The 20 Best Action-Adventure Games on Nintendo Switch
As a hybrid genre, many video games would fit in the broad catalog of action-adventure games.
This genre combines the challenge on the player’s reflexes through real-time interactions, which sets apart action games, and the immersive storyline and rewarding exploration of an adventure game.
Action-adventure games are a mixture of physical skills through motion-based gameplay perfectly blended with a well-crafted narrative, either diegetically told or through environmental storytelling.
What distinguishes the action-adventure genre is its harmonization of distinct elements from other game genres and forging one complete experience.
Exploration, puzzles, and storytelling are integrated with the thrill of violent or non-violent scenarios experienced through reflex-based challenges.
The Nintendo Switch is home to some of the best action-adventure games out there. Some of these titles are playable on other consoles, while others are solely exclusive on the Switch.
Nonetheless, there are many games here that are sure to test your reflexes and immerse your mind in alternative worlds. So prepare your senses as we engage in this journey to determine the 20 best action-adventure games on Nintendo Switch.
Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove
Within the diverse world of action-adventure games is platform- adventure games. Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove digs back the nostalgia of the traditional platform side-scrolling experience to the Nintendo Switch.
Shovel Knight lures old-school gamers with its highly detailed take on the popular 8-bit graphical style. Then, keeps players hooked with gameplay that pays homage to its era while simultaneously adding much-needed improvements.
Delve into the almost endless Tower of Fate in a quest to rescue Shovel Knight’s long-lost partner Shield Knight. But before that, you have to take on powerful knights on their themed stages along the way.
While the main campaign is already a blast, the numerous downloadable contents (DLCs) really flex the game’s creativity and level design. The other campaigns let you play as different Knights, with varied move sets that completely change the game. Getting Treasure Trove is like buying multiple games for the price of one!
Finally, Treasure Trove also enables playing the game with a second player. Shovel Knight is one of the best action-adventure games on Nintendo Switch, and now it can even be enjoyed with a friend.
Raji: An Ancient Epic
It is refreshing to see an excellent action-adventure game set in ancient India. Its rich cultural story combined with scenic vistas based on Hindu mythology adds to Raji: An Ancient Epic’s simple gameplay.
Hindu Gods Vishnu, Durga, and Brahma destined Raji, the heroine, on a journey across ancient India, ravished by a demon invasion led by demon lord Mahabalasura. Aside from being the sole savior of humanity, Raji has a personal goal to save her kidnapped younger brother.
Raji is armed with the celestial weapons of the gods used to vanquish demons. You’ll combine fluid light and heavy attacks to soften up enemies for a satisfying finisher. There are also platforming elements like precise jumps, wall-running, and sliding through tapestries.
The art direction and particularly the art style is top-notch—gorgeous environments alone will keep you entertained throughout the game. Raji had a tumultuous development, but it was all worth it to create one of the most beautiful hand-drawn action-adventure games on Nintendo Switch.
Another game that makes its mark through a vibrant display of the culture it is deeply inspired by is Okami. Adding to the appeal of this critically acclaimed game is its portrayal of Japan’s Sumi-e ink art style.
Play as Okami Amaterasu, a white wolf based on the Japanese sun goddess, to save classical Japan from the cursed darkness set upon them by Orochi, an eight-headed serpent demon.
You’ll use the Celestian Brush for a majority of the core gameplay. Pause the game and draw symbols to attack, solve puzzles, and restore objects and the environment.
The creator of this masterpiece, Hideki Kamiya admitted that the game is influenced by The Legend of Zelda—one of the pioneers of the action-adventure genre and solidified the genre in the gaming community.
Okami mainly features a hack-and-slash combat element and includes action, puzzles, and platforming.
Tired of relying on your character’s brawn? How about you rely on sounds or music instead? Entice in this platformer action-adventure game called Fe, that banks on ambiguity by telling its story without words but through music and sound instead.
This minimalist approach in guiding the player gives freedom to venture into the wilds of Fe—committed to the action-adventure premise of an enacted story rather than narrated. Immersing into Fe’s Nordic forest requires interacting with the ecosystem through songs.
The fox-like creature you play as must learn songs of the creatures in this mystifying forest to aid it with its niche of defending its home from unknown creatures who do not possess the melody the inhabitants of the forest are gifted with.
Additionally, there are also platforming segments such as quickly climbing and jumping from tree to tree.
Fe’s entire dynamic relies heavily on sounds, music, and hearing. So strap in a good pair of headphones to fully immerse yourself in one of the most creative musical action-adventure games on Nintendo Switch.
Another game with music at its core is Transistor. From Bastion to Pyre to one of the best hack and slash games on Nintendo Switch, Supergiant Games knows how to make innovative and commercially successful games.
You play as Red, a popular songstress whose voice was absorbed by the titular Transistor. The Transistor is a greatsword that was meant to end her life, but instead, it was impaled on an unnamed man dear to the protagonist.
As the weapon absorbed the voice and memories of the person, it would serve as your main armament and deuteragonist throughout the game. It is the same weapon she would wield against the very same group that ordered to have her killed and now wants the weapon for themselves.
Combat in the game may be played in either real-time or turn-based mode. The former would challenge you to use different abilities set on each of the buttons while fighting and dodging, while the latter allows for a more strategic gameplay by freezing time and deciding on what moves to queue up based on your energy.
Defeating enemies allows the Transistor to absorb their essence, allowing Red to utilize new abilities referred to as Functions. The player would have to micromanage the functions to equip or enhance their unique playstyle through this mechanic.
What’s truly novel is that these skills also have passive effects that you can combine with another Function to enhance or grant new effects.
These Functions feed back again to your preferred playstyle: active or turn-based. Transistor is a great playground for players who love to experiment and customize their skills.
Finally, lending her enthralling voice in the game’s soundtrack is the female vocalist of Bastion’s soundtrack, the spiritual predecessor of Transistor, Ashley Lynn Barrett. The game’s soundtrack is phenomenal on its own, but still plays its critical role in cohesively binding the game into an ‘electronic-post rock’ experience.
Transistor belongs to one of the greatest action-adventure games on Nintendo Switch for all these reasons and more.
Metroid games come without warning every few years. But when they do, they declare a loud mission statement that causes the whole game industry to notice and take notes.
Metroid Dread is a Nintendo Switch exclusive that brings back the iconic and beloved bounty hunter Samus Aran. Samus feels buttery smooth to play as you effortlessly chain shooting targets, tight parries, and parkour through the intricately designed alien labyrinth.
Land on Planet ZDR and fight your way through against various life forms and hunter robots named E.M.M.I., which introduces the new stealth mechanic in the game. This drives you to proceed further into the game to get valuable upgrades to defeat these almost unbeatable E.M.M.I. robots and be the hunter she was destined to be.
Still in-game is the side-scrolling element that the Metroid games are known for. Nevertheless, being a bounty hunter in this game is an action-packed adventure with new items and weapons distinct from previous games and new kinds of enemies to blast into particles while still keeping familiar gameplay that fans love.
Resident Evil 4
Make space for a horror third-person shooter game in this list—Resident Evil 4, one of the best games ever created, still holds up to this day. The landmark game that has revolutionized third-person shooters has been ported to almost every platform, and runs impressively optimized on the Nintendo Switch.
Follow Leon Kennedy in his mission to save the president’s daughter, who was abducted by a cult somewhere in Spain. The naive altruistic rookie cop from the events of Resident Evil 2 is almost unrecognizable to the secret government special agent who is unfazed and always ready with a cheesy quip.
While previously known for its horror and survival theme, the fourth entry in the franchise focuses more on action, gunplay, and suplexing infected to mush. Aim accuracy plays a pivotal role during combat, as hitting different body parts has unique effects. For example, shooting the feet would cause the infected to stagger, while a shot on their arm causes them to drop their weapon.
For better or worse, Resident Evil 4 is fond of quick-time events. Sometimes, there are instant death situations that you can avoid if you’re attentive enough. This game will surely keep you on your toes in anticipation of what is to come.
Despite its age, Resident Evil 4 is still a relevant game today because of its thoughtful combat encounters, intricate level design, and perfect pacing. You owe yourself to experience one of the best survival-horror action-adventure games on Nintendo Switch.
Dispatched by the commission into a task of reclaiming souls assigned for you to forage stolen by greedy thieves, claw your way as a Crow in an honest day’s work of reaping souls.
The game plays like classic top-down Legend of Zelda. Explore secrets, collect weapons and magic, and take down significant bosses to progress.
Death’s Door excellently equalizes its somber and melancholic tone with its unique humor. What lies behind the doors is a secret for you to unravel as you journey on collecting souls from cyclopean twisted creatures who wouldn’t give up their soul without a fight.
Juxtaposing the dismal aura of the game are special characters you would meet on your way. These characters are fun to interact with and would most likely charm you into smiling.
Although no innovation is introduced by the game, it remains to be an enjoyable and memorable game on its own. It mixes all of the elements that make an excellent action-adventure game—fast-paced combat system, puzzle-solving, and rewarding exploration, to make a compelling action-adventure game on Nintendo Switch you wouldn’t want to miss.
Another wonderfully bleak adventure awaits in Hollow Knight. It marries the non-linear exploration of Metroidvanias and the demanding combat system of any Soulsborne game to create one of the best action-adventure games on the Nintendo Switch.
Hallownest is the home to extraordinary insect-like creatures. Some will be friendly, giving useful quests, items, or advice. While most will remain hostile, attacking the Knight without hesitation.
The exploration itself is rewarding as secrets lie in every corner of the map. These hidden rewards will give a wide variety of upgrades, like better versions of spells, powerful attacks, and even new areas and quests. Most alternative endings are tied to specific triggers found during exploration.
The highlight of Hollow Knight are its numerous and challenging bosses. Each of its aberrant bosses would make you rethink your fighting strategy as each would require a different game plan. Of course, health upgrades and different charm set-ups could ease the fight, but you’re not getting through the fight without learning the boss’ patterns and weaknesses.
Like Dark Souls, Hollow Knight has deep lore if you’re willing to dig for it. Additionally, the ambient music is sure to pull you inside its world.
From the creator of Nier Automata is a hack and slash but still an action-adventure genre Astral Chain where you control two characters in a Synergetic Action system and defeat alien creatures laying waste in its dystopian setting: The Ark.
You play as the new twin recruits of a special police task force in their duty to protect the remainder of the human population from aliens that attack Earth. Central to the premise of the game is the title itself “Astral Chain” the players use to tether creatures referred to as Legions that aid in combat against extra-terrestrial monsters or in progressing through the story by performing investigative tasks.
While considerably a level-based game, Astral Chain still allows exploration as it is instrumental in performing the detective roles of the main player. You have to search into the areas to obtain clues and pieces of evidence in order to conclude the mystery in such area.
What makes the game humane, is the altruism that goes into assisting the people in their goal of survival by providing them supplies or protecting them from dangers beyond.
Speaking of detective works, Rockstar Games offers this mystery action-adventure game on Nintendo Switch that lets you unravel the secrets of a morphine distribution ring and how these new discoveries ties with your personal and professional life. Additionally, you’ll also solve a few interesting, but unrelated cases here and there.
LA Noire is excellent at facial animation of the characters and the superb performances of the actors playing the main characters of the game is best enjoyed in the Nintendo Switch. The extra effort to emulate accurate facial expressions makes it stand out as one of the best Nintendo Switch mystery games.
Los Angeles is overrun by crimes, apart from the main one to get to the resolution of the game. You may opt to solve street crimes as you explore the world and collect items like golden film reels, vehicles, and so much more along the way.
Solving cases would necessitate obtaining evidence and clues found in the crime scene in order to indict a suspect of the crime, or charge the wrong one if you’re feeling a little evil it’s your call.
You may also engage in some gunfight for a little action, or drive around the city while a chill 1940s music plays in the background reinforcing the vintage vibe of the game.
Hyrule of Warriors: Age of Calamity
Breath of The Wild is pretty much included in all list in several main genres, and rightfully so, as it has been revolutionary and influential to up and coming games after it. If you somehow haven’t picked up the game, make sure to play it as it is the best open-world game on Nintendo Switch.
Straying from this trend, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity makes this list instead. It is a prelude to Breath of the Wild, before Calamity Ganon decimated Hyrule in its wake.
To name a few, play as Link, Zelda, or the four champions of each of the regions of Hyrule. Yes, this means you can play as Urbosa and zap them Bokoblins to dust.
Compared to Breath of the Wild, Age of Calamity offers a faster pace in combat in a one against 1000 enemies system reminiscent of Dynasty Warriors; hence, more opportunities to mix-and-match abilities to create devastating combos.
Exploration is less prioritized in this game than it is in Breath of the Wild; nonetheless, it is still an element which makes up for an exhilarating adventure but with more enemies to defeat than Link in Breath of The Wild ever could. Lastly, Koroks are in this game too for you to collect.
What makes Skyrim still one of the best action-adventure games on Nintendo Switch, despite its outdated graphics and gameplay? It is the absolute freedom of choice to go anywhere you want, and be who you want to become.
Skyrim is decade defining game, and it’s no secret that you have to invest hundreds of hours into it to even scratch the surface of its content. The Nintendo Switch’s portability allows you to parse this massive adventure into manageable chunks.
You can now play it in the toilet, or in the kitchen, or outdoors when you’ve been asked to touch grass after losing touch of reality because of countless hours of gaming.
There are even innovations as loading screens are way faster, and the motion control allows a more accurate aim if you’re into the magic or arrow game style (which everyone will drift towards at least once). Skyrim is a fantastic Nintendo Switch port and it allows a new generation of action-adventure role-playing fans to get lose in fantasy world.
Super Mario Odyssey
Entering this list is the King of Kings of Platformer games, Super Mario Odyssey. Still faithful to the action-adventure theme, Odyssey lets you traverse through kingdoms as you fulfill your mission: the original and recycled plot formula of Mario Games which we would never complain of, saving Princess Peach.
What’s so great about this game? Cappy. Throw your sentient cap into almost anything and gain control of it. There’s T-rex right there on a hill can I throw Cappy at it? Yes, you can gain control of ginormous dinosaur and use him as a mount.
As you jump around area to area each offering a different experience and boomerang your living hat Cappy, your gaming thumbs are sure to be busy and happily so. There are actions in game that can only be performed through the motion controls system of the switch, so detach your joy cons and try moving a little for the complete experience and a little exercise too.
For more advanced players, Cappy extends Mario’s already expressive moveset. For example, you can use Cappy to redirect your direction mid-air, then belly dive on top of it to bounce to a higher area.
Super Mario Odyssey is one of the must-have action-adventure games on Nintendo Switch. All players of all skill levels can enjoy this fun platformer.
Luigi’s Mansion 3
Our favorite scaredy cat swoops into this list of best action-adventure games on Nintendo Switch—Luigi, coming back for another round in a great franchise. Checking in a hotel, having been tricked into believing that it is for a vacation, join our anxiety-ridden plumber as he conquers his fears in an attempt to save his friends.
If you’re scared of ghosts like Luigi, then there is no better way to play this game than with friends through its multiplayer mode. There is no satisfying sight to see than four Luigis sucking in ghost and whamming them against the floor.
If you opt to play it alone, well you are never really alone in this game and no I am not referring to the ghosts but to Gooigi—an ectoplasmic clone of Luigi, unlockable in the game.
He would assist you in reaching places you cannot on your own or simply tricking the enemies into believing he is you. As the game is casual experience, it is also one of the best Switch games to play as a couple.
There’s so much to enjoy in this game, things to collect, and puzzles to solve, no wonder it won several awards mainly on family category, as it is ridiculously charming enough to keep us playing until another entry in the franchise surfaces.
Divinity: Original Sin 2: Definitive Edition
There’s not a lot of games that highlight the use of the environment in combat as a tide-turning factor. Divinity: Original Sin 2 allows you the freedom and flexibility in combat to experiment what combinations of abilities and environmental factors would cost the most devastation against your enemy, or if executed poorly then against yourself and your team.
Following the death of the divine, break loose of the chains that limit your power as sourcerers in a quest to become, or not to, the new divinity. Flexibility in game is not confined in combat but also in story and exploration as well.
Where it appears that the game has already set a path for you to take, a little creativity would reveal more ways to get to a place, or more ways to resolve a quest, all it takes is a skill point, a different character, or a talent, and a tad bit of imagination.
The game delivers a compelling story, each for the member of the intricately written cast whom you may choose to play as the main character, or make your own character with a story of its own.
Whether it be a story of vengeance against your slaver as a flesh-eating elf, a songstress trying to vanquish the voices in her head, or a former crusader seeking answers for the mass killings of elves he grew up with.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 is surely one of the best role-playing games to date, but it still is a thrilling action-adventure game on Nintendo Switch.
With its unique combat system dubbed as the future of turn-based action games, and the adventure that awaits in the immerse world of Rivellon with its rich lore, you have to play this title to restore your faith in classical role-playing games.
Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen
Ever felt ‘heartless’ and crave to destroy foes with all-powerful magic that makes you feel like a god? One of the few games with devastating magic animation is Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen.
But it’s not only calling forth a meteor shower in which you can play the game as there are several vocations you can play.
Whether as an assassin, strider, a magicka archer, or the traditional sword and shield gameplay, you can explore Gransys as you venture on to retrieve your heart from the Dragon which beckons the end of days.
Central to the gameplay mechanic of the game is the pawn system. The Arisen, the main character you play as, can be accompanied by these pawns, who are killing machines or support heroes, depending on how you order them as they do not have their own volition.
One of the pawns is unique to you and your world and the other two are pawns of another player you may acquire online or locally generated by the game.
Another element of this game that really adds up to the combat experience is the grab mechanic where you can latch on to enemies and slice them up, similar to Shadow of Colossus. Hence, fighting titanic monsters would be more thrilling especially when it is one high up in the air and you’re gripping on real hard stabbing it until it crashes on the ground.
The innovation introduced by its availability in the Switch is obviously its portability. You may play it handheld without any significant and deal-breaking downgrade. The system holds pretty well, and the experience of the game in Switch would be as strong as it is in the PC or Xbox.
Bring back the bossiest witch! Now with a pixie cut and a ton lot of style, Bayonetta comes back to flood hell and bring down heaven in a new adventure to save her friend Jeanne—an Umbra witch whom she used to have a lot of satisfying cat fights with in the first game.
While the first game is also a great title, the sequel amped up everything from combat to the craziness of the story. Inspired by its spiritual predecessor, Devil May Cry, Bayonetta has one of the best combat experiences of any action-adventure game on Nintendo Switch.
You play as the titular Bayonetta— a powerful witch with a huge arsenal of weapons and magic to use: a regular gun, an iron maiden, her heels with guns, or summoning humongous creatures to nibble on your enemies. This witch with an attitude never seems to run out of new tricks.
Witch time remains in this game. Dodging at the last second before an attack guarantees a slow down of enemies where you can dish out legion of attacks and combos using your weapon or magic which you can customize for a well-suited gameplay. Witch time may also be used to solve puzzles in the world to allow you to proceed into the next area.
The game is fast-paced and ultraviolent. It would really be difficult to know what she is doing in the heat of the fight. When she’s fighting, she’s toying with her foes, she’s modelling, or maybe even dancing, we would really never know.
One thing is for sure though, it is campy and is hellishly fun. Fighting angels, and also now demons, has never been this stylish and seductive.
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX
Ever thought of what Pokémon you would be based on your personality? Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Rescue Team DX is not a mere quiz online you can take only to determine what Pokémon you are, that phase is just the start of your adventure as a human-turned Pokémon on a quest to learn your mysterious past.
Your adventure revolves around forming a rescue team and learning your past as you meet new Pokémon along your way. The watercolor aesthetic, new to the series, gives off a comforting vibe banking on nostalgia even harder.
This game is the very first remake in the spinoff series Mystery Dungeon, and it introduces new mechanics that are changes and recontextualizes the game. First off, there is no more a-button attack, pressing the a-button would make you use one of your four moves which the game thinks is the best move for the situation.
Recruitment is made easy too by the use of Wigglytuff Orb, which allows you to purchase the camp you do not have yet for a new recruit. Lastly, you can recruit at most five pokemon in addition to your team of three—more friends to venture into dungeons.
Alongside with you is another Pokémon who found you at the beach with no recollection of your past. You and your partner will naturally form a long-lasting as you both go through hardship and trials. I can still vividly recall my memories of the original version of this game back in the Gameboy advance, and hopefully this version on Switch would give the new generation the same feeling.
Pokemon Legends: Arceus
Pokemon has never been this alive. In Legends: Arceus, you get to interact with pokemon in the overworld, meaning you no longer have to touch them and trigger a battle screen. You can battle pokemon, or feed them even, right there and then.
Pokemon has never been this scary too. If glaring red eyes in the dark is not enough, being blasted off, if you’re not very agile enough to dodge, by a random hydro pump by a pokemon protecting its territory would really make you think—Pokemon has never been this violent. And we’re all here for it.
There’s more action in the game rather than the traditional turn-based battle. However, you may still opt for the turn-based fight by releasing your pokemon to battle in the wild and experience the new strong or agile style making your moves more powerful or faster.
Similar to the last title, you play as a trainer with no memory of the past, tasked by the Pokemon God itself to seek all of the Pokemon there is in the Hisui Region.
And as you manually, because you have to collect research points per pokemon to complete its entry, fill your pokedex as member of the survey corp, you journey on until the finale where you get to meet and fight Arceus itself in a one-on-one trainer-to-god battle.
Pokemon Legends: Arceus is the commercial and critical hit Pokemon needed to reclaim its status as an industry giant. Undoubtedly, it is one of the best action-adventure games on Nintendo Switch, even if this is your experience with the Pokemon franchise.