Sure, teaming up with friends to face down a foe or beating ninety-nine fellow gamers to a battle royale is fun, but sometimes you just can’t beat single-player games. The individual experience of an extraordinary narrative, a vast world of adventure, or even just something a bit out of the ordinary, online multiplayer isn’t the only way to go. So, we’ve picked out our favorite solo games on Switch and mobile, highlighting the best titles where you go it alone.
If you’re into sports but don’t want to play on a team, see what solo games we’ve got on our list of the best baseball games, football games, basketball games, and cricket games. Or, if you’re feeling like turning on the engine, check out our favorite car games, plane games, and train games.
So, let’s get into our picks for the best single-player games.
There’s a reason our Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom review is a glowing 10/10. Put simply, there’s no better single-player game experience on Switch. From the sky islands to the depths below, Hyrule is a world overflowing with adventure, and Link’s creative ultrahand ability means you can traverse it any way you like. The scope of this title feels like the culmination of thirty years of Link’s adventures, making it not only one of the best single-player games on Switch and mobile but possibly one of the best games ever.
Better still, we can help out with your hop, skip, and jump into Hyrule with our guides to Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom shrines, Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom koroks, Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom armor, Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom geoglyphs, the Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom map, and Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom amiibo.
A meta-commentary masterpiece, The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe is the gaming equivalent of a Charlie Kaufman film, forcing you to question everything you think you know about games, game design, and, sometimes, life itself. Fortunately, much of that existential pondering has a nice padding of British witticisms from an unseen narrator, making for the closest you can get to a black comedy gaming masterpiece. There’s no grand quest here, that’s kind of the point. Instead, this game makes you think, and think real hard. Maybe don’t try this one too late at night, eh?
Nobody does single-player games like Mario (unless you ask Kayleigh, but we don’t talk about her Mario is boring feature). As far as solo platformers go, Super Mario Odyssey is the ultimate example of piping as much fun into a game as possible. With colorful worlds waiting for Mario and Cappy to come along exploring, the Mario series has never felt so full of life, and that’s saying something. Between facing down a dragon that wouldn’t be out of place in Dark Souls to skipping through the Mushroom Kingdom, there’s little you can think that Nintendo could add to this game. Now, can we have a sequel, please?
If you’re a big fan of Nintendo’s mustachioed mascot, why not get him on your desk with our Mario Lego, Mario figure, and Mario Kart Hot Wheels guides. Or, take a browse through our list of the best Mario games on Switch to see what wahoo-ing adventures you’re yet to play.
Despite arriving in the year 2023, Honkai Star Rail somehow feels just like one of those classic PS2-era RPG single-player games, with plenty of quests to keep you busy as the Astral Express blasts through the universe. The best thing about Star Rail is that there’s just always something to do, from the roguelike experience of the simulated universe, grinding Calyx challenges, and the exhilarating core narrative, this free-to-play title has hours and hours of engaging gameplay. So, don’t let the gacha mechanics scare you off, there’s plenty of fun to be had here.
Of course, if you’re boarding the Astral Express for the first time, you’re going to need a guide. So, be sure to check out our Honkai Star Rail tier list and Honkai Star Rail codes, as well as our individual build guides for Honkai Star Rail’s Himeko, Honkai Star Rail’s March 7th, Honkai Star Rail’s Gepard, and Honkai Star Rail’s Herta.
Skyrim isn’t here for nostalgia reasons alone. Even all these years after release, it’s one of the best solo RPG experiences out there. From the tundras of the north to the dragon-infested coastlands, Skyrim is incredibly explorable, similar to Tears of the Kingdom in that there’s so much to do you can lose hours just scoping out a few caves, taking on a few trolls, and picking up some serious loot. Better still, the DLC additions are all available through the Anniversary Edition (and there’s fishing, too!), so you can truly immerse yourself in the world of The Elder Scrolls.
To get back into this massive region with a head start, check out our guides to Skyrim races, Skyrim marriage, Skyrim Dark Brotherhood, Skyrim enchanting, Skyrim houses, and Skyrim maps. Or, if you need something new but with those Elder Scrolls vibes, try our list of the best games like Skyrim.
Bennett Foddy is something of a cult hero in the gaming community, with his oddball solo projects offering some interesting gaming experiences over the last decade. None are more intriguing than Getting Over It, a physics game that challenges you with traversing an obstacle course using a rock hammer while stuck inside a giant cauldron. Yes, you heard that right. All of this while Foddy himself laments on the nature of failure as the game’s narrator. Sure, it sounds a bit strange, but there’s a whole community of speedrunners who dedicate their lives to Getting Over It, so why not get a piece of that action?
- Mobile (Apple Arcade)
Solitaire is the oldest of all single-player games, but Game Freak’s version is quite a bit different. Combining the classic card game with racing mechanics and resource management, Pocket Card Jockey eats up your spare time like a hungry pony eats raw carrots. You might think that those three concepts thrown together don’t make much sense, but trust me, spend twenty minutes checking out a couple of races, and it gets its hooks in you. If you still need convincing, check out our Pocket Card Jocket: Ride On! review.
- Switch and mobile
From the 300+ hours I’ve spent tending my farm, hanging out with friends, and adding purple shorts to the Luau potluck soup, I can tell you that Stardew Valley is for sure one of the best single-player games out there. There’s just so much to do. Better still, after years of updates and fresh content, even if you took a trip to Stardew Valley on its release back in 2016, you can return to much more than you remember. There is also the multiplayer option there, for if you ever require a farm hand.
If you do need a bit of help getting the lay of the land, we’ve got you covered. Check out our guides to Stardew Valley fish and Stardew Valley characters. Or, if you know Pelican Town back to front, try something new with our picks of the best games like Stardew Valley.
Second only to Stardew Valley in my lifetime Switch play hours is Hades, the mythical roguelike from Supergiant Games. It might be a slow burn to start, but the fires of hell really get pumping a few hours in, with countless ways to approach your escape from Papa Satan’s domain. In my humble opinion, the combat in Hades is flawless, with room after room of heart-pumping enemy gauntlets forcing you to think on your feet. Oh, and you can pet Cerberus the three-headed hellhound, making this an absolute all-rounder, in my opinion.
The surprise hit of late 2022, Vampire Survivors is yet another entry on this list of single-player games just waiting to pull you in for hours at a time. There’s something mystical about the gameplay loop in Vampire Survivors that pushes you to keep going. It’s the closest I’ve ever seen in video game form to the fabled videotape in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest that forces you to watch on an endless loop. You look at the clock, it’s eight at night, you look down at Vampire Survivors, you look back up and it’s three in the morning. Just give into the game. Who needs sleep anyway? Vampires don’t. That’s for sure.
To get a leg up on the monsters in-store, check out our guides to Vampire Survivors characters, Vampire Survivors DLC, and Vampire Survivors weapons. We’ve also got a Vampire Survivors: Legacy of the Moonspell DLC mobile review, in case you feel like expanding your experience.
There you have it, our picks for the best single-player games on Switch and mobile. When you do have people over, check out our lists of the best party games and the best Jackbox games. Or, if you’re more of a fighter, check out our guide to the Mortal Kombat 1 characters.