The Nintendo Switch offers the ultimate portability for gamers on the move, and if you love football, there are plenty of games to get stuck in to. Our list of the best Nintendo Switch football games has a mix of realism and arcade football (rules optional), games with a storyline, and games where management is the focus.
The best football games also go down really well with friends, and there is plenty of competition to be had with party play, which comes so naturally on Switch.
The best Nintendo Switch football games are:
- Nintendo Switch Sports
- Football Manager 2023 Touch
- FIFA 23
- Rocket League
- Mario Strikers: Battle League
- Retro Goal
- Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
- Soccer Story
1. Nintendo Switch Sports
The legacy of legendary Wii Sports is alive and well with Nintendo Switch Sports, and using the leg strap accessory, football comes home. This mode makes full use of motion control with the joy-cons, which can even work up a sweat from your living room.
You can choose from arcade 1v1, 4v4 and a penalty shoot-out football, and there is nothing more satisfying than timing a sweet volley and the ball firing (literally) into the back of the net. If you don’t fancy a workout, you can play sitting down using the buttons on your joy-cons, too.
The bonus? As well as football, you can enjoy six other sports on Nintendo Switch Sports, including tennis, golf and bowling. While it might not rank among the best Switch exclusives, it’s a great pick for football fans and sports fans in general.
2. Football Manager 2023 Touch
Football Manager 2023 Touch allows you to take control of a real football club. Players can load up to five leagues at a time and get stuck into the job, which includes transfers, tactics, training and, of course, winning trophies. Results not going the right way? You risk being sacked and searching for a new job on the market!
You can start as a moneybags club like PSG or Manchester City, or give yourself even more of a challenge with a lower league team, to build them up to be a continental powerhouse.
Porting Football Manager 2023 to the Nintendo Switch – especially in its slimmer Touch format – is an absolute touch of genius by the data geeks at Sports Interactive. It serves hardcore fans of FM by providing an on the go version that’s more detailed than the mobile version, while also providing a nice introduction to the series for newbies. Thankfully, the game has a built-in helper for first-time managers to guide them through the complexities of managerial life.
3. FIFA 23
FIFA 23 isn’t really FIFA 23 on the Nintendo Switch. It’s a reskinned version of FIFA 19, hence ‘Legacy Edition’ in the release’s full title.
EA SPORTS itself admits it: “FIFA 23 Legacy Edition will feature the same gameplay features and modes from FIFA 22 Legacy Edition without any new development or significant enhancements.” And FIFA 22 was the legacy of 21, and 21 was the legacy of 20…you get the picture.
If you want to take your FIFA escapades from a current-gen console like the PS5 or Xbox Series X|S (you can read our FIFA 23 PS5 review here), prepare to be disappointed because the Nintendo Switch version doesn’t keep up. In fact, the PS4/Xbox One experience of FIFA 23 is still Premier League compared to the League Two-level Switch edition. The Nintendo version of FIFA is the best football simulation you’ll get, but it has been all but abandoned in development terms, and it is a depressing play if you have another console.
So much so, if you just want to play offline in Career Mode or Kick Off with friends, it is worth picking up a past version of FIFA, such as FIFA 22 Legacy Edition, for cheaper. You’ll miss out on the latest kits, players (including women’s teams for the first time) and visual upgrades, but gameplay will remain identical, so save yourself the money.
We hope the Nintendo Switch will get more love from EA SPORTS as it brings out EA SPORTS FC in 2023.
4. Rocket League
Rocket League’s minimalist approach to football makes it perfectly at home on Nintendo Switch.
Human players are replaced with rocket-powered cars, and the simple objective is to get the massive ball in the net more times than your opposition. Rules of football? Gone. Physics? Ignored. Fun? Loads. Getting to grips with its simple controls is much easier in docked mode than in handheld, but either way, it won’t be long before you’re boosting your way to goals in five-minute matches.
Rocket League is best played online with a massive, cross-platform pool of global players across the Rocket League ranks, but when you’re travelling and stuck with no internet connection, you can play against the CPU offline, too. There are thousands of customisation combinations too so you can build the best cars, and with Rocket League’s cross-progression, you can bring your whole inventory from another platform to your Switch, by linking your Epic Games account.
5. Mario Strikers: Battle League
The Strikers series of Mario games could be one of the most underrated in Nintendo’s line up. You’d think a game which lets you bring together a squad of Toad, Mario, Waluigi and Bowser and play might not be that good of a football game, but the gameplay itself is superb, if a little chaotic. Rules are abandoned in Strikers, so there’s no pesky ref to interfere as you batter your way through your opponents. Like Smash Brothers, items can also add a bit of spice to your matches, so keep an eye out.
Mario Strikers: Battle League is at its very best in online competitive play. There’s ranked and casual gameplay, and the new Strikers Club lets you build your own football club and invite others to team up and dominate the leaderboards.
The big caveat with the latest iteration of Mario Strikers, is the lack of depth for players who don’t want to play competitively online. There’s so much missing content compared to past titles, and playing solo against the CPU in the cup can get tiresome, so stick to online or party play if you want to get the most life out of Mario Strikers: Battle League, which can be very fun.
6. Retro Goal
Retro Goal is a mobile game which has made its way to Nintendo Switch, and the old skool 16-bit style looks fantastic. Our favourite part about Retro Goal gameplay is defence being handled entirely by the CPU, so you can focus on the best part of football: attacking and scoring goals.
You’ll not only play the beautiful game, but you’ll get a bit of influence in management too, taking care of transfers, upgrading facilities and making sure your superstars get new contracts. Not too much of a commitment, and exactly the kind of pick-up-and-play football game that you’d expect on a mobile, ported to Switch.
7. Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
Hidden in a game you might have missed, there’s an over the top, arcade-style football game which is bound to be a hit at your next gathering. Up to 8 players can enjoy 4v4 football in Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games. Each of the selectable 32 characters has one of three playing styles, so you can zoom past your opposition with Princess Peach, or smash into them using Bowser. It’s cartoon football with all the best Nintendo and Sega characters – what’s not to love?
As well as football, there are over 30 sports to enjoy (from classic track and field to skateboarding and boxing), and a bonus 20-chapter story mode which takes you back to an 8-bit Tokyo ‘64 Olympics. These officially-licenced Olympic compilations are always a must-buy on Nintendo consoles, and absolutely perfect for party games with friends or playing online. They’re kid-friendly, too!
8. Soccer Story
It wouldn’t be a ‘best Nintendo Switch games’ article without an RPG, and Soccer Story drops football right at the heart of adventure. The open world, single-player campaign is full of quests and puzzles, all aided by your magical football. Your quest? Restore football to the world after its recent demise at the hands of Soccer Inc.!
Along with other Nintendo Switch football games on this list, the football minigame itself doesn’t represent a mind-blowing simulation, because you’ll come up against teams of OAPs, sharks, toddlers and ninjas in your quest to bring football back to your town. This quirky game is a welcome break from the intensity of football simulation, without removing the beautiful game altogether.
Now you’ve got the lowdown on the best Nintendo Switch football games available, we suggest you go and enjoy a kick around with friends. If you’re looking for something different, perhaps our picks of the best Nintendo Switch games will have something for you. Have fun!