The Nintendo Switch is one of the most popular and unique video game consoles on the market today. Its ability to switch (no pun intended!) between handheld portable and TV docked mode gives gamers an unparalleled amount of flexibility. You can play the latest Zelda or Mario Kart game on the go, on an airplane or in the car. Then dock the Switch when you get home to enjoy it on the big screen TV with full HD graphics and surround sound.
One of the best things about the Switch is that many games do not require an active internet connection to play. This is perfect for situations where you won’t have WiFi such as on a plane or road trip. While some games do need to connect online for certain features, there are dozens of excellent Switch titles that can be played 100% offline once downloaded.
In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about playing Nintendo Switch games without an internet connection.
List of Best Offline Nintendo Switch Games
Here is our list of the top Nintendo Switch games that can be played offline with no internet required after the initial download:
Stardew Valley is a popular farming and life simulation game created by indie developer ConcernedApe. It’s essentially a spiritual successor to the Harvest Moon games. You take over your grandfather’s old farm in Stardew Valley and work to restore it to its former glory while interacting with the charming townspeople and exploring the countryside.
Once you download Stardew Valley to your Switch, you can play for dozens of hours without needing an internet connection. This makes it a perfect airplane or road trip game. Stardew Valley has tons of content and objectives to work towards like farming crops, raising animals, mining, fishing, cooking, crafting equipment, building relationships with NPC townspeople, and much more.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was a launch title for the Nintendo Switch in 2017 and is considered one of the best games on the system. It’s an open world action-adventure game where you play as Link and explore the massive fantasy world of Hyrule.
After you download Breath of the Wild to your Switch, you can play for dozens of hours exploring Hyrule, fighting enemies, solving puzzles, finding secrets, and tackling the game’s main quests and storylines without needing an internet connection. The Cellular Mode on the Switch was practically made for a huge open world game like Breath of the Wild.
Super Mario Odyssey
Super Mario Odyssey is a 3D platforming Mario game that allows players to control Mario as he travels between various worlds and kingdoms to save Princess Peach from the evil Bowser. Mario is joined by the sentient hat creature Cappy who gives him special abilities.
Super Mario Odyssey has large sandbox-style levels crammed with objectives, coins, hidden secrets, and challenges. There’s always something new to discover and explore. Like all Mario games, the platforming gameplay is extremely addictive. Once downloaded, you can play for hours offline.
Persona 5 Royal
Persona 5 Royal is a Japanese RPG that was ported to the Switch in 2022. You play as high school students during the day, but transform into phantom thieves at night in the metaverse realm to defeat corrupted adults by stealing their distorted desires.
The game has an anime art style, a deep storyline, interesting characters, turn-based battles, demon collecting, relationship building mechanics, and tons of content. There are over 100 hours of gameplay. Once downloaded, Persona 5 Royal can be enjoyed offline with no internet needed. The Switch version includes all existing DLC too.
Pikmin 4 is the latest installment in Nintendo’s adorable real-time strategy franchise where you control armies of tiny Pikmin creatures to explore environments and solve puzzles. You play as explorers crash landed on an alien planet who enlist the help of native Pikmin to repair your ship.
In the new 4th Pikmin game, there are snowy environments to explore in addition to forests, beaches, caves, and more. Once downloaded to your Switch, you can send your Pikmin armies into these environments offline in single player Story mode or local co-op with a friend.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land
Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a 3D platformer released in 2022 that takes the lovable pink blob Kirby into a mysterious post-apocalyptic world filled with abandoned structures and wild creatures.
Kirby gains powers like Mouthful Mode that allow him to inhale objects like cars and vending machines to solve puzzles and defeat enemies. Forgotten Land has colorful 3D environments and Nintendo’s signature charm and polish. Once downloaded, the single player adventure can be played entirely offline.
Paper Mario is a spin-off RPG series featuring Mario characters made out of paper. The Origami King entry released on Switch in 2020 is a return to form for the franchise with a quirky sense of humor and turn-based battles against Folded Soldiers.
The papercraft overworld is fun to explore as you help Mario rescue Princess Peach and his friends from King Olly. Like all Paper Mario games, the writing and dialogue are smart and hilarious. Once downloaded, The Origami King provides dozens of hours of offline gameplay and laughter.
Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition is an enhanced port of the 2010 Wii JRPG cult classic. You play as Shulk and friends on an epic adventure through the fantasy world of the Bionis and Mechonis Titans. The story spans 100+ hours.
The real-time combat system is highly strategic with abilities tied to cooldowns. Xenoblade DE has an enormous open world and tons of content. The graphics have been improved and previously cut content restored. Once downloaded, you can lose yourself in this massive offline JRPG on road trips and flights.
Doom 1 and 2, unquestionably, belong to the pantheon of most influential first-person shooter (FPS) games ever crafted. Their enduring significance has left an indelible mark on the genre.
In 2016, DOOM came roaring back, spectacularly rebooting the series. This revival was nothing short of a triumphant return to its roots, delivering fast-paced, blood-soaked action that had fans and newcomers alike immersed in relentless demon-slaying.
The Switch port has all the intense gameplay of the original packaged in a way that works incredibly well in handheld mode.
You play as the iconic Doomguy, fighting your way through hell and back with an arsenal of guns and over-the-top graphic violence. DOOM single player campaign provides hours of demon-slaying carnage on the go without an internet connection. You can also play local wireless multiplayer with another Switch owner.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is considered one of the greatest RPGs ever made. It was ported to the Switch in 2021 with enhanced visuals. You get to create your own Jedi and influence the fate of the galaxy 4,000 years before the Star Wars films as you battle against the evil Sith.
KOTOR has an epic Star Wars storyline with plot twists and moral choices. The gameplay blends RPG mechanics with real-time lightsaber duels. Once downloaded, KOTOR provides 50+ hours of offline Star Wars adventuring. You’ll never look at the lore the same way again after learning the game’s secrets.
Limbo is an artistic indie platformer and puzzle game that was ported to the Switch in 2018. You play as a young boy journeying through a creepy black and white world full of deadly traps and puzzles. The game doesn’t explicitly tell you where to go, leaving you to explore and uncover the mysteries yourself.
Limbo uses its dark film noir-esque visuals and atmosphere to pull you into its world. You’ll encounter giant spiders, bear traps, mind controlling worms, and other lethal obstacles. Once downloaded, Limbo provides a short but intense offline experience. Completing the 3-4 hour adventure in one sitting is ideal.
The Gardens Between
The Gardens Between is a gorgeous indie puzzle adventure game about time and friendship. You control time to guide two friends through a mysterious island of memories and manipulate objects to progress.
The Gardens Between stands out for its spectacular visuals and imaginative environments. The emotional story packs a surprising punch. Completing the journey takes just a few hours, making it perfect for playing offline in one sitting. It’s short but highly impactful.
How to Play Nintendo Switch Games Without Internet
Now that you have an idea of the best Nintendo Switch games to play offline, here are some tips on setting up your Switch system to play without needing an internet connection:
Using the Primary Console
Your Nintendo Account can only have one “Primary” console at a time. On your Primary console, any user account can play your downloaded games offline.
So make sure the Switch you want to play offline games on (such as during a road trip or flight) is set as your Primary console. You can play all your downloaded games on the go without needing an internet connection.
Your Primary console status can be changed anytime on Nintendo’s website.
Make Your Travel Switch the New Primary
Before a trip or time away from internet access, go to Nintendo’s website and change your Primary console to the Switch you are traveling with or taking offline.
This will allow you to play any of your previously downloaded games completely offline on the new Primary. Just remember to swap the Primary status back when you return.
Play Games That Don’t Require Internet
Some Switch games like Splatoon 2 are designed to be online multiplayer experiences. Of course those won’t work offline.
Stick to quality single player adventures that don’t require any internet connectivity like Zelda or Super Mario Odyssey. There are tons of great options for airplanes, car rides, and other offline gaming sessions.
The ability to play Nintendo Switch games offline makes the console the perfect traveling companion. Titles like Breath of the Wild and Stardew Valley will keep you engaged across hundreds of hours on the go.
Set your traveling Switch as the Primary console, install some offline-friendly games from our list, and enjoy gaming on planes, trains, road trips, or wherever you are away from WiFi. The Switch library has something for everyone no internet required.
Now grab your Switch, secure it in a protective travel case, and head off on your next adventure. Just don’t forget to charge it!
So in summary:
- The Switch’s portability and offline play options make it great for travel
- Lots of excellent single player Switch games don’t require internet
- Set your traveling Switch as Primary to play downloaded games offline
- Great offline games include Zelda, Mario, Stardew Valley, and more
- Play offline on planes, trains, road trips, or wherever you’re WiFi-free
Have fun on your next offline gaming trip with the Nintendo Switch! Let us know your favorite handheld Switch games in the comments.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I play Nintendo Switch games without an internet connection?
A: Yes, many games are designed to be played offline.
Q: Do I need to be connected to the internet to play all Nintendo Switch games?
A: No, some games require an internet connection, but many do not.
Q: How do I play Nintendo Switch games without internet?
A: You can use the primary console or make the system you are using the new primary console.
Q: What are some of the best Nintendo Switch games to play without internet?
A: Stardew Valley, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Super Mario Odyssey are some of the best.
Q: Can I play multiplayer games without internet on the Nintendo Switch?
A: Yes, some games offer local multiplayer options.
Q: Do I need a Nintendo Switch Online membership to play offline games?
A: No, you do not need a membership to play offline games.
Q: Can I download games to play offline on the Nintendo Switch?
A: Yes, you can download games from the Nintendo eShop to play offline.
Q: How do I know if a game requires an internet connection?
A: Check the game’s description or consult the game’s manual.
Q: Can I play cloud versions of games without an internet connection?
A: No, cloud versions of games require an internet connection.
Q: What should I do if I get an “unable to connect to the internet” message when starting a game?
A: Connect to the internet and open the software again.