Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
- #15 Metroid Dread
- #14 Subnautica Below Zero
- #13 Abzû
- #12 Monster Hunter Rise
- #11 Hollow Knight
- #10 Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
- #9 Pokémon Legends: Arceus
- #8 Dragon Quest Builders 2
- #7 Super Mario Odyssey
- #6 Xenoblade Chronicles 2
- #5 The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
- #4 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
- #3 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- #2 No Man's Sky
- #1 Minecraft
If you love to explore the great unknown, there’s never been a better time to be a gamer. From alien planets to underground worlds to bustling cities, here are the 15 best video games for exploration on the Nintendo Switch.
#15 Metroid Dread
Samus Aran is back for the eighth entry in the Metroid series. This time she’s headed to planet ZDR, where a dangerous parasite with mimic abilities has resurfaced. Samus must explore the planet to learn the key to defeating the parasites, all while avoiding the EMMI (Extraplanetary Multiform Mobile Identifier), hostile combat robots who prowl the world looking for invaders.
True to the genre for which it was named, this Metroidvania features a 2D side-scrolling world that gradually expands as the player levels up their abilities and gains access to new areas. You won’t need to find everything to complete the game, but you just might want to.
#14 Subnautica Below Zero
Two years after the events of Subnautica, scientist Robin Ayou travels to the frozen “Sector Zero” on planet 4546B to try to uncover more details about the death of her sister, Samantha. Upon landing, however, Robin is forced to help a being known as Al-An build a new body. To do this, she must explore the planet to gather components. Along the way, she also learns more about the Alterra Corporation and the deadly Kharaa bacteria.
Subnautica: Below Zero is a first-person, open-world survival game. Players will need to forage for resources, craft weapons and items, build shelters, and more if they are to survive the harsh frozen terrain of Sector Zero.
Playing as a mysterious diver, gamers must search for the source behind the destruction of this underwater environment. Examine ruins and caverns to uncover the truth behind the devastation and restore life to the ocean.
Abzû is an open-world adventure game that will appeal to fans of titles like Journey and Flower. Explore a vast, beautiful ocean teeming with plant and animal life. Interact with the creatures you find or just sit and observe for a chill, immersive experience.
#12 Monster Hunter Rise
Fifty years ago, Kamura Village was nearly destroyed in “The Rampage,” a mysterious catastrophe that drives monsters berserk, making them attack the village. Now signs point to the return of “The Rampage,” and all Hunters must work together to uncover the source of this threat and save the village.
Monster Hunter Rise is a third-person action RPG. As a new Hunter, players must complete hunts and slay beasts to upgrade their stats and equipment. Explore the seamless map on the ground or through the skies while riding a wyvern.
#11 Hollow Knight
The underground insect kingdom of Hallownest lies in ruins, devastated by an ominous infection. Players control the silent, masked Knight on a quest to stop the infection and restore balance to the kingdom.
Hollow Knight is a 2D Metroidvania platformer. Players must explore the surprisingly vast and complex world of Hallownest to gain new abilities, which in turn unlock additional areas of the map. This is a challenging yet gorgeous title that fans of games like Ori and the Blind Forest, Shovel Knight, and Guacamelee will love.
#10 Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
After a devastating childhood incident, the Eagle Bearer (either Kassandra or Alexios, depending on the player’s choice at the beginning of the game) has shunned responsibility and destiny. But when they learn their younger sibling is still alive, they must hunt down the members of the mysterious Cult of Kosmos as the Peloponnesian War rages across Greece.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is an open-world action RPG. Like previous titles in the series, players must explore the world to complete objectives using a combination of stealth and combat. AC Odyssey is sometimes criticized for having a map that is TOO large, but for fans of exploration, there’s no such thing.
#9 Pokémon Legends: Arceus
After traveling to the past via a spacetime rift, the player is tasked by Arceus, the god who created all Pokémon, with finding every species of Pokémon in the Hisui region. As the player works to complete their Pokédex, however, the spacetime rift spawns more powerful Pokémon and threatens the safety of the entire region. The player must work with either the Diamond Clan or the Pearl clan to seal the rift and save the world.
A notable departure from the series norm, Pokémon Legends: Arceus features five open-world areas for the player to explore. Travel the map on foot or by riding Pokémon across mountains, water, and air.
#8 Dragon Quest Builders 2
Set after the events of Dragon Quest II, the builders of the world are under threat from the Children of Hargon, a group that wants vengeance for their lord’s defeat. The gamer plays an unnamed Hero who escapes from this group and must help rebuild the world while working to discover the truth behind their new companion, Malroth.
Dragon Quest Builders 2 is an action RPG sandbox game in which gamers can play solo or with friends. In this world, your exploration is limited only by what you can build, so let your imagination run wild.
#7 Super Mario Odyssey
Bowser has once again kidnapped Princess Peach, this time with a wedding in mind. Mario joins forces with Cappy, a hat-like being known as a Bonneter, to pursue Bowser across a span of Kingdoms and rescue the Princess.
While the plot may be familiar Mario territory, Super Mario Odyssey is a standout in the series. Mario can still jump on enemies, but now he can also throw Cappy to defeat them, as well as capture them to use the enemies’ abilities. With 17 unique themed Kingdoms to explore (including post-game content), each with its own set of challenges and objectives, players will have no problem immersing themselves in the world of Super Mario Odyssey.
#6 Xenoblade Chronicles 2
On the brink of death, a scavenger named Rex makes a deal with Pyra, a living sword called a Blade — Pyra will save his life if he will agree to help her find her homeworld. As Rex explores the land of Alrest in the search for Elysium, he gains new companions and abilities and uncovers an evil force bent on the destruction of Alrest.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a vast action RPG where life resides on the backs of giant beings called Titans. Each Titan offers a different biosphere to travel, providing exploration fans with plenty of space to get lost in.
#5 The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Geralt of Rivia is a Witcher, a superhuman monster hunter tasked with keeping humanity safe from demons and other dark beings. When Geralt finds clues as to the whereabouts of his long-lost adopted daughter, Ciri, he must reunite with old friends and lovers to find Ciri and save the world from the destruction of the otherworldly Wild Hunt.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is an open-world action RPG. As Geralt, players must travel an extensive world while completing quests, defeating monsters, and interacting with NPCs. Player choice determines many outcomes in the story, so if you want to explore everything the story (as well as the map) has to offer, you’ll need to do several playthroughs.
#4 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Once upon a time, four Champions helped Princess Zelda to seal away Calamity Ganon before he could destroy the land of Hyrule. Now, a century later, a young warrior named Link awakens with no memory. He must travel across Hyrule to recover his past and defeat Calamity Ganon.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is an open-world action RPG. The seamless world map emphasizes non-linear gameplay, free exploration, and environmental experimentation. While the inclusion of breakable weapons has earned it criticism from some, the rich, densely-packed map makes it a must-play for exploration fans.
#3 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
The return of the dragon Alduin, the World Eater, heralds the coming of the apocalypse in the land of Tamriel. As the Last Dragonborn, you possess the soul of a dragon inside your human body. You must travel the world to hone your skills and unlock The Voice if you are to defeat Alduin.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is an action RPG characterized by freedom. Players may choose between several different races and develop their character as they please via skill trees. Explore Tamriel in either first or third-person and complete quests as you unlock the secrets of this gorgeous, vast world.
#2 No Man’s Sky
A Traveler awakes on a mysterious planet with no memory. As they search for answers and other travelers, an unknown force compels them to discover the mystery behind the Atlas and the truth of the universe
No Many’s Sky is a survival game centered on the pillars of exploration, survival, combat, and trading. With 18 quintillion procedurally-generated planets to travel and document, players will never run out of new territory to help scratch that exploration itch.
Minecraft is a sandbox game with an infinite, procedurally generated map where the world can literally be remade as you see fit. Different gameplay modes (such as Adventure mode, Survival mode, Creative mode, etc.) ensure that all players of all ages can find an enjoyable experience.
With its iconic aesthetic and unlimited potential for creativity, Minecraft is the ultimate exploration game. Not only does it offer an unending world in which to travel, but the game also allows you to create your own worlds for fellow explorers to get lost in.