The Nintendo Switch is primarily a game console. While competitors like the Xbox Series X and PS5 offer a lot of entertainment options outside of gaming, the Switch has remained a gaming software-focused platform ever since launching in 2017. However, that doesn’t mean the Switch doesn’t have some non-gaming apps that are worth downloading. For instance, Nintendo recently added the Pokemon TV app to the eShop to expand the lineup of entertainment apps and other content that you can download to your Switch. In addition to streaming apps, there are apps for artists, musicians, and hobbyist game developers. We’ve rounded up the best Nintendo Switch apps on the eShop below.
As mentioned already, there aren’t very many non-gaming apps available natively for Nintendo Switch. The Switch doesn’t even have Netflix, but there are ways to add applications like Netflix and other streaming services to the Switch (not Switch Lite).
Best Nintendo Switch apps
We’ve put together a list of 11 Nintendo Switch apps, some of which are available for free. We’ll continue to add to this list as more entertainment-focused are added to the eShop (if that happens).
The only major streaming service available on Nintendo Switch is Hulu. That said, Hulu is one of the best streaming services thanks to its wide variety of network TV, original shows, and movies. If you have a Hulu + Live TV bundle, you can use the Switch to watch sporting events, news, and TV shows while they air. The Hulu app is free to download, and plans start at $6 per month ($7 starting next month).
YouTube doesn’t need an introduction, but if you want to watch your favorite creators on your Nintendo Switch, the app is available on the eShop. While YouTube proper basically has an endless drip of time-wasting content, you can’t access YouTube TV on Switch. If you want a live TV option on Switch, you’ll have to opt for Hulu. The YouTube app works well on Switch, though chances are your phone has a better (but probably smaller) display.
As mentioned already, the Pokemon TV app recently arrived on Nintendo Switch, and it’s an excellent source of free Pokemon content. In addition to a revolving stable of full episodes of the anime, the Pokemon TV app also has Pokemon Trading Card Game and video game competition content. For youngsters, the app contains Pokemon-themed nursery rhymes and sing-along tracks.
Unsurprisingly, Piano is a digital piano app aimed at kids. The app teaches you how to play nine different songs on piano, including “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “London Bridge is Falling Down.” There’s also a free-play mode for those who want to try their hand at playing other tunes. Piano is playable with a controller, but it’s more natural with the touchscreen. Piano costs $10 on the Switch eShop.
KORG Gadget is an all-in-one music production kit that features drum machines, synthesizers, keyboards, and a bunch of other instruments. The Nintendo Switch version of KORG Gadget integrates Joy-Con motion controls, allowing you to create music by twisting your hand. KORG Gadget is an impressive piece of software, but it’s also fairly expensive at $48. Add-ons are available for $10 each on the eShop as well.
Comic book fans have one option on Nintendo Switch: InkyPen. This reading app features a wide variety of popular comic books and manga, and the reading experience is optimized for the Nintendo Switch’s display. InkyPen subscriptions cost $8 per month, but you can read select content for free without signing up.
Coloring Book is an app for kids that features a plethora of different drawings and whiteboards. The app is free to download and contains 12 drawings to color without spending a dime. The rest of the drawings and whiteboards are available to purchase in the “Creative Edition” for $8.
Colors Live doesn’t release until September 14 on Nintendo Switch, but it’s worth mentioning here for artists who want a more robust experience. This portable art studio comes with a pressure-sensitive stylus dubbed the Colors SonarPen. Colors Live lets you create your own paintings as well as complete challenges in Colors Quest, which gives you a daily theme and ruleset to follow. You can upload your paintings to the Colors Live servers for others to see. One of the coolest aspects of Colors Live is how it teaches you techniques. You can watch the process from blank canvas to finished painting on any of the millions of paintings in the online gallery. Colors Live is available for $50 at major retailers (comes with the SonarPen). Alternatively, you can download it from the eShop for $30 and paint with your finger or another stylus.
Game Builder Garage
Nintendo Labo may be dead (and very weird), but one of its coolest features lives on in Game Builder Garage. This recently released software builds off of the foundation of Toy-Con Garage to teach users how to design their own games and apps using intuitive node-based programming tools. Along with various guided tutorials that teach you how to make apps, you can design your own creations using the Free Programming mode. It earned a 7/10 in our Game Builder Garage review. Game Builder Garage has a free demo available on the eShop, and the full experience costs $30.
RPG Maker MV
The popular RPG Maker toolkit has made its way to Nintendo Switch with RPG Maker MV. The intuitive software encourages hobbyist and beginner game developers to create their own top-down RPGs with the help of a massive collection of pre-made assets. While RPG Maker MV doesn’t technically require programming knowledge to use, it is helpful to have a grasp of programming logic to make more elaborate games.
Fuze4 is another game creation tool that lets you make 2D and 3D games inside the app on Nintendo Switch. It’s an interesting choice for beginning developers, as it uses a custom language that is fairly similar to Python. Once you learn how to program using the Fuze language, it will be easier to pick up other programming languages. Fuze4 has touchscreen support as well as neat Joy-Con compatibility for implementing motion controls and HD rumble in your creations. To be clear, you can’t publish any games made in Fuze4, so this is strictly a tool for fun/learning. Fuze4 costs $20 and is available to download from the Switch eShop.