The 21 Best Zelda-Like Games on Nintendo Switch

Image credit: Acid Nerve

The seminal The Legend of Zelda franchise heavily influenced the industry that it would be hard to imagine modern gaming without it. Each new entry of the series improves, innovates, and challenges the conventions of its predecessors.

But what makes a video game like Zelda? For its defining element, the series is an action-adventure game, where exploration and secret hunting is as important as fun combat.

Legend of Zelda is also known for its sprawling and massive dungeons, usually a separate instance away from the world. These dungeons are the highlight of the game and are the perfect playground for all its mechanics. Bosses at the end of these encounters test you on your knowledge gained through the ordeal.

Another iconic element of the Zelda franchise is its frequent use of clever puzzles. These puzzles mostly involve a new item or an ability to solve them, which you’ll use to keep solving more complex variations further in the game.

The games in this list try their best to incorporate all of these elements into their gameplay, while some others keep some and mix other genres. Nonetheless, there are the 21 best Zelda-like games on Nintendo Switch.

2D Zelda-Like Games

Death’s Door

Death’s Door is a charming action-adventure game despite dealing with macabre subjects. It channels the very first Legend of Zelda to deliver one of the best Zelda-like games on Nintendo Switch.

You’ll play as a Crow who has the monotonous job of reaping souls. One day, a mysterious figure takes your assigned soul and escapes with it during your job. You have to find the thief, reclaim what’s yours, and unravel a grand conspiracy on the way.

It’s important to know that Death’s Door doesn’t have a map. Instead, you have to rely upon your sense of direction and the signs in-game to navigate.

The game evokes that confused but fun wandering old Zelda fans crave. Secrets are abundant in the world, and it is good to take note of inaccessible areas to backtrack later.

Among those treasures are valuable weapons that you’ll use for combat. There are also magic abilities that double as utility spells for traversal and puzzle-solving.

Where Death’s Door truly shines is in its stellar world-building and level design. Additionally, this game has a compelling story with stand-out comedic moments that will keep you playing until the end.

CrossCode: A New Home

CrossCode is a game within a game. Its thrilling combat and gripping adventure make this one of the best action-adventure games on Nintendo Switch.

Play as Lea, who was Isekai’d into an MMORPG called CrossWorlds. She has no memories of her life outside and must play through the game to recover them.

The colorful cast of pixelated characters you’ll meet are people playing CrossWorlds, and their dialogue reflects that. You can bring them along as a party member, and they’re surprisingly competent in a fight.

Lea is buttery smooth to control; she dances and spins around the field, jumping in and out to attack in melee or range.

You’ll quickly learn to master the combat because difficult enemies will halt your progression. Therefore, it’s crucial to exploit their elemental weakness if you want to crack their high HP pools.

These elemental attacks feed into CrossCode’s complex skill tree system. It’s a delight for any RPG player to discover how many options exist to express your playstyle. And, since enemies have varying weaknesses, no skill tree will be underutilized.

Of course, it wouldn’t be one of the best Zelda-like games on Nintendo Switch without smart puzzles. CrossCode has a lot of them—like, too much at times. These puzzles are usually physics-based conundrums that test your knowledge of your abilities.

To top it all off, CrossCode has lengthy dungeons that could last up to an hour or more each. This game deserves more attention and praise, so be sure to check it out.

Hyper Light Drifter – Special Edition

Hyper Light Drifter is inspired by A Link to the Past and Diablo. However, it manages to do both franchises justice to become one of the best Zelda-like games on Nintendo Switch.

Hyper Light Drifter will remain ambiguous throughout the whole game. It is up to you to interpret its cryptic story told through haunting images of high-quality pixel art.

Exploration also follows the same design philosophy. It’s refreshing to have no explicit objective; instead, you have to wander the world searching for it yourself.

Combat is polished to perfection, and it’s uber satisfying to land hard-hitting attacks with your sword and gun. It’s also a dopamine rush to zip and dodge around the battlefield when faced with numerous enemies.

There’s also a layer to customization too, as you can upgrade your stats, sword specials, and even change swap your guns. This focus on tight combat elevates it as one of the best indie games on Switch.

Additionally, Hyper Light Drifter has an amazing synth soundtrack that really sells the atmosphere. Finally, there are many grand vistas and images in the game, and it’s half the fun deciphering what they all mean.

Ittle Dew

Ittle Dew is reminiscent of Link’s Awakening in both gameplay and story. However, this game offers a lighthearted experience focused on consecutive puzzle solving.

Ittle and her magic fox partner named Tippsie are drifting at sea until they land on a strange island. After meeting a shopkeeper named Itan, he promised to craft a raft for the duo if they retrieve an item for him at the island’s castle.

Although there is straightforward combat, it isn’t the most polished part of the game. Instead, it focuses on Zelda-like puzzle solving through the creative use of enchanted items.

The game simplifies the format into three main items. These items have a surprising amount of depth, and they interact in interesting ways.

In fact, you can even complete the game using two of any of these items. It’s a self-imposed challenge that you can do if you’re up to it.

The game’s map will tell you if you’ve missed any items or treasures when entering dungeons. But, it’s still up to you to find it and solve the corresponding puzzle.

Finally, Ittle Dew’s optional master dungeon solely makes this one of the best Zelda-like games on Nintendo Switch. It is a very tricky dungeon that will have you scratching your head for hours.

Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion

With a name like Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion, it’s almost worth it just to play for that alone. Fortunately, it’s one of the best Zelda-like games on Nintendo Switch in a bite-sized package.

Assume control of a turnip who was accused of committing tax evasion. Mayor Onion offers you a deal to do his personal errands in exchange for your house. However, the lighthearted quest with supposedly funny vegetables quickly becomes a slight jab at corrupt governments.

Combat and exploration will take you back to A Link to the Past. While swinging your sword is reasonably simple, quickly switching between different items to interact with the environment is a highlight of the game.

In its short 3-hour run, Turnip Boy is filled with eccentric characters and references to pop culture. For example, there’s a cherry you can meet that looks like it belongs to JoJo’s Bizzare Adventure.

Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King

Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King is a wonderful tribute to The Minish Cap and A Link to the Past. It doesn’t stray too far away from that formula and even references the title in-game. 

Assume control of a newly knighted Lily, who serves the Kingdom of Blossom. After her evil brother curses her king of endless slumber, Lily has to find magical items across the land to cure him.

The story is told by a grandfather reading to his grandchildren; this also factors into the narrative. This storytelling structure is similar to another excellent Switch FPS gameCall of Juarez.

Combat is akin to 2D Zelda titles, where you’re primarily swiping a short-ranged sword and blocking attacks with a shield. However, other useful items also come into play, like bombs and boomerangs.

Zelda-like dungeons, secret hunting, and puzzles are also present here. It is unashamed of its inspiration, making it one of the best Zelda-like games on Nintendo Switch.

Yono and the Celestial Elephants

Yono and the Celestial Elephants is the easiest title on this list, and it’s a perfect game for a novice or young gamer. It is one of the best Zelda-like games on Nintendo Switch for how it stays true to the Zelda formula and charm while still retaining its accessibility.

Control of the cutest elephant in gaming, an elephant born from the stars named Yono. The story can be aptly compared to Avatar: The Last Airbender since you’re tasked with restoring peace and balance to the three different races.

The game contextualizes its puzzle-solving by letting you help out the residents of the world. You’ll use your massive strength to push objects around and your versatile trunk to sprinkle water or blow air.

There are other ways to assist townspeople, like interacting with them and accepting side-quests. As a mighty protector, you’re also battle monsters and bosses in Zelda-like dungeons. 

For older audiences, the game distills complicated philosophical topics, like existentialism and power politics, into digestible concepts. There are many hidden letters you can find to piece together what divided these once-peaceful races.

Moonlighter: Complete Edition

Moonlighter delivers intense back-to-back Zelda-like combat with a shopkeeping feature. Diving deeper into dungeons and collecting loot becomes much more fun when you have to flip it back at the shop.

The game is a roguelite, action RPG when you enter dungeons and becomes a business sim while on the surface. You’ll take control of an ambitious shopkeeper named Will, who loves the thrill of adventure.

There are different dungeons in the game which feature difficult enemies and crushing boss encounters. Aside from driving the monsters away from town, you’ll also plunder precious treasures inside them.

Combat is similar to 2D Zelda titles, where you’ll have various weapons to fend back all manners of creatures. Additionally, you can roll out of danger.

It’s important not to get greedy in this dangerous area. If you faint while spelunking, you’ll lose most of your valuable items.

Once back on the surface, you’ll display these trinkets and manually set their price. Then, you’ll have to observe whether the citizens demand the product and think if your prices are fair. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for pesky thieves who’ll try to steal your hard-earned loot.

You can use your money to set up different shops in town to upgrade your weapons and items. But, of course, you can also invest in your shop by expanding it.

The Complete Edition also includes the DLC Between Dimensions, which adds more of everything to the game. As a result, it’s a great game to play in short bursts, making it one of the best Zelda-like games on Nintendo Switch.

Hob: The Definitive Edition

Hob distills the familiar Zelda-like formula and sets it in a post-apocalyptic future. Puzzles are abundant, and you’ll find them everywhere—from gameplay, environmental storytelling, and combat encounters.

The machine planet that you inhabit is plagued by a purple alien-like substance, corrupting it from within. You’ll have to venture across the surface and within the core to rid your beloved home of this virus.

During combat, the little robot Hob attacks with its sword and multi-faceted larger gauntlet. Of course, you’ll also need to dodge roll out of the way of danger and avoid environmental hazards.

Hob’s gauntlet is the star of platforming and puzzle-solving. You’ll primarily use it and any new abilities to literally change the mechanical planet back to its old glory.

This beautiful, moving landscape is used effectively in the game. However, it also hides many secrets to help you on your journey.

The developers of Torchlight I and Torchlight II brought their fondness for steampunk to new heights with this title. Hob is definitely one of the best Zelda-like games on Nintendo Switch.

Eastward

Eastward combines 2D top-down Zelda action-adventure elements with EarthBound’s quirky characters and emotional plot. It also stands out with its magnificent and incredibly detailed pixel art.

You’ll play as a miner named John and his foster child Sam, who he found inside a tank underground. After being exiled from their underground colony, the duo will have no choice but to explore the surface.

The world is dangerous and filled with environmental puzzles that the duo must overcome. You’ll switch between John’s trusty frying pan and Sam’s kinetic superpowers for all this.

The father-daughter bond between the two characters is the heart of the story. It’s important to expect less active gameplay and prepare for more misadventures of the duo. 

Frequently, it’s back-to-back cutscenes and lengthy dialogue. These are generally engaging if you’re in the right headspace for it. If you’re ready for that, Eastward is one of the best Zelda-like games on Nintendo Switch.

Oceanhorn- Monster of Uncharted Seas

Personally, my favorite Zelda game is Wind Waker, and Oceanhorn Monster of Uncharted Seas successfully recaptures that magic. This charming game is without a doubt one of the best Zelda on Nintendo Switch. The protagonist even looks and dresses like Link!

You’ll travel from island to island on your boat. These islands are usually contained places to explore with enemies to fight, caves to search, and treasures to loot.

Oceanhorn also features a light RPG system, where every time you level up you’ll receive a bonus. These bonuses include passive effects like having more inventory space for new equipment.

Combat and puzzle-solving are fairly simple, yet still enjoyable. Even so, Oceanhorn is still one of the best Zelda-like games on Nintendo Switch.

Minit

Minit core gimmick gives you exactly one minute to beat the whole game; failing that, you have to start from the beginning. However, it impressively manages to develop on that idea until the end, creating one of the best Zelda-like games on Nintendo Switch.

While Minit is an action-adventure game, it’s a Switch puzzle game at heart. As a result, you need to think fast and execute your ideas before 60 seconds run out.

It’s an exercise of experimentation, trial and error, and interacting with everything on screen. Additionally, it’s a test of patience as some of the solutions are frustratingly obtuse.

Enemies also hinder your progress; fortunately, you have a reliable sword to solve that. Minit even features boss battles like a proper Zelda title.

The game factors players starting over into its gameplay loop. As some puzzles can only be solved through multiple runs. Another example of this are the shortcuts you can unlock that persist through resets.

If you’re done with the game, Minit offers you a mode called Second Run. This makes the game harder, changes the layout of essential items, and only gives you 40 seconds to complete the game.

3D Zelda-Like Games

Okami

Zelda games often take inspiration from Japanese mythology to tell their stories. Okami does this outstandingly, and even styles the game like it was a Sumi-e ink painting.

You’ll assume control of Okami Amaterasu, a white wolf who is the sun goddess of Nippon. In this adventure, she’ll save Japan from falling into cursed darkness caused by a serpent demon named Orochi.

The developers heavily drew inspiration from The Legend of Zelda to create the game. However, that isn’t the only reason why it is one of the best Zelda-like games on Nintendo Switch.

You’ll use your Celestial Brush for mostly everything in the game. For one thing, you’ll use it to help you in combat, like drawing bombs out of thin air. It’s a fun way to integrate the feeling of using various items, just how Link does it.

This brush is also used for solving puzzles, interacting with the environment, and aiding villagers. The same bomb you use during combat can be drawn again to break weak walls to reveal hidden paths.

Zelda-like dungeons are also present in the game and it’s a ton of fun experimenting with the different brush techniques. Overall, a well-made game that feels like Skyward Sword and Twilight Princess.

Blue Fire

Blue Fire made an intense platforming-focused game while taking inspiration from The Legend of Zelda. This surprisingly challenging game is one of the best Zelda-like games on Nintendo Switch.

You’ll play as a mysterious white-haired character who resembles Link in Ocarina of Time. This game will let you explore the abandoned and desolate land of Penumbra.

Blue Fire has phenomenal art direction, especially inside its massive dungeons. You’ll have to learn to master platforming trial after trial in order to progress. There’s also light combat to break the intensity.

The game is at its best when you’re transported to the Void. This area is where you’ll face the game’s ultimate obstacle course while looting a great reward at the end.

Throughout your adventure, you’ll meet other friendly survivors who will tell you more about what happened to the land. Sometimes, they’ll even have fun sidequests to take on.

Dark Souls: Remastered

At first glance, Dark Souls doesn’t seem like a Zelda game as they have vastly different genres. But creator Hidetaka Miyazaki saw the game as a monumental inspiration and took the core of the franchise.

Dark Souls is best played without a guide as exploration, hidden secrets, and cryptic lore is the highlight of its gameplay. The world is fairly open and it’s mesmerizing to get lost wandering around its interconnected world.

What the first Dark Souls game did well was slowly opening more shortcuts around the levels. These allowed seamless travel to and fro, and you’ll become more familiar with the layout.

Even though you’re given a goal, Dark Souls doesn’t exactly tell you where to go, how to do it, and the obstacles you’ll face. You’ll feel as lost as the very first Legend of Zelda, which is a fun experience.

There are many secret stories, boss battles, and areas to find in the game. Dark Souls is a masterclass in level design, making it one of the best Zelda-like games on Nintendo Switch.

But of course, Dark Souls is one of the best action games on Nintendo Switch. Be prepared to start over and over again because of its notoriously difficult combat.

Darksiders II Deathinitive Edition

Darksiders II Deathinitive Edition is one of the best hack and slash games on Nintendo Switch. It’s a great game to play if you wish Twilight Princess committed to a mature and dark theme.

The game is an action RPG where you play as Death, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. The events of this game are set during the events of the first game, but Death is trying to help his brother in other ways.

Darksiders II has some truly impressive dungeons that could stand toe-to-toe with some of Zelda’s best. These instances are packed with intense fights and great loot.

The puzzles in these dungeons are also fantastic. You’ll need to be keen and really observe the environment to solve them.

Aside from that, the game is somewhat open so you can explore wherever you please. If you’re not feeling the main quest, there are many side quests and dungeons to find in the overworld. Don’t pass this up as this is one of the best Zelda-like games on Nintendo Switch.

Mulaka

Mulaka is a great Switch action-adventure game based on the indigenous culture of the Tarahumara. This game explores Mexican folklore, while also managing to be one of the best Zelda-like games on Nintendo Switch.

Assume control of a powerful Tarahumara Shaman named Sukuruame. The land has been overcome by corruption and it’s up to you to fight back.

During combat, you’ll fight different enraged animals and corrupted creatures. Primarily, Sukuruame uses a versatile and throwable spear that mixes light and heavy attacks.

He can also transform into empowered animals for combat and exploration. Learning to master your different transformations is the crux to efficient exploration and puzzle-solving.

Mulaka will let you explore a beautiful and vast area based on real-life locations. While letting us to enjoy a great game, it also subtly teaches us about an endearing culture.

Games like Breath of the Wild

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Skyrim is the fifth installment of the Elder Scrolls franchise. It was an innovative game when it was first released, but it is still one of the best open-world games on Nintendo Switch.

The sheer sandbox-style freedom of Skyrim more than makes up for its outdated flaws. Just like Breath of the Wild, pick any direction in this vast world, and you’ll find something to do.

It’s truly a joy to experience Skyrim as blind as possible. For example, a seemingly simple conversation could take you on a lengthy questline that takes you to unexpected locations.

Or, you may stumble upon a hidden cave that leads into a deeper, more complex cave system. Most of the time, this also leads to an epic boss battle with great loot and new powers.

Skyrim gives you access to its fantasy world, and it’s up to you to find what’s fun. It has almost everything a fantasy fan would want, like dragons, magic, werewolves, and other magical beings. Because of that, it’s one of the best Zelda-like games on Nintendo Switch.

Skyrim on Switch can also use Zelda amiibos to unlock items from the iconic franchise, like the Master Sword or the Champion’s Tunic. But don’t worry, you can also find those items stashed somewhere in the world.

Immortals Fenyx Rising

Immortals Fenyx Rising is a lighter take on the Ubisoft open-world formula set in mythological Olympos. Those who can’t get enough of Breath of the Wild can scratch that itch with this title.

Traversing the map is very similar to Breath of the Wild. You can climb any surface as long as you’re managing the stamina bar; there’s also swimming, and riding mythical animals. There’s also a glider to help you come down from high places.

As it is made by Ubisoft, the world is crammed with markers showing points of interest. Of course, it’s not complete without the iconic segment of climbing a high vantage point to scout the area.

Eventually, you’ll grow your arsenal of weapons and magical powers. This makes combat feel fluid as you’re quickly cycling between your whole inventory to take down all manners of creatures. Your movement tools also come into play to help dodge, close the gap, and glide around the battlefield.

Immortals Fenyx Rising also has some Zelda-like dungeons with creative puzzles. Additionally, there are platforming segments where you have to use your different traversal options.

Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm

Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm plays vastly different from the first game. If the predecessor took inspiration from Wind Waker, the sequel takes after Breathe of the Wild.

For an indie title, this game is visually stunning. It’s graphically impressive and has some stellar art direction that’s a feast for the eyes.

The story lets you take over the young hero who is all grown up now. You’ll have to search the land to find three Sacred Emblems in order to stop a demon from taking over the kingdom.

This adventure takes you to far places where you have to defeat the bosses guarding these Sacred Emblems. It’s a barebones narrative reminiscent of Link searching for the Triforce.

Oceanhorn 2 is a bit more heavy-handed when it comes to story and dialogue. You’ll often converse with your companions during the adventure and spend some time learning their motivations.

These companions are always with you and even help during combat. You can command or let them pick their targets on their own. They’re also essential for solving the puzzles you come across in your journey.

Unlike Breath of the Wild, Oceanhorn 2 is streamlined and linear. Despite that, it’s still one of the best Zelda-like games on Nintendo Switch.

Divinity Original Sin II – Definitive Edition

What made Breath of the Wild’s combat so expressive was its dynamic use of the environment. For instance, you could shoot fire arrows into dry grass to create an updraft for your glider. Another fun way to exploit the environment is by throwing metal weapons during a rainstorm so that it attracts lightning.

Divinity Original Sin II is a classic role-playing game and one of the best turn-based RPG games on Switch. Its combat system has a heavy emphasis on conjuring elements to take advantage of the environmental hazards.

The game lets you control any of the fully voice-acted characters while choosing three others to accompany you on your journey. They’re all wonderfully written, even having their own personal quest throughout the story-rich game.

There’s a lot of thought put into the combat. Enemies come with different resistances so you have to mix and match your party’s damage type.

But the way you interact with the environment makes this one of the best Zelda-like games on Nintendo Switch. For starters, positioning is important. You want your ranged characters to contest the high ground so they have more vision.

You can store oil barrels and throw them during combat, then quickly hit it with a fire-based spell to burn enemies. Or, you could have a party member bring down rain to empower a teammate with lightning-based attacks.

Divinity’s complex combat system definitely makes a great game. But it’s also packed with an engaging story, freedom of choice, and compelling characters.

0 comments

Leave a Comment