I got myself a Nintendo Switch game console back in February, weeks before COVID-19 became a pandemic and countries around the world issued restrictions for people to stay at home whenever possible. This is my first game console after many years. My previous console was PlayStation 2 back in the days of Final Fantasy X. Having a game console that can be played on the big screen for family time or on its own in handheld mode feels amazing. I quickly understand why Nintendo Switch is very popular.

Let’s start with the games for family time. COVID-19 pandemic forces a lot of people to stay at home. Looking at the positive note, this gives families more time together. Gaming is one of the fun activities parents can do together with their kids.

The most popular family-time gaming in Nintendo Switch is… without a doubt: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Even younger kids as young as 5 can fully enjoy this game thanks to its smart-steering mode. To put it simply, if we drive our vehicle off track, it will automatically correct us. My son quickly learned to play this without the frustration of losing because it is rather hard to lose with smart-steering mode. Adding a pair of joy-con wheel will make the fun more enjoyable because I don’t need to keep helping him with the joy-con strap. Auto accelerate option saves a lot of thumbs because one of the biggest pains from racing games in the past is sore thumb after finishing races.

Other racing games are available, such as Garfield Kart Furious Racing, Team Sonic Racing or Cars 3: Driven to Win. However, it is hard to compete against Mario Kart 8 because of its amazing tracks, familiar characters and the fun factor of now having to worry about bad controlling. I had my son trying Cars 3 game because he likes watching the movie. He played a few times trying to figure out the controls, then always choose Mario Kart later.

For Pokemon lovers, it’s hard to miss Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu/Eeve and Pokemon Sword/Shield. Let’s Go games are more suitable for younger audience and will work with Pokemon Go app in our smartphones. We can transfer pokemons from Go app (smartphone) to Let’s Go (console), but not the other way around. The transfer is only possible after a player finishes around three quarter of the story, so don’t expect to buy the game and start transferring immediately. Sword/Shield is good for people looking for modern take on Pokemon series.

There are other first-party games from Nintendo that can be considered for family time. Super Mario Party, Yoshi’s Crafted World and Kirby Star Allies are some of my recommendations. Older kids might enjoy some fighting games such as Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, ARMS or Pokken Tournament DX for Pokemon fans. Some games such as Just Dance 2020 or Mario Tennis Aces will encourage family members to do some physical moves instead of just sitting on the sofa.

For young kids who are still learning to read, I can recommend Paw Patrol: On A Roll! game. This game is unique because literally ALL of its stories and instructions are narrated with voice. The tutorial for the button controls are visual and very easy to understand.

In the fighting category for adults, we have Mortal Kombat 11, or get Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection for some nostalgia. Some people might prefer hack and slash games as stress reliever. I recommend Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition, Fire Emblem Warriors, Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star or Bayonetta 2. In hack and slash game, we play an overpowered character against massive number of very weak enemies, giving us the satisfaction of slashing them like butter.

Now time for my favourite genre: RPG. Nintendo Switch is the home of many great quality RPG games and you will have more games than what you can play in several months. For starter, I highly recommend Xenoblade Chronicles 2. This game is simply amazing. The world is huge and enjoyable to explore, with great music improving the overall experience. The story is engaging and the battles are set on the right difficulty level. It is possible to complete the game without excessive grinding, but a lot of people chooses to spend a lot of grinding time because they don’t want this game to end. The expansion Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna The Golden Country improves on the battle system and removes the random mechanism to get rare blades. The first Xenoblade Chronicles is being ported from Wii and 3DS to Switch with massive art remake.

Still in RPC category, I can recommend The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild, Octopath Traveler, Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA and Fire Emblem: Three Houses. There are many games from Atelier series, but the one I would recommend is Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout. If you enjoy classic Final Fantasy games, you can get Final Fantasy VII, VIII, IX, X, X-2, XII and XV Pocket Edition.

Last but not least is the category of simulation games. I couldn’t possibly write about simulation games without mentioning the wildly popular Animal Crossing: New Horizons. So many people are crazy about this game. It gives them a world to escape when the real world is far from ideal with the pandemic situation. If you like building and designing cities, you can get Cities: Skylines. Other popular simulations are Minecraft, Overcooked! 2 and Stardew Valley.

Obviously there are many more games for Nintendo Switch. If you are new to this gaming world, hope this post will help a bit as starting point. What’s your favourite Nintendo Switch game? Post a comment and let others know.