Games are expensive, and we feel your pain. Since starting this website we’ve had to increase the amount of games that we play and the consoles we own. Gaming is our hobby, so we accept it, but what about all those parents out there that don’t game? Or those among us who haven’t got money to waste on the latest games at release? Maybe you just resent the £40-£50 price tags of new AAA games. If you can identify with any of the above scenarios (or if you just love a freebie) then don’t worry, we have your back.
We’re putting together a list of all of the free-to-play games currently available on your favorite consoles. We’re not just here to write generic lists though, we’re also going to give you our opinions on these games as well as providing you with any useful information about them, such as whether a game requires in-game purchases or not. We hope that these lists will not only serve as a great resource for gamers, but also aid anyone that’s in a position listed above.
This particular list is for the Nintendo Switch and features all of the current free-to-play games available to download on the console. We will, of course, be updating this list as often as necessary, so be sure to keep checking back from time to time.
Epic games monster needs little introduction. Chances are that even if you live in a cave you’ve heard of Fortnite. In fact, it seems that most of us can’t even pick up some shopping without seeing children (or even adults) performing Fortnite dances in the aisles. Yes, its annoying, and yes, you want to throw your Andrex at them, but contain yourself. There’s a reason for Fortnites popularity, one that should be embraced, especially on a list like this; Fortnite is a damn good game. From a gaming point of view it ticks all of the boxes: fantastic online competitive gameplay mixed with tight controls, collectibles and the ability to team up with friends, Fortnite is a fantastic shooter through and through. From a free-to-play perspective, everything here is cosmetic, gameplay will not be affected by additional purchases. However, season passes represent reasonable value for anyone that wants to collect additional items whilst playing. For these reasons, we’re ranking Fortnite as our Number 1 free-to-play game on Nintendo Switch.
Already an established game with a massive fan base, Warframe has now been let loose on the Nintendo Switch. This free-to-play cooperative third-person shooter has come a hell of a long way since its 2013 release on PC. In fact, it’s unrecognizable. The game has had so many updates, improvements and additional content added that it now ranks as one of the most complete free-to-play games ever developed. Set in the future, players control the members of the Tenno, a race of ancient warriors who have awoken from a century of cryosleep. The player creates their Tenno character, which includes a basic armor unit called a Warframe, which provides the player with special abilities, basic weapons and a ship. Missions can be played alone or with up to four players, and will see players traveling to a vast array of planets and locations within them. One of the more impressive aspects of Warframe is the fact that the game doesn’t require the player to spend any real money. Sure, items can be obtained quicker if you open your wallet, but nothing is pay-to-win about this game, as everyone has access to the same gear regardless of playtime or paytime. If you liked Destiny or loot collecting PvE titles like Diablo then you’re sure to enjoy Warframe. This one comes highly recommenced.
Everybody loves pinball, right? Well, maybe not, but free pinball has got to be worth a look at least. Pinball FX is a pinball simulator developed by Zen Studio. The game was originally released on PC, PS4 and Xbox One in September 2017, with the Switch release a couple of months later. What we like about the Switch port is the way in which the game takes advantage of the portability of the console; the game can be played in portrait mode (imitating a real pinball table) where players can tilt the Switch to simulate how you would tilt a real pinball table. On the flip side, most tables sadly have to be purchased as DLC. Our advice would be to play a free table and see if you enjoy it enough to make any additional purchases.
This next game is a tough one to recommend. On one side, we have a game that’s grossed over $890 million outside China, with a huge, loyal player base. On the other side, this is a game that’s received a lot of criticism for being nothing more than a League of Legends clone. For those that are unaware, Arena of Valor is a MOBA originally developed for tablet and mobile. It’s very recently been ported to the Switch and, despite it being an almost shameless copy of LoL, it actually plays an enjoyable, competitive game that fans of MOBA’s will recognize instantly. Sadly, this is also a game that has a heavy focus on mirco-transactions. For example, heroes outside the open rotation must be unlocked with in-game currency, with the fastest and easiest way to do that being—yep, you guessed it—purchasing with real money.
If you like team based, competitive shooters like Overwatch and Team Fortress, chances are that you’ve at least heard of Paladins. Paladins: Champions of the Realm is a first-person and third-person team-based arena shooter that runs on the Unreal Engine. Paladins has received much criticism for its similarities to Overwatch, some of which has been a little unfair. Paladins is more MOBA-like, whereas Overwatch is more focused on being an objective-based FPS. The game itself is very well polished with an ever growing community. The basics of Siege—the games main game mode—puts two teams in a race against each other to capture the map’s central point. If successful, a payload will spawn which you then have to guide to the enemy base – see, it’s nothing like Overwatch. Ahem. The Switch port is a pretty good one, with the game running at a smooth 60fps, and when you add to that the convenience of portability and the fact that Paladins is actually a really good game in its own right and you have another excellent free-to-play game. Like Arena of Valor, spending cash will unlock additional heroes from the ever-expanding roster, but don’t let that stop you giving Paladins a try on Switch.
Pokemon Quest isn’t your standard Pokemon game. The game is set in Tumblecube Island, featuring cube-shaped Pokémon called “Pokéxel” – it’s all very Minecraft-esque. In the game, players control the base camp and the Pokémon team, and the players main task is to complete all of the levels on the island, beating the wild Pokémon. The game process can be divided into four parts: base camp management, expeditions, training and optimising Pokémon, and attracting new Pokémon. The game released on the Switch in May, with versions for Android and iOS devices released in June. Pokemon Quest has proved to be a very popular game, with more than 7.5 million downloads in the first week alone. While it’s hard to recommend Pokemon Quest on gameplay alone, we can praise how little additional funds are needed to enjoy the game. If you or your children enjoy Pokemon it might be worth giving this game a look.
Originally released on iOS and Android devices in 2015 and later on Xbox One, PS4 and finally on Switch this June, Fallout Shelter is a strategy simulation game based on the Fallout series. Players will need to build, develop and expand their own vault, which acts as a nuclear bunker in the Fallout universe. Tasks inside your vault will see you—the Overseer—guide and direct the inhabitants to maintain a happy and safe environment. Balancing resources becomes a key element of the game as food, water, and power are all vitally important to your survival. Fallout Shelter received mixed reviews at launch, I played the game on tablet in 2015 and wasn’t overly impressed; I often felt like logging in to play was more of a daily chore than an actual gameplay experience. On the positive side, I never once felt the need to make in-app purchases, but if you’re an impatient gamer be warned that most things in Fallout Shelter require you to wait. Still, it’s completely free, and it might help you to erase your nightmares about Fallout 76.
Hmm, maybe the less said about Kitten Squad the better. It’s a generic twin-stick shooter that looks horrible. It’s only saving grace is that, for 15 minutes or so, it doesn’t play too badly for a free game. Oh, and if you’re thinking of downloading this for a child, think again; the opening 5 minutes features rape and suicide. No, honestly. Do your memory card a favour and avoid this.
Another free pinball game for the list, Stern Pinball Arcade released the same week as Zen Studio’s Pinball FX3 for Switch and is the weaker of the two. The main problem with Stern Pinball Arcade is that it’s not very fun to play, which is a bit of a problem for a video game. The game has realistic physics but sadly lacks features that can be found in other pinball titles. The tables are also pretty dull, featuring designs from yesteryear such as AC/DC and Ghostbusters. These tables may be fun for those seeking a dose of nostalgia, but for everyone else, we’d rather be playing something else.
There you have it, every game currently available to download for free on the Nintendo Switch. We will update this list every couple of months, so be sure to check back when you need something new to play for nothing!