Games are expensive; it’s no secret and no surprise to long-time gamers that the average AAA title costs upwards of £60. Despite the premium associated with most quality games, however, there are, in fact, a wealth of offerings from reputable developers that are up for grabs for absolutely nothing.
With the current state of affairs and the fact that you’re reading this article, there’s a strong chance you recently decided to pick up a Nintendo Switch or Switch Lite, or better yet, you already own one. Either way, perhaps now more than ever, you’re on the hunt for new games to sink your teeth into but at the same time, trying to look after your bank balance.
Related: Best Switch games 2020
Thankfully, there are plenty of games available for the Nintendo Switch that are completely free and here we take you through some of our favourites, which you can pick up from the Nintendo eShop, right now.
Sure, it’s Fortnite, and that’s not to everyone’s taste, but it also happens to be one of the biggest and most popular battle royale titles of all-time.
The always-connected cross-platform shooter has ridden an unprecedented wave of success, built on the foundation of its colourful free-to-play battle royale-formula and intriguing storytelling elements.
Despite originally launching in late 2017, Fortnite didn’t make it to Switch until June the following year and since then the port has kept step with other platforms; with the in-game and narrative experiences now contained within ‘Chapter 2 – Season 2’ (at the time of writing).
Of course, if the temptation of new character skins and emotes does become too great, you can always convert real cash into V-bucks (Fortnite’s in-game currency) or splash out on a season-long Battle Pass, gaining access to additional items and experiences too.
Asphalt 9: Legends
If you own a smartphone, there’s a strong chance you’ve already played Asphalt 9: Legends. Whether you have or haven’t, it’s hard to argue with Gameloft’s multi-award-winning arcade racer; which features an ever-expanding collection of licensed cars, plus tracks set in real-world locales all across the globe.
Despite the game’s distinctive arcade racing gameplay, the team behind Legends has managed to squeeze an impressive amount of visual fidelity and performance out of the Switch, meaning this game looks and plays fantastically.
You can even play with up to four friends locally or up to eight other racers online.
Put al this together and Asphalt 9: Legends is one of the best racing games on Nintendo Switch, let alone free games.
Fortnite isn’t the only battle royale game on this list, but bet you didn’t expect Tetris to be the other?
As its name suggests, Tetris 99 sees you enter and arena of falling blocks, in an effort to fill in gaps and clear lines – pretty familiar Tetris territory so far. The twist is that, at the same time, you’re also squaring off against 99 other players, with the aim of being the last one standing.
Whilst dealing with your own game, you can also target players randomly, prioritise those who are close to failure or only focus on players who are directly attacking you.
This metagaming element adds an additional layer to the gameplay experience. No doubt something that new players and veterans alike will love.
Nobody is quite sure how Digital Extremes managed to bring Warframe to the Switch but, in one heck of a technical achievement, it did.
You play as a space ninja (officially called a ‘Tenno’), tasked with facing off against the scourge that is the Grineer. Warframe has you juggling gun and swordplay in a futuristic universe, filled with thousands of other players.
After over seven years, Warframe’s systems may come across a little intimidating at first but that time frame has also meant that it’s easier than ever to reach out to the game’s community for guidance.
This is the closest thing to Destiny that the Nintendo Switch supports and it’s a pretty amazing title, whether you spend money on it or not.
Unlike the mainline games in the series, fans weren’t quite sure what to make of Fallout Shelter when it was first unveiled.
Luckily, its initial launch on mobile landed as a great success for Bethesda. It took a little longer for Fallout Shelter to make the move to the Switch but its presence here is no less appreciated – especially as it’s free to play.
You play the role of the Overseer, building up your vault to make it more habitable for existing dwellers and paving the way for new ones too.
As well as resource management, you also have to fend off attacks from bandits (and worse), plus you have the ability to venture out with scouting parties to rescue potential survivors or scavenge for supplies.
The caveat with some of these titles, such as Tetris 99, is that they require a subscription to the Nintendo Switch Online service. The downside is that such a subscription does cost money, the upside is that it’s far less than the price of an actual game.
Out the gate, Nintendo offers a seven-day free trial of NSO, so you don’t have to fork anything out until after that initial week, at which point you have the option of one, three or twelve-month plans to choose between, costing £3.49, £6.99 (equivalent to £2.33 a month) and £17.99 (equivalent to a fraction less than £1.50 a month), respectively (based on individual membership pricing).
As well as support for online multiplayer, exclusive in-game content and other connected services, opting for Nintendo Switch Online also grants you access to both a NES and SNES emulator, meaning you have even more games to get stuck into once you’ve exhausted the titles on this list.