Nintendo has long encouraged getting the whole family involved with gaming, and that's no different with the Nintendo Switch. Whether you're playing in docked mode on TV, on the go in tabletop mode, or even in handheld mode with other Switch owners, there are plenty of wonderful competitive and co-op multiplayer games to play on Nintendo Switch. And since many Switch games support single Joy-Con play, you don't normally need to buy an extra controller to start playing local multiplayer right out of the box. We've rounded up the best Nintendo Switch multiplayer games. Our list of 20 titles includes both competitive and co-op Switch games, many of which are suitable for gamers of all ages. Keep in mind that you need a Nintendo Switch Online subscription to play online multiplayer.
For more Switch game suggestions, check out our roundups of the best Nintendo Switch games and best Nintendo Switch games for kids.
The best multiplayer Switch games
Among Us is one of the most novel multiplayer games in recent years. Though it launched back in 2018, it didn't find widespread popularity until last year. Among Us revolves around both teamwork and deception. Up to 15 crew members are dropped into one of four maps. Players are assigned maintenance tasks to complete, but a select few players are randomly designated as imposters: saboteurs whose sole purpose is to disrupt tasks and kill the hardworking crew. Together, the crew can decipher the identities of the imposters and eliminate them from the game using a voting system. Among Us offers a tantalizing mix of stealth and deception, and it feels right at home on Nintendo Switch. It's a great social party game to play with friends, and the premise makes each match feel distinct. Plus, it's super cheap at just $5. Among Us' local multiplayer requires everyone to have their own Nintendo Switch and copy of the game.
Though much of your time in Animal Crossing: New Horizons may be spent tending to your own island paradise, part of the joy of the life simulation game is sharing your experiences with friends and family. New Horizons lets you visit other islands to see what your fellow Animal Crossing players are up to. You can share resources, help plan new additions to your islands, and converse with the various villagers that occupy each scenic getaway. It's possible to turn New Horizons into a collaborative experience, and considering that New Horizons' loop is never-ending, it's an ideal multiplayer experience to jump into at the end of a long day.
See our Animal Crossing: New Horizons review.
For the ultimate bang for your buck, check out Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics. As the name suggests, Clubhouse Games features a staggering number of classic games to play online or locally with up to four players. From staples like checkers, chess, and mancala to sports such as bowling, darts, and baseball, Clubhouse Games has a little bit of everything. All of the games have great presentation value and tutorials that help you learn the ropes of games you're unfamiliar with. It's a superb digital collection that has a pick-up-and-play mentality that makes it great for both short spurts and lengthy sessions.
Studio MDHR's Cuphead is a love letter to classic cartoons and side-scrolling run-and-guns. Stylized to look and sound like cartoons from the 1930s, Cuphead is an absolute marvel. It's also a challenging game filled with elaborate boss battles and tricky run-and-gun stages. Though it arguably makes the game even more difficult in spots, playing two-player local co-op is a rewarding way to experience this modern masterpiece. You and a buddy can team up as Cuphead and his brother Mugman on a quest to secure soul contracts to save your own soul from the dastardly devil. Cuphead has simple mechanics, but its unforgiving difficulty places emphasis on fast and precise moves to avoid dying. For those who love boss rush games and are up for a hearty challenge, Cuphead is a delightful cooperative multiplayer adventure for Nintendo Switch.
See our Cuphead review.
Diablo 3 may be almost a decade old at this point, but it's still one of the best cooperative action-RPGs you can play in 2021. Up to four players can dive into Diablo 3's demonic world locally or online. With seven classes to choose from, a near-endless variety of loot to uncover, and a breakneck pace that keeps the action going at all times, Diablo 3 is a thoroughly engrossing isometric RPG. The Eternal Collection includes the immensely replayable main campaign, Reaper of Souls expansion, and the Necromancer expansion. Diablo 3's campaigns and endgame content can easily create hundreds of hours of fun, and revolving seasonal content adds even more to the package. Another great thing about Diablo 3 is that it's not intensive from a gameplay perspective, which opens it up to players of all skill levels who want to team up and take on hordes of vicious demons.
See our Diablo 3: Eternal Collection review.
The Jackbox Party Pack series has been going strong since 2014, amassing a whopping seven compilations of unique party games that can be played. While it's almost impossible to narrow down the best entry in the series, all seven editions contain five party games that support as many as 10 players for local multiplayer. Besides the absurd fun that the mix of trivia, word games, guessing games and more provide, Jackbox has a key feature that makes it ideal for actual parties. Instead of using Switch controllers, players use phones, tablets, or computers to play, which means you don't need to buy a bunch of controllers for your next big get-together. Some of the best games within the series include Fibbage, Quiplash, Drawful, and Tee K.O. Variations on these games can be found in a lot of the Party Packs, but it's not a bad idea to choose an edition with a couple of these. The first three games in the series all have two of those party games.
Just Dance has always felt at home on Nintendo consoles due to motion controls. The latest entry in the series, Just Dance 2021, is no exception. Featuring more than 40 songs, including tracks by The Weeknd, Billie Eilish, and Harry Styles, Just Dance 2021 is loaded with both modern and classic hits that encourage you to get up on your feet and move to the beat with the Joy-Con controllers. Just Dance 2021 features local multiplayer that lets you dance against a friend to see who can secure the highest score. There's also a cool online mode called World Dance Floor that pits you against dancers from all over the world. It features seasonal leaderboards, tournaments, and multiple rooms for various skill levels. Just Dance 2021 is a great way to get a workout and compete at the same time. Keep in mind that Just Dance requires a decent amount of open space, especially if you're playing local multiplayer.
Mario Golf: Super Rush doesn't reach the same heights as some previous Mario sports games, but it still offers an eclectic mix of competitive multiplayer modes that are great whether you're playing locally or online with up to four players. Super Rush introduces Speed Golf, a fast-paced mode that literally asks golfers to run to their ball before the next shot. Finding the balance between speed and precision is key to coming out on top. There's also a frantic Battle Golf mode that pits you against other players in a stadium course where the objective is to capture three flags as quickly as possible. Of course, you can still play regular golf as well if you're looking for a more leisurely experience. Super Rush doesn't have online tournaments, which is a bit of a bummer, but there's still enough here to satisfy sports fans looking for some lighthearted fun on the links.
See our Mario Golf: Super Rush review.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, an enhanced port of the standout Wii U kart racer, remains the best racing game on Switch more than four years after its release. It features a staggering variety of tracks, both old and new, a ton of different playable characters, and robust multiplayer features that never tire whether you're playing locally or online. Alongside the 32 standard tracks is a greatly expanded Battle Mode featuring eight courses. With tight controls, loads of customization, and enough content to keep the racing fresh, it's no surprise that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe remains one of the best-selling Switch games years after its release.
See our Mario Kart 8 Deluxe review.
After being dormant for a decade, the Marvel Ultimate Alliance series returned exclusively for Nintendo Switch with The Black Order. The new entry in the series retains the isometric perspective and beat-'em-up gameplay of its predecessors, which makes it feel decidedly retro in some ways. The Black Order's original story takes cues from recent Avengers movies while adding a whole host of other heroes and villains. With more than 45 playable characters--each of whom has their own unique moves--and a lengthy campaign that sees you and your teammates take on plenty of supervillains, The Black Order is the best game for Marvel fans on Switch. It's built specifically for co-op in mind, as you always have a team of four heroes, which can be controlled by other players or the CPU. The Black Order supports local and online co-op, and it's great for both adults and young Marvel fans.
See our Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order review.
Minecraft Dungeons is another isometric action-RPG that borrows the world of Microsoft's ridiculously popular sandbox game. It's worthy of the name, though. Minecraft Dungeons features drop-in, drop-out local and online multiplayer for up to four players. It can be compared to Diablo 3, only with more lighthearted themes that make it appropriate for kids as well. Minecraft Dungeons features an easy-to-grasp battle system, colorful maps littered with enemies and secrets, and a lengthy campaign that excels due to a great loot and upgrade system. We'd recommend Minecraft Dungeons to all action-RPG fans regardless of whether you like Minecraft or not.
See our Minecraft Dungeons review.
Monster Hunter Rise is one of the best Switch games to release this year, and it also happens to be one of the greatest action-RPGs to play with friends on the hybrid console. A brand-new entry in the series, Monster Hunter Rise includes new maps and monsters as well as a bunch of old favorites. If you've never played a Monster Hunter game before, you should know that the series is somewhat unique. Most quests revolve around hunting and killing/capturing a large monster--each of which has dynamic movesets and a ton of health, which often makes hunts a pretty lengthy endeavor. When you combine that structure with the intricate combat and item systems, you have yourself an in-depth action-RPG that takes some getting used to. That said, it's well worth the learning curve. Monster Hunter Rise is absolutely loaded with story and endgame content, and hunts are even more satisfying when playing alongside three friends. Rise supports online and local multiplayer, but each player needs their own console. If you wind up enjoying Rise, you should definitely check out Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate, which is essentially the greatest hits of the series' pre-Monster Hunter World installments.
See our Monster Hunter Rise review.
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is a superb compilation containing New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Luigi U. Together, they feature a staggering 168 platforming levels that can be played via local co-op with up to four players. New Super Mario Bros. U features some of the best level design in series history, and New Super Luigi U offers a fast-paced spin on the classic side-scrolling formula. The Switch port also adds a pair of new characters: Toadette and Nabbit. These characters are particularly great if you want to team up with youngsters, as Nabbit is invulnerable to damage and Toadette has a power-up that turns her into a soaring Princess Peach. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is great fun for the whole family.
See our New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe review.
Splatoon 2 remains one of the best competitive multiplayer games on Switch four years after its release. Starring Inklings and Octolings armed with various paint weapons, teams compete to cover the map with paint and eliminate opposing players. Splatoon 2 has a variety of competitive game modes to play in both casual and ranked matches. If you prefer teaming up to take on a singular objective, the Salmon Run co-op mode lets squads of up to four battle waves of enemies. While Splatoon 2 doesn't get as many updates nowadays, it still features a lively and passionate community. Splatoon 3 is expected to release in 2022 for Nintendo Switch.
See our Splatoon 2 review.
Though Stardew Valley originally started as an ode to Harvest Moon, it gradually grew into something much more original. Years after its release, Stardew Valley is still one of the best farming simulation games ever made, which is quite impressive considering the original release was made by one developer. While Stardew Valley is an excellent farming sim when you play solo, it can be even better when you join up with some trusty farmhands. Stardew Valley supports four-player online co-op as well as local split-screen co-op as of update 1.5 (wireless local co-op is an option, too). Much like Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley's multiplayer lets you invite friends to your farm to work together tending crops, accumulate resources, and adventure through the mines. It's a quiet multiplayer experience, but it offers a nice way to unwind. Also, Stardew Valley can be quite the time sink. It's not unfathomable to spend hundreds of hours in this cozy virtual world.
See our Stardew Valley review.
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury is two games in one package. Super Mario 3D World is an excellent port of the Wii U hit, complete with four-player local co-op. While it features standard self-contained levels, they are all rendered in 3D with full control of Mario, bridging the gap between two styles of Mario platformers to create an awesome mashup. Bowser's Fury is brand-new to Nintendo Switch. It's a shorter experience, but it also takes place in one open world, giving you an entirely new Mario platforming adventure where you gradually unlock new areas and take on a massive Bowser. We're recommending this mainly for 3D World's co-op. While Bowser's Fury does feature co-op (the second player controls Bowser Jr.), it's not super enjoyable for the person who isn't controlling Mario. Regardless, Super Mario 3D World's co-op is well worth the price of admission if you're looking for another family-friendly multiplayer game.
See our Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury review.
Super Mario Maker 2 offers a virtually endless supply of 2D Mario fun thanks to a massive database filled with user-created courses and the ability to create your own. As such, Super Mario Maker 2 really is a game that revolves around the community. You can create 2D Mario levels with a friend on one console, tackle diabolical courses together with up to four players in local co-op, or head online to Course World to play a variety of competitive and cooperative game modes. Super Mario Maker 2 even has a World Maker feature, so you can essentially create a whole Mario game to play with friends and family. Whether you want to dabble in course creation or not, Super Mario Maker 2 is an excellent multiplayer experience for Mario enthusiasts and casual players alike.
See our Super Mario Maker 2 review.
Ideal for family game nights, Super Mario Party is the latest entry in the long-running Nintendo series. The main game mode follows the classic Mario Party loop. Each player rolls the dice and moves across the board collecting coins and those elusive stars. At the end of each turn, you compete in a fast-paced minigame. If you've played a Mario Party game before, you know that the tides can change quickly, so you never know what's going to happen when the Mushroom Kingdom gang squares off. In addition to the standard mode, there's a new Partner Party co-op mode that adds a layer of strategy thanks to a grid-based movement system that places greater emphasis on your decision making. You can also join up with up to three teammates in the River Survival mode or compete in the rhythm-based games in Sound Stage. Super Mario Party has online and local multiplayer for up to four players. Mario Party Superstars, the next entry in the series, releases October 29 for Nintendo Switch.
See our Super Mario Party review.
With more than 100 stages and 74 fighters (not including DLC characters), Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the biggest entry in the iconic fighting game series yet. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is great for both casual and competitive players thanks to a wide variety of online and local multiplayer modes. Smash has long been a fighting game that's easy to jump into, and Ultimate is no exception. You can also join up with friends in local co-op to take on Spirit Board challenges or play through classic mode. Up to eight players can play competitively on one console (with single Joy-Con controls), which is a great feature for parties.
See our Super Smash Bros. Ultimate review.
Yoshi's Crafted World is an especially good pick for those looking for a lighthearted co-op game to play with youngsters. The levels are designed to look like cardboard, which gives them a cutesy aesthetic that feels ripped from a child's imagination. The side-scrolling levels have some 3D depth to them, which makes them feel different than earlier Yoshi platformers. Each of the themed worlds has a distinct flavor, cool boss battles, and tons of secrets to uncover. You can play local co-op with two players on one console. If one player is having trouble with a tricky platforming section, they can simply hop on the other Yoshi's back for assistance. Yoshi's Crafted World also has a breezy "mellow" mode that makes it even more welcoming to newcomers.
See our Yoshi's Crafted World review.
GameSpot may get a commission from retail offers.
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email email@example.com