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6 Best Nintendo Switch Games to Play on the Steam Deck

6 Best Nintendo Switch Games to Play on the Steam Deck

If you own a Steam Deck and want to try out some of the best Nintendo Switch games on it, you can do so via the Yuzu and Ryujinx emulators. Our guide mentions some of those games, and why you should play them on your Steam Deck.

These are some of the best Nintendo Switch games you can play on your Steam Deck:

  • Super Mario Odyssey
  • Mario Kart 8
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizon
  • The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild
  • Pokemon Sword and Shield

Each of these games belongs to a different genre and might appeal to a different type of gamer. Regardless there is something here for everyone, and if you’re looking for the perfect game to play then read on to find out more about each game we’ve listed above!

Best Nintendo Switch Games

Nintendo has been a formative part of almost every gamer’s life. We all remember the times when we played Mario on the Super Nintendo or a Home console, and spent countless hours jumping on koopas and beating Bowser or saving Princess Peach.

But with how expensive most gaming consoles have become nowadays it doesn’t make sense to purchase each one individually, just to play a nostalgic game once or twice. This is where emulators come in, and with systems like the Steam Deck, you get to feel like you’re playing on the Switch without the bulky price tag.

But what should you be playing? There are so many Nintendo titles out there in the market, and not all of them have good compatibility with the Yuzu or Ryujinx emulator on the Steam Deck. So which ones should you download and play? Well we’ve got some recommendations, so let’s jump into them shall we:

1. Super Mario Odyssey

The latest entry in the saga of our favorite plumber is Super Mario Odyssey. This is an action-adventure platformer game that was made by Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch. In this game, you get to follow Mario in a gorgeously rendered 3D environment with various obstacles that you overcome with a new ally called Cappy.

Cappy is a sentient hat, and it follows Mario around and allows him to control other characters and objects within the game. This makes for an incredibly interesting and innovative mechanic, as you switch between Cappy’s controlled characters and Mario to overcome the various obstacles that our nemesis Bowser has made for us.

Our ultimate goal as always is to save Princess Peach before Bowser completes his plans of forcibly marrying her. Super Mario Odyssey breaks away from the traditional linear progression of past Mario games, and instead completely embraces the 3-D open stage feeling of Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario 64.

As of right now, the game runs incredibly well on both the Yuzu and Ryujinx emulators on the Steam Deck. You can download its XCI file and get a consistent 30 FPS for most of the game, with it dipping only slightly in a few sections. That too can be fixed by preloading shaders, which is a common fix within the Yuzu emulator community.

Super Mario Odyssey showcase on the Steam Deck

2. Mario Kart 8

Mario Kart is the epitome of kart racing and is perhaps one of the best arcade racers that you can pick up and play with the whole family. If you’ve got kids at your house then this game is a must-buy. The Mario Kart series is widely beloved and massively praised for its constant success.

Mario Kart 8 thus is another brilliant entry and has received lots of critical and commercial success. And with good reason, there are tons of characters, each with unique looks and mannerisms to choose from. There is a large number of gorgeous, creative, and innovative tracks, and who can forget the music?

Race through iconic realms and areas from previous Mario games and try your luck making it through the dreaded Rainbow road. This game is fun to play by yourself and with your friends and family. With several modes specifically made to support that style of coach-party play.

Mario Kart 8 runs exceptionally well, with it running without any patches at a solid 30 FPS on the Steam Deck. However, many patches can be downloaded and installed into your Yuzu Emulator that can increase the frame count up to 60 FPS. You won’t experience any hiccups playing Mario Kart 8.

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Mario Kart 8 showcase on the Steam Deck

3. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

The fifth entry in the Super Smash Bros. series is the critically acclaimed Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. It’s a fantastic game to get for your Steam Deck because a variety of reasons, but perhaps the most important is the depth of its fighting systems and variety of playable characters.

The game has so many spectacular features, such as having over 100 unique base stages, each with its gimmick and rules of engagement. moreover, the game contains over 74 base playable characters, with more attainable via downloadable content, There is no lack of content in this game.

Along with that, the game isn’t a burden for your storage. At just 14.3 GB, it’s a snug fit for your Steam Deck that might not come equipped with the most amount of storage space right off the bat. The game runs incredibly well on the Steam Deck using emulators and can be enjoyed however you would want.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate showcase on the Steam Deck

4. Animal Crossing: New Horizon

If you’re not into fighting games or platforming games, and would rather spend your time tending to your garden or decorating your house, then Animal Crossing: New Horizon is the game for you. The game was released in 2020 and is a social simulation game.

Your task as the player, and owner, of a deserted island, is to accomplish assigned tasks and develop your island however you might choose. You can craft, gather, customize and develop a community on your island as you want.

The game has received massive amounts of praise and critical acclaim over the past few years that it has been on the market, and it is an exceptional addition to make to your Steam Deck library. The game runs incredibly well on the Yuzu Emulator and was meant to be played in a handheld mode more than ever.

After a long day of stressful work, there is nothing better to unwind with than a nice cup of cocoa and your Steam Deck, playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and tending to your crops, house, and neighbors.

Animal Crossing: New Horizon showcase on the Steam Deck

5. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the most famous game to release on the Nintendo Switch. The game was released to massive critical and commercial success. It was the main reason why many people bought the Nintendo Switch.

However, nowadays you do not need to purchase an expensive Nintendo Switch to play this game. Instead, if you already own a Steam Deck then you can download the Yuzu emulator or Ryujinx emulator on your device to experience this game in all its glory.

In the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, you play as Link, the titular hero of the entire Legend of Zelda franchise. You are awakened from a slumber of a hundred years, and attempt to regain your memories as well as prevent the ultimate destruction of Hyrule that is being attempted by a villain known as Calamity Ganon.

By utilizing certain mods and with the right settings, it is possible to run The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild at 60 FPS on the Steam Deck. However, if you make no such attempts to include add-ons then you will most experience the game running around 45 FPS, which feels playable, but not perfect.

Related: Lost Ark Steam Deck (Install, Controls, Performance)

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild showcase on the Steam Deck

6. Pokemon Sword and Shield

Who doesn’t know about the highly acclaimed and beloved Pokemon franchise? If you’ve played their older titles on past Nintendo consoles then you know that one of the major reasons why people want to get a Nintendo console is to experience these spectacular games.

However, if you want to experience Pokemon Sword and Shield then you do not need a Nintendo Switch. You can play these games on your Steam Deck through an emulator. The Yuzu emulator can run these games at a locked 30 FPS with minimal to no graphical hiccups at all.

There is just something incredibly satisfying about playing Pokemon games on the go. It makes you feel like a trainer, adventuring into their wild areas and capturing cute and imposing Pokemon. All in service to bolster the strength of your team to ultimately challenge the gym leaders and the Champion of the region.

The games have incredibly graphical designs and are exceptionally well crafted for a curated battling and monster-catching experience. If you’re a fan of Pokemon or the monster-catching mechanic then it doesn’t get much better than Pokemon Sword and Shield, and with the Steam Deck now you can experience it as well.

Pokemon Sword showcase on the Steam Deck


And there we have it, folks! Six of the best Nintendo Switch games that you can play on the Steam Deck right now. Each of these games provides a different style and type of play. You can explore unique and interesting worlds, all from the comfort of 1 handheld device.

The best part about it all is that the Steam deck runs all of these games exceptionally well. You should experience only one or two instances of a bug or error.

The future of gaming is looking brighter than ever! Till next time. Ciao.