5 Best Nintendo Switch Emulators Of 2024

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As the Nintendo Switch becomes Nintendo’s best-selling console of all time and slowly creeps towards becoming the best-selling console of all time, the retro gaming community has set themselves the challenge of creating the best Nintendo Switch Emulator.

Everyone knows about Nintendo’s hybrid hero by now, the console that has replaced the Wii in many people’s hearts, and the device that offers seamless transition of gameplay from handheld to the TV and vice versa.

But how about playing Nintendo titles on your laptop or gaming PC? What if you want to play a 4K/60FPS version of Tears of the Kingdom or to get your Animal Crossing fix on your phone?

I’m not speaking riddles or talking about magic here; all of these things are possible with a Nintendo Switch Emulator.

A Nintendo Switch resting on a laptop, both showing the same clip for the same game.
Credit: Twitter

If you have a Switch but don’t want to pull it out in the office while you should be doing your spreadsheets, then we’ve got the answer for you right here. Get into Super Mario Odyssey, Breath of the Wild, and all the other greatest Nintendo Switch games with ease!

** N.B Please refer to your own research on how to install ROMs to find out the legal implications of downloading copyrighted content. This article and all comments forthwith are intended only to inform the reader about the processes behind game emulation and their practical applications in the world of gaming.

1. Ryujinx

Windows showing Ryujinx emulator gameplay
  • Platform – Windows, MacOS, Linux

No, everyone’s favourite Street Fighter character hasn’t been learning jinxes with Harry Potter at the weekends.

Ryujinx is the next offering in our list of the best Nintendo Switch emulator programs on the internet. Like Yuzu (which has now ceased to exist), it’s available to download either from the source or from GitHub and falls under the MIT license open-source initiative.

From the get-go, Ryujinx lets potential users know that there are 1000 games available to download, half of which are currently considered playable. Honesty is the best policy, and at least they know they still have a ways to go before it’s perfect.

Gdkchan, the team behind the software, are continuously working to provide ‘excellent accuracy and performance, a user-friendly interface, and consistent builds’ to improve the overall experience.

I guess you can’t ask for any more than that!

Animal Crossing on the Ryujinx Nintendo Switch emulator
Example of the Ryujinx Emulator in action
Credit: WccfTech

Here’s some good news for Mac users; Ryujinx runs on Windows, Linux, and OSX. If like me, you’re an Apple fan through and through, then Ryujinx is going to be the best Nintendo Switch emulator for you (well, the only one for you, as it happens…).

This experimental Nintendo Switch emulator is named after a legendary Sea Dragon, and he NX at the end of the name pays homage to the codename for the Switch itself. We love little nest eggs like that!

The compatibility list is nicely set out too. Every game that can be played by this emulator has various tags that let users know if the game is playable if it crashes, and what the general status is.

You can find out more by visiting the Ryujinx website.

2. Cemu

Breath of the Wild playing on Cemu emulator
  • Platform – Windows

Cemu might not be everyone’s first thought when it comes to picking the best Nintendo Switch emulator for their set up. Still, it was one of the first to consistently run Nintendo Switch games.

The problem is that it just doesn’t run many of them.

In all honesty, Cemu is primarily a Wii U emulator. The fact that two of my favourite games, Mario Kart 8 and Breath of the Wild, also dropped on Wii U is, as Bob Ross would say, a happy little accident.

Still, Cemu is capable of running Switch and GameCube games as well as Wii U titles. You’ll get Switch titles such as Bayonetta 2 and Super Smash Bros Ultimate running on here easily.

One thing I like about Cemu is that it’s stable. The developers have been working on it consistently for 8 years, making sure that performance issues have been dealt with in good time and constantly improving the user experience.

Most of the games play at 1080p and 60 frames-per-second with ease. There have been examples of BotW running at 4K and Mario Kart 8 running at 8K too.

That’s some sharp Bokoblins and Yoshi’s right there!

Modding can be carried out right from the game launch screen too, with other settings such as shading, anti-aliasing, and resolution available to tinker with to your hearts content.

You can find out more by visiting the Cemu website.


Egg NS Nintendo Switch gameplay (Android emulator)
Credit: Youtube
  • Platform – Android

Next up on our best Nintendo Switch emulator list is the EGG NS Emulator, an Android emulator that you definitely shouldn’t feel chicken about using.

See what I did there… ahem, moving on.

Instead of this being an afterthought phone emulator that has just been thrown together, this program has purposely been built for Android users.

It’s recommended that users are packing SnapDragon 855 or better and around 6GB of RAM. You’ll also need Android 11 or better in order to run games with the best results.

And, as the company have made big waves by solely focusing on Android, that definitely means you’re going to get a stellar performance while playing.

The disappointing part is that the website hasn’t been updated since 2020, so it’s unsure whether anyone is working on any of the bugs or dealing with any gameplay problems at the time of writing.

The EGG NS website has a full set of instructions for you to follow too, giving you a step by step guide on how to get up and running!

4. NSEmu

NSEmu loading screen on a phone attached to external controllers.

NSEmu is an emulator that is slowly being chipped away at over time to make it better and more playable.

It’s definitely one for the technically minded amongst our readers, and while it is still being worked on, it does offer an incredible amount of customisation options that make it much easier to play some of the higher-end games.

To say that it’s not currently finished, the sound and graphics on offer are very impressive. Sure, it’s not as reliable as Yuzu was, but one day it might be with help from the community testing it out and offering their thoughts.

And, as it’s an OpenSource project, anyone can help out the official GitHub page and help to get this emulator out quicker!

All of the shots we’ve seen thus far are just of loading screens, which is promising news! Loading games is sometimes half the battle, and we’re expecting big things from NSEmu over the next couple of years.

5. Suyu

Suyu logo
Credit: Suyo

I know; the name is a little on the nose considering what happened to Yuzu. Suyu is the newest Switch emulator on the block and aims to do things by the book, succeeding where Yuzu failed. Like Dumbledore’s Pheonix, Fawkes, it has risen from the ashes (code) of Yuzu and seeks to protect Switch gaming for generations to come.

Suyu say publically on their website that they ‘do not support or condone piracy in any form. In order to use suyu, you’ll need keys from your real Switch system, and games that you have legally obtained and paid for. We do not intend to make money or profit from this project‘.

I’m not sure how Nintendo will see the advertising of ROMs on the Suyu page or the fact that they have links to Yuzu builds. But hey, I’ll leave that to the legal teams. Suyu have sought advice from someone who has studied law, which sounds like they’ve at least done a little bit to make sure they avoid Nintendo knocking on their door, but it doesn’t fill me with confidence.

What I will say is that we’ve seen some nice results from the emulator so far, though I would expect it to as an offshoot clone of Yuzu. I’m sceptical as to how long it will stay, but for now, progress is moving ahead in the right direction.

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