Consumer choice, specifically as it relates to how we play games, has become increasingly prevalent in a technological landscape loaded with options. The concept has undoubtedly played a role in the success of Nintendo Switch, which lets players choose between traditional and on-the-go gaming.That choice has given new life to old games, paving the way for a Switch catalogue filled with high-quality ports. Sure, you may have played Skyrim twice on Xbox and once on PC, but with the Switch version, you can play it anywhere. It’s a novelty you may have expected to wear off, but the market for these ports has proven durable, and the games listed below show why.

As publishers continue to bring their games to Switch — Doom 1-3 and Pillars of Eternity were announced last week — we wanted to pause and rank the 11 best examples of these ports done right.

11 Best Nintendo Switch Ports

11. Rocket League

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Rocket League came to Nintendo Switch two years after its initial release. As noted in IGN’s Rocket League review, a sacrifice to resolution was initially made in order to achieve a steady 60fps, though that was remedied within six months by a post-launch patch.

The Switch version’s relative technical shortcomings preclude it from being a go-to platform for competitive players, but with its now-steady performance, handheld capability, and Xbox One-PS4-PC cross-play, Rocket League’s Switch port is an excellent way for more casual players to enjoy Psyonix’s soccer-driving hybrid.

10. Undertale

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The clever, charming, overall excellent RPG came to Switch three years after its initial release. As with a few others on this list, Undertale simply feels right on Switch. It’s influenced by Nintendo RPGs of old, especially Earthbound, and perhaps that’s why Switch feels like its proper home. More tangibly, the Switch port builds on the existing versions by adding an entirely new, exclusive miniboss.

You can read more about the “masterfully crafted experience” in IGN’s Undertale review.

9. Dark Souls Remastered

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As with many of the console’s ports, the appeal of Dark Souls on Switch is simple: It’s Dark Souls, whenever, wherever you want it.

Beyond this simple convenience, IGN’s Dark Souls Remastered for Switch review said it feels “oddly suited to a portable device,” while making the “return to Lordran feel oddly new.”

The Switch port is also a technical improvement over the 2011 original, improving infamously troubled areas like Blighttown, though it obviously falls short when compared to its PC, Xbox One, and PS4 counterparts.

8. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

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When it was first announced, it was hard to believe Skyrim would run properly (if at all) on Switch. How could Bethesda’s massive open-world RPG run smoothly on a handheld console?

After seeing a demo at PAX West 2017, IGN wrote, “It’s Skyrim. On Switch.” It simply worked, and with this sentiment, skepticism gave way to optimism, worry to excitement.

As with the versions before it, Skyrim on Switch included plenty of bugs — hence its lower position on this list — but to a degree, it didn’t matter; Skyrim was in your pocket. Thanks to the Switch port, what was unthinkable at the time of its release in 2011 became a reality just six years later.

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Bethesda’s continued support of Switch officially began with Doom in November 2017. Initially, it was met with a similar concern: How could this game possibly run on a handheld? This wasn’t a concern of breadth as it was with Skyrim, but arguably a bigger concern of speed, of feeling — a smaller version of Skyrim could still be fun; a slower version of Doom, I’m not so sure.

It was a welcome surprise when we finally got our hands on Doom for Switch, and said, “Simply put, it feels exactly like Doom should, just in a much smaller package.”

6. Shovel Knight

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Shovel Knight on Switch is more than a competent port; it’s a complete, feature-rich version of an already excellent platformer. Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove came to Switch three years after its PC release, complete with all its expansions, Joy-Con-friendly multiplayer, newfound portability, and amiibo support.

Competent ports, like those previously listed, are worth praising, but it’s ports like Shovel Knight that are worth celebrating. The natural fit of Shovel Knight on Switch, combined with the inclusion of new content and Switch-specific features, made it feel less like a port and more like an entirely new release.

Read IGN’s Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove review for more.

5. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

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Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze made the jump to Switch four years after its release on Wii U. The Switch port added an entirely new way to play in Funky Mode, a properly balanced mode that made levels more accessible without feeling too easy.

Additionally, unlike a number of entries on this list, the Tropical Freeze port is a visual improvement over the original. Games ported over from PC, Xbox One, and PS4 naturally experience some level of downgrade on Switch, but Tropical Freeze makes the jump from the technically inferior Wii U. According to Digital Foundry, Switch bumps the resolution up from 720p to 1080p when docked. The fluidity of the “excellent animation” is also mentioned in IGN’s Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze for Switch review.

4. Stardew Valley

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As with Undertale and Shovel Knight, Stardew Valley feels at home on Switch. However, its compatibility with Nintendo’s hybrid console extends beyond feeling; it’s a practical pairing.

Stardew Valley is highly enjoyable in short bursts, and Switch’s portability enables that type of play. Five minutes of free time before work? Check the in-game TV. Half an hour for lunch? Tend to your crops. Time to kill on your commute home? Talk to some villagers, mine resources, go fishing. It’s a rare game that can be equally enjoyable for five minutes or five hours.

For more on the farming sim/RPG, check out IGN’s updated Stardew Valley review.

3. Minecraft

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Minecraft is the best example of a game that feels perfectly suited for Switch. It’s a generation-defining game, with an appeal that’s inarguably wider than any other in the medium (it’s arguably the best-selling game of all time, depending on how Tetris’s sales are measured.)

There was an excellent, feature-loaded version for consoles and PC, and there was a lighter, more portable version for mobile. In choosing either, a sacrifice to quality or portability had to be made — until the Switch port arrived.

What makes this match perfect is best summarized in IGN’s Minecraft Switch Edition review: “The Switch Edition of Minecraft takes the appealing portability of Minecraft Pocket Edition and adds the precise, comfortable controls of a console.”

2. Diablo 3

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Diablo III is not only one of Switch’s most surprising ports, it’s one of its best. The loot-grinder came to Switch six years after its PC release as Diablo 3 Eternal Collection, complete with the Reaper of Souls expansion and Necromancer DLC character class.

The idea of playing the complete Diablo 3 package on the go is exciting; the reality of playing the complete Diablo 3 package on the go (without any significant sacrifices to quality) is astonishing. As stated in IGN’s Diablo 3 Eternal Collection review, the Switch port maintains 60fps at all times, while environments look great in both docked and handheld mode. (Only the character detail suffers “a bit” when docked.)

It doesn’t hurt the Switch version also added a few exclusive, Zelda-themed goodies: a Cucco pet, Triforce portrait frame, and Ganondorf armor.

1. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

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Mario Kart 8 was an excellent racer when it was released on Wii U in 2014, and it only got better when it came to Switch three years later.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe includes everything that made the original great, while bundling all the previously released DLC and bumping up the resolution (while docked). It added new characters, the ability to play on the go, and most notably a revamped Battle mode. Like Shovel Knight, it’s an example of a port that almost feels new — only this one adds even more and feels even better, making it the console’s best, most complete port to date.

The quality increase is noted in IGN’s Mario Kart 8 Deluxe review, which increased its score from 9 to 9.3.

Which Switch port is your favorite? Which do you find most impressive? Let us know in the comments.Jordan is a freelance writer for IGN. Follow him on Twitter @jdsirani.

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