Nintendo Switch

So I lucked into a GameStop deal to cash in my old unused Xbone, so I picked up a Switch, non-Lite as you all suggested. So - next question. My son really only wanted a this so he could play Pokemon Sword and Shield, but I’m thinking there are probably quite a few games out there he would appreciate. Given that he’s nine years old, what would you recommend? I’m thinking Mario Odyssey, maybe a Mario Kart game assuming there is one for the Switch, and maybe that Pokemon Snap game? But I haven’t really kept up with Switch developments at all, so if there’s another game that you think would work, or that your kids maybe love, I’d be curious to hear about them.

Yes, Mario Kart 8 is very good.

Splatoon 2 has been the biggest hit for my kids (11 and 6)

Everyone is ga-ga for Breath of the Wild, which kinda Ubisofts the Zelda formula. Odyssey and Mario Kart are also perennial best-sellers and awesome.

Smash Brothers is exactly as ridiculous and over-the-top as before. Like @Thraeg said, the Splatoons are a big hit with everyone who touches 'em, though I’ve never played.

Animal Crossing is the best game ever, but maybe not up everyone’s alley. It’s very chill and slow-paced, but very charming for a certain kinda person (me).

Most of the various Mario options are great. Luigi’s Mansion 3, that recent 3D World remaster, etc. A LOT of Qt3’ers dig Mario vs. Rabbids Kingdom Battle for some kid-friendly XCOM-esque action.

My own wishlist for Switch:

Already bought

Mario Odyssey
Mario 3D All-Stars

Wish List

Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe


Mario Kart Live Home Circuit
Mario Tennis Aces
Mario Golf: Super Rush
Luigi Mansion 3
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
Splatoon 2
Animal Crossing

My perspective on what appeals to nine-year olds is limited, but if there’s even a remote possibility that more than one person will play your Switch, Mario Kart is essential.

My nephews (9 & 6) got into Mario Kart and Smash Bros, but the big thing there is that there are two of them plus me, so it was mainly for the couch multiplayer which is awesome in both those games (of course they both have single player as well). Switch has two player support out of the box so you should consider playing with him!

I also introduced them to Streets of Rogue, and they really loved playing that together and trying out the new characters as they unlocked them, even though they were initially disdainful of the graphics… Some wonderful chaos.

But yeah the main single player draw was Pokemon Sword & Shield. They also liked Animal Crossing, and were quite keen on Luigi’s Mansion and Link’s Awakening. But I think the older one would always rather be playing Roblox on the iPad… ;)

Not totally clear how mulitplayer works out of the box with the Switch, but my 6-year-old daughter might also be interested in playing some of these games too, so yeah more than one person may be playing. I don’t think either of them have really played a racing game before but Mario Kart seems like a decent way to dip their toes in.

So - I’ve got Pokemon Shield (my son wanted this over Sword, he has his reasons and no I haven’t asked), Super Mario Odyssey, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Animal Crossing: New Horizons as possible games for him/both of them assuming he will share. I don’t know how they’d feel about Smash Bros or Zelda - these would be new experiences for them. My daughter is mainly a Minecraft player and my son mainly plays Roblox. They’ve played Mario Party and Mario Sports on the Wii and liked them but that’s about it.

Are there demos for any of these games? I feel like we could get a good feel for how they’d be received if they were able to try them out. Anyway, appreciate all the suggestions, I’ll give this more thought over the weekend.

OK so yes there are demos, just not for the games I’m interested in. Oh well.

The two JoyCon controllers on either side of the Switch are detatchable; each one can function as a simple controller for most games on the system. So, for multiplayer, each player can take one and go nuts with it. They both have decent motion controls, one has an IR scanner, good vibration, little speakers, etc. – basically a hyper-miniaturized Wiimote with worse motion-accuracy.

The individual main-line Pokemons are usually split into 2 or 3 versions with a handful of unique Pokemon, gym leader bosses, and quests for each variant; you need to connect with pals via local or internet multiplayer to get the stuff not in your game. But your kid made the right call; the unique stuff in Shield is cooler :)

Simple, but cute multiplayer; the second player control the little hat companion that can collect coins and bop enemies, IIRC. Sorta like the MP in Galaxy, if you played that.

Excellent local or online multiplayer, absurd amounts of content for the price (it’s basically an upgraded version of the Wii-U version + all of its DLC).

Awesome, charming, relaxing, very sweet and silly building-and-friendship game. The multiplayer has a couple of weird quirks. First and foremost, whoever makes the first Villager character for the game on a given console is the “Island Representative,” who controls the progression of some of the game content, so if they make a character and abandon the game, Player 2 is stuck with basic tools and housing forever. Once you make it past the couple-few weeks of starter “quests” on the island, everything is more or less unlocked for everyone.

Mario Party for Switch only has a few boards, but they’re all good, and the minigames are great. Only allows Joycons for play – no Pro Controllers here, folks! But they have lots of fun and funky motion oriented games and stuff that uses the microphones, IIRC, so if they dug the Wii version, they’ll probably like this, too.

A word on online MP: You do need to buy annual access to Nintendo Online. It’s very cheap compared to XBox Live and whatever Playstation has, and comes with while-subscribed access to big libraries of emulated SNES and NES games. Also supports online backups of most game saves and a few other neat features.

By default, the MP is tied to one system profile (Switch supports multiple user profiles, so multiple people can maintain saves/characters in the same games on the same system – see above for the Animal Crossing stuff on that). If you only run one main account, you’re good. Otherwise, spring for the Family Plan, which is honestly just a few bucks more. If online MP isn’t a big deal, this is totally skippable, though.

Wow, I have so many questions after looking at that page. Like “what the heck is Yoshi’s Crafted World” and “What the heck is Miitopia”. It’s nice that there are demos I guess. Once I get a Switch, I can find out for myself.

Edit: Also, it makes me irrationally mad that Arms is still $60. I mean, you’d think at least the non-Mario, non-Zelda, non-Animal Crossing, non-Pokemon stuff by Nintendo would at least get a reasonable discount after a while.

My son started playing Mario Kart at three years old, and that was before Mario Kart 8 which has optional auto-steering and auto-acceleration. Mario Kart 8 is as close to a sure bet you can get on the system.

According to Dekudeals it’s $55 at Amazon and Target right now, and has reached nearly $40 this year.

PSA: if you have a Switch and wishlist, then you should definitely bookmark Dekudeals. Or make an account in order to get an email when the price is right.

Yeah, not to go full-on Mario Kart evangelist on you, but Mario Kart is super user friendly and accessible while being fun for experienced / older gamers. It’s well designed too—multiple classes of cars so they can start with the slower ones to get a handle on the gameplay, great catchup mechanics if someone falls behind, plus the assists in 8 Deluxe already mentioned—so I don’t think being unfamiliar with racing games, or gaming in general, is much of a hindrance. It’s always a crowd pleaser from my experience.

You’re probably going to want to look into getting extra controllers at some point. The Nintendo-produced pro controller is excellent, but there are also far cheaper alternatives as well that work for occasional multiplayer if you check Amazon or big box stores.

That is the same as my 6 and 9 year olds… younger on Minecraft, older on Roblox. And probably many many 6 and 9 year olds I imagine. ;)

The 6 year old is the one who absolutely loved Smash Bros. but I think it might be because of their personailities more than ages. He is a bit rougher, darker, and wilder I guess, enjoys the fighting.

They also loved that it has a bunch of Pokemon in it, Mewtoo was usually present in most fights. :P

Nah, that’s good info. I think I last played the Mario Kart on the DS, so I’m pretty out of the loop.

To be honest, I had never even considered this. They probably have friends who have a Switch and will want to play with them. OK! Another thing to consider!

You don’t need a subscription to play certain free games online. Basically the same ones that are free on Xbox (Fortnite, Paladins, etc).

Have 2 boys - 12 and 8 and we have 2 Wiis. Their greatest hits:

  • Super Mario Maker 2 (endless fun designing and playing Mario levels)
  • Splatoon 2
  • Minecraft
  • Super Smash Bros
  • Mario Odyssey
  • Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

Then all the other Mario Bros games (I think we have pretty much everything released), Yoshi’s Crafter World, Luigis Mansion, Mario Kart, several Lego games, Toad Treasure Tracker, Overcooked, Necrodancer,

Have both of the two first Pokemon games, but they haven’t really “stuck” - I played them signfiicantly longer than the kids. Same for Animal Crossing.

Were the kids already into Pokemon though? Mine watched the shows, collected the cards, and adored both the Let’s Go and the Sword & Shield games.

All 3 of my kids enjoy this immensely, 2,4, and 7. Plus there are assists for auto acceleration and steering that keep them from falling off courses. It’s great for kids.

My kids also enjoy faffing about in Animal Crossing.

There is also the Lego games on Switch, highly recommended if you don’t have them elsewhere.

One thing not brought up yet, LABO!

Get the Labo vehicle kit. My kids LOVE this. It is also Mario Kart (and other game) compatible. They have a blast using the steering wheel and such. Important note, this will be something you do with them. The assembly of the cardboard components can be tricky for small hands. The tutorials and folding instructions are very Nintendo, polished and thorough, and completely visual so anyone can understand.

There are other Labo but we only have Vehicles so far. Still, 100% worth it.

Mario and Rabbids Kingdom Battles is an excellent Xcom with a unique gameplay hook on movement. My 7 year old enjoyed it, as do I. Big surprise hit really.

Scribblenauts is also another good one for kids.

If you have any questions, since I am one of the people who has kids close to your age and has a Switch, let me know.