Thu. May 19th, 2022
Best Nintendo Switch Multiplayer Family Games for 2022

Five years into the Switch’s lifespan, Nintendo’s brilliant multi-purpose console remains a fantastic destination for families and multiplayer games. Some of Nintendo’s latest games, like Switch Sports and the newest Kirby, are perfect for co-op and families. But there’s a lot more to look for, including plenty of board game options and games that can handle up to 8 players at once.

Assuming you only have one Switch, here are the best multiplayer games that are worth playing with your family, which we keep updated as new titles appear. Remember, this is just a list specifically focused on games that have some sort of family-friendly same-Switch multiplayer mode: for other picks, check out our list of the best Nintendo Switch games

Note: if you’re looking to do same-room multiplayer gaming, make sure your Switch is TV dockable. The most recent OLED-screened Switch, like the original TV-connected Switch, are both better family picks than the smaller Switch Lite, which only works in handheld mode, and doesn’t have those useful sharable Joy-Con controllers. (Switch Lite owners could do multiplayer, but you’d need to buy extra controllers and huddle around the tiny screen.)

Note: Most of the links below are for the physical copies of the games, sold via Amazon, Walmart, GameStop and other retailers. You can alternately buy and download all of these directly from the Nintendo eShop, straight from the Switch. Just make sure you have a microSD memory card with ample capacity to store game data. 

Read more: Find Your Nintendo Switch Friend Code, Share Screenshots and More Tips

Nintendo

Remember Wii Sports? It’s back, and the six kinetic motion-controlled games on Switch Sports are a lot of fun for same-room 2- to 4-player gaming, connected to a TV. You should definitely aim for using a TV-docked Switch with this one, and keep in mind that Switch Sports isn’t a game made for handheld playing on the go (although you could play while huddled around the Switch screen with Joy-Con controllers held in-hand, in a pinch). There’s a $40 digital version or a $50 physical version that includes a leg strap you can use with the Soccer game.

Read our review.

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Nintendo

Kirby, a power-absorbing puffball who’s brightened Nintendo’s multiverse for decades, is one of the most upbeat game characters out there. Nintendo’s latest Kirby game drops the cute pink blob into a 3D platformer that’s full of secrets, fun powers, and a difficulty level that won’t scare off young kids. There are two great Kirby games on the Switch (see Star Allies, below), but I’d put Forgotten Land at the top of your Kirby shopping list.

Read our review.

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Nintendo

Years ago, Nintendo had the Brain Age series that was full of math and logic quick-reaction puzzles to “train your brain.” Big Brain Academy was another game in that same tradition. This Nintendo Switch version focuses on two- to four-player competitions over a handful of math, logic and analysis minigames, rewarding quick thinking. The game’s fun, and there’s a daily “test” of your speedy skills as well as chances to try to beat ghosts of others online. Though it feels too short, I’d love to have more games like it on the Switch. Controllers feel like a weird way to interact with some games, but there’s a touchscreen option for two-player head-to-head games too. There’s a free demo on the Nintendo eShop to play before you buy. See if you like it.

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Nintendo

There are two great Mario Party games on the Switch: Super Mario Party was the first, and leans more on motion controls. But Nintendo’s recent remastering of a bunch of classic N64 and GameCube Mario Party game boards, called Mario Party Superstars, is also excellent. The minigames are more button- and controller-focused, which I prefer if I don’t have a lot of room to play. Also, this Mario Party can be played in handheld mode or on the Switch Lite, which you can’t do with Super Mario Party.

Read GameSpot’s Mario Party Superstars review.

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Nintendo/Screenshot by Scott Stein/CNET

There are plenty of Mario games on the Switch, and a lot of them are listed below. Super Mario 3D World originally was made for the long-gone Wii U, but its mix of local and online multiplayer (up to four players) offers a lot of fun chaos on the Switch. An extra (but short) game called Bowser’s Fury only uses the second player as a helper, but this bonus game’s a welcome extra. If you want even more multiplayer Mario, see New Super Mario Bros. U below. Or for creative Mario, try Super Mario Maker 2.

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Screenshot by Scott Stein/CNET

Nintendo’s new collection of family board games and retro games bundles 51 surprisingly fun worldwide classics, with online play and local multiplayer. The game also supports local Switch-to-Switch play with a free bridging app. Many games do two-player; a few do three- to four-player. A few games like Bowling are almost like a return to Nintendo’s Wii Sports. It’s a great instructional tool for games like backgammon, chess or even shogi, mahjong and hanafuda, and there’s a lot of stuff to keep entertained over the summer. It’s also equally good on a TV, huddled over one Switch, or played between several Switches.

Read our Clubhouse Games review.

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Animal Crossing: New Horizons has become an absolute phenomenon last year, and for a lot of people it’s now the game to buy a Switch for. The casual, calming, social community game just lasts forever, and a new multiplayer mode allows more than one player to wander around and play at the same time. This co-op game has a lot of ways to connect with other players and friends, too. 

Also, Animal Crossing is an ideal multiplayer game for homes where any sort of group play becomes a battle royale. There’s no winning, just planting trees, catching fish and chatting with other players — an ideal video game scenario for the super-stressed. Just be forewarned that you can only make one island per Switch, so get used to sharing.

Read GameSpot’s Animal Crossing review.

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Nintendo

Fans and newcomers to the Mario Kart series alike will never get tired of Mario Kart 8. The game’s dozens of tracks are excellent, and local multiplayer with four players can get crowded on a smaller TV, but this Nintendo Switch game is fantastic. It’s one of the very first games that we’d recommend for Switch multiplayer. It also has an online multiplayer mode, so it’s a great game for your kiddos to play with fellow quarantined friends without actual interaction.

Read GameSpot’s Mario Kart 8 Deluxe review.

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Nintendo

Nintendo’s long-running Mario Party series is like a video board game with a bunch of wacky minigames thrown in. The Switch Nintendo console version also has a rhythm-dancing party game that’s a good little workout, too, and a collaborative game where players paddle down a river together. My family loves this one — it’s just overall an excellent game.

Read GameSpot’s Super Mario Party review.

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