Are Switch Emulator Android Apps Worth It?

February 20, 2023 • Shannon Flynn


Nintendo Switch emulator Android apps may be able to make your Switch games more mobile, but are they worth the trouble? There are a few things you should consider before emulating Switch games on Android phones and tablets. These factors include processing power and the legal gray area of emulators. This guide covers everything you need to know, plus some alternatives to emulating Switch games on Android. 

Switch Emulator Android Apps: Emulation Options

There are two main Switch emulator Android apps: EGG NS and Skyline. Both of these emulators are designed specifically for Android devices. They’re highly similar to one another, but there are a few differences worth noting. 

Skyline has more frequent updates than EGG NS. This means that any bugs or glitches that do appear in the emulator will get fixed sooner. Additionally, Skyline is considered more user-friendly and easier to navigate than EGG NS. As a result, it’s a better choice for those who are new to using emulators. 

The main advantage of EGG NS is performance. It is a close comparison between EGG NS and Skyline, but EGG NS often has an edge in terms of gameplay. That said, as discussed below, you can only expect so much performance when playing Switch games on lower-power devices like many Android phones and tablets. 

If you want to try out either of these Switch emulator Android apps, you may not be able to find them on the Google Play Store. EGG NS is available as an Android app on the Play Store, but you can also download it directly from the developer online. If you would prefer to use Skyline, you need to download it directly from the Skyline website since it is not available on the Google Play Store. 

When installing either of these emulators and uploading your Switch game ROMs, always be careful and follow the instructions. It’s a good idea to read over the provided quick start guides first just to ensure you don’t accidentally delete or ruin one of your Switch games. 

Should You Use Emulators? Emulators Vs ROMs

Before downloading Switch emulator Android apps, it’s important to understand what emulators actually are and consider whether or not you should use them. 

Are Nintendo Switch Emulators Legal?

Emulators themselves are software programs that allow you to play a videogame on a platform other than the one it was designed for. Emulators are legal and generally safe to use as long as you are downloading them from a reliable and reputable source. 

However, if you are considering using Switch emulator Android apps because you don’t have a Switch and want to play ROMs, you may want to reconsider. ROMs are digital versions of videogames. They’re not illegal in and of themselves. It is perfectly legal to download your own ROM files from your own copy of your Switch games for personal use. 

Basically, if you own a game, it is legal for you to play your ROM of that game on any emulator you want. Things get sticky when you don’t already own the game you want to play, though. It is illegal to upload ROMs to the Internet and to download ROMs from the Internet. This is a form of videogame piracy since Nintendo games are copyrighted content. 

Using Switch emulator Android apps as a way to play Switch games for free using downloaded ROMs is actually illegal. Nintendo is notorious for cracking down on illegal use of ROMs and emulators, so ROM laws are not something to take lightly. The nature of illegal ROMs isn’t the only reason for reconsidering Switch emulation on Android devices, either. 

How Do Switch Games Perform On Android?

There’s a reason we play videogames on consoles – they’re dedicated computers specifically designed for playing videogames. The Nintendo Switch is a more powerful computer than people may give it credit for. Many Switch games are far more processor intensive than the average mobile game. 

Compare The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild with Angry Birds for a perfect example of this. Both are fun games, but Zelda has much more detailed graphics and a far greater file size. Mobile games aren’t necessarily better or worse than Switch games. They’re just built for the lower gaming capabilities of the average smartphone. 

This is why you see games like Elder Scrolls: Blades make the jump from mobile to Switch but never the other way around. Using Switch emulator Android apps may put Switch games on your Android phone, but that doesn’t mean they will be playable. These games are typically far too processor intensive for most Android devices to handle, resulting in low FPS and choppy performance. 

If you have a high-end Android device, such as a phone built specifically for gaming, you may be able to get your Switch ROMs to run on an emulator app. It is simply worth being aware that the performance will not be at the same standard as it would be on an actual Switch. 

Alternatives to Switch Emulation On Android

There are all kinds of reasons you might want to try Switch emulator Android apps. Maybe you have a standard size Nintendo Switch and it is simply too bulky to play on your daily commute. Similarly, you might have a Switch Lite and find yourself wishing you could see your Pokemon game on a better screen. 

Regardless of your reason for wanting to emulate your Switch games on Android, there are alternatives that could work much better. Here are a few to consider. 

Emulating On Windows

If you have a reasonably powerful Windows PC, you have a much better chance of successfully emulating your Switch games compared to using an Android emulator app. In fact, if you have a purpose-built gaming PC, you may even get better performance emulating your Switch games on Windows than you would on your actual Switch! 

Here’s a look at a few of the best Switch emulators for Windows devices. Keep in mind that you will need to have at least 8GB of RAM and a decent GPU to be able to play Switch games on a Windows PC. 

Nintendo Switch Lite

If you have a standard size Nintendo Switch and wish it was more portable, Nintendo already has you covered. A Nintendo Switch Lite will be a much more effective way to play your games than using Switch emulator Android apps. The U.S. MSRP of a Switch Lite console is about $200, but you can often find them on sale or used online or at gaming stores. 

The Switch Lite even has a few key advantages compared to the standard Nintendo Switch. It was designed to have better battery life in addition to being more portable and less expensive. If you want a smaller alternative to your regular Switch, this is the way to go. 

Trying Out Older Games

If you want to play videogames but don’t have the money to buy a Switch and its often pricey games, there are alternatives to using illegal ROMs. Getting into videogames doesn’t have to cost hundreds of dollars. The retro videogame world is often a great place to play a lot of fun games for way less money than current console games cost. 

Don’t let the pixelated graphics turn you away. Retro games built the gaming world we have today. For example, the Switch game Metroid: Dread is actually a sequel to an old retro classic, Metroid: Fusion, which was originally released on Gameboy Advance. Metroid: Dread’s design and mechanics are also based on the older pixel-graphic Metroid titles dating back to 1986. 

While some rarer retro games can be pricey, many older games and consoles are much more affordable than modern systems, which makes them worth considering for budget gamers. 

Cloud Gaming Platforms

Cloud computing is changing the way people play videogames. If you want to play popular high-end titles on your phone or don’t have the money to buy a console, cloud gaming may be the perfect solution. Unfortunately, Nintendo doesn’t have a cloud gaming service as of 2022, so you will have to choose non-Nintendo exclusive titles. 

Cloud gaming uses cloud computing to allow you to play processor intensive games on devices that lack the necessary hardware. You could play XBox titles on your phone or tablet at normal or close to normal performance. There are a few leading cloud gaming platforms today, all using a subscription service pricing model. 

Playing Switch Emulator Android Apps and More

The Nintendo Switch is home to one of the best game libraries in history. So, it’s understandable that you might want to play Switch games on other devices. Switch emulator Android apps can be fun, but performance is likely to lag behind. Always make sure to stick to legal forms of emulation, as well. It’s worth considering emulating your Switch games on Windows or trying out a Switch Lite as alternatives to Android emulators.