It’s hard dropping $300 on a console and then justifying another $60 on a game. That’s particularly troublesome on the Nintendo Switch, a console for which cheap games are scarce.
The Switch has a long list of great games, but Nintendo games historically retain their value like few others in gaming. Though AAA titles on other platforms will eventually drop down to lower prices, games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild are still on store shelves at the same or similar prices to what they were launched at five years ago.
The good news is that the Nintendo Switch eShop and other digital retailers do offer up some high-quality games at significantly lower prices. Here are some of the best cheap games for the Nintendo Switch.
The best cheap Nintendo Switch games
There are an abundance of Nintendo Switch games, but there need to be some guidelines when it comes to picking out the best cheap Nintendo Switch games. All of these games are normally listed in the Nintendo eShop for $20 or less, as of this writing. Sales can push the prices for these games down further.
This does not include any free-to-play games, though Fortnite and Pokemon Unite are both enjoyable. It also includes all games on the Nintendo Switch. Though many of these games are available on other platforms, each of these are strong on Switch and perform well on the platform.
Snipperclips was one of the early standout exclusives for the Nintendo Switch thanks to its all-ages, cooperative gameplay. Players are tasked with trimming pieces of paper into a specific shape and completing various tasks with them. This might sound simple, but it gets progressively more challenging with time.
This game is perfectly suited for anyone looking for a casual game that can be played with friends. It’s a great option for anyone looking for fun on a rainy day.
There are loads of great Metroidvania games on the Nintendo Switch. The Switch even has Metroid Dread, and Metroid Prime 4 is slated to come out sometime in the future. But even with that, Hollow Knight should be a priority for interested players. The game is widely regarded as the definitive game in the genre and for good reason.
Most of the games on this list are available on all modern gaming platforms, Hollow Knight being among them. But whether it’s the Steam Deck, the PlayStation, or any other platform, it’s worth getting this game, and having it on Switch means being able to play it anywhere at any time.
Katana Zero is a blend of Hotline Miami and Ninja Gaiden. On paper, it’s a bloody action game that has you slice up enemies in terrifying fashion. But in practice it’s more of a puzzle game, tasking the player to trial and error their way through each stage with the skills they have available to them.
There’s room for creativity here in terms of how you approach each level and it’s incredibly satisfying to work to the end of a level. At a budget price this one is a strong pickup.
BioShock Remastered is a port of the horror FPS from 2007. Though some shooters from this era haven’t aged well, BioShock is basically timeless. Players are dropped into the underwater dystopia of Rapture and forced to fight their way back to the surface, dealing with the terrifying Big Daddy bosses along the way.
Bioshock, Bioshock 2, and Bioshock: Infinite are all available on the Nintendo Switch at a similar price point. It’s also worth taking a peak at the brighter but still very threatening world of Bioshock: Infinite. Each of these games qualifies as a strong buy for those looking for a cheap Nintendo Switch game, but the best value overall is getting them together as a bundle.
Overcooked is a delightfully fun, potentially friendship-ending game where players are tasked with working together in a restaurant. Players need to pass around ingredients, prepare them, and send them out to customers. This starts out straightforward but gets progressively wackier as the game progresses.
Players wind up needing to deal with a wide variety of obstacles that make things progressively more difficult. Ingredients will disappear over time, parts of the kitchen will move around, and there’s just sometimes a volcano lighting everything on fire.
This game can be played single-player, but the definitive way to do so is with a friend. Alongside Overcooked Special Edition, Overcooked 2 is available both individually and bundled.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game was an indie darling when it launched but wound up in licensing limbo for a time, launching in 2010 but being de-listed from digital storefronts in 2014. The game made a surprise comeback in 2021 and stands as one of the best party action games for modern consoles.
This game is based on the visual novel series that inspired the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World film. Instead of being a typical half-hearted licensed game, it captures the energy of the comics as an arcade beat ‘em up. This is cut from the same cloth as the Konami classics like The Simpsons and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games from the 1990s, and these games are as fun now as they were then.
Chrono Cross: Radical Dreamers Edition
Many Squaresoft and Square Enix PlayStation 1-era RPGs have received Nintendo Switch ports. Just a couple have gotten the full remaster treatment.
Chrono Cross was seemingly forgotten about after its initial release in 1999. The sequel to Chrono Trigger was controversial at the time, but is generally regarded as a strong JRPG today. Fans panned the limited references to Chrono Trigger, but it maintains one key similarity in its strong replayability.
Though Japanese RPGs often get beaten once and then collect dust on the shelf, that isn’t the case here. Chrono Cross has a number of different endings that make it worth tackling a few times over.
Sonic Mania may be the best Sonic the Hedgehog game released since Sonic and Knuckles. Many Sonic games since the death of the Genesis have either aged terribly or were bad from the start, but Sonic Mania captures the magic of the classic Sonic the Hedgehog titles.
Sonic Mania was put together by Sonic fangame designer Christian Whitehead, who wound up working for Sega in an official capacity. After working on ports of Sonic 1, 2, and CD, he directed a new, original Sonic game. The result was a bold experience that feels like the original but features newly innovative level design.
Okami was widely regarded as a “Zelda-killer” for the PlayStation 2. That didn’t really pan out since the Legend of Zelda series remains monolithic, but Capcom still put together a classic action game that holds up well 16 years later.
Okami will mostly stand out due to its unique graphical style, but it’s not just another pretty game. It’s a whimsical action-adventure title that can basically match any other game in its genre. On top of that is an epic story with fun characters to make this a roundly great experience.
Okami was originally a PlayStation 2 game and has been ported to a wide variety of platforms since. It’s a perfect fit for the Nintendo Switch and is especially nice to play on the OLED model if you have it.
Though Animal Crossing: New Horizons is one of the top-selling games on the Nintendo Switch, it’s not the only great life simulator on the platform. In fact, a strong case can be made that modern classic Stardew Valley is the king of the genre now.
Farming games have always been a staple of handheld gaming since Harvest Moon on the Game Boy. There’s a long list of series and one-off titles that have popped up in the genre since, but none have made as much of a splash as Stardew Valley. The game was an instant hit when it landed on Steam in 2016 and was slowly ported to every other major gaming platform in the three years that followed.
Stardew Valley is one of the best values in all of video games. Despite its $15 price tag, Stardew Valley can easily last a player for hundreds of hours. This makes it comfortably the best cheap game on the Nintendo Switch.