Free to Start: Games to play on Switch that won’t break the bank
With many new gamers getting a Switch for the first time this holiday season, we wanted to take a moment to highlight some (but not all) of the best free games available on Switch.
These games are what are referred to as ‘Free-to-Play’, meaning that you can get it and enjoy it for free, but if you want, you can also usually spend some money to unlock new things in the game.
Each of the games below will have some important details, such as player count — if you are looking to enjoy a game or two with friends — and the amount of storage required, which might require you to buy that Micro SD card you forgot.
In addition, there will also be a tag to let you know if a game is Cross-Play supported, which allows for gamers to play on Switch with friends on other platforms. Finally, a link will be provided to go to the webstore to download the game to your Switch console.
Asphalt 9: Legends
Players: 1 – 4 Online 2- 8 | Size: 2.7gb | Cross-Play Supported: No | Link
One of the first big mobile game ports to come to Switch, there is a fair chance that you have already heard of this game; but just in case you haven’t, here we go. Asphalt 9: Legends is a car racing game that lets you get behind the wheel over 100 cars, across many performance levels and three distinct modes.
Career mode lets you play through chapters, which tell a story through races that tend to focus on a particular type of car. For those that want to challenge themselves, there is also a competitive multiplayer mode. These races are real-time events that have you competing with players online. And finally, there are events, which are daily and weekly competitions that earn you items to use in game.
Players: 1 Online 1 – 4 | Size: 5.7gb | Cross-Play Supported: Yes | Link
What happens when you combine the monster hunting of, well, Monster Hunter, and the free-to-play genre? You get Dauntless. The game is designed to be played with other people, giving you a team of four, so you can take down the game’s many Behemoths that have come to exist after the world was torn apart.
The biggest thing that people love about the game, outside of the core gameplay, is that the entire game is cross-play supported, meaning you on Switch can play with friends on any of the other released platforms. Plus, given that each of the hunts can take a minimum of 20 minutes, there will be a lot of hunting do get done, so having friends to help is crucial. If all that was not enough for you, the game just scored a massive expansion on December 3rd, which makes it feel like an all-new game.
DC Universe Online
Players: 1 Online: 1 – 16 | Size: 16.4gb | Cross-Play Supported: No | Link
This is a free-to-play game with a difference; it’s an MMO that offers up hundreds and hundreds of hours of content, but it also lets you become your own version of Superman or Wonder Woman. Since it was first released, the game has had 38 major events, with the most recent themed to Wonder Woman herself, but the next is all about the Legion of Superheroes from the 31st century.
Players can join the good guys, the Justice League, or the baddies known as The Society, and missions and progression are supported accordingly. Crossplay is not supported yet, but the devs are still looking into it, so it might happen somewhere down the road. Regardless, there are hundreds of hours of content to enjoy, so even if you jump in today, you might never get to experience it all — but the fun is in trying to.
Players: 1 Online: 1 – 100 | Size: 11.2gb | Cross-Play Supported: Yes | Link
Of course, we couldn’t make a free-to-play list and not include the current granddaddy of them all, Fortnite. The game has been growing stronger and stronger over the years and just recently hosted a massive event where Marvel characters such as Iron Man, Captain Marvel, and more helped fight Galactus.
Of course there are still the standard modes of play available but given that there are movie trailer debuts and live concerts in the game, it is slowly morphing from just a game into a social space. There are always events going on and the next chapter of Season 5 will bring the galaxy’s greatest bounty hunter (and part-time dad) The Mandalorian to the game.
Jump Rope Challenge
Players: 1 – 2 | Size: 163mb | Cross-Play Supported: No | Link
This is an odd game, because it’s barely even a game, but Jump Rope Challenge is free-to-play, so it qualifies for the list. It offers a very simple premise: you hold a Joy-Con in each hand and you jump a digital rope. There really isn’t anything more I can say about the game.
It does actually have one claim that none of the other games on this list can match: there are no in-app purchases for this, so it is an entirely free game with nothing hidden. There are daily targets to meet, so it’s one of those things where you can achieve goals the game sets, or you can set your own whilst you enjoy jumping rope.
Players: 1 Online: 1 – 8 | Size: 3.3gb | Cross-Play Supported: No | Link
When this game was first revealed a lot of people gave it a bit of criticism for being very Splatoon-like, which was pretty fair at the time… however, the game went through a year-long delay before it released. That delay was worth it, as it’s now offering up some pretty solid melee-based combat with a bit of a twist.
The special trick here is your Ninja-Gum, which can be used to craft weapons, allows you to dash around the stages, or the gross option: throw it at your enemies. With matches of 8 players, there is a lot of hectic action to enjoy, but if you want something a little low key, you can purchase the single player content and enjoy some alone Ninjala.
Pokémon Café Mix
Players: 1 | Size: 198mb | Cross-Play Supported: No | Link
As far as games go, most of the ones on this list are pretty action-focused, with a lot of competitive play and all that, but Pokémon Café is almost the exact opposite. As Pokémon arrive to sample the delights of your Pokémon Café, it’s up to you and your highly trained staff to get their orders just right! Each order takes the form of a puzzle – where you must clear special “gimmicks” on-screen to prepare a dish.
You only have a set number of moves to finish each puzzle, so be sure to use your Pokémon’s special skill or consumable items to help complete your current order. If you fail a puzzle, you’ll lose one of your five Hearts — lose all five Hearts and you can’t take on any other orders. These refill after a while, so you can jump back in and while the mechanic sounds simple, there are a lot of challenges to discover.
Players: 1 Online: 1 – 8 | Size: 6.9gb | Cross-Play Supported: Yes | Link
Rogue Company is another shooter game, very much like Fortnite, but instead of cartoon style visuals and a destructible world, this is set in a realistic world, with people that have skills to deploy. Across the game’s modes and maps, the person you choose to play as will impact how your match will turn out — if you know how to use their skills right.
There are dozens of weapons and gadgets to use, along with a pretty consistent stream of updates, but like a few others here, the game does support cross-play, meaning you can enjoy the game with friends, no matter the platform they choose to play on. As proof that the game is always changing, Hi-Rez Studios just announced an all-new map in the form of Glacier, which is coming soon.
Players: 1 Online: 1 – 42 | Size: 2.5gb | Cross-Play Supported: Yes | Link
What would happen if you took the spells from Harry Potter and threw them into a Battle Royale? Well you would get something close to this, as Spellbreak is a Battle Royale that uses a spell shooting gauntlet instead of guns. Players can choose from one of six classes, each of which specialises in a type of magic, such as Ice or Fire, to bolster their choice of attacks.
The big thing here is to manage your mana, because with it you can attack, but also levitate (which is wicked cool). But as the arena shrinks, you can pick up a second gauntlet, letting you combine attacks to become quite the dangerous wizard. The game is constantly changing and evolving with new items and more being included all the time, with the first chapter releasing on December 15th.
The Elder Scrolls Blades
Players: 1 Online: 2 | Size: 2.4gb | Cross-Play Supported: Yes | Link
The Switch is the only console where you can play The Elder Scrolls Blades, it is also the platform that lets you connect to a TV to enjoy the game on the big screen — but at its core, it is still the same game as on mobile. Blades has you returning to a town that was mostly destroyed by fire and from there, you go about restoring it, maybe improving it, and more.
When you are not playing medieval Simcity, you can venture out on quests to obtain supplies, take down bandits to earn gold, and more. If that’s not enough for you, you can also venture into the arena to take on other players, to prove who is the best. The best news is that the game is cross-save compatible with the mobile version, so if you are travelling, you can game on your phone, then pick up the progress on your Switch when you get home, or vice versa.
Players: 1 Online: 6 – 12 | Size: 5.7gb | Cross-Play Supported: Yes| Link
Vigor is one of a few games from the survivalist shooter genre that has come to Switch, and has done so thanks to the folks at Bohemia Interactive. If that name sounds familiar to you, you might know it from the ARMA series, which was where both PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and DayZ came from. The goal in Vigor though is to survive the harsh landscape of a post-apocalyptic Norway — as if the country weren’t dangerous enough.
You can choose to try and survive alone, or team up with friends to have a better chance of surviving. But in order to survive, you need to craft a shelter and that requires you to gather supplies. Each time you step out into the wild, you run the risk of being killed and losing everything, but you can also score some major items to help make your place a real home. Plus there is the more traditional deathmatch multiplayer, if you just want to shoot some folks and not risk your stuff, of which there can be a lot.
Players: 1 Online: 1 – 4 | Size: 25.2gb | Cross-Play Supported: Yes | Link
If you’ve ever wanted to be a Ninja/Power Ranger, Warframe is likely as close as you are going to get, because the game lets you suit up and do just that. Or if a Ninja is not your method of play, you can choose another. With over 30 suits, called Warframes, to equip and customise, amd more than 300 weapons, including a flamethrower, there is almost limitless play styles to discover.
Once you have that sorted, you can team up with some friends and visit one of the 18 planets from the game to take down enemies in a number of missions. The missions will generally take place on procedurally generated maps, meaning there is a lot of replayability here, and that’s before you start getting into the player vs player game modes. If that gets too much for you, then you can grind in order to unlock new Warframes, guns and more, so you can look — and play — how you want.
World of Tanks Blitz
Players: 1 Online: 1 – 14 | Size: 3gb | Cross-Play Supported: Yes | Link
There is a fair chance you’ve heard of this series, even if you’re not sure what it might be about; basically you jump into a tank, then you and your squad of tanks try to blow up the other team of enemy tanks. That’s it, nothing more need be said… oh wait, you want more information? Okay, how about: there are over 300 real world tanks included in the game, including the AC1 Sentinel, Australia’s only mass-produced tank.
With over 20 maps and 7v7 matches, things can get quite heated very quickly, and once you’re out of the tank, you can level up your tank and tank crew, to keep you at the top of your game. If that wasn’t enough for you, there are also Battle Missions, which open up personalised challenges for you, so you can opt in and earn some bonuses for yourself. Plus you can join an existing clan, or start up a new one with your friends, and take the steps needed in order to pursue victory.
So there you go, just a few of the games available for free on Switch, of course there are plenty more, like Paladins, Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions, Rocket League and Fallout Shelter.
Hopefully these games interest you, if they do and you want to find some other folks to play with, then check out the Vooks Discord, where you can find other Switch owners, who are almost always up for a game.