While the Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5 are celebrating a year on the market, Nintendo's line-up of Switch consoles are as popular as ever. First launched in 2017, the original Switch hardware expanded into pure mobile territory with the Switch Lite console a few years ago, while this year saw the release of a new model that packs a visual punch with its OLED screen. If you're shopping for a Nintendo fan this holiday, we've rounded up the best Nintendo Switch gifts to consider.
There's a Switch for almost everyone, and some of the best games on the platform released this year. Here are some of the notable Switch games that launched in 2021 that may make for perfect gifts for the Nintendo fan on your shopping list. Make sure to check out our roundup of the best Nintendo Switch games for more ideas.
2021 Switch games
You can also see our full Nintendo Switch buying guide for more info on the console if needed and our guides to the best Switch controllers, carrying cases, grips, and screen protectors for more Switch gift ideas.
The original hybrid console that fused the best of Nintendo's home and handheld devices into one machine, the Nintendo Switch has been a game-changer since it first launched in 2017. Whether you're playing first-party games at home while its docked or you're running through a few indie games on a bus ride, the core idea of a console that makes the gaming experience equal in either mode has been nothing short of phenomenal.
Out of the box, you're getting the console, two Joycon controllers, the charging dock that connects to your TV, and all the relevant cables you'll need to keep it topped up between sessions. While it may not have the fancy OLED screen of the newer model on the market, the original Switch's LCD display is still more than capable of transmitting bright and vibrant images in handheld mode, and after four years it now has a robust library of games to choose from.
If you're after handheld gaming and a crisp display, Nintendo's new OLED Model Switch will definitely satisfy those specific cravings. While the internal hardware of the Switch's OLED Model is the same as the regular Switch console, its screen has slimmer bezels, is an extra inch larger, and the overall presentation of games makes for a brighter experience overall. Alongside several other quality-of-life improvements, the Switch OLED Model is the definitive Nintendo console for anyone who prefers to play in handheld mode.
Unfortunately, the Switch OLED is extremely difficult to find in stock, so make sure to follow our restock tracker for updates.
This is a novel gift idea for all of the Zelda fans in your life as well as those who just love some good nostalgia. The Legend of Zelda Game & Watch is a pocket-sized retro handheld loaded with three classic Zelda games: The Legend of Zelda, Zelda II, and The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening.
The Switch OLED Model might be the best Nintendo console for anyone who prefers the portable nature of that system, but don't count the Switch Lite out. With its more rugged design and affordable price, it's perfect for the younger members of the family who just want to hop into their favorite games and aren't too concerned about the difference in color contrast that an OLED screen can provide. It does come with some caveats though to justify its lower price, such as the controls being built into the console, no hardware that allows it to link to your TV, and a small number of games that aren't compatible with it.
Most of Nintendo's games ship on physical cartridges, but the console has seen a significant increase in the number of people who have adopted digital purchases thanks to how easily they can be accessed on the Switch. For someone who has a Switch, an eShop gift card is a great gift as it'll allow them to grab a game that they have had their eyes on for a while, and you'll avoid accidentally buying the wrong title in the process.
Nintendo eShop gift cards are available at various prices and max out at $99, and as soon as you buy one you'll receive a digital code via email that you can pass on to the lucky recipient.
It might not have as many bells and whistles as Sony's PlayStation Plus or Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass subscription services, but Nintendo Switch Online is still a solid selection of online access that includes a library of retro classics. Necessary for online multiplayer access, subscribers also receive cloud save backups for most games, and the service is available in two annual membership packages.\
An individual membership will cost $20 for a year, while a family membership raises the price to $35. There's also the recently-revealed Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack subscription plan that costs $50 for a year-long subscription, adding Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis to the deal and Animal Crossing's Happy Home Paradise DLC.
The Switch Joy-con controllers are fun peripherals that can be combined to form a more traditional input device, but for anyone looking for something with more ergonomic design and bigger buttons, the Switch Pro controller is the way to go. Shaped like a modern controller, it has an impressive battery life and an attractive finish that lets you peek under the hood of the controller.
You'll get a pair of Joy-Cons with your regular Switch and the OLED Model, but more Joy-Cons are always better, especially if you live in a household that's home to multiple gamers. For multiplayer games like Super Mario Party or Overcooked that allow up to four players to take part, an extra pair of Joy-Cons come in handy, and they're also available in a range of fun colors to help brighten up your living room.
The original Switch can cause a few hand cramps after a lengthy gaming session, but the Hori Split Pad Pro remedies that with an ergonomic design, excellent D-pad, and big buttons. Giving you a better grip on the console, the controller replaces the Joy-Cons and also adds more accurate analog sticks, programmable back paddles, and it won't cause your Switch to get stuck in the dock when you slide it in for a recharge.
With both SNES and Genesis games available on it, the Switch is home to a treasure trove of classic games. The best way to play those games is with a controller that also provides a legacy-themed approach to interactivity, and the 8BitDo is a third-party option that offers extensive button mapping, a rechargeable battery, and personalized rumble functionality.
While the Nintendo Switch only added Bluetooth headset functionality this year, it does come with a few noticeable audio lag issues. The best way to go is with a headset that includes a wireless dongle, and the SteelSeries Arctis 1 is one of the best that you can get for the console. Once you've plugged it into the USB-C port, a strong connection will provide crystal-clear audio, communication, and dozens of hours of gaming with this comfortable set of cans.
Mario Kart has been one of the best racing game franchises for decades, and now that action is finally available in your very own home with Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit. Included in the box are a number of cardboard accessories that you can use to build a course, and the titular Mario Kart that's surprisingly fast and looks like a perfect replica of the famed vehicle. It's available with either Mario or Luigi in the driver's seat, and once you link it up to a Nintendo Switch, it provides an exhilaratingly different spin on Mario Kart. Just make certain that you watch out for any cats in your home while you're racing.
What's better than Super Mario Bros. and Lego? Obviously, both franchises in one fun package. The Lego Super Mario starter course is still a fun introduction to the world of both Nintendo's favorite plumber and Lego, allowing you to craft a Super Mario course in Lego form. The best part about this kit is Mario himself, as the figure has LED screens in its eyes, mouth, and belly that create various sounds as its used in the playset.
Perfect for anyone who just got the latest Metroid game, these Amiibo figures come with nifty in-game features such as an extra energy tank, a daily health-replenishment feature, and a Missile+ tank that gives Samus Aran some extra ammo. Beyond the in-game perks, both the Samus and E.M.M.I Amiibos just look fantastic, and once you've had your fill of Metroid Dread, they'll continue to show off their stunning design when they're on your shelf.
There's only 32GB of storage available in the Switch--increased to 64GB on the OLED Model--so a microSD memory card is essential. There's plenty of them available on the market, but one of the best that you can grab is Sandisk's officially-licensed microSD card that increases the storage capacity of the Switch with 128GB of digital real estate. More than enough space to house several first-party games and plenty of indie titles.
A good carrying case is essential for when you take your Nintendo Switch out and about, and out of all the options available, none are more heartwarming than this Animal Crossing: New Horizons-themed case from PowerA. Decked out in soothing colors and themes drawn from the smash hit game, the case also happens to have a durable outer shell, is soft on the inside, and has space to store a few extra games inside of it as well.
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