Ever since Grand Theft Auto III framed the model over two decades ago, open-world games have been flying high, and they represented no signs of slowing down, with the likes of Elden Ring continuing to climb the sales charts. While the lower specs of the Nintendo Switch make bringing these enormous worlds to the device more difficult, it has continued hosting many outstanding open-world games.
Open-world games are plentiful in current gaming, and the Nintendo Switch boasts some of the best examples. The Switch is home to many open-world experiences, ranging from modern-day classics to reimaginings of legendary Nintendo franchises.
That’s why we have compiled a list of the best open-world games for Switch, so you can grab your fix and get lost in another universe.
Why are Open-World Games on the Nintendo Switch Popular?
What does it mean to live in an ‘open world’? Exploration of a big overworld, preferably with as little gating as possible, is essential.
Switching from fast-mode arcade games that we compete with our friends’ scores to a slower version of role-playing games centered on plot and exploration, the gaming industry has come a long way in catering to the demands of various audiences. The word “open world” has garnered familiarity.
But what is it that makes open-world games so popular?
➡️ Diverse Gameplay Experiences
Open-world games frequently provide a variety of gameplay experiences. Gamers currently appear to like the concept of “creating your own story,” and the freedom provided by open-world games may enable precisely that. With enormous maps and loads of content to explore, one player’s experience may differ from another.
➡️ High Expectations
Players with this much freedom in-game are likelier to spend much time playing the game. Open-world games introduce new ways to keep players engaged by rewarding them for completing side missions or collecting all the items in-game. Furthermore, including multiplayer action in open-world games can draw new players while keeping existing ones active.
Creating sophisticated open-world games takes a lot of resources, and they have raised the bar for gamers’ expectations!
➡️ Longer Playtime
Open-world gaming has grown fast for the past ten years, with many games offering better multiplayer and co-op capabilities than single-player.
Because their worlds are big and take significantly longer to finish with only one player participating, open-world games contain goals that are easier to attain with a group of people. Since many of these games have no official finale, teams can play for extended periods or switch players in and out.
The Nintendo Switch is brimming with excellent games, but we have you covered if you want something more expansive.
So go ahead and dig in. There are many choices. Once you’ve gotten your fill of the best open-world games, we have plenty more suggestions for you, whether it’s the best Nintendo Switch multiplayer games for those who like to spend some time with others or the best games, such as Civilization VI, for those looking to witness the something opposite/different.
Assassin’s Creed: The Rebel Collection
Switch owners have a few options regarding Assassin’s Creed games, but there’s an obvious winner if asked which one they should play. Black Flag (number four in the mainline franchise) and the series spin-off/interquel Assassin’s Creed: Rogue are included in Assassin’s The Rebel Collection.
|Assassin’s Creed: The Rebel Collection – Nintendo Switch||$25.98||Buy on Amazon|
The breathtaking scenery of the Caribbean waves and pirate settlements are presented in a seamless portable module in this brilliant way of one of the series’ vantage points, and sailing around the open waters as Edward Kenway feels akin to the voyages of a young cel-shaded sailor we first enjoyed back on GameCube.
Rogue isn’t bad, either.
Release date: December 6, 2019
Don’t Starve: Nintendo Switch Edition
Don’t Starve’s dynamically designed open areas give it the feel of an austere Minecraft, with pleasure gained from confronting and conquering life’s hardships and obstacles in the wilderness?
|Don’t Starve: Nintendo Switch Edition – Nintendo Switch [Digital Code]||$19.99||Buy on Amazon|
It isn’t a cup of tea for all and can turn a bit tedious, but the Switch version is an awesome method to play the game. After that, Don’t Starve pokes its teeth into you; it’ll be difficult to shake.
Developer: Klei Entertainment
Publisher: Klei Entertainment
Release date: April 12, 2018
Dying Light [Platinum Edition]
Dying Light on Switch is a great success. Its grandiose open world full of zombies is beyond anything else in the Switch’s library, and between the basic campaign and six years of continual DLC updates, there are hundreds of hours of delight to be had here.
Granted, all of this comes at the expense of performance that can be mediocre compared to other platforms, but this is beautifully balanced out by the simplicity of playing in handheld mode, and developer Techland has done a mighty excellent job getting this open world working effectively on various hardware and PC.
Switch creators who occasionally play in portable type might pause and reconsider, but handheld gamers should highly consider this fantastic Switch port. After all, it’s one of the best Nintendo Switch horror games and deserves your attention!
Release date: October 19, 2021
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
If The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is available on a console, it’s likely one of the best open-world games on that platform. The Switch version of the game adds little that has yet to be seen in earlier versions, yet the fundamental Skyrim experience is fully realized on the hybrid device.
It’s also one of the most replayable games on this list, with practically endless possibilities for players to build their unique narrative in each playtime.
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Release date: November 17, 2017
Grand Theft Auto – The Trilogy
Every series has a beginning, and the journey has been long for one dispute. The GTA Trilogy allows you to experience the franchise’s initial three games and see how far it has progressed. Begin with the top-down titles, then travel to San Andreas to discover where things took off.
|Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition – Nintendo Switch||$60.30||Buy on Amazon|
These games may not live up to the fourth and fifth installments, which truly rocked the globe, but they still play well and are a must-have for gamers who still need to play them. So why not commit a crime while having fun?
Developer: Grove Street Games
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Release date: November 11, 2021
Immortals Fenyx Rising
Immortals Fenyx Rising attempts to capture lightning in a bottle with its open-world gameplay inspired by Breath of the Wild but ends up being more of a lightning thief; it’s not as pretty to look at, and the puzzles must be more gratifying.
|Immortals Fenyx Rising – Nintendo Switch Standard Edition||$19.36||Buy on Amazon|
Still, the combat is enjoyable. The plot is fantastic, and while more polished than Nintendo’s 2017 attempt, it makes a good impression. If you want more Zelda and don’t mind the off-brand version, go for it, but if you haven’t played Breath of the Wild yet, that’s the game to get.
Release date: December 3, 2020
While the wide-open world of L.A. Noire may appear to be a touch bleak, it is still a wonderful game. The game chronicles the narrative of Cole Phelps, a cop in the LAPD who is rising through the ranks and solving crimes.
It is full of good writing and period-appropriate language. It has fantastic storytelling, and most people ignore aspects that it achieves better than any other game out there simply because the open world is barren.
Who cares when everything else is so good?
Developer: Rockstar Games, Team Bondi
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Release date: November 14, 2017
Could Minecraft be the most gigantic open-world game ever created? It is unquestionably the most successful, having sold over 200 million copies across all platforms.
In actuality, Minecraft is a mash-up of several genres, although it has a lot of open-world components. The Switch version’s portability gives it an even easier way to explore the sandbox world that Minecraft provides.
Every new seed represents a whole new universe full of surprises, and every tunnel or cliff is an opportunity for new experiences. It’s incredible how a game that most of us have played a million times can still trap you in its reality, but Minecraft has that ability and will likely always have it.
Developer: Mojang Studios
Publisher: Mojang Studios
Release date: November 18, 2011
Monster Hunter Rise
Monster Hunter Rise is an excellent title for gamers to delve into on the Nintendo Switch, preserving the formula of previous games in the brand while increasing the difficulty. Players work together to find a monster, defeat it, and attempt to acquire the creature’s materials to create stronger gear.
As the name implies, this time around, there is more focus on vertical movement — players can climb or use a grapple, making everything feel even more open. While not entirely open-world, the places you’ll visit here are vast. Having a friend can also be the difference between life and death. The new Sunbreak expansion is still breaking records, so it’s worth picking up.
Release date: March 26, 2021
No Man’s Sky
No Man’s Sky on Switch is a terrific port of a game that we didn’t think would work on Nintendo’s platform without some severe technical concerns. Hello Games has made the necessary sacrifices and downgrades to guarantee that this interplanetary survival sandbox runs at a rock-solid frame rate, and the colorful, chunky graphical style here means everything looks amazing to boot.
With all of the game’s previous upgrades and material included (except multiplayer), plus a variety of customization possibilities courtesy of the enormous Waypoint update, this is easy feedback for survival lovers and one of the most amazing transfers we have seen on Switch till now. It’s also one of the best space exploration games you can play today!
Developer: Hello Games
Publisher: Hello Games
Release date: October 7th 2022
Super Mario Odyssey
Nintendo’s most recent effort at 3D Mario is undoubtedly its best. Super Mario Odyssey features 16 colorful sandbox worlds to explore, each with moons to gather. Odyssey is also the finest Mario has ever felt, with an amazingly comprehensive mobility set. In short, it’s one of the best Mario games on Nintendo Switch!
Odyssey is Nintendo’s most imaginative attempt at putting Mario in a 3D environment. The game follows Mario and his new friend, Cappy, as they travel through several kingdoms to save Princess Peach from the dreaded Bowser.
Super Mario Odyssey is a must-have for any Nintendo Switch user.
Release date: October 27, 2017
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Battling Skyrim for the title of ‘Most Painfully Obvious Inclusion,’ you owe it to yourself to acquire The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild if you own a Switch that isn’t just an Animal Crossing portal.
|The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – US Version||$49.22||Buy on Amazon|
Its Hyrule is one of the most unified, polished, and waterproof open environments on any platform, and we have spent hours exploring its hills and dales, peaks and valleys, and nooks and crannies. It’s one of Nintendo’s best games, so it’s on the list!
Developer: Nintendo Games
Publisher: Nintendo Games
Release date: March 3, 2017
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Try playing this on a different system if you want a stunning open world. But this Switch game is for you if you desire deep characters, rolling hills, and scary demons. The secret to The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is the side missions, which are much acclaimed. But there’s a reason for that — these are the best side quests in any videogame, leading to twisting tales and interesting gameplay moments.
|The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt Complete Edition (Nintendo Switch)||$48.90||Buy on Amazon|
Geralt of Rivia’s epic quest is a joy to play on a portable; cross-saves with the PC version are the icing on the cake.
Developer: CD Projekt, Saber Interactive Inc.
Publisher: CD Projekt
Release date: December 25, 2019
Tips & Strategies to Get the Best Open-World Gaming Experience
The Nintendo Switch, as promised, is exceedingly simple to learn and use, and even potentially intricate operations are kept as simple as possible. But if you want to make the most of your open-world gaming experience, follow some tips and tricks!
➡️ Save Battery Life
You need a powerful battery life to play long hours of open-world games. How? Just increase these numbers by adjusting how long it takes for the console to enter Sleep Mode. Below System Settings > Sleep Mode, choose Auto-Sleep (In the Console Screen) to customize the waiting hours for the Switch before shutting down its screen.
Et voilà! You are equipped to play even longer hours without any disruption.
➡️ Archive the Games You Don’t Play
The Switch has many advantages, but storage space is not one of them. So, how can you enjoy more open-world games? An easy option is to archive games you no longer play to save up hard drive space (but keep your game saves). For this, highlight a game and press the plus button, then pick Manage Software > Archive Software from the drop-down menu!
➡️ Save a Cool Moment
While the system does not allow you to record extended periods of games, you can still shoot small videos. Holding down the Capture button preserves the previous 30 seconds of gameplay. It’s enough to capture a memorable moment in your open-world landscape.
➡️ Make New Friends
Want to make open-world multi-player gaming more fun? Find more friends!
Nintendo relies on Friend Codes, unique strings of characters, to connect you to other Switch users for gaming and social activities. Give someone your Friend Code if you want them to add you as a friend. You can find yours by clicking on your user profile in the top-left corner and then on Profile.
Your Friend Code will be shown alongside your user icon.
The Nintendo Switch is a fantastic, underappreciated system with much to offer. You can play at home or on the road, configure your gadget, and enjoy a wide range of games from its library.
That’s all there about the open-world Nintendo Switch games. Thousands of hours of the best open-world games to immerse yourself in. Go ahead and get lost in Switch’s digital worlds!
Next up, take a look at our list of the best indie games on Nintendo Switch, for some of the most unique games available today!