Genius detectives like Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot masterfully command deduction, reasoning, and logic to solve crimes. These super detectives are challenged with seemingly impossible cases until they reveal the whole solution in a convincing monologue.
Video games are a perfect medium to live out grand sleuth fantasies. For sure, nothing beats that satisfaction you get from successfully beating each case using your observation and cunning.
However, other factors are considered when deciding which detective game is your next pick. A compelling story, interesting characters, and innovative puzzle-solving mechanics all serve to create a better game.
Nintendo Switch has a long list of detective games to choose from; some twist the genre on its head, while others provide a pure, atmospheric experience. This list will help you round down the choices with the 20 best detective games on Nintendo Switch.
Overboard! is pretty unique compared to other detective games on this list. It takes the familiar elements of the detective genre and flips them over.
Think Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile, but you’re the one escaping the detective’s inquisitive eyes. This twist to the whodunit genre, paired with its art style and writing, makes this one of the best detective games on Nintendo Switch.
Overboard! puts players aboard a ship where, lo and behold, a murder has transpired. As the player and culprit, you are forced to make numerous choices to evade suspicion throughout the course of the game.
You have 8 hours to frame another passenger for the murder you committed—roughly about 40 minutes of in-game time. This is done by interacting with the ship’s passengers and exploring your options.
What makes Overboard! enjoyable and worth replaying are the new discoveries that you make in each playthrough. It puts you in a gameplay loop of choices that each lead you to differing scenarios. As a result, players may find their next run very different from the previous one.
Ultimately, you succeed by either making your act of murder look like an accident or pinning it on someone – you could also fail and face the consequence. However, if you are lost on what to do next, there is also an unexpected individual that will help point you to your possible next course of action.
Unavowed is the first on this list that throws supernatural elements into the mix. It is an impressive urban fantasy point-and-click adventure, and one of the best detective games on Nintendo Switch.
It stars an amnesiac formerly possessed by a demon; during that time, he went on a bloody rampage across New York City. A team of supernatural protectors called the Unavowed save you and offer you a chance at redemption, creating a profoundly compelling and complex story.
The story takes you on a trip around New York with your newfound companions and introduces you to their world. It is a fantastical world filled with ghosts, demons, traveling to other planes of existence, and other occult-related things.
But all those supernatural elements all tell grounded, human stories. There are tons of characters whose stories are just waiting to be told and a wide array of puzzles that need to be solved.
Each character has something to say, and all of their interactions with each other reveal much more about them. As you can only bring two party members at a time, the game is worth replaying just to see other outcomes.
If you’re the type of player that’s a sucker for story-telling then Unavowed is an easy recommend. Branching dialogue, choices, and story beats will keep you coming back for more.
Disco Elysium: The Final Cut
Disco Elysium is undoubtedly a commercial, artistic, and literary success. This masterpiece will stay inside your mind long after you play it.
Disco Elysium is a game with elements of the detective genre, a pen and paper tabletop game, and a classic RPG altogether. It offers you a multi-layered murder mystery case and the choice of building what “class” of detective you want to be.
It begins with an amnesiac main character waking up and finding out that he was supposed to be investigating a homicide case. Then, the story takes you on a journey around Revachol, trying to investigate the case with the best NPC partner of all time, Kim Kitsuragi.
Instead of traditional skills, you’ll be leveling up personality and character traits, like Authority and Logic. These traits help you assess the world, but they are also fleshed-out characters who often chime in and debate with one another.
As the story progresses, you will slowly remember what kind of person your character was before going on an alcoholic bender of post-apocalyptic proportions. But, what’s more important is the choices you make throughout the game, as this is who you are now.
Disco Elysium’s The Final Cut version improves an already excellent game. In addition, the Final Cut allows you to go on to more side quests with new locations and characters.
This version also adds full stellar voice acting for every character in the game, including your traits. Disco Elysium is one of the best detective games on Nintendo Switch, and a must play title.
Everything about Paradise Killer exudes style and high-concept ideas. It is an amalgamation of the whodunit and sci-fi genres with a touch of cultic activities.
Paradise is a living island that appears every few thousand years. The Council is in charge of creating this landmass for the purpose of reviving fallen gods.
However, the Council was dispatched, and Paradise along with them. Assume the role of Lady Love Dies, who was brought back from exile to find out who did it.
Freely explore Island Sequence 24, scavenging for clues and interrogating bizarre characters. Aside from being one of the best detective games on Nintendo Switch, it is also a tremendous open-world title.
Despite its fantastical setting, Paradise Killer captures the true essence of what detective work is more than most detective games. The story doesn’t guide you towards the suspect; it’s all up to you to solve it.
The island is also a puzzle to solve, as there are hidden areas to unlock and discover. Paradise Killer is refreshingly non-linear, but it will keep you hooked to keep on searching.
Return of the Obra Dinn
Return of the Obra Dinn is a monochromatic, retro-styled game that tasks players to solve the mystery aboard what is essentially a ghost ship. Sleuthing around the ship with the help of an enchanted pocket watch that lets you turn back time to gain insight into how the crew met their demise.
The Obra Dinn is a merchant ship that got lost at sea and now has washed to a port, but its crew is nowhere to be seen. You are an insurance investigator assigned to board the ship to investigate what happened to the ship and its crew.
As the investigator, your goal is to determine what were the fates of everyone on board. Your trusty journal assists you on this matter, helping you piece together what events transpired on the ship.
Aside from that, you’re pretty much left to your own devices. Nevertheless, it is one of the best detective games on Nintendo Switch because of how much it pushes you to use deduction skills and logic.
Famicom Detective Club: The Girl Who Stands Behind
The Girl Who Stands Behind is the second installment of the Famicom Detective Club series. These visual novels are a real treat for anyone who enjoys chill, story-driven games that don’t require much for you to do other than point, click and read the dialogue.
The Girl Who Stands Behind is set on school grounds investigating the homicide of a student whose body has washed up on the riverbanks. This takes you around school, interrogating teachers and students to know who the killer is.
This seemingly simple story incorporates horror elements into its narrative. Notably, the girl who stands behind is a popular rumor of a bloodied girl who often lurks behind students.
Though The Girl Who Stands Behind came out later, it is more of a prequel to the first Famicom Detective Club. Compared to the first game, The Missing Heir, it makes some minor optimizations.
Both titles are some of the best detective games on Nintendo Switch, and can be played separately. However, it makes sense to play the fan-favorite The Girl Who Stands Behind first, as it is a prequel.
What Remains of Edith Finch
First and foremost, What Remains of Edith Finch remains hauntingly beautiful no matter how harrowing or morbid it gets. Wonderfully written and paired with imaginative sequences, it is one of the best detective games on Nintendo Switch.
The game is an interactive walking simulator where you’ll find out the extent of your bloodline’s curse. Specifically, the curse that causes every member of the family to die tragically (and often young).
Edith Finch, the protagonist, aims to find out about the secrets of the family’s curse by revisiting their sprawling abandoned home. She searches the place for anything that could tell her about her family’s untimely deaths.
As she combs through their home, she encounters stories and gains insight into the final moments of her deceased loved ones. These moments are usually played out from their perspective, and the truth is often embellished with absurd elements.
All of the Finches’ stories are heart-warming, bizarre, and emotional. The cast did a phenomenal job with the voice acting, as their performances are outstanding.
What Remains of Edith Finch is a compelling detective game with heavy themes about life and how we revere those that passed on. It’s a story about the ghosts of our past and how to value each moment.
AI: Somnium Files
The next game on this list is set in a futuristic world with a noir atmosphere. AI: Somnium Files gives players a glimpse of how detectives can solve crimes with the assistance of futuristic technology.
We join Detective Kaname Date and his assistant Aiba, who lives in his left mechanical eyeball, on a trip to a futuristic version of Tokyo. Aiba aids Date in his investigations by acting as an X-Ray, Night Vision Goggles, scanner, and other fantastical ways.
The most striking way is when they use the Psync Machine to enter other people’s psyches called Somnium in order to find out more about the person. Within the Somnium, players are able to enter what seems like an escape room in order to remove the mental barriers of each person they use the Somnium on.
This escape room is complete with different puzzles and a time limit.
Somnium Files is one of the best detective games on Nintendo Switch because of its branching storyline and alternate paths. You can use an in-game flow chart to replay branching scenarios to get a clearer view of the story.
If you think that a game entitled Rainswept is one with a gloomy feel to it, then congratulations, you’re definitely correct – for the most part. A dead couple in their kitchen and a detective haunted by ghosts of his past backed by an abundance of rain and melancholic background music are what come together to set the stage for this game.
Kicking off with one Detective Michael Stone, the protagonist, joining the Pineview police force to help with investigating what is rumored to be a murder-suicide of a couple – Chris and Diane. Accompany Detective Stone as he interviews the townspeople of Pineview in order to gain insight into the truth of Chris and Diane’s deaths.
As you progress, you get to play as Chris in flashbacks of the couple’s important moments. You also get to know Detective Stone’s past relationships and unresolved trauma.
But there are some light-hearted activities that can offer you some distraction whenever you feel overwhelmed by the emotions evoked by this game. It’s a massively underrated title; nonetheless, it is still one of the best detective games on Nintendo Switch.
The Darkside Detective
The next on this list is a light-hearted and self-dubbed “micro-adventure” that takes you around the city of Twin Lakes. If you’ve ever wondered as to who deals with everyday supernatural shindig in Twin Lakes City, then look no further than the Darkside Division.
In this Twin Lakes City, we get to meet the Darkside Division with its lead investigator Detective Francis McQueen. He’s the lead investigator for crimes related to the supernatural ghost world reflection of the city.
In Darkside Detective, you can go and solve nine light-hearted and satirical cases in a point-and-click adventure. Contrary to the setting, there’s no drama involved, and it is full of pop culture references. The game’s website even promises that there are “at least three jokes” in the game.
The Darkside Detective is one of the best detective games on Nintendo Switch if you’re looking for a fun time without all the mental gymnastics. However, if you do love the game after playing, you may also go on and play its sequel The Darkside Detective: A Fumble in the Dark, also available on the console.
Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments
As we all know, anything game with the name Sherlock Holmes has the detective genre written all over it. He is, after all, a world-class detective and the most famous face of the movement.
Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments doesn’t really have a main storyline that it follows. It introduces you to six different cases that don’t have any common denominator whatsoever (apart from Holmes and Watson being present to investigate the case).
Use Sherlock Holmes’s iconic inductive reasoning to gather clues and evidence. You’ll have to interrogate, question, and examine the environment for leads.
These clues are then tacked on to a deduction board. Then, you’ll have to interpret how these clues fit within the narrative and manually link them together. This is also a test of your knowledge, as a wrong link will affect Holmes’s credibility.
Crimes and Punishments also offers a variety of mini-challenges within each case (like picking locks). Each mini-challenge differs in difficulty, with some being a walk in the park and others being considerably more complex.
Solving the crime is not only the end goal of the game. You can also choose to absolve the culprit from the crime if it fits your moral compass.
These gameplay mechanics and alternate endings make the game one of the best detective games on Nintendo Switch.
Chinatown Detective Agency
This next game is one set in a futuristic Singapore envisioned by the game’s developers. Singapore, in the year 2037, an ex-INTERPOL agent, Amira Darma, sets up her own private investigations company. From there, she takes in a number of diverse cases ranging from finding a missing book to solving a case of poisoning to someone making bombs out of everyday drones.
The game is a point-and-click adventure dripping with neon colors, embracing a cyberpunk art style. Chinatown Detective Agency can be likened to others in this list in terms of its replayability with the three paths that you have to choose from at the early stages of the game.
Detective work is very unique because you won’t have all the answers in this game. Sometimes, you have to search for clues using real-world search engines. For example, you’ll have to resort to external research to find out the origins of a particular item.
Solving crimes is half of Amira’s problems. She’s on the brink of bankruptcy, and you’ll need to manage precious resources to keep her afloat. Unfortunately, traveling isn’t cheap, and the money is coming from your pockets.
There’s a light business management to the game too, like expanding your company. These elements combine to make one of the best detective games on Nintendo Switch.
Telltale Batman: Shadows Edition
From the innovative minds of Telltale Games, who became distinguished for their work on The Walking Dead, comes a game focused on one of the most famous superheroes – Batman. Bruce Wayne is portrayed grittier than usual, making this a unique detective-themed superhero game.
This definitive edition includes all episodes from the two seasons of the game. A brooding story that focuses on the aspect of Batman that he’s well-known for in the comics – being a world-class detective.
Telltale Games succeeds in telling a captivating story about Batman. As with the Walking Dead Telltale Series, Batman presents you with different choices you have to make to progress the story.
It puts an emphasis on how each choice you make creates an impact on the lives lived by both identities of Bruce Wayne. So even though it’s an essentially cinematic game, you’ll really feel the weight of your decisions.
Shadows Edition also includes Shadows Mode, which takes away most colors to make primary colors pop. This mode makes it feel like it came straight from a graphic novel.
Sam & Max Save the World
The original version of Sam & Max Save the World is another game by Telltale Games. However, the remastered version was something that Skunkape Games were responsible for.
As with other Telltale Games, this game is episodic in nature, with a story that spans six episodes. In these episodes of Sam & Max Save the World, Telltale manages to showcase six different cases that seem unrelated but is in fact intertwined.
What sets this game apart from other detective games is the humor tied into the game’s puzzles, which tend to have comedic solutions to them. However, even with that being the case, the solutions to the puzzles aren’t too absurd as to seem illogical or improbable.
As always with this iconic duo, their comedy is always on point. Their hilarious banter is more than enough to make this one of the best detective games on Nintendo Switch.
If you have played classic point-and-click games like Maniac Mansion or The Secret of Monkey Island, then Thimbleweed Park might just be your cup of tea and a healthy dose of nostalgia. Thimbleweed Park is chock full of self-referential material with the occasional callbacks from its predecessors.
Thimbleweed Park is set in the titular town with two federal agents investigating a murder that no one seems to be aware of. These characters introduced are just two out of the five bizarre characters that you can freely switch to as you enjoy the game.
Each of these characters has their own mini-objectives that you can explore all at your own pace. Additionally, the wacky citizens are also a treat to talk to, making it one of the best detective games on Nintendo Switch.
The puzzles that exist within the game are truly elaborate and often have a bit of humor attached to them that makes it seem a little too ridiculous at times. This quality, however, adds to the overall likability of the game as it sets an atmosphere that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy
The detective visual novel, Ace Attorney Trilogy, makes its way to Switch to cater to new audiences – with a visual upgrade to boot. Unfortunately, there’s not much to expect from older fans of the game as nothing has been added to the game apart from bundling the main games of Ace Attorney together.
But for those who have just heard of Ace Attorney, this may currently be one of the best detective games on Nintendo Switch.
Ace Attorney follows Phoenix Wright’s journey as he takes a number of cases that become more difficult with each case. The game doesn’t just focus on the happening within the court room as you will also be investigating around crime scenes to build your case.
During courtroom trials, Ace Attorney has satisfying moments where you can loudly object to contradictions. It’s up to you to show which evidence you’ve gathered that goes against the opposition’s lie.
Aviary Attorney: Definitive Edition
Just as the title suggests, this entry to the detective list is about an anthropomorphic Falcon who goes and defends other anthropomorphized citizens in this fictional universe. Giving you a barrage of modern references that add to its eccentricity and a tendency for intentional bird puns, this Ace Attorney-inspired game will surely entertain.
Aviary Attorney is set in Paris in the year 1848 and begins with the murder of a frog. Attorney Jayjay Falcon with his sidekick Sparrowson does all things attorney. You’ll make your case by going around town and gathering evidence, as well as cross-examining during court.
The game will get you hooked on its loveable characters and witty writing from the get-go. All the more as the game has three possible endings which increase its replayability. Aviary Attorney is a surprise hit and one of the best detective games on Nintendo Switch.
Jenny LeClue Detectivu
A murder has just ensued, and suspect number one suspect seems to be your mother. Aspiring detective, Jenny LeClue, must find out the truth about a case.
Her adventure takes her all around their town of Arthurton searching for the truth of the matter. But she soon starts to realize that all may not what it seems to be in this town.
Players must aid Jenny LeClue in her adventure of a lifetime to prove her mother’s innocence. Then, guide her in making choices that will morph her into the detective she wishes to be.
The game introduces a few puzzle mechanics that will continually increase in difficulty throughout the campaign. It’s also humorous at times, but charming all throughout.
Jenny LeClue is now fully voiced acted, making it one of the best detective games on Nintendo Switch. The game takes you an adventure that you wouldn’t expect from first glance.
The Sinking City
The Sinking City sees you deal with monstrous creations straight from H.P. Lovecraft’s imaginative mind. This is what makes up The Sinking City, a game made to honor Lovecraftian horror.
The Sinking City implores you to explore the near fully-submerged city of Oakmont – a city with menacing secrets. Lead to this town by his visions, the protagonist, Charles Reed, aims to gain some insight for what they might possibly mean.
As you explore, you get a glimpse of the current hybrid populace of the town and get into fights with eldritch horrors, all while holding on to the last threads of your sanity. Fortunately, you can defend yourself using weapons to defeat these monstrosities.
A light RPG skill tree will help you solve quests and keep your sanity. You’ll earn the experience needed by simply playing through the game and successfully unearthing mysteries.
Reed can literally get craft in his adventure, creating useful items to arm him to explore more dangerous areas. Empowering yourself will let you solve quests easier, and let you uncover the secrets in this intriguing game of mystery.
Chicken Police Paint It Red!
Much like Aviary Attorney, this entry sports anthropomorphic animals populating the world, and both have a bird as their protagonist. But what makes the two different is that Chicken Police Paint It Red! is made for the enjoyment of a more mature audience.
The story follows the reunion of two formerly-estranged chicken police that have come together to work on one last case. This names of this detective duo are Sonny Featherland and Marty MacChicken.
Chicken Police is point and click adventure game that delivers it’s dialogue-heavy story using a visual novel approach. Like a noir novel, most of stills are monochromatic, except for a few vibrant colors.
Their last is to investigate the threats directed toward Natasha Catzenko. This takes you on a ride around Clawville interacting with some of its citizens and scouring the underbellies of the city for clues.
As usual, you’ll go around talking, gathering evidence, and interrogating suspects. There’s a bit more depth to interrogating potential culprits here as you’ll go through a dedicated minigame.
The story is captivating and all the voice actors gave it their all. Don’t let the anthropomorphic characters dissuade you from one of the best detective games on Nintendo Switch for mature audiences.