I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
ExpertiseVR and AR, gaming, metaverse technologies, wearable tech, tabletsCredentials
Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
The Nintendo Switch OLED is a solid successor to the original version of the hybrid console. While functionally the same, the addition of the OLED screen and improved audio offer a much enhanced and immersive experience when played in the console's signature handheld mode, which can give you a greater appreciation for games you may or may not have checked out yet.
We've gone into detail about what's interesting about the Switch OLED in our review, so with this roundup, we wanted to highlight a selection of current Switch games that feel like new when played in the Switch OLED's handheld mode. While the Switch OLED is not a more powerful system than its predecessor, the improved screen and audio experience goes a long way in showing the existing library of Switch games at their best.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Though it's been five years since its release, Breath of the Wild remains the quintessential Switch game. Blending the classic sense of adventure that the Zelda series is known for with a massive open world to explore, Breath of the Wild is a fantastic achievement players are still sinking hours into. It was also an excellent showpiece for the capabilities of the original Switch, letting you seamlessly alter between handheld and TV modes. Playing Breath of the Wild on the Switch OLED in handheld mode gives the game's colorful, painterly visual style a more vivid look, along with a richer audio experience to immerse yourself in.
Launching alongside the Switch OLED, Metroid Dread is a fantastic companion game to the new hardware. Focusing on Samus Aran and her mission to explore a massive, labyrinthine world while expanding her abilities, Dread is a great return to the classic 2D Metroid that made its debut on the original Nintendo Entertainment System. In many ways, playing Metroid Dread on the Switch OLED captured the same sense of intimacy when bundling up with games like Metroid Fusion or Zero Mission on the Game Boy Advance. Immersing yourself in the setting and atmosphere of Metroid Dread is a highlight of the game, and getting into the zone when playing the game with the new OLED screen can offer up some thrilling moments of action.
Pikimin was great on the Wii U, and the Switch port also lets you use those Joy-Cons as little motion-sensitive Wii remotes in tabletop mode. On the OLED Switch, with its larger screen and better kickstand, that's a lot more fun to do than it ever was on the older Switch.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Still standing as one of the best party games on the Nintendo Switch, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a chaotic, fast-paced slugfest starring a roster of characters from across the pantheon of gaming icons. Thanks to the larger screen and brighter visuals of the Switch OLED, it's easier and more comfortable than ever to play in handheld mode, allowing you to really hone in and sharpen your fighting skills with your favorite fighter.
Streets of Rage 4
The unexpected revival of Sega's Streets of Rage series with the fourth entry saw one of the best action games in years. Streets of Rage 4 is a throwback to the retro era of gaming, complete with 2D gameplay and hand-drawn visuals that show off a lot of style and personality. The Nintendo Switch OLED brings out SOR4's impeccable presentation, giving it a much sharper and clean look when played in the handheld mode.
Nintendo's board game compilation is weirdly good and very extensive. It's meant for multiplayer, and usually that would make most sense on a TV. It's a far better match for the OLED Switch's tabletop mode now: the kickstand can move to multiple angles, which can help several players gather around on the go.
Super Mario Odyssey
Super Mario Odyssey is one of the best 3D Mario games of the modern era, and it's even better on the Switch OLED. Like Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey stands as a game that best represents the console's strengths. Playing on the Switch OLED gave us a better sense of immersion when diving into Mario's globetrotting journey. As one of the most visually diverse games of the Super Mario series, experiencing the platforming action unfold on the OLED screen and improved audio put a nice spring in our step as we took a stroll through the game's many worlds.
Luigi's Mansion 3
This detail-rich ghost-hunting game is still one of the best Switch games, and has fantastic co-op modes. It's exactly the finely-detailed experience that demands a larger and more vivid display. It's easier to spot small clues and signs of ghosts without squinting (and again, co-op in tabletop mode is finally something fun).
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
It's text-heavy games like this epic tactical RPG that were challenges to play on smaller-screened Switches. Sure, maybe our eyes are old. But fire this up on the OLED Switch and expect to read away much more easily.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
The best-selling Nintendo Switch game is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and with good reason. Featuring an all-star roster of Nintendo's most iconic characters, it focuses its racing action on an arcade-style approach -- one that's easy to pick up and challenging to master. It's one of the fastest and most thrilling racing games on the Nintendo Switch. The improved audio and visual presentation that the Switch OLED offers gives the game a fantastic sense of speed when barreling through race tracks armed with spiked turtle shells and bananas. If you're still on the fence about the Switch OLED, then take some time to play Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, as it's a fantastic showpiece for the new hardware.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
If there was one game that just felt right in the Switch's handheld mode, it was most certainly Animal Crossing: New Horizons. There was even an AC edition of the Switch Lite. New Horizons was one of the incredible comforts of 2020, and it's still a charming game to sink hours into. Playing Animal Crossing on the Switch OLED really brings out that cozy, warm atmosphere where the carefree and positive vibe radiates throughout every corner of your island. So if you get a Switch OLED and haven't been back to your game in some time, you now have a good excuse to visit your villagers -- we're sure that they miss you.