The Nintendo Switch is awesome; it’s the Nintendo console the Wii U should have been and then some. There’s also a crapton of games already made available for it. How many? Well, at the time of this writing, there are already over 1,300 games released for the thing! That is freaking insane. As great as it is that there’s so many games for people to play, a lot of good games can get lost in the midst of that massive library. That is why I have decided to start a semi-series of Ryan’s Corners where I list some personal recommendations for Switch owners to consider. So if you’ve got a Nintendo Switch, pay attention!
If there’s any glaring flaw in the Nintendo Switch library, it’s that there’s no Virtual Console to be had. The closest thing there is to a service for Nintendo to release classic games is the Nintendo Switch Online app. Thankfully, there’s still a lot of retro goodness available despite this glaring omission. Let’s have a look at some of these throwbacks to the past, shall we?
By the way, these descriptions may end up being abridged generalizations. If you see a highlighted game title, you can click on it to see a detailed review I’ve written for that game so you can know more about it.
Hamster’s Arcade Archives
Easily the most notable series of classic re-releases on the Switch, Hamster Corp. have been massively dedicated to porting over a variety of games. You can find a slew of Neo Geo games represented in the lineup, including ones from franchises like Metal Slug, Fatal Fury, The King of Fighters, and Samurai Shodown. Cult hit arcade games like Star Force, Kid Niki, and City Connection are also proudly on display.
Exclusive to Nintendo are releases of their own arcade games. So for the first time ever, you can play the original Donkey Kong without any limitations that hurt its earlier console ports. They have even also provided an official release for Sky Skipper, which never saw the light of day back in the ’80s. You can also buy games like Vs. Super Mario Bros. or Excitebike…but only if you really want to spend $7.99 on slightly altered versions of NES games that are available with the Switch Online service.
Johnny Turbo’s Arcade
Flying Tiger Entertainment have been taking full advantage of their Data East license by releasing their line of arcade titles under the Johnny Turbo’s Arcade banner. These include Bad Dudes, Super Burgertime, Shootout, Express Raider, Sly Spy, and the list goes on. While it’s debatable how well the games themselves have aged (especially considering the infamous ways arcade games can mess with players in the mid-to-late ’80s), it’s still nice for those reminiscing of the games to have an opportunity to revisit them.
Zerodiv’s Psikyo Collection
The folks at Zerodiv have been digging from the archives of the defunct arcade company, Psikyo. These releases would primarily curb the cravings of shoot ’em up fans the most. From Gunbird to Tengai to Zero Gunner 2, these games are all fun, flashy, and swiftly paced arcade shooters you can play with a friend. Japanese players and importers also have the opportunity to pick up a physical compilation containing four games from the lineup.
Although most of the games made by Psikyo are shoot ’em ups, there are rare releases on the eShop that consist of a different gameplay structure. Gunbarich, for example, is a colorful Breakout-style game with loads of bells and whistles. There is also Hot Gimmick Cosplay-Jong, for those of you who want to play a two-person game of mahjong against difficult AI to try seeing suggestive pictures of women.
Crash Bandicoot: N-Sane Trilogy
There are currently only three Activision Blizzard games on the Switch – Skylanders Imaginators, Crash Bandicoot: N-Sane Trilogy, and Diablo III: Eternal Collection. Guess which of these I adore best? And how can I not? Crash Bandicoot: N-Sane Trilogy takes the original Playstation trilogy and enhances them with gorgeous visuals and sound! All of the games are on the cartridge, without any compromises done to harm the experience. It was already a steal at its initial $39.99 price, but you can probably find it for even cheaper now. And when you do, please get it. The games remain as fun to romp through as they were when they were brand new.
Namco Museum Arcade Pac
Although Namco Museum and Pac-Man Championship Edition 2+ released as separate eShop titles, Namco Museum Arcade Pac puts both of them together in a single palpable physical release. If there’s any way I recommend you buy these games, it’s through Arcade Pac. The value is simply much better than buying them digitally, and both of the games are pretty good stuff to boot. Namco Museum consists of ten classic Namco games plus the local multiplayer phenomenon that is Pac-Man Vs. Although series mainstays Ms. Pac-Man and Mappy are oddly left out, the game includes surprises like Splatterhouse and Rolling Thunder II.
Although these games don’t necessarily hail from yesteryear, their contents are as classic as anything else featured here and are sure to please pinball purists. FarSight Studios’s Stern Pinball Arcade and The Pinball Arcade contain virtual recreations of pinball tables from throughout the decades. You can actually find physical copies of the former for much cheaper now than if you were to buy the table packs digitally. FarSight ain’t the only pinballer here on the Nintendo Switch, though.
Zen Studios recently acquired the license for Williams pinball tables, so you can expect to see some of those in their game Pinball FX3. Zaccaria Pinball is another game that provides authentic pinball action, but based on, well, tables manufactured by Zaccaria. All of these games can be downloaded for free, but individual tables and other things have to be paid for. If you want the most bang for your non-existent buck, Zaccaria Pinball has an entire mission-based “story mode” you can play for free!
Capcom Collections and Bundles
If there’s one thing Capcom has contributed to the Switch library, it’s providing a pleasant surplus of old games for the fans to eat up! Mega Man Legacy Collection contains all of the NES installments in the series, whereas Legacy Collection 2 contains Mega Man 7 through 10. Lemme tell ya, the chance to play Mega Man 9 and 10 on the go is something I’ve dreamed of since the DSi days! The Mega Man X Legacy Collections split the lineup more evenly, with the first one containing Mega Man X1 to X4, and the second having Mega Man X5 to X8.
Why are the collections split? Beats me. Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection, however, is one whole package featuring tons of Street Fighter awesomeness! The original clunky-as-heck Street Fighter is here and accounted for, along with the many editions of Street Fighter II, Street Fighter III, and the Alpha series. You can even play some of the games online against other people, which is really cool. It’s definitely a much better offering for fans of the series than last year’s Ultra Street Fighter II.
I’d stop there, but Capcom clearly didn’t! After all, the Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle contains a pack of games they’ve created with the genre. Final Fight is obviously the highlight, but the others are interesting since they’re awfully obscure in comparison. Armored Warriors and Battle Circuit in particular have never even gotten an official console release before! And of course, they included online play to tie it all together. This one also has a physical release in Japan.
So there you have a big sampling of the retro titles currently available on the Nintendo Switch. There’s far more to come, too; SEGA’s bringing out the ol’ Mega Drive library for their SEGA Genesis Classics compilation in December (along with its ongoing SEGA AGES series). Before then, SNK will be reeling out the SNK 40th Anniversary Collection. Even with today’s big-budget AAA titles being all the rage, it’s always nice to see companies have a look into their archives and see if people would like to revisit what they’ve been hiding. It’s just as commendable to see developers go out of their way to make certain titles available to the public once more.