The best multiplayer Switch games in 2023

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Updated Jan 25, 2023 7:56 PM

The Nintendo Switch is a great console for playing games with friends and family. However, quickly browsing the Switch’s digital store can turn the act of picking out a new game to play with friends into a daunting task. If you’re struggling to find something new for game night on Switch, we’ve rounded up a list of multiplayer games that you can pick up right now, matter your tastes. Our list of the best multiplayer Switch games has something for everyone—whether you want a chill couch co-op game to play with friends, or you’re a hardcore player looking for your next online RPG or shooter fix—plus tips for buyers who want to make sure they’re buying the right game for them and their co-op partners.

How we picked the best multiplayer Switch games

As a reporter covering games for Gamespot, Digital Trends, and other gaming enthusiast outlets—as well as an avid Nintendo Switch player—I’ve played a wide variety of multiplayer Switch games. Our current picks reflect my extensive hands-on experience with the Switch, both personal and professional, and the tastes of my colleagues and other professional reviewers. These games have robust multiplayer modes in their respective categories, active online communities, and receive updates from their developers with new content, seasonal events, and/or technical patches to maintain gameplay systems and online stability. In short, we picked these games because we’ve played them a lot and really like them.

The best multiplayer Switch games: Reviews & Recommendations

Finding your next Nintendo Switch multiplayer game should always be an exciting time, but we understand if picking the right game for your friends and family can feel a bit stressful. If you’d like some concrete recommendations, our list is full of different kinds of games that should be great for all kinds of gamers, whether you’re playing with one friend or a big group, in person or online. These are among the best games on Switch—multiplayer or otherwise—and there’s something here for everyone, from die-hard action RPG and fighting game fans to casual players that prefer puzzles and party games.

Best local multiplayer: Mario Party Superstars

Why it made the cut: Mario Party Superstars is the perfect casual game to play during a night in with some friends or when you’re hosting a family-friendly event and need something everyone can play together. 

Specs 

  • Genre: Board game/mini-game collection
  • Number of Players: 1-4 Players (Online and offline)
  • Age Rating: E (Everyone)
  • NSO requirement: Yes (For online play)

Pros

  • Simple rules and controls
  • Family-friendly gameplay featuring popular Super Mario characters
  • Dice rolls and other random events keep gameplay fair
  • Variable match lengths and rulesets

Cons

  • Some players may find the randomness unfair
  • Nothing new for longtime fans

Based on Nintendo’s favorite franchise, Mario Party Superstars is a light and breezy collection of minigames played as part of a digital board game. This title features classic Nintendo characters like Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach, plus lesser-known ones like Princess Daisy. After selecting a character, stage, and number of turns, each player rolls a die to determine the order of play.

Each turn consists of players rolling a die in the hopes of reaching a space with a star, which can be purchased with 20 coins. Coins are earned by playing a minigame at the end of each turn, or landing on a blue space on the virtual game board. The board is littered with other spaces, which include item shops, Bowser spots, and “!” squares, which liven up gameplay.

The quick, easy-to-learn minigames do impact your performance in the board game, but Mario Party also injects a fair (or unfair, depending on who’s asking) degree of random boosts and penalties that keep everyone on their toes for the whole game.

We prefer playing Mario Party Superstars with others in person—the trash talk and antics are just more fun when you’re sitting next to everyone on the couch—but its online infrastructure is among the best on the Switch, so it’s also a great game to play online if you’re understandably avoiding social events right now. 

Best online co-op: Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury

Why it made the cut: Mario’s latest adventure features two unique gameplay modes, masterful level design, and some of the best online co-op platforming you’ll find on any console. 

Specs

  • Genre: 3D platformer
  • Number of players: 1-4 players online or locally
  • Rating: E for Everyone
  • NSO requirement: Yes

Pros

  • The best version of Super Mario 3D World
  • Smart levels designed for solo or co-op play
  • All-new Bowser’s Fury mode is excellent

Cons

  • Later 3D World levels can be difficult for novice players.
  • Bowser’s Fury mode has limited multiplayer options

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury is one of those rare games that can appeal to just about anyone. This double feature pairs a revamped port of the Wii U’s Super Mario 3D World with an all-new mini-campaign, Bowser’s Fury. Both games feature multiplayer components, but Super Mario 3D World seamlessly weaves crowd-pleasing co-op into the core experience.

In Super Mario 3D World, players can control one of four iconic characters—including Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and Toad—and set out on an adventure across dozens of unique levels, each with its own unique gameplay twist. The level variety keeps things fresh, while the challenging (but never brutally difficult) layouts keep you and your friends on your toes. The 3D World part of this package is basically a traditional Super Mario game, where the object is to run through levels while traversing obstacles like pits and lava while defeating classic enemies like goombas and koopas. Anyone familiar with Super Mario games—going back to the original Super Mario Bros. will be familiar with this format, though Nintendo has refined the series’ mechanics over the decades.

Bowser’s Fury, on the other hand, is the first truly “open world” experience this franchise has ever seen. The main player controls Mario as he navigates between different islands completing challenges to earn Cat Coins and Cat Shines, items required to turn the pint-sized plumber into a gargantuan Cat Mario, which allows him to take on a gargantuan Bowser who’s seemingly lost his mind. The second player can control Bowser Jr., who begrudgingly befriends Mario for this adventure to restore his father to his senses. Bowser Jr. flies around in a flying machine and can whack enemies with his paintbrush, and while this second player slot is perfect for younger players, adults will find a lot to like about it too. It’s a lot easier to navigate through tough challenges as a team rather than going at them alone.

Our only complaint about Bowser’s Fury is that it’s too short, clocking in at around three to four hours for experienced players. Still, it’s a fun adventure suitable for players of all ages and is hopefully a harbinger for things to come in the franchise’s future.

Best indie: Overcooked: All You Can Eat Edition 

Why it made the cut: Overcooked’s cute and cartoony exterior belies the fast-paced puzzle game hidden within. This co-op cooking game tests your gaming skills as much as your communication skills.

Specs

  • Genre: Puzzle/Action game
  • Number of players: 1-4 (local or online)
  • Rating: E for Everyone
  • NSO requirement: Yes

Pros

  • Simple controls and gameplay mechanics
  • Novel puzzle design emphasizing cooperation and communication
  • Family-friendly art style and setting

Cons

  • Challenging to play online without chat

Overcooked takes the fast-paced excitement of running a restaurant kitchen and turns it into a hectic co-op puzzle game. A team of 2-4 players prepares and cooks various dishes in kitchens with all kinds of outlandish obstacles: You’ll sling burgers in underground mines riddled with pitfalls, roll sushi on a floating raft, and whip up pancakes on alien planets. Some levels have players leaping between platforms to reach different parts of the kitchen, throwing ingredients to teammates from across the screen, or warping between workstations, all while orders and dishes pile up. Overcooked: All You Can Edition combines the levels from Overcooked and Overcooked 2, adds cross-platform online play, and more.

The gameplay can get hectic, but it’s simple enough that players of any skill level can quickly grok the controls and rise to meet each level’s new challenges. The game supports online and local co-op and competitive modes. It’s definitely a local-first experience, though, especially on Switch. Constant communication between teammates is crucial, so online cooking crews should plan on using Discord or another third-party chat service.

Best online RPG: Monster Hunter Rise

Why it made the cut: Few games match the high of hunting ferocious creatures with your friends in Monster Hunter, and Monster Hunter Rise brings some of the best hunting to Switch.

Specs 

  • Genre: Action RPG
  • Number of players: 1 player (offline); 1-4 players (online)
  • Age Rating: T for Teen
  • NSO requirement: Yes

Pros

  • Tons of single- and multiplayer content
  • SImplest online connectivity in the series yet.
  • Plenty of upcoming updates and DLC content will add even more value

Cons

  • Can be challenging to learn for first-time players
  • Online matchmaking 

The Nintendo Switch has plenty of excellent multiplayer RPGs—including Warframe, Diablo 2 and 3, and Torchlight 3, all of which were considered for this category—but Monster Hunter Rise currently stands as the system’s best online RPG. The latest in the beloved, long-running Monster Hunter series, Rise asks you and a team of up to three friends to track and slay giant monsters. Felling a beast rewards you with materials used to upgrade and craft new weapons and armor, including giant swords, axes, and hammers, so you can go off and hunt stronger enemies.

Despite its simplicity, the Monster Hunter formula creates a deeply engaging cycle of preparation, action-packed hunting, and character customization. And, while hunting monsters can get repetitive, those quests give you time to master the various tools and weapons at your disposal so you can better stalk your intimidating prey.

Best online racing game: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Why it made the cut: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the biggest Mario Kart game yet, sporting an active online community and tons of local head-to-head game modes for offline matches.

Specs

  • Genre: Racing game
  • Number of players: 1-4 offline; up to 12 players online
  • Rating: Rated E for Everyone
  • NSO requirement: Yes

Pros

  • Tons of content and game modes
  • Variable difficulty settings of online and offline races
  • Can play locally on a single Switch via split-screen mode

Cons

  • Rehashed content may be underwhelming to long-time fans
  • Need to pay for upcoming DLC content

Is there any more quintessentially “Nintendo” multiplayer game than the Mario Kart franchise? The Switch version, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, is actually an enhanced port of Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U. Injected with more gameplay modes and enhanced with better online multiplayer, there’s more Mario Kart in Deluxe than any other version. You can race in 48 new and returning tracks, plus eight battle arenas for competitive modes, using a wide array of Nintendo characters ranging from Mario and Luigi to crossovers like Link from The Legend of Zelda, the Inkling from Splatoon, and Isabell from Animal Crossing

What’s more, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe will receive much more support over the next year. Nintendo recently announced a series of premium updates that will add an additional 48 new tracks over the coming months and into 2023, so you know people will continue playing online for a long time.

Best competitive puzzle game: Tetris 99

Why it made the cut: Tetris 99 is a refreshing, large-scale multiplayer reinvention of the impeccable gameplay we all know so well.

Specs

  • Genre: Puzzle game
  • Number of players: Up to 99 players per online match
  • Rating: Rated E for Everyone
  • NSO requirement: Yes (included as a perk of the NSO subscription)

Pros

  • Multiplayer matches are a novel spin on Tetris gameplay
  • Seasonal events and daily challenges keep the game fresh
  • Included with Nintendo Switch Online subscription

Cons

  • Online matches can be overwhelming if you’re new to Tetris
  • Only available to active NSO subscribers

Tetris 99 turns the classic block-dropping puzzle game into a massive “battle royale”-style competition. Rather than simply playing to beat your own score, you arrange blocks and clear lines to send junk blocks and jam up the 98 other players who are all trying to hold out as long as possible.

Some may find the idea of hyper-competitive online Tetris to be too overwhelming. However, even if you’re one of the bottom 98 players, you still gain points that unlock new cosmetic items like stage backgrounds, music tracks, and player icons. The game also offers daily and weekly challenges that don’t necessarily require ranking number one on the leaderboards to complete. 

Tetris 99 is a “free” perk of the Switch’s Nintendo Switch Online subscription. There’s currently no way to buy and play Tetris 99 without NSO, but the game is good enough that we could easily recommend subscribing for a little while just to play it.

Best online shooter: Splatoon 3

Why it made the cut: Splatoon 2’s unique spin on online shooters is as vibrant and colorful as it is competitive, and one you can only play on Nintendo Switch.

Specs

  • Genre: Third-person shooter
  • Number of players: 1-4 offlines; 1-8 online
  • Rating: E10+ for players 10 and older
  • NSO requirement: yes

Pros

  • Unique arena-control gameplay
  • Plenty of unique weapons and strategies to try
  • Multiple competitive, co-op, and single-player modes

Cons

  • The first-person shooter genre requires a fair amount of skill.

Splatoon 3 is unique among shooters. Rather than focusing on blasting your opponents like in Fortnite or Overwatch—both solid shooters also on Switch—Splatoon 3 is all about shooting the arena with paint. Each four-person team has its own paint color, the team with the most paint on the floors and walls at the end of the match wins. Weapons range from paintball and squirt gun-like “firearms,” to giant paint rollers and paint grenades. Of course, these weapons can also knock out other players for a few seconds, giving you a window to coat the level without interference. 

Older competitive shooter fans might brush the game off for its family-friendly aesthetic. Still, the bevy of unique weapon types, character loadouts, and gameplay modes (including ranked matched) will appeal to hardcore players. If you’re not in a competitive mood, there is the 4-player co-op horde mode Salmon Run and a single-player campaign focusing on platforming and puzzles utilizing the game’s paint-based weapons. 

Best multiplayer fighting game: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Why it made the cut: Beneath Super Smash Bros Ultimate’s massive character roster and layers of gaming history and references is a fun platform fighter that can appeal to players of all skill levels.

Specs

  • Genre: Platform fighting game
  • Number of players: 1-8 players online and locally
  • Rating: T for Teen
  • NSO requirement: Yes

Pros

  • A massive roster featuring beloved characters from throughout video game history
  • Custom game modes and gameplay options to suit every player’s skill level
  • Robust single-player content to complement the multiplayer modes
  • Tons gaming trivia and history to unlock

Cons

  • Finding and learning a new character can be overwhelming.
  • Online matches will be challenging for new players.

The memes were right: Super Smash Bros Ultimate is one of the biggest video game crossovers ever made. Including paid DLC content, there are 89 playable characters, 114 stages, and hundreds of songs, trophies, and other references from franchises across all of video game history. It’s not just Nintendo either; Characters owned by Microsoft, Square Enix, Capcom, SNK, Sega, Konami, and more all make appearances. 

More than a video game museum, though, Super Smash Bros Ultimate is one of the great fighting games. A “platform fighter” that revolves around simple but precise movements and attacks. Without any combos to learn, it is very easy to figure out the basics but takes months or even years to master.

Multiplayer Matches can support up to 8 players (or AI-controlled opponents) in team-based or free-for-all bouts. Specialty arenas and randomly appearing items mix things up even further, ensuring that you can always find a new way to play. (That said, did I mention that there are nearly 90 characters?)

Best multiplayer action RPG: Diablo 3 Eternal Collection

Why it made the cut: Diablo 3: The Eternal Collection brings one of the revered action RPG franchises to a Nintendo console for the first time.

Specs 

  • Genre: Action RPG (Role Playing Game)
  • Number of Players: 1-4 Players (Local and Online)
  • Age Rating: M (Mature)
  • NSO requirement: Yes (For online play)

Pros

  • Fast-paced gameplay that keeps players continually engaged
  • Large stable of character types, which allows for a lot of customizability
  • Several difficulty levels extend replay value

Cons

  • Not suitable for all audiences

There was a time when the idea of a Diablo game on a Nintendo console would have been unthinkable, but thankfully that’s no longer the case. The latest entry in Activision Blizzard’s classic action RPG feels right at home on Switch, and the ability to play this title on the go gives it a leg up over higher fidelity versions on other consoles or the PC.

There’s no way to sugarcoat this: Diablo 3: The Eternal Collection throws you into a literal fight with the devil, which develops over the course of several chapters. There are no classic Nintendo characters to be found in this dark world, but you do have the ability to customize a character from one of several classes. The character class you choose will impact how you make your way through the game. A barbarian, for example, will attack enemies at close range with classic weapons. Conversely, a witch will take down foes using magic from a safe distance.

The gameplay loop in Diablo 3: The Eternal Collection revolves around defeating hoards of enemies and completing quests to advance the story and acquire new weapons, armor, and accessories to strengthen your character. You can play this entire game solo, but playing with up to three friends on the couch or online can make the adventure even better. The game will automatically scale its difficulty, so there’ll always be challenging sections—especially boss battles. This game isn’t for everyone, but players who want a fast-paced title set in a dark world will find a lot to like, especially if you replay the story at a higher difficulty or a different character class. The option to play with friends makes Diablo 3: The Eternal Collection that much more enjoyable.

Best multiplayer sports game: Mario Strikers: Battle League

Why it made the cut: Mario Strikers: Battle League is the perfect sports game for players who favor style and originality over rigid rule sets.

Specs 

  • Genre: Sports
  • Number of Players: 1-4 Players (Online and offline)
  • Age Rating: E 10+ (Everyone 10 years or older)
  • NSO requirement: Yes (For online play)

Pros

  • Simple rules and controls
  • Growing roster of characters and stages
  • Surprisingly deep customizability

Cons

Nintendo has done a great job designing a host of sports games that feature characters from the Super Mario franchise, often with fun, fantastical twists. The reason we recommend these titles over more traditional sports games from the Madden or FIFA series is that the Switch isn’t powerful enough to play these games at their highest fidelity. Developers design those games for the Xbox and PlayStation, then release a less advanced version for the Switch. Luckily, Nintendo’s sports games fill in the gaps very well.

Mario Strikers: Battle League is the first entry in Nintendo’s soccer game series in 15 years, and we couldn’t be happier to see it return. The game follows the general rules of the classic sport—two teams try to get a ball into the back of their opponent’s net without using their hands—but that’s where the similarities end. Players in Battle League can use items like koopa shells and special attacks to smash the ball across the court in flashy style. The game’s physics aren’t particularly realistic either, making this game feel equal parts Super Mario and Space Jam. The fun of creating a soccer team containing fantastical characters like Mario, Bowser, and Yoshi and watching them face off against Luigi, Princess Peach, and Toad is bliss. This is especially true when playing the game with other people, which makes the experience even more frenzied.

Fans of soccer will get a kick out of Mario Strikes: Battle League if they can suspend their disbelief enough to embrace the chaos. Surprisingly enough, this game’s multiplayer modes are complemented by a pretty solid single-player campaign and character upgrade system, which allows you to unlock new gear to change your player’s stats. The grind to get new gear will keep players coming back, especially since Nintendo has periodically updated this title with new stages and characters.

Best multiplayer minigame collection: WarioWare: Get It Together!

Why it made the cut: WarioWare: Get It Together! is the latest entry in Nintendo’s oddest franchise, and its frenetic gameplay makes it a blast to play with your friends.

Specs 

  • Genre: Mini-game collection
  • Number of Players: 1-4 Players (Offline)
  • Age Rating: E 10+ (Everyone 10 years or older)
  • NSO requirement: No

Pros:

  • The game moves at a brisk pace
  • Irreverent humor hits more often than it misses
  • Mini-games are varied enough that you won’t get bored

Cons:

  • Fast-paced gameplay may make it a little difficult for new players

WarioWare: Get It Together! is a very weird game, but if you and your friends have a silly sense of humor you’ll have a lot of fun with it. The WarioWare series requires you to continually complete a series of rapid-fire minigames that come at you one after another. Games only last five seconds, which means you’ll have to see, understand, and complete the objective very quickly to advance. Thankfully, most of the mini-games are very simple, like using your Joy-Con controller to shake a tree to make apples fall, or tearing off a person’s face mask. The game’s art style is colorful, and the selection of games is really fun. Only boss stages, which happen after you’ve completed roughly 15 minigames, can get challenging.

Wario is the only mainline Nintendo character in this game. Still, he’s joined by friends that are present in other WarioWare titles, so you’ll be familiar with them if you’re experienced with the franchise. These side characters are full of personality, and WarioWare isn’t shy about showcasing their style. Our favorite character is Jimmy-T, a blue-haired disco lover whose mustache is shaped like musical notes at the end of it. All of the minigames in WarioWare: Get It Together! were designed to be played by a single person, but adding a second makes it even more fun. The ability to divide and conquer tasks requires constant communication, keeping players on their toes.

There’s a lot of fun to be had with this game, but folks unfamiliar with the franchise, or gaming in general, may require a little help to get started. Having to play game after game after game in quick succession does require a fair amount of dexterity, but once you get into a rhythm you may find it hard to put the controllers down.

Things to consider before buying one of the best multiplayer Switch games

There’s a wider set of things to think about before picking out a game to play with other people. Beyond the simple question, “does this seem fun,” you want to ensure that you’re setting yourself and, potentially, your friends up to have a good time. Depending on the situation, you should see if you’ll need any extra gear or an internet connection.

Skill level

The most important element of any multiplayer game is, of course, your friends. If you plan to play with a specific group of people, make sure you take everyone’s taste into account when looking for your group’s next game. Video games range not just in content, but also in gameplay style and complexity: Some players will find some genres more fun or accessible than others. For instance, a first-time player may struggle with memorizing complicated inputs. Other players may prefer the gameplay of a combat-heavy action game rather than a racing game. 

Local vs. online multiplayer

Speaking of online versus offline games, make sure you check whether you need an internet connection, as both come with their own considerations. Some Switch games are made specifically for local play, while others are designed for online play. 

Local multiplayer or couch co-op games are made for playing at home on a single device. (There are a few games where you can connect multiple Switches locally, but those are exceptions, not the rule.) There’s no extra setup for playing Switch games locally, but you will need to have enough controllers and, more importantly, everyone will need to be in the same place.

When playing games with friends online, you and all your friends need to own the game and connect your Switch consoles to the internet. In most cases, you will also all need active Nintendo Switch Online subscriptions.

Online multiplayer on Switch is also made somewhat more complicated than other consoles because it lacks a meaningful infrastructure for in-game or party chat. While some online multiplayer games are playable with little-to-no communication between players, many require strategic coordination with your teammates. Select titles like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Splatoon 2 support voice chat through the Nintendo Voice mobile phone app, but it’s difficult to use. You’re better off organizing a group call in Discord, the gaming-centric communication platform, or another app with group voice chat support.

Nintendo Switch Online

Most online multiplayer games require a subscription to Nintendo Switch Online, the company’s internet utility service. The base service, which costs $4 per month or $20 per year, allows you to play all online-compatible multiplayer games over the internet, gives you access to cloud storage, and a limited library of NES and SNES games, among other things. A premium subscription, Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack, offers a wider range of retro games and covers the cost of access to extra content for certain popular Nintendo games, including Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

A small number of online multiplayer games—including Fortnite, Apex Legends, and Knockout City—do not require a Nintendo Switch Online subscription to access online features. 

Number of controllers

In addition to Nintendo Switch Online, many multiplayer games may require extra hardware. The standard Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch OLED come with two Joy-Cons to support 2-player modes, but you’ll need more if you plan to play with 3 or 4 people total. Some local multiplayer games may require each player to have two Joy-Cons, so you may need extras or a Switch Pro Controller

Age rating

If you’re buying a game to play with a group that includes kids, you may want to ensure the game is suitable for everyone involved. All games on the Switch are rated by the Entertainment Software Rating Board, or the ESRB, so you can check for questionable content at a glance. The ESRB’s ratings are easy to read and clearly labeled on a game’s box or eShop page, and there’s a handy guide for parents available on the ESRB’s website that details each of the ratings and content warnings.

FAQs

Q: How much does a multiplayer Switch game cost?

New Nintendo Switch games typically cost $60 at launch, though independent games may cost less. For an additional fee, many games also feature premium downloadable content, or DLC.

Q: Can you play Fortnite on Nintendo Switch?

Yes. Fortnite is available as a free download from the Nintendo Switch eShop. It is one of the few games that does not require a Nintendo Switch Online subscription to connect to the internet.

Q: What is the best multiplayer Switch game for kids?

Most of Nintendo’s first-party published games are made for all ages. In addition to our recommendations from this list, we’re partial to Super Mario Odyssey and Mario’s many sports games, including Mario Golf: Super Rush and Mario Tennis Aces.

Final thoughts on the best multiplayer Switch games

The Nintendo Switch is one of the best-selling video game consoles of all time, thanks to its incredible library of games—multiplayer and otherwise. The handful we’ve covered here just scratches the surface of all the great games it supports that you can play with friends, but you’ll find it’s a really fun surface to scratch.



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