There are some hidden soccer gems on the Nintendo Switch. I’ve spent ages putting this list together highlighting the best ones (as well as one soccer game on Switch that you should definitely avoid).
What is the best soccer game on Switch?
Mario Strikers: Battle League is the best soccer game on Switch overall. Soccer Story is the best soccer RPG and Football Manager 2023 Touch is the best manager sim. Don’t even think about picking up FIFA 23 on Switch – it’s really not worth it.
Best soccer games on Switch – 15 great picks
Mario Strikers: Battle League
If you’re looking for top-quality, AAA Nintendo Switch soccer games then your options are actually quite limited (after all, the Switch is not the most powerful console).
However, any of you that played Super Mario Strikers on Gamecube or Mario Strikers Charged on Wii will know exactly what you’re getting.
The latest update in this franchise is a return to the frenetic chaos that we know and love from the previous installments plus a raft of new features (and Rosalina and Toad are playable characters for the first time!).
Up to 8 players can join up locally or online to battle against each other in a 5-on-5 arena soccer format. It goes without saying that Ronaldo, Messi, and friends do not feature as this is an altogether different genre of game to the ultra-realistic sims that dominate the console market.
Another plus is that it’s not a big download size (5.7GB) so no need to archive or delete your other Switch content to make room for it.
Even if arcade-style sports games are not your thing, you’ll struggle to find a better soccer game on Switch.
Nintendo Switch Sports
Another reboot of a much-loved Wii title is up next: Nintendo Switch Sports is the follow-up to the best-seller, Wii Sports.
As with all games featuring Miis, extensive character customization options add a fun extra layer to Switch Sports.
Those smart cookies among you will also be keen to point out that this is a ‘sports’ game and not a ‘soccer’ game. Wii Sports didn’t even have a soccer game, but Switch Sports’ effort has proven to be a big hit.
Like Mario Strikers, this one’s small-sided soccer (4-on-4). It’s best experienced using the Switch Joy-Cons rather than a traditional pad.
There’s even a sort of strap accessory that Nintendo has released so that you can attach a Joy-Con to your leg and literally kick the ball. Awesome.
Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions
Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions is based on a popular Japanese Manga series that’s been around since the 1980s. As expected, this game is dramatic.
Of all the games on this list, this is probably the one that would best suit people who don’t even like soccer because of all the narrative that surrounds the gameplay (there are two different story modes) and also because the gameplay is nothing like a conventional soccer sim.
It’s a little bit thin for a full-priced title, but it truly is unique and the story mode incorporates enough background information to allow players who are totally new to the series to get acquainted with Tsubasa and his Nankatsu high school soccer team.
Football Manager 2023 Touch
Football Manager is a series that’s most definitely best experienced on a desktop PC or laptop. The attention to detail that’s required to set up your optimal tactics, training, player acquisition strategies, and more really doesn’t lend itself to handheld formats.
That said, Football Manager has, for a number of years now, released a ‘Touch’ version – a decent trimmed-down take on the legendary soccer manager sim for smartphones, tablets, and Switch.
The 2023 iteration sticks to the classic formula that’s worked for years but with some neat new additions, including a revamped match experience, new team talks, and fully licensed UEFA European club tournaments. If you’re looking for a serious soccer management sim on Switch then this is still the best option.
Oh no! Soccer’s been banned! Not the ideal premise for a Nintendo Switch soccer game, is it?
But don’t worry, once you’ve found the magic football you’ll be passing and shooting your way through this charming RPG in no time. You don’t even have to like soccer to like Soccer Story.
The overworld features all sorts of hidden goodies, many of which will help you upgrade your character, and, like all good RPGs, you can even go fishing.
4-player local multiplayer is a welcome addition but it’s the side missions and mini-games that I like the most.
Ganbare! Super Strikers
If you don’t like RPG and strategy games (even chill ones) then look away now. For those of you that are partial to that, the turn-based format applied to soccer is a cool novelty.
It takes a while to level up your players and team to reach the same level and unlock the same abilities as your opponents can use from the get-go, but that’s all part of the fun.
There are all sorts to keep track of during every game with things like weather affecting players’ stats. The AI is relatively predictable meaning this is a pretty beginner-friendly game.
There’s a (fairly average) story mode as well as an Arcade mode that supports multiplayer.
If you’re a fan of Ganbare! Super Strikers, you might find more games to your liking in this list of casual turn-based strategy games.
Behold the Kickmen
For a game made by a team that, according to the description on the Steam page for this game, “has no understanding of, or interest in, what is affectionately known as “The Wonderful Game”, Size Five Games sure did a good job.
Behold the Kickmen is a firmly tongue-in-cheek title that really goes all in on ripping the traditional soccer sim genre a new one. Gameplay takes place on oval (rather than rectangular) soccer pitches and you get more points for scoring goals from further away. It’s just nuts.
There’s a ridiculous story mode to get stuck into where you can earn and spend money on upgrading your team and if that wasn’t enough, a full-on separate ‘Dystopian Future Bloodsport’ mode.
One big drawback is the lack of any multiplayer options (local or online) which is a shame, but this is still one of my favorite soccer games on Switch (and helpfully the download size comes in at just 491MB).
New Star Manager
If you feel overwhelmed at the thought of tackling all the data thrown at you in Football Manager but still want a soccer management sim with great replayability, then New Star Soccer is just the ticket.
Many of you will have played other games in the New Star Soccer series. They’re light-hearted, easy to play, and actually extremely addictive and New Star Manager is no different.
In New Star Manager, you essentially build a club from the bottom up, gradually signing better players for your team as well as making improvements to training facilities and the stadium.
Unlike Football Manager, in New Star Manager you play a part in every game. In classic New Star fashion, it’s you that draws the path of the key pass or shot during the highlighted moments in each match.
It’s not going to win any prizes for impressive graphics or high-octane gameplay, but this really is a title that’s well worth checking out, especially at only $19.99 on the Nintendo store.
Golazo! is a great little game and one of my favorites on this list in terms of visuals. The 2.5D art style is super fun and it really fits with the no-rules type gameplay on offer (there are no fouls and no offsides).
The 7v7 action is a pure vintage delight and its unashamed arcade style will feel like a breath of fresh air to weary players who’ve been stuck on realistic sims for years.
There are a decent amount of different aesthetic customization options to unlock which should keep you coming back for more. Don’t think too much about any of it, just pick up Golazo! and play!
Alpaca Ball: Allstars
Cross Fall Guys with Rocket League and sprinkle liberally with camelid mammal and you’d get something resembling Alpaca Ball: Allstars.
Who dreams up this stuff? Whoever it is, they’ve given us a hilarious game to play which is the perfect title for some unserious local multiplayer.
Up to 8 players can get involved in the chaos at any given time and the career mode also supports up to two players.
It’s a little bit on the pricey side for what it is but, then again, who am I to put a price on customizable alpacas? Hours will pass before you know it on this one – so plug in your Switch and keep playing!
Super Kickers League Ultimate
Any soccer game which uses ‘No Referees!’ as one of its main selling points is surely worth a try. I wasn’t surprised, then, to find that Super Kickers League Ultimate is a super silly and super fun arcade soccer effort for Switch.
Different teams and players can make use of crazy special abilities depending on which game mode you’re playing and there’s enough variation there for plentiful replayability.
There’s unlockable content, four different camera angles, different teams and competitions, and even a retro 90’s mode.
Super Arcade Soccer
This game has a surprisingly tough learning curve but, once you’re up to speed, Super Arcade Soccer is an incredibly satisfying game.
The Winning Eleven/PES-style ‘slightly-wrong-but-still-clearly-recognisable’ player names coupled with simple but effective visuals and multiple player customizations make for a charming experience. I’m always amazed to see how polished a game made by a single individual can turn out to be.
The original Super Arcade Soccer featured national teams and a World Cup mode, while the newer 2021 version includes real-life club teams and a surprisingly engaging league mode.
Local multiplayer is a huge plus and, all in all, Super Arcade Soccer offers incredible bang for your buck.
The retro arcade indie soccer titles really are so much more worth the money on Switch than the soulless franchise stuff. You could get four or five of them for the price of FIFA and have 100 times more fun.
If you do pick up a bunch of Switch indie titles based on The Beautiful Game, then Legendary 11 would be a good one to include in the shopping basket. It’s a good pick-up-and-play option with basic controls and not a huge amount of tactical depth.
Instead, the game focuses on over-exaggerated special move animations, retro jerseys, and dodgy haircuts that help create a light-hearted 80s feel.
You can unlock upgrades in the campaign mode and there’s also support for online play and multiplayer.
16 bit Soccer
This is about as lo-fi as it gets (as the name of the game suggests). The back-to-basics 16-bit presentation is absolutely no-frills and the super simple gameplay complements that nicely.
There’s no story mode or progression to speak of – what you see when you start the game for the first time really is what you get.
There are a couple of different tournament modes and local multiplayer is supported but I can’t help but think that this title is crying out for online multiplayer. Online matches could be fantastic fun given the game’s simplicity.
You could quite literally fit the entire pocket soccer pitch in your pocket. You can play either 2v2 or 3v3 matches on the mini playing surface and the action is non-stop thanks to the barriers that enclose the pitch.
Even with only 2 or 3 players on each side, the matches can seem a bit chaotic as the bobblehead players wobble around and into each other, but this is a pretty fun pick-up-and-play type of game.
Each different team has a unique set of attributes that encourages varied play styles and there are multiple difficulty levels.
No surprise that this Switch exclusive didn’t win a game of the year award but, for less than the price of a cup of coffee, you can’t really go wrong.
One Switch Soccer game you should avoid
FIFA 23 Legacy Edition
FIFA is undoubtedly the boss when it comes to soccer games on PlayStation and Xbox. A new version comes out each year and typically features a load of new gameplay and visual upgrades on the previous iteration, in addition to updated rosters, kits, and other realism elements.
However, when it comes to the Switch, it appears as though EA pretty much just doesn’t care. For several years running now, the Switch version of FIFA has been pretty much exactly the same as the previous year’s game, save for the updated kits and players.
Other Switch ports of mainline annualized sports sims from other publishers, like Sony’s MLB The Show 23, are pretty decent, so EA really has no excuse.
EA even admits that FIFA 23 on Switch features “the same gameplay innovation from FIFA 22 without any new developments or significant enhancements. Which is also what they said about FIFA 22 (same as FIFA 21). FIFA 21 (same as FIFA 20) and FIFA 20 (same as FIFA 19).
IGN quite rightly awarded this pitiful effort a 2/10 and I agree that it’s simply not good enough to expect people to stump up for a full-price game with such little effort put into it. Don’t expect any drastic changes in future versions, either.
EA hasn’t even bothered with a Switch port of its other football mega-franchise: Madden NFL. Probably for the best.
Best soccer game on Switch: Conclusion
There are plenty of great soccer games on Switch – the best of which is Mario Strikers: Battle League. If you’re willing to look beyond a certain well-known licensed franchise, you can find some absolute gems with endless replayability.