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With all the time I’ve spent trapped at home during this pandemic, I’ve been playing a lot of Nintendo Switch—but since I haven’t been the only one trapped at home, I’ve been playing a lot of party-type games with my co-victims.
And would you know it? The Switch has quite a few of them.
Mind you, my co-victims aren’t gamer types at all, which rules out a lot of the usual “party” games that require skill and dexterity (so no Super Smash Bros. Ultimate or Rocket League). That’s been the real challenge: finding party games that are just as much fun for avid gamers as non-gamers.
Well, I’ve found a bunch of them! And you ought to try them the next time you plan to whip out your Nintendo Switch for a gathering. Here are the best Nintendo Switch party games for all types of gamers.
Drink More Glurp is a must-play Nintendo Switch game for any party of any size. It supports up to 20 players (because one player plays at a time and everyone else watches, so you can pass the controller around) and it’s just plain wacky and hilarious. Everyone looks stupid the first time they play, and that’s part of the charm!
The Jackbox Party Pack games are some of the best party games in existence, regardless of which gaming platform you’re talking about. From hilarious drawing games to bizarre trivia games to creative word games based on prompts, there’s something for everyone. Plus, you host via the Nintendo Switch but players play with their mobile phones, and most Jackbox games support up to 6-8 players.
3. Moving Out
Moving Out is what you’d get if you took Overcooked and made it less stressful and much more whimsical. Instead of working together to cook and serve meals, you’re a team of movers who are tasked with furniture removal from residences. Can you get it all done in time? Or will you sabotage each other? It’s lots of fun either way!
4. Tilt Pack
Tilt Pack is simple and silly, yet surprisingly engaging. Imagine Super Smash Bros except everyone is a rectangular block that moves around by rotating clockwise or counter-clockwise—and everyone is trying to use rotational physics to throw each other off the platform. You play using only one joystick, meaning it’s extremely accessible even for those who’ve never played video games before. Plus, it’s quite funny!
Wondershot is a chaotic game of skillshots, but you don’t need to be a skilled player to have fun. The controls are simple and accessible—but more importantly, there’s a cooperative hero defense game mode where you fight endless waves of monsters and you can revive each other when you die, and that’s the mode I recommend when newbies are involved. Otherwise, there’s a battle mode for more competitive parties!
TowerFall is an archery arena game where players shoot each other with arrows, stomp on each others’ heads, and hope to be the last one alive. The catch? There are a limited number of arrows. When you run out, you need to pick up shot arrows from around the arena to replenish your supply. There’s also a cooperative mode against enemies for parties who are less competitive and prefer to work together.
7. Tools Up!
Tools Up! is a lot like Overcooked, except you’re a team of contractors who are tasked with renovating homes. You need to work together and follow the blueprint to make necessary changes: roll carpet, paint walls, move furniture, clean up, and more. There’s a bit of tension due to the time limit, but if you just want a relaxing experience, you can always play in infinite time mode. It’s perfect for calmer parties.
This list would be incomplete without mentioning the de factor party game: Super Mario Party! It brings much of the same fun that previous Mario Party games were known for, but this edition has a particularly awesome set of mini-games that are really fun. No previous gaming experience needed! Anyone can play Super Mario Party and have fun.
Gurgamoth is like an extremely stripped-down version of Super Mario Bros. You only have three possible actions: a dash attack, a dash dodge, and a double-edged stun. The goal is to knock your opponents into the edge of the arena and be the last one alive. It’s a lightweight but action-heavy game, and most of the interesting bits come from the different arena designs that influence how you play.
10. Cake Bash
Cake Bash is an adorable-yet frantic party game where you battle it out across several unique arenas. There are also a bunch of mini-games to play as filler in between—or if you love them, you can just play mini-games all the time. It’s humorous and perfect for any casual party, but also great for family gatherings. (Don’t have enough players? You can also play online or add a few AI-controlled bots to the mix.)
11. Ultra Foodmess
Ultra Foodmess is a lightweight, casual party game that’s perfect as filler between bigger games and activities. It’s a collection of free-for-all mini-games where the goal is to be the last one alive. Each mini-game has different mechanics, but one thing is always the same: you only play using the joystick. No buttons at all! In some ways, it’s basically a much simplified (and much cheaper) version of Cake Bash.
Unpopular opinion: the zone shot and zone speed mechanics that were added to Mario Tennis Aces are kind of lame. But the Simple Mode in Mario Tennis Aces, which has no powerups, is downright awesome—especially when played in 2v2 Doubles. There’s just enough gameplay depth to make it interesting without overwhelming non-gamers. You’d be surprised how tense and intense matches can get in Simple Mode!
Runbow is a party platformer with several game modes, but one important gimmick: the background constantly changes color, and any environmental obstacles (platforms, walls, etc) that match the background disappear until the background changes color again.
The main mode is a round-by-round race to see who can reach the trophy first, with ways to sabotage each other on the way. The other modes include: a free-for-all last-man-standing arena, a king-of-the-hill trophy-holding arena, and a cooperative defeat-the-behemoth challenge. They’re all really fun for parties who love chaotic platformers!
14. Astro Bears
Think of old-school Snake or Tron, where you leave a trail of light as you move. Except the game field is a 3D sphere. And you can jump in the air. And you can stay in the air with your limited supply of jetpack. Will you be the last one standing? Astro Bears is another one of those “surprisingly simple yet fun” types of party games.
You didn’t think we were going to leave off Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, did you? With its vast roster of characters, refined gameplay mechanics, and extra game content, it’s no wonder how Mario Kart 8 Deluxe managed to become the best-selling Nintendo Switch game of all time. It’s easy to play and easy to love. Definitely worth having in your games library.