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Which Nintendo Switch shooting game is best?

Of all the genres of games — platformers, puzzles, side-scrollers, racing — few are as viscerally engaging as a shooter. And of the current generation of home gaming consoles, the Nintendo Switch is arguably the most appealing, because of its portability and motion controls. It only makes sense that plenty of popular shooting games would find their way onto the device. 

Of all the Nintendo Switch shooting games (and there are a lot), the best is Splatoon 2. This title is not only developed by Nintendo, but features crisp graphics, a catchy soundtrack and a family-friendly — yet highly engaging — take on the shooting game genre. 

What to know before you buy a Nintendo Switch shooting game

Recommended age groups

Like movies and TV, the games industry has its own rating system, which differs from country to country and game to game. In America, many shooting games are rated M for mature not only for the shooting but because of the accompanying violence, blood, profanity and other adult themes. There are exceptions, however, with games like Splatoon 2, which can be played by children as young as 6 or 8 years old and features only cartoon violence.

Shoot ’em up, shooter, first-person shooter or shooting game?

Not all shooting games work the same way, and in the last few years, a few subgenres have sprouted. 

Retro consoles used to feature something called the “shoot ’em up,” a 2D side-scrolling game involving spaceships shooting aliens (like Space Invaders) or heroes shooting grunts (Contra). Then came the shooter, or shooting game, which many understand to specifically involve guns. 

Usually, when people talk about shooters, they mean first-person shooter, which places you as the character in the game. It can also now refer to third-person shooters, in which you control another fictional character in the universe. 

So while the mechanism is the same throughout, the introduction of 3D has significantly changed the genre.

Digital vs. physical

Nintendo Switch offers games in two main formats: physical, which come as discs in plastic cases, and digital, which are redeemed as codes in a store or bought directly from the Nintendo eShop. 

There are benefits and tradeoffs to both mediums. Physical is the collector’s preferred medium, because there is always the chance of games no longer being made or the eShop closing down, which will drive the price up. Digital, on the other hand, is more convenient. Buying digitally also gives you Gold Points, which can later be used to get discounts on downloadable content or other games.

What to look for in a quality Nintendo Switch shooting game

Engaging gameplay

Above all, a game has to be fun. It has to feel entertaining to play. Fun isn’t something that can be easily described — it’s completely subjective and is felt on a subconscious level. However, there are common elements found in fun games. They usually have snappy or responsive controls, a great attention to sound and visual effects, and a sense of pacing between thrilling highs and calmer lows. 

Crisp graphics/art style

While the Nintendo Switch doesn’t compare to the Xbox or Playstation in terms of graphic performance, it can still be impressive to see the system run recent games as a handheld device. Games like Doom or Bioshock look as beautiful as they did when they came out, and work great on the Nintendo system. While graphics aren’t important, they can be a fun aspect of playing and appreciating a game.

Cooperative or online play

Any average game is immediately improved when played online with friends or people around the world. Check to see if your game supports online capabilities. This may entail fighting against other people in an arena-style match, or working together against an enemy boss. But there’s no denying that coordinating and competing in a shooting game with real people can be great.

How much you can expect to spend on a Nintendo Switch shooting game

Nintendo Switch shooting games start at around $30 for older games or remakes. They can go up to $60 if it is a Nintendo-produced game (which rarely go on sale).

Nintendo Switch shooting game FAQ

Can my children play these games?

A. It depends on how old your children are and the game you purchase. A title like Splatoon will be suitable for younger children, roughly 6 years and up. But a game like Borderlands or Doom would be better reserved for your teenagers or older children.

Can I play this game online?

A. Some games let you play online, either cooperatively or competitively (it will be advertised on the back of the game case or on the store product page). If the game advertises an online feature, you will need a stable Wi-Fi internet connection and a Nintendo Switch Online subscription. 

What’s the best Nintendo Switch shooting game to buy?

Top Nintendo Switch shooting game

Splatoon 2

Splatoon 2

What you need to know: Enjoy the thrill of a shooting game without the violence or gore. Nintendo brings a child-friendly take on the classic genre.

What you’ll love: Colorful art style and engaging online play make this a must-have for the Nintendo Switch system.

What you should consider: Unfortunately, this game does not support split-screen co-op, so you will have to play with other people through the online service.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top Nintendo Switch shooting game for the money

Borderlands Legendary Collection

Borderlands Legendary Collection

What you need to know: Looking for a great cooperative game to play online or offline? Borderlands gives you fun, mature action with a Wild West feel.

What you’ll love: Enjoy two-player offline co-op or four-player online co-op in this iconic looter shooter game.

What you should consider: This game can be violent and bloody, which can come as a shock for parents of younger children.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Worth checking out

Bioshock: The Collection

Bioshock: The Collection

What you need to know: Relive the riveting stories set in Rapture, an underwater city, and Columbia, a city in the skies.

What you’ll love: A compelling story with philosophical, political and religious overtones that push games as an art form.

What you should consider: This is entirely a single-player experience. Younger players may feel lost with the themes of the story. It also contains elements of horror.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Leo Herrera-Lim writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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