wires, symbol keypads, and buttons). The other people playing the game are in possession of a 23-page manual that details how to disarm any module according to if-X-then-Y logic. The catch? The bomb holder cannot see the manual, and the manual holder(s) cannot see the bomb.

Well? Which wire do I cut? HURRY!
(Credit: Steel Crate Games)

This game is great because it can be played with any number of players and can be played by gamers and non-gamers alike (as long as they know how to read). I’ve had so much fun playing this with family, watching them get frustrated as they realise how fine-tuned their communication needs to be in order to solve the bomb.

As you progress, the bombs get harder and introduce new modules, such as more complex wires, Morse code and word puzzles. Some modules are not able to be disarmed, they must be constantly attended to as time goes on. As you continue to play with the same people, you fall into a pattern and assign roles to each other. It’s a great bonding experience, and one I’d definitely recommend.

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is available on Nintendo Switch for $14.99/€14,99 EUR.

What did you think of my list? What are your favourite multiplayer games on Nintendo Switch? Leave a comment below!

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