The Nintendo Switch hasn’t exactly been blessed with many great original first-person shooters. Or many original first-person shooters at all, really. But over the years it has built up quite a respectable library of ports of some of the best first-person shooters out there, and for this SwitchArcade Special Edition we’ve decided to compile a list of our ten favorites. As always, the list is in no particular order and only represents our personal choices. If you have a favorite that isn’t on here, make sure to comment below.
DOOM Eternal ($59.99)
Panic Button Games has earned a reputation for its outstanding Switch ports, and DOOM Eternal may well be its magnum opus. Getting the 2016 DOOM running at an acceptable clip on the Switch was already a big enough challenge, but DOOM Eternal seemed like it was virtually impossible. And for a while, it sure looked that way. While it lagged behind other releases, the Switch version of DOOM Eternal eventually came out. Is it the ideal way to experience this brash, action-packed, over-the-top shooter? Maybe not, but it’s more than good enough to have a hell of a great time.
Metro 2033 Redux ($24.99)
Perhaps you want something with a slightly more relaxed pace than DOOM Eternal? I suppose just about every game would qualify, but the unique flavors of Metro 2033 make it a must-play for fans of the genre. You’ve got a blend of horror, stealth, action, and exploration to enjoy as you make your way through the atmospheric post-apocalyptic setting. There are some outstanding set pieces in this game, and the overall mood is truly distinct. The port to the Switch came off without a hitch, making this an excellent way to enjoy the game.
Crysis 3 Remastered ($29.99)
All three Crysis games are now available on Switch, and they each have their own merits. Personally, I find Crysis 3 hits the sweet spot between the exploration and stealth of the original game and the heavy action of the second. This is also perhaps the strongest port of the three, but like the others it has lost its multiplayer on the road to the Switch. That has a bit more of an impact to the overall package here compared to its predecessors, but it’s still a visually slick and enjoyable time.
Borderlands Legendary Collection ($49.99)
Looting and shooting is a very popular pursuit these days, and you could argue that it was popularized by Gearbox’s Borderlands games. With the price of the collection being what it is, it’s hard to recommend the individual components as separate purchases. You’ll probably spend most of your time with Borderlands 2, but all of the included games offer up hours upon hours of fun either alone or with your friends. An absolute grind, but the good kind of grind. The port to the Switch is solid, and playing Borderlands on the go always feels right.
BioShock: The Collection ($49.99)
Would you kindly consider this set of the three BioShock games? It’s another case where the set offers a great deal compared to individual purchases, and all three games are well-worth playing. The atmosphere of each game’s setting and the experience of going through the story tends to take center stage in the BioShock games, but the action certainly isn’t half-bad on its own. Use a variety of weapons and special powers to battle all kinds of weird enemies, picking up snippets of back-story and plot biscuits along the way. Each game certainly has its flaws, but this series wasn’t hugely popular without a reason.
I know I said this list is in no particular order, but I’m going to break my rules for a second here. If you only pick up one game from this whole list, make it DUSK. Seriously. This game is pure liquid joy injected right into your heck-yeah neural receptors, especially if you have happy memories of blasting away countless weird monsters on your DOS PC back in the day. The weapons are awesome, the gameplay feels pitch-perfect, the level designs are clever, and the presentation is terrific. I haven’t had so much fun with a game in this genre in a long while as I did with my initial playthrough of DUSK.
Powerslave Exhumed ($19.99)
Powerslave feels like it’s a slightly different game in every one of its releases, and Powerslave Exhumed adds another variant to the mix. This was built to be the ultimate version of the game, with an attempt made to include the best of all of the previous versions. It mostly succeeds in that, leaving us with an accessible and affordable way to play a game that was well ahead of its time. You can catch a strong whiff of Metroid Prime in this game’s unusual open-ended design, often requiring you to advance and find new items or abilities only to double back and reach previously unreachable points in earlier locations. Very cool.
DOOM (1993) ($4.99)
Yes, I am putting this port of the original DOOM on this list. First of all, it’s still an amazing game. This was probably id Software at its most potent, before people started to leave and the juice began to be diluted. Great weapons. Wild monster designs. Challenging level designs full of secrets. An impossibly speedy pace. Terrific stuff. But even better still, this port also allows you to download a bunch of free additional content, offering up an absolute feast of carnage that seems like a complete steal for the mere fiver you’ll have to plunk down for it.
Ion Fury ($24.99)
Duke Nukem 3D was a really outstanding first-person shooter. So were a lot of the subsequent games that used the same engine, which was known as the Build Engine. Ion Fury is a relatively new game that also uses the Build Engine, and while it’s only a few years old it has that feel that only comes with a Build game. Lots of interactive bits, rather complicated levels that do a good job of feeling like real places while still offering fun opportunities for shoot-outs, and weapons with interesting effects. It also tries to mimic the humor that could be found in many Build Engine games, but I’ll leave it up to you as to whether or not it nails that down. A fascinating game with one foot in the past and one foot in the present.
Apex Legends (Free)
There are a few solid choices for first-person multiplayer action on the Switch. A lot of people enjoy Blizzard’s Overwatch. Some are really into Paladins. I can’t say either of those is a bad choice. But Apex Legends seems to be the most popular of the lot right now, which is a little surprising given that this port didn’t exactly come out as cleanly as one would hope. Panic Button did its best, but it seems even its talents have limits. Still, plenty of players seem to enjoy it as it is. You might be one of them, and the nice thing is that it won’t cost you anything to check it out and see how well you can tolerate its many compromises.
So there you go. While the Switch certainly isn’t swimming in first-person shooters, there are more than enough to make a solid list worth checking out. There are a few I didn’t include here because they could be seen as edge cases, but if you’re broad-minded you’ll find things like Alien: Isolation and SUPERHOT to offer great experiences as well. And now I turn it to you, friends. If you’ve got a favorite first-person shooter that isn’t on this list, please post it in the comments for all to see and benefit from.
Interested in more lists? Check out our other recommendations!