The Legend of Zelda is one of the most beloved video game franchises in the history of the industry, and luckily, a huge chunk of the Zelda games can be played on the Nintendo Switch. Alongside Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda is one of Nintendo’s flagship franchises, with almost every entry in the series earning rave reviews from critics.
Nintendo has made a concerted effort to make many of its Zelda games playable on the Switch. Sometimes this has come through Switch ports of existing Zelda games, other times it’s come through remakes, and other times still fans have been treated to completely brand-new experiences. Nintendo has also leveraged its Switch Online service to give classic Zelda games some time in the spotlight and make Link’s earliest adventures easily accessible to its fans.
Here are all the Legend of Zelda games that are currently playable on the Nintendo Switch.
Zelda Games on the Switch
- Breath of the Wild
- Link’s Awakening (2019)
- Skyward Sword HD
- Tears of the Kingdom
After the general sales failure that was the Wii U, Nintendo came out swinging with the Switch by securing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild as a launch title. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild earned near-universal acclaim at the time of its release, successfully transforming the Zelda formula to an open world format.
A couple of years later, Nintendo released a more traditional Zelda game in the form of the Link’s Awakening remake. A remake of the classic Game Boy game, this new version of Link’s Awakening featured a striking diorama-like art style that helped it stand apart from other games in the series.
Two years after the Link’s Awakening remake hit the market, Nintendo followed it up with an HD port of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. The Skyward Sword HD port addressed many of the criticisms that fans had about the original game, offering players a new control scheme that didn’t rely on motion controls and implementing a variety of quality of life improvements.
Nintendo has so far kept up its pattern of releasing a new Legend of Zelda game for the Switch every couple of years, as two years after Skyward Sword HD hit the market, franchise fans were treated to The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. A direct sequel to Breath of the Wild, Tears of the Kingdom took its predecessor’s open world concepts and push them to their absolute limit. Like Breath of the Wild, Tears of the Kingdom has earned near-universal acclaim and has firmly established itself as one of the highest-rated video games ever made.
With rumors of a Nintendo Switch 2 console on the horizon, it’s entirely possible that Tears of the Kingdom is the last major Zelda release on the original Switch. However, there have been consistent rumors that Nintendo is planning on bringing the HD versions of The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess to the Switch. It wouldn’t make much sense to leave those ports on the Wii U, but no official plans to port those Zelda games have been announced at the time of this writing.
Zelda Games on Switch Online
- The Legend of Zelda (NES)
- Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link (NES)
- A Link to the Past (SNES)
- Ocarina of Time (Nintendo 64)
- Link’s Awakening DX (Game Boy Color)
- Majora’s Mask (Nintendo 64)
- The Minish Cap (Game Boy Advance)
Like its competitors, Nintendo offers a subscription service that gives subscribers access to a library of games. The Nintendo Switch Online service is focused specifically on offering classic Nintendo titles from older systems, with the NES, SNES, Nintendo 64, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance all represented on the service so far.
As one might imagine, the Nintendo Switch Online service features many Legend of Zelda games. This includes the original Legend of Zelda game on the NES as well as its sequel, Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link. While the original Legend of Zelda is considered a groundbreaking and landmark game release, Zelda 2 wasn’t nearly as well-received. Even so, it could be fun for Zelda fans to take a trip down memory lane and go back to where the series started.
There was only ever one main series Zelda game released for the Super Nintendo, and it’s well accounted for on the Switch Online service. Many Zelda fans point to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past as possibly being the best game in the long-running series, so it’s great that franchise fans can easily play it on their Switch console.
Those who are signed up for the base version of the Nintendo Switch Online service can also try the Game Boy Color port of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, known as Link’s Awakening DX. It offers color graphics and other enhancements over its predecessor, making it the ideal way to experience the classic game if one doesn’t have the 2019 remake handy.
Those who are willing to sign up for the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack, the more expensive version of the service, have even more Zelda games to try. This includes the franchise’s 3D debut in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, one of the highest-rated games ever made. The direct sequel, Majora’s Mask, is also available to play through the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack.
And finally, Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack subscribers can also play The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap. The Minish Cap is the sole completely original Game Boy Advance Zelda game, using a retro twist on the art style introduced by The Wind Waker.
More Zelda games are coming to Switch Online in future updates. Specifically, Zelda fans can look forward to both The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages and The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons joining the Switch Online lineup at some point later in 2023.
Zelda Spin-Off Games on the Switch
- Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer
- Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition
- Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
Besides main series Zelda games, there are also Zelda spin-offs available to play on the Nintendo Switch. These include the rhythm game Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer, as well as both Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition and Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity may be of particular interest to Zelda fans, as its plot is directly tied to the events depicted in both Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom. For those unfamiliar with the games, they are a mix of Zelda and the gameplay from the Dynasty Warriors series. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but there is to fun to be had, especially in co-op.
Zelda Games That Still Need to Come to the Switch
- Oracle of Seasons/Oracle of Ages (Coming in 2023)
- Four Swords
- The Wind Waker
- Four Swords Adventures
- Twilight Princess
- Phantom Hourglass
- Spirit Tracks
- A Link Between Worlds
- Tri Force Heroes
The Nintendo Switch has an extensive library of Zelda games for fans to choose from already, but there are still some titles that are currently unavailable to play on Nintendo’s home console/handheld hybrid. This includes previously mentioned games like the HD ports of The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess and a variety of other titles. There is some hope that some of the missing Zelda games will make their way to the Switch in future, however.
For example, Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons are both promised for Switch Online at some point, while reputable leakers have suggested that the Switch ports of Twilight Princess and The Wind Waker already exist. Some of the other Zelda games are far less likely to ever be released for Nintendo’s latest platform, though.
Games that would fall in that unfortunate category include Four Swords, Four Swords Adventures, Phantom Hourglass, Spirit Tracks, A Link Between Worlds, and Tri Force Heroes. Four Swords was previously made available through a Game Boy Advance port of A Link to the Past, whereas Four Swords Adventures is a game that’s been trapped on the GameCube since its launch. Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks are DS games, whereas A Link Between Worlds and Tri Force Heroes are 3DS exclusives. Unless Nintendo starts bringing the games from that era to the Switch Online service, it’s highly unlikely they will make an appearance on the Switch.
Then again, stranger things have happened, and Nintendo has been making an effort to bring its GameCube games to the Switch, and as the recently announced Switch port of Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon indicates, it’s also looking at giving games in its 3DS library new life. While Zelda fans wait for news on if these missing titles will ever come to Switch, they should have plenty of other games to play in the meantime.
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