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Which Switch games can you play online without a Nintendo Switch Online subscription?

Looking for some free fun on your Nintendo Switch, but don’t want to subscribe to Nintendo Switch Online? We’ve got you covered.

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Nintendo Switch Online

Looking for some free fun on your Nintendo Switch, but don’t want to subscribe to Nintendo Switch Online? We’ve got you covered.

When Nintendo launched the Switch in March 2017, its online offering hadn’t been finalised. That meant that, for a while at least, everyone could play Nintendo Switch games online without paying for a membership, like with PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold.

A Nintendo Switch Online subscription was always coming, but this window allowed Nintendo to kick the tyres, test the technology without charging anybody, and figure out what added extras to throw in to try and sweeten the pot.

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The Nintendo Switch Online subscription service launched 18 months after the console, in September 2018, for $20 US (£17.99) a year.

Like PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live, the bread and butter of Nintendo Switch Online is multiplayer. The sweeteners include cloud saves and free games. In this instance it’s free, classic NES game, which is a slightly different proposition to the freebies you get on PS4 and Xbox One. Oh, and Tetris 99, a battle royale Tetris game that isn’t as stupid as it sounds

But it’s multiplayer that drives most people to Nintendo Switch Online. Where once you could play Mario Kart 8 or Splatoon 2 without it, you now need a subscription to duke it out online in these – and most other – Nintendo Switch games.

But there are a few, a small handful of Nintendo Switch games you can play online without a Nintendo Switch Online subscription. Mostly they’re free-to-play games, and some of them are even pretty essential. Question is, though: which games are they?

Switch games you can play online without a Nintendo Switch Online subscription

  • Arena of Valor
  • Brawlhalla
  • Dawn of the Breakers
  • Fortnite Battle Royale
  • GetAmped
  • Kitten Squad
  • Onigiri
  • Paladins
  • Smite
  • Warframe

There are of course other Nintendo Switch games that need a consistent internet connection – like Fallout Shelter – you can play without a Nintendo Switch Online subscription. But as far as we know, the games listed above (updated April 2019) are the only ones you can play online, with or against other people, without a subscription.

Have we missed something? Has something new come out since we made this list? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll add it in.

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Tom is an itinerant freelance technology writer who found a home as an Editor with Thumbsticks. Powered by coffee, RPGs, and local co-op.