The 23 Best Action Games on Nintendo Switch

Image credit: FromSoftware

A good amount of action can create satisfying and thrilling moments in gaming. The action genre’s main attraction is its physical-oriented gameplay, which challenges your reflexes and hand-eye coordination.

It is ubiquitous to include action in almost every game, regardless of genre. As an interactive medium, players expect to have control — to input commands and alter the character’s movements.

That is why action and incorporating diverse combat systems are staple game mechanics. But complex and layered combat is nothing without a valid playground to let loose. Masterful level design, competent enemies, and tight pacing all serve to sell the package.

Fortunately, the Nintendo Switch offers a wide variety of games with action elements that you can enjoy and explore. From solo journeys to multiplayer experiences, narrative-driven to gameplay-focused games, here are the 23 best action games on Nintendo Switch.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order

The third sequel of this marvel game series, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order, retains its top-down action-packed gameplay from its predecessor, which focuses more on co-op play. In addition, the game provides a wide variety of playable characters that lets you play as one of your favorite Marvel heroes, such as Iron-Man, Wolverine, or Spider-Man.

The story goes as Marvel’s champions race Thanos and his generals called The Black Order to gather the six infinity stones to rule the galaxy. As the heroes voyage around other worlds to collect the stones, they encounter some of the comic series’ famous villains.

The gameplay adapts the traditional beat-em-up playstyle mixed with a light hack and slash elements and some tactical action. In addition, playing with friends adds a new layer to combat as you have coordinate in order to unleash the powerful synergy attacks.

Unsouled

Unsouled is a top-down, hack and slash ARPG where Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice meets retro 16-bit visuals complete with modern soundtracks. The game has a unique take on the action that emphasizes intricate combat and difficult levels.

You play as a prince that can communicate to the dead and absorb souls on his way for his revenge—defying his family’s traditions and making his path.

The game’s main attraction is its complex combat system, where fighting against enemies will provide you with tons of possibilities by doing combos and special attacks. In addition, the boss fights in this game remind you of other Soulsbourne games.

Unsouled is a top contender for one of the best hack and slash games on Nintendo Switch. Combine light and heavy attacks while simultaneously blocking, dodging, and dashing. Also, these moves can be upgraded using souls that can be acquired by neutralizing enemies.

Overall, if you like games with challenging gameplay, then Unsouled is one game you check out on your Switch.

Warframe

If you love science-fiction and ninjas, you should check out Warframe, one of the best action games on Nintendo Switch. This game is a free-to-play MMORPG that provides fast-paced action, a fluid movement system, and an overwhelming amount of content that feels like too much at times.

You play as a Tenno that can control the Warframe, an advanced weaponized armor that contains various armaments and skillsets. Tennos use these armors to restore balance across the solar system.

Warframe boots you and three other Tennos into missions with different goals and objectives you have to complete. In addition, the combat system is truly spectacular as it combines hack and slash and looter-shooter mechanics in every skirmish.

The game has hefty customization for just about everything, like Warframes, weapons, and pets. It’s worth learning the deep modding system as you can create truly overpowered builds.

Warframe also provides a heavy amount of loot and resources that you can farm across the game. These resources are consumable to build weapons, Warframes, and companions. There are so many blueprints to build that Warframe can become grindy at times; a perfect game if love reaching small goals.

So, unveil the mystery of the galaxy with your friends online as you scour around planets and discover special weapons and items. Warframe is fun, brimming with content, and not to mention free!

ScourgeBringer

ScourgeBringer is a game where you need to remain focused at all times. It is a rouge-lite, hack and slash game that provides an extremely fast-paced and punishing combat. Additionally, its aesthetically pleasing visual design and intense soundtrack keep eyes and ears hooked to the screen.

ScourgeBringer locks you into a room filled with hard-hitting enemies. You have to destroy every enemy on screen using your sword, skills, and a few bullets in your gun.

The combat is simple such as slashing and dashing toward enemies, but attacks ramp up in complexity thanks to upgrades that you can purchase between each run. Sometimes, you can even find or purchase items and bonuses for the run.

Eventually, you’ll come across the boss of the area. These difficulty bosses perfectly highlight how polished the game’s combat is, as you’ll have to use everything at your disposal to take them down.

The atmosphere of Scourge Bringer is both relaxing and agitating at the same time. Because of its beautifully crafted environment and intricate playthrough, it is no doubt that ScourgeBringer is depicted as one of the best action games on the Nintendo Switch.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game – Complete Edition

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game is the video game adaptation of the beloved graphic novel with the same name. It is an action beat-em-up game that relies on and heavily utilizes a classic arcade feel.

You play as Scott Pilgrim, where he needs to defeat his love interest’s seven evil exes to earn her relationship. Each evil ex-boyfriend possesses different skills and abilities to stop you from getting the girl.

In addition, the game has cooperative play where you can play with up to four people as Ramona, Kim, and Stephen. Each character has unique moves that can be individually upgraded, as well as a distinct interaction when using summons.

Scott Pilgrim showcases a lot of personality and humor during the boss fights against the evil exes. There are bombastic set pieces such as going against a giant Japanese mecha.

Dark Souls: Remastered

The title that cemented FromSoftware into gaming history— Dark Souls: Remastered is an ARPG notoriously known for its challenging, punishing, and methodical combat. Dark Souls is certainly one the most important and best action games on Nintendo Switch, as its impact is still widely felt in the gaming industry even until today.

You play as a cursed undead tasked with rekindling the Age of Fire. Though the actual narrative of the game is straightforward, the overarching lore is profoundly deep but it’s mostly told through item descriptions and environmental storytelling.

As you begin your journey, you get to choose classes that suit your playstyle. These starting classes offer different gear and stats, but you’re free to allocate your points during the actual game. Besides, there are many weapons, armors, and spells to be found in the game.

Dark Souls is known for the laborious gameplay that each small battle is dangerous. Not to mention, bosses are soul-crushingly hard, and defeating any of them is an achievement.

Overall, Dark Souls is a delight for players that enjoys dark fantasy storytelling and gameplay. The original Dark Souls still holds up and it is a worthwhile addition to your switch.

Bastion

One of Supergiant’s award-winning games, Bastion is worth playing thanks to its original art direction and satisfying gameplay. Follow one of the last survivors of an apocalyptic event that literally fractured the city and turned most residents into ash.

Your goal is to collect crystals to power the Bastion, the last safe haven after the Calamity. There’s an ever-present and dynamic narrator that tells the game’s story as well as reacts to your actions.

Bastion is played from a top-down perspective and with a snappy combat system. You can carry two weapons at a time while modifying and enhancing them between levels.

Bastion plays into its themes of post-apocalypse really well. You’ll go through levels made from floating squares that literally appear and disappear right before your eyes.

Every single game Supergiant creates has never let players down, and Bastion should be included as one of the best action games on Nintendo Switch.

Children of Morta

Children of Morta is a rougelike ARPG that sets the boundary between fun and challenging. This action-packed game shines out thanks to the beautiful sprite work, interesting characters, and fantastic voice acting.

The plot of Childen of Morta follows the Bergson family as they defend the world from the Corruption. Where Children of Morta shines is through the dynamics, relationships, and struggles of each family member. The narrator definitely pulls the emotional heavy lifting here.

The action is exquisitely fun because of its breakneck combat and gameplay. Each attack by the characters shows the impact of each strike. Not to mention, each family member possesses a different fighting style that suits your playstyle.

As a roguelike, each run becomes slightly easier as you unlock more boons and upgrade each family member. A unique feature in Children of Morta is that some skill trees unlock passive bonuses for the whole family.

Mother Russia Bleeds

Mother Russia Bleeds is an action beat-em-up game that captures the nostalgic feel of retro 8-bit graphics. The game tackles mature themes and a disturbing amount of violence, so expect that in both story and gameplay.

Set in an alternate timeline Soviet Union, you play as one of the Ruska Romani that was experimented on by the corrupt government. Mother Russia Bleeds lets you lead a revolution from the frontlines, while also experiencing the side effects of their experiments.

Gameplay-wise, Mother Russia Bleeds feels like it came out straight from an action movie fueled with adrenaline. The game offers excellent hand-to-hand combat, such as grappling and over-the-top finishers. The aforementioned four playable characters have their own stats and move set.

Mother Russia Bleed is a difficult beat-em-up, expect to retry the level multiple times before winning. Each stage culminates in a grand boss fight that requires a unique strategy to defeat them.

Furthermore, Mother Russia Bleeds is best to play with friends. It includes cooperative play that lets you enjoy the beatdown with your comrades, allowing more possibilities in combat that await you to discover.

Mother Russia Bleeds is one of the best action games on Nintendo Switch, and it’s very easy for a new player to drop in and start playing. This game is always a blast at local parties.

Omensight: Definitive Edition

Omensight: Definitive Edition is an action-adventure, hack and slash game with a mysterious and fantastical setting. It is a genre-bending game that defines the true meaning of how creative writing can heighten an action game.

You play as a spirit warrior as you go to each character’s past to investigate what started the war. As you scour through memories, you will be accompanied by your chosen character.

The combat adapts hack and slashes mechanics complete with regular attacks, special attacks, and dashing to make the action more alive. In addition, you can also use omensight that can share visions with the characters that may change the outcome of the plot.

Omensight is a one-of-a-kind experience and one of the best action games on Nintendo Switch. It’s worth adding to your library because of its excellent storytelling and great action set pieces.

Pokken Tournament DX battle

In this Pokemon game, the developers dropped the traditional turn-based game and transformed it into one of the best fighting games on the Nintendo Switch. Pokken Tournament DX is an arena fighting game that lets you battle opponents in real-time using your favorite Pokemon.

The Deluxe version ups the ante from the base version as it includes daily challenges and ranked matches to test your skills. Not to mention, five new Pokemon join the roster.

Casual players will have no trouble finding fun in Pokken Tournament, as combos and special moves are easy to learn. There are even stellar supers and an assist system that can turn the fight in your favor.

But for the more hardcore fanbase, the game has a thriving and dedicated competitive scene. There are many ways to master combat and express yourself as a skilled player.

Monster Hunter Rise

Monster Hunter Rise is Capcom’s most accessible entry to the complicated series. It is revolutionizing the whole action scene with its jaw-dropping action and addicting gameplay loop.

The game puts you and up to three other hunters to take down giant monsters. Afterward, you can break down their parts to build weapons and armors, which you can use to hunt even bigger monsters.

Monster Hunter Rise lets you choose from one of the fourteen weapon types. All weapons are fun and complex to use, offering a distinct playstyle for each.

Rise introduces new wirebug mechanics, where you can sling and swing through monsters with new mobility and aerial attack options. Additionally, Rise lets you bring a canine companion, where previous installments only offered cats.

Monster Hunter Rise captures the essence of a monster-slaying action experience with diverse monster designs and layered weapons. It is one of the best action games on Nintendo Switch and truly an addicting game.

Samurai Bringer

Samurai Bringer is a delight for players that loves to revisit retro games in the modern world. The game is a rouge-lite, action game that complements its pixel 3D art style and 8-bit soundtrack.

The game’s story was inspired by Japanese mythology and focused more on the Japanese Shinto gods. You play as the banished god Susanoo where you need to save the princess from the eight-headed dragon called Yamato-no-Orochi.

Samurai Bringer’s combat has a typical hack and slash mechanic, complete with unique attacks and light and heavy attacks. Also, you can decide what playstyle you will adapt because of its rogue-lite mechanics.

The game brings amusement as the story’s direction, and the gameplay hits you with a fresh but nostalgic feel. It is safe to say that Samurai Bringer is one of the best action games on Nintendo Switch.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a sequel to Nintendo’s crossover fighting game that left fans brimming with excitement when it first came out—it is a deep and polished game that combines fun and competitive gameplay in its star-studded cast package.

The game highlight’s its overwhelming cast of over 89 playable characters, including characters outside the Nintendo IPs. For example, Kazuya Mishima from Tekken, Sora from the Kingdom Hearts series, and even Steve from Minecraft.

Smash Ultimate kickstarted the platform fighter genre, where you have to knock out the opponent’s from the stage. Instead of a traditional health bar, the game uses its iconic percentage system which affects how far opponents are knocked away.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is one of the best action games on Nintendo Switch, and a worthy addition for any casual or competitive player.

Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2

Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 balances fun and action with a good narrative and gameplay. The game is an action-adventure, semi-open world game that lets you explore famous marvel landmarks built with Legos.

The story takes place where famous marvel heroes fight against Kang the Conqueror to conquer time and space. It is a delight for marvel fans as you get to visit other universes because of the convergence of the multiverse. 

Its combat versatility makes the gameplay more entertaining as each character has a different playstyle and purpose. The attacks are simple but address the diversity of each playable superhero.

In addition, puzzles are intended for a specific hero to solve and continue the mission. As a result, they added more substance, avoiding being a typical cartoon game on a console or handheld device. 

With that said, Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 is an enjoyable action game best played by other players as it offers co-op play. A recommendable game to play, especially if you are hosting a game night with friends.

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot

Revisit the journey of this well-beloved anime series as you play every saga that happened inside the DBZ lore. Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is a semi-open world ARPG that perfectly embraced the source material by adding more cinematic cutscenes and stellar combat mechanics.

This title feels like an updated Legacy of Goku series from the Gameboy Advance system in one package. It is one of the best action games on Nintendo Switch for how unapologetically over the top it is.

DBZ: Kakarot retains its arena-like combat with a massive selection of special moves used during the fight. Although it urges you to spam buttons, it puts your mind to work while fighting as enemies have different playstyles.

Furthermore, you can charge up your Tension meter where you can quickly cancel special moves to do another in an instant. This mechanic allows you to clutch victories as battles get tougher.

All that being said, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is a refreshing entry to the Dragon Ball games that is more focused on the substance than style.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice delivers its dark and trauma-filled story with class. The game is an ARPG with immersive action that will give you goosebumps and chills in each haunting moment.

It is an in-depth story-driven game that explores the psychological horror unfolding in Senua’s mind. The game is inspired by Norse mythology, as you’ll venture deep into Helheim to find the soul of her recently deceased lover.

Senua’s Sacrifice has a straightforward but punishing take on hack and slash mechanics. Additionally, every time you die the rot slowly takes over her body.

Senua’s psychosis is not only for the story, as it’s heavily integrated into gameplay. For example, the voices inside Senua’s head give hints during combat, like warning you when someone is about to strike from behind.

Not to mention its significant puzzle portions where you need to scour the whole area to solve it—finding keys or runes to open doors and proceeding to the game’s stage. 

Fascinatingly enough, the Nintendo Switch competently handles Hellblade’s demanding graphics. It is one of the best action games on Nintendo Switch for how much it plays into the protagonist’s vulnerabilities.

Arietta of Spirits

Arietta of Spirits is a Zelda-like game packed with tons of personality and charm. It tackles real-life problems mixed with imaginative storytelling.

Play as Arietta where she and her family went for a road trip to visit her departed grandmother’s cabin. As her parents try to make the trip more rewarding, you stumble upon a spirit called Arco as you become one of the bounds that can walk between the living and the spiritual world.

As mentioned earlier, Arietta of Spirits combat was inspired by classic Zelda games, especially the GBA titles. In addition, the game adapts its famous top-down combat system, such as regular attacks, special attacks, and dodge rolls.

Arietta of Spirits takes a more puzzle approach to defeat its creatures. Positioning, observing the enemy’s attack patterns, and exploiting weaknesses are crucial for its combat.

Furthermore, Arietta of Spirits is an excellent casual game for players that enjoys simple combat with fun activities. It is one of the best action games on the Nintendo Switch as it takes the great highlights of classic Legend of Zelda titles and adds to it.

Katana Zero

If you like a samurai set in a neo-noir setting, Katana Zero is the best example of a surprising number of games with that premise. It is an innovative side-scrolling, platformer action game that mesmerizes you with its vibrant visual design and masterfully crafted soundtrack.

You play as a samurai assassin named Zero, who can slow down time and predict future events. There’s a loaded narrative here that never gets bogged down by cutscenes and text.

Zero has a fast-paced playstyle, where everyone dies in one hit, including you. Slashing with your katana and throwing items all immediately take down enemies, so you have to repeat the level until your execution is flawless.

The combat system is simple, but the level and enemy design force you to think smart and fast. You can slow down time in a pinch to cut down projectiles and get in a better position.

It is no surprise that Katana Zero is one of the best indie games on Nintendo Switch. It is endlessly replayable, and there’s even a hard mode and speedrun mode to try after completing the base game.

Samurai Warriors 5

Samurai Warriors 5 is an action-packed, hack and slash game inspired by the Sengoku era. The game showcases its traditional Japanese art design, complete with cell-shaded characters that express its authenticity.

It is a sequel with a nice blend of retelling of the happenings of the first game. In the main story, you play the young Nobunaga Oda and Mitsuhide Akechi as they try to oppose each other by having separate visions for the country.

In addition, aside from the two characters mentioned, the game features over 39 playable characters that you can use in Citadel mode. A mode where it focuses on a ranking system that depends on the length of the combos you performed.

The developers still adapt its musou-like combat from their previous titles. For example, they allow players to use light and heavy attacks incorporated into each other to perform slick and stylish combos. Not to mention, you can also chain supers with regular attacks to make the action more fun.

So if you are into unleashing attacks on hoards of enemies in an area, then it is a good game for you. However, Samurai Warriors 5 will never bore as it one of the best action games on Nintendo Switch.

God Eater 3

It is unfair to call God Eater 3 anime Monster Hunter. Though they share the same core gameplay of attacking ludicrous monsters and building gear from its parts, God Eater 3’s fast-paced combat and high-ceiling weapon mastery set it apart.

Save the world as you participate in an elite group called God Eaters as you defeat Aragamis or creatures that only exist by infesting the world. You play as the protagonist and use an arsenal of weapons that can go toe to toe with them.

Although the combat is similar to its rival, God Eater 3 has a straightforward approach but rewards your reflexes like through blocking perfectly. You can also bring players with you or NPC companions if you play solo.

Aside from that, the game packs a punch thanks to its wide variety of weapons that will suit your playstyle—having different kinds of melee weapons, guns, and shields that you can craft using materials from defeating creatures.

In addition, you can wield two armaments that you can switch simultaneously—shifting your combat style on the fly so you can effectively cut down Aragamis.

Overall, God Eater 3 is a promising all-action game that will never disappoint you. It is one of the best action games on Nintendo Switch, even if you prefer to hunt alone.

Okami HD

Okami HD is a classic and magnificent game that captures the beauty of traditional Japanese art and mythology all in one. It is an action-adventure game in which each moment of the game makes you awe with enchanting storytelling and an excellent soundtrack.

The game sets in classical Japan or pronounced in the game as Nippon. You play as Amaterasu, the sun goddess, who took a wolf’s form to defeat a menacing demon that enslaved a whole village.

The gameplay recollects The Legend of Zelda games that took inspiration from it, where it focuses on world explorations, creative puzzles, and characters that are colorful enough to encounter.

The combat adapts a hack and slash mechanic complete with light and heavy attacks and an arsenal of weapons containing magical elements. 

In addition, it is slick and immersive thanks to the idea of a magical brush that can use to solve puzzles and fight against enemies. An excellent addition that genuinely shows the artistic approach of the game.

Overall, Okami is a must-played game for players that appreciate both art and action simultaneously.   

Mulaka

There is something about expressing culture through gaming, and Mulaka is an excellent example of that. Mulaka is an action-adventure game packed with rich narrative, action-heavy gameplay, and simple yet beautiful visual design.

The game was inspired by the real-life tribe called Tarahumara, an indigenous tribe in Northern Mexico. You play as Sukuruame, a shaman from the said tribe given the task to fight back against creatures that corrupt the land.

Gameplay-wise, Mulaka does an excellent job combining fast-paced combat and platforming while solving puzzles along the way. It is fun and deeply engaging to explore the game’s world and mythos.

The combat adapts hack and slashes elements such as light and heavy attacks, dodging, and special attacks that you can acquire with the aid of the demigods. In addition, you also can transform into a beast such as a hawk, panther, or bear that serves as a utility for combat and overcoming obstacles.

All that being said, Mulaka is worth trying for players who want to experience a fresh take on gaming. Mulaka is one of the best action games on Nintendo Switch to introduce newcomers to the genre.

Its accessible combat, great exploration, and rich cultural storytelling make it an easy game to recommend.

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