- Mario Party Superstars is a fun game for smaller groups, but it can be time-consuming for larger parties due to its board game nature.
- Overcooked 1 or 2 is perfect for parties, offering short and exciting levels, but the stress level can rise as you try to keep up with the time limit.
- Pico Park is a great choice for larger groups, with cooperative gameplay and minimal design, but mischievous friends can make levels take longer.
Throughout its lifetime, The Nintendo Switch has been promoted as the premiere game system for any social gathering. While we’re not exactly packing a Switch dock on our way to our work friend’s niece’s quinceañera (unless she asks us to, of course), we generally agree that the Switch is great for parties.
But not every game on the handheld console is necessarily a good fit for outings, birthdays, or anything with more than three people. If you want to effectively subvert talking to people with the sweet temptation of gaming, you’ll need to have the right games prepped and ready. To help facilitate this, we’ve picked out and ranked the best party games on Nintendo Switch. Just don’t forget to bring enough controllers.
10 Mario Party Superstars
It would be criminal to omit this title from the list. It literally has “party” right in the name. Mario Party Superstars is a modern remake of classic levels throughout the series. And while, yes, it’s an approachable game fit for a wide audience, it has one major flaw that holds it back as a viable party item: it’s too time-consuming for such a small player count.
At its core, it’s a digital board game. The best way to experience what it offers is through dice rolling, landing on spaces, and playing mini-games. There’s a time commitment to that. Even a ten-turn game, which is on the small end, takes around an hour to complete. For a max of four players, that’s not a lot of fun for everyone else. All thumbs up for a game of Mario Party if it’s just you and three others, though.
9 Overcooked 1 Or 2
Both of the Overcooked games are the perfect recipe for a party game. Each level is short, exciting, and (generally) has easy-to-understand rules. People can swap in and out on each level, and there’s plenty of replayability going on so that it stays fresh for everyone. However, there remains a secret ingredient that might make things go sour: a large serving of stress.
In Overcooked, you are a chef who needs to chop, cook, and prepare as many dishes as possible before time runs out. Too slow, and the level fails. While up to three friends can join, prioritizing your time and what ingredients you prepare can be tough. As tensions rise with the falling timer, so do voices. Before you know it, you’re yelling at your friends like Gordon Ramsey, calling the Best Man at your wedding an idiot sandwich. But if you can take the heat, it’s a tremendously fun time.
8 Pico Park
Want all of the cooperation without any of the timers? Then Pico Park may be more up your alley. In this minimally designed platformer, you and up to eight others must work together to solve puzzles and reach the end goal. One of the few games to offer split-screen multiplayer with more than four players, this makes it a particularly entertaining choice for larger groups at parties.
How smooth and problem-free your experience is depends entirely on how mischievous your friends are. Since the game is designed for co-op, proper cooperation is required, and it takes only a little bit of playful rebellion to make levels take much longer. There’s no single-player mode, too. So this is a party-exclusive game.
7 Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
It’s no surprise to see the hard hitter of Nintendo make an appearance. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the culmination of everything people love about Mario Kart. Select from a wide collection of Nintendo characters and race against each other on wild and creatively designed tracks with countless kart builds, all while using items to help and hinder as much as chaos sees fit.
It’s one of the most popular games of this decade for a reason. It’s tremendously fun, easy to pick up, and hard to put down. With each level being relatively short, you can easily get a rotation of players going at whatever event you’re at. It also has a massive potential player count, with four-person split screen, eight-person local connections, and up to 12 racers if done through an online connection.
6 Jackbox Party Pack 4
The video game for non-gamers, introducing Jackbox! Through some clever innovation, the Jackbox games allow numerous players to join a game through their smartphone by visiting a webpage. They can then participate from there. Each game included in a party pack is explained at the start, and each concept is easy to follow. All of this combines to be one of the most approachable games you’ll ever find at a party.
Jackbox Party Pack 4 is, in our professional opinion, the best one. It offers five different games, each with a different style and theme. Fibbage 3 is the best one of the bunch, though. The biggest obstacle here is the level of social charisma that is sometimes needed to play. It requires creative thinking, improv, and humor. It’s not for the shy of heart.
5 Duck Game
There’s been too much cooperative play; it’s time to
duke duck it out. Duck Game is a fast-paced multiplayer platformer shooter game. Each participant is a duck in a silly hat who must quickly locate a weapon on the battlefield and use it to defeat the other. Everyone dies in one strike, and the countless weapons behave in unexpected ways.
This all combines to make for split-section action and heart-pounding fun, delivered in one to two minute encounters. The game knows how to be silly, too. With quirky items, a button exclusively for quacking, and chaotic landscapes that lead to self-destruction more often than success, it’s a game that knows how to pull hearty laughter out of duck-on-duck violence.
4 Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes
Technically a single-player game, technically a ‘however many people can read the manual at one time’ player game, Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes is an asymmetrical multiplayer game where one lone user has access to a ticking bomb covered in widgets. The only way to diffuse the bomb is to deactivate each module. But the process of doing so is so obtuse that it’s impossible to do it from memory.
Instead, you have one or more folks nearby with the official Bomb Diffusal Manual, which has a detailed breakdown of how to defuse every module. They can’t see the screen (or the bomb), though. So they need to communicate with you to solve everything before time runs out. It’s a perfect combination of tension, cooperation, and creativity. It’s a game anyone, even non-gamers can enjoy without needing any extra screens, controllers, or gaming expertise.
3 Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics
Do you enjoy the classic games of the decades past? Want to play classics like Yahtzee, Go, Chess, Sorry, and Hanafuda but don’t want to fuss with the setup, breakdown, and remembering rules? That’s what Clubhouse Games is here for. As the name implies, this game contains 51 of the best board, card, and table games throughout history. Each one comes with visually stunning settings, convenient control schemes, and in-depth explanations of the rules.
What Clubhouse Games lacks in player count, it makes up for in approachability. Absolutely anyone will recognize a handful of the games available here. And it’s very easy to pop in and participate in a game or two before moving on or letting another person give it a try. Each game is famously fun for a reason, so you’re sure to have a good time.
2 Heave Ho
Heave ho is the platformer equivalent of watching dogs struggle to run across a freshly polished kitchen floor; it’s the chaos and comedy of watching some poor fool struggle to maintain control. In Heave Ho, you control a head with two arms. You must manually open and close your left and right hands while moving your arms to navigate platforms and reach the goal bowl.
The magic happens when you introduce a few more players to the stage. In cooperative play, everyone needs to reach the end, with a handful of levels requiring cooperation to make it possible. Now you’re clunkily climbing over each other, flopping and failing, each death managing to tickle your funny bone another time. It’s a tremendously silly game, and each friend that joins in only amplifies the fun.
1 Super Smash Bros Ultimate
It comes as no surprise to see Super Smash Bros Ultimate close the list out. One of the most popular and beloved games on the entirety of the Nintendo Switch, it packs all the fun of a fighting game into a more dynamic and approachable format. And that isn’t to mention the sheer size of company IPs it pulls from. There’s only one game out there where Bowser can fight Samus Aran on a Pokemon arena.
The game is easy to learn and tough to master, making it engaging for anyone familiar with a game controller. The diverse maps, characters, and items allow for nearly endless variety with each match. And with eight-player fights possible on a single screen, you can get plenty of folks in on each game. If you’re looking for any one game to put on at a party of gamers, this one WILL turn heads the entire time.
NEXT: Most Underrated Games On The Nintendo Switch