Ranking the top 10 games on Nintendo Switch

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images /
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Nintendo Switch
Fire Emblem: Three Houses on Nintendo Switch (image via press kit) /

4. Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Fire Emblem: Three Houses is one of the best “sneaky-good” games of the year, as anyone who’s played it can attest. While this franchise first appeared on American gamers’ radars thanks to Marth and Roy’s inclusion on Super Smash Bros. Melee almost two decades ago, it never really became a Nintendo powerhouse in the U.S. … until Three Houses, that is.

For fans of tactical, turn-based RPGs (this writer spent hundreds of hours playing Gladius back in the day), the latest Fire Emblem entry will feel right at home. The opening stages can be a bit overwhelming; just getting a feel for where everything is located in the massive academy where you train, customize and bond with your students took hours, especially with a clunky navigation map, a multitude of side quests and dozens of unique characters to interact with.

However, once you get a feel for the mechanics and have explored enough areas to open up fast travel, there’s a plethora of upgrading, customizing, teaching and bonding to do. As an instructor of one of the three houses, you learn the backstories of each member of your roster, tutor them in whatever areas of combat, magic or leadership you see fit, and feel immense pride as you raise your own group to become a fierce, coherent battalion.

However, unlike many turn-based RPGs, the stakes of each battle are very real: Let one of your warriors die, and they’re dead for good. It adds a heightened sense of responsibility and danger to each encounter once the battles aren’t just training exercises, and it places importance on not only how you train your outfit, but your strategy in deploying them in battle as well.

Three Houses requires quite a bit of brainpower, planning and time, but it’s a thoroughly rewarding experience once you become familiar with the game’s mechanics and massive central hub. Some of the graphics are disappointingly low quality, but the attack animations and character renderings up close are artistically stylish. The story strikes the perfect balance between being interesting and leaving just enough intrigue to make repeated playthroughs under the other two houses irresistible, making this one of the most underrated games available, regardless of system.