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5 Nintendo Switch third-party games best enjoyed in handheld mode

These games also offer some of the best visuals and performance on Nintendo's latest portable (Images via Crytek/Capcom/Codemasters)
These games also offer some of the best visuals and performance on Nintendo's latest portable (Images via Crytek/Capcom/Codemasters)

Nintendo's latest home console/handheld hybrid continues to surprise and exceed expectations. With a myriad of third-party experiences for gamers to enjoy in addition to acclaimed first-party games, the Switch has built up a strong library. The platform's portable nature allows players to carry their gaming experiences with them on the go.

This has allowed many iconic titles to be playable for the first time on a handheld, such as Dark Souls, Overwatch and DOOM (2016). With that being said, here are some great third-party games that translate well to the handheld factor.


Take a look at 5 third-party releases on Nintendo Switch that make for great handheld games

1) Monster Hunter Rise

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Capcom's latest entry in their iconic monster-hunting series arrived on Nintendo Switch last year. It is the first Switch, as well as the debut Monster Hunter game, to be running on the proprietary RE Engine. Being built exclusively for the Switch means the experience can be tailored to the strengths and weaknesses of Nintendo's hardware.

With Rise, fans are brought to the peaceful Kamura Village. Unfortunately, it is being threatened by a Monster Rampage, an attack from multiple monsters outside the village. This is what Hunter must investigate, including the main monster Magnamalo.

Players' journey will be teeming with all sorts of dangerous beasts to take down. Gameplay is largely similar to previous entries, but with new mechanics like the Wirebug allowing far superior mobility.

In addition to being a solid entry in the series, it's also one of the best Nintendo Switch games. Handheld mode allows players to enjoy one of the best Switch technical showcases on the go.

Team up with the Knights of the Royal Order and face the biggest threats yet: Garangolm, Lunagaron and Malzeno!Monster Hunter Rise: #Sunbreak arrives June 30, 2022. https://t.co/gZrPfP6nih

Also keep an eye out for the upcoming DLC expansion, Sunbreak.


2) Alien: Isolation

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Taking place 15 years after the acclaimed 1979 film Alien, Isolation follows Ellen Ripley's daughter Amanda investigating her mother's whereabouts. It is a first-person survival-horror game from Creative Assemblies with a focus on stealth and exploration. The key feature is the Xenomorph's AI, which the game engine was specifically designed around.

The fearsome Xenomorph showcases smart behavior and can hunt Amanda using sight and sound. While there are weapons, they're useless against the Alien. The Switch port was handled excellently by developer Feral Interactive, standing toe-to-toe with its competing consoles, PS4/XB1. Since the game takes place in dimly lit or dark areas, the visuals should pop up on a Switch OLED model.

Ultimately, the visuals and performance are solid even in handheld and make for an atmospheric handheld game. It is the best pick on Switch for those wanting a scare on the go.


3) Grid Autosport

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The Switch is slowly picking up in the racing catalog, and Grid Autosport was one of the first to start that trend. Originally released in 2014 for PS3 and Xbox 360, Codemaster's popular simulation racer arrived on Nintendo's handheld in 2019. The port was also handled by Feral Interactive, who ensured that this conversion was a solid one.

As expected from a racing game, there are many options: a Career mode, Custom Cup, Online multiplayer and even split-screen. There are plenty of cars to choose from, each impeccably designed. The levels also feature various iconic circuits across the globe, in locations from the UK to Abu Dhabi.

It's also one of the best-looking racers on the Switch and should grab any passerby's eye while watching one play portably.


4) Crysis 3 Remastered

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Crytek's popular Crysis series of FPS games is renowned for their technical grunt. Last year's Trilogy remaster bought all three games to the Nintendo Switch, including the last 2013 entry, Crysis 3. Players will once again control Prophet as he returns to New York only to find it encased within a Nanodome.

Gameplay is the same as the original, with players being able to gun down or sneak up on enemies across the game's lush locales. The Nanosuit's abilities shine too, with invisibility or damage resistance.

Despite its age, the game looks on par with modern titles - and the same can be said of the Switch version, despite it being a port of the PS3/Xbox 360 game.

But as a whole, it is an improvement over the seventh gen versions, even in handheld mode.


5) Rocket League

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First announced in 2017 for Nintendo Switch, Panic Button was responsible for bringing over the popular multiplayer game. Psyonix' car-soccer game continues to see many players, especially after going free to play now. Rocket League allows players to maneuever rocket-powered vehicles to push a large ball into the opposing team's goal.

How good are these goals with the crowd behind 'em? ๐Ÿ˜@Firstkiller #RLCS https://t.co/GDeieRDvET

It sounds easy on paper, and so is getting into the game - but it's got a steep learning curve that requires endless practice. Multiplayer matches can also be very hectic thanks to the fast pace of gameplay.

The Switch version is also the only way to play Rocket League portably - unless players count the phone spin-off, which is a totally different game. It's also one of the most popular games on the platform so finding matches won't be a hassle.


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Edited by Sijo Samuel Paul
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