Although laptops and Steam Decks are the most portable PCs available, using them to play Nintendo Switch games has certain benefits, including enhanced graphics, simplified download access, and limitless controller options. Below, we have compiled a list of emulators for you to explore.
The top emulators for Nintendo Switch on Windows computers.
There are not a lot of emulators available due to the fact that they require considerable effort to develop and cannot be sold for profit, which would likely attract legal action from Nintendo. However, there are still options available to you, and since they are all free, you can try them out to determine which one suits you best.
Yuzu appears to be the favored choice amongst PC users, to the extent that it impacts other emulators. For optimal performance, Vulkan graphics rendering can be enabled, and a user-friendly installer streamlines the setup process. Those who support Yuzu on Patreon can obtain early versions with the most recent improvements and bug fixes.
One of the most significant features of the software is its frequent updates and compatibility with numerous popular games. Notable examples of these games are Super Mario Odyssey, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
Ryujinx boasts several noteworthy features, including the option to use Vulkan or OpenGL rendering, and integrated support for mods, cheats, and motion controls. Additionally, it is capable of emulating Amiibos in games where they are relevant, and facilitating online play with other Ryujinx users. However, it may require a hacked Switch in order to function, as this is a means of extracting keys and firmware files.
For some individuals, game compatibility may pose a problem. Although roughly 2,700 games, including Metroid Dread and Bayonetta 2, are playable, there are some significant omissions, with the most notable being Breath of the Wild. It is advisable to consult the official compatibility list beforehand.
Cemu is an emulator designed for the Wii U, but it has the ability to run certain Switch games such as Breath of the Wild. If Yuzu and Ryujinx do not meet your needs, Cemu may be a viable alternative. It has the capability to emulate motion controls and offers both Vulkan and OpenGL rendering. However, it is important to note that if you are using a system with AMD or Intel graphics, you will need to use Vulkan. Additionally, Intel GPU support is limited.
Similar to Ryujinx, there is a list of compatible games available for checking if you want to ensure smooth gameplay. It is recommended to restrict your gaming sessions to games labeled as “perfect” or “playable,” as any other titles may not be fully playable.