May 28, 2023

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Best Retro Games Available On Switch Online

The Nintendo Switch Online subscription definitely isn’t for everyone. After all, on top of owning...

Best Retro Games Available On Switch Online

The Nintendo Switch Online subscription definitely isn’t for everyone. After all, on top of owning a Switch and having internet, you have to pay for a membership. But Nintendo does offer four separate subscription services to choose from and a 7-day free trial.

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Here’s a look at the different tiers, what they offer, and what they cost:

  • Individual 1 month – $3.99 for a basic subscription for 30 days
  • Individual 3 months – $7.99 for a basic subscription for 90 days
  • Individual 12 months – $19.99 for a basic subscription for 365 days
  • Family 12 months – $34.99 for a plan that allows up to eight accounts to use the Switch Online services for 365 days

But what retro games on Nintendo Switch Online are the big draws? From Metroid to classic Mario Kart, let’s take a look at the top 10 Nintendo Switch Online games.

Star Fox

Star Fox characters and gameplay from the retro game

Platform: SNES

Release Year: 1993

Okay, so the original Star Fox can look a little weird on modern TVs. But this classic title revolutionized what developers thought games could be. It allowed players to fly in 3D space and have simulated dogfights. Fox fights?

Plus, the addition of characters like Falco, Slippy, and Peppy made the game feel that much more immersive. The subsequent entries only left fans wanting more which, sadly, has yet to come about.

Blaster Master

Master Blaster gameplay and box art

Platform: NES

Release Year: 1988

This run and gun, platform game marked a huge leap for games at the time. The main character piloted a giant tank but could exit the tank to explore the environment.

The series has since received two reboots with Blaster Master Zero 3 coming to the Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Windows PCs.


F-Zero Nintendo Switch Online gameplay and box art

Platform: SNES

Release Year: 1990

Some fans might point to Super Mario Kart as being the “better” option when it comes to retro racing games. But F-ZERO stands out for several reasons including its soundtrack and the fact that no modern games have been made in the series.

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The iconic racing game featured four distinct cars with various stats and aesthetics. Though the game had several more entries throughout the years, it has not seen the same support that the Mario Kart franchise has received.

Joe & Mac Games

Joe and Mac Nintendo Switch Online boss fight gameplay

Platform: SNES

Release Year: 1993

For many kids from the 90s, Joe & Mac (a.k.a. Caveman Ninja) was a staple after-school activity. The duo face off against a variety of dinosaur-styled villains who all seem to have very flexible necks.

The game features unique weapons that all fit different playstyles. Though the mechanics seem simply by today’s standards, it can be a nice respite from the more mentally complex games of today.

Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island

Yoshi's Island Nintendo Switch Online box art and gameplay

Platform: SNES

Release Year: 1993

It’s difficult not to load this list up with exclusively Super Mario titles. After all, Nintendo’s mustached plumber made quite the name for himself on the SNES after his NES and arcade debuts. But there’s something ultra special about Yoshi’s Island for many fans of retro games.

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Maybe it’s the annoying, piercing cry of Baby Mario as he floats through the air. Maybe it’s that one of the bosses gets pants and his cheeks blush with embarrassment. But really, it’s probably seeing all of the different Yoshis trying to protect a defenseless would-be hero.

Kid Icarus

Kid Icarus Nintendo Switch Online box art and gameplay

Platform: Famicom & NES

Release Year: 1986 & 1987

This game definitely can’t be called “easy” nor was it at the time of its original release. The mechanics are pretty basic, too: find three treasures by fighting monsters and exploring through platforming. The Greek-styled world melded wonderfully with the soundtrack.

Several other entries have released over the years, but the original is great if you’re looking for a 2D challenge.

Super Metroid

Super Metroid Nintendo Switch Online box and gameplay

Platform: SNES

Release Year: 1994

The original Metroid released for the NES, but Super Metroid undoubtedly paved the way for many modern games. The mechanic of building up abilities through power-ups to better explore the environment is now a mandatory experience for many genres.

But this game still holds up as a perfect storm of impressive graphics, great music, and addictive gameplay. It’s the perfect time to revisit it, too, with Metroid Dread around the corner.

Donkey Kong Country

Donkey-Kong-Country- box art with characters in the jungle

Platform: SNES

Release Year: 1994

This reboot of the franchise gave Donkey Kong and his world new life. Not only does the game feature 40 levels, it adds Diddy Kong and multiplayer modes for co-op or competition.

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Along with modern Switch titles like 1, 2 Switch! or Mario Party, this is a fantastic party game. The title also put Rare on the map as a games studio, setting the stage for all of their incredible titles to come.

Double Dragon

Double Dragon Nintendo Switch Online gameplay and NES cartridge

Platforms: Arcade & NES

Release Year: 1987 & 1988

Technōs Japan developed Double Dragon as an arcade game first (like many NES titles). But the series went on to release more entries with the most recent being from 2017. On top of that, the beat-’em-up launched an animated series and live-action film which was, sadly, widely disliked.

But the martial arts-focused twins Jimmy and Billy Lee take on gangs and rivals in the game. It’s a nice stroll down nostalgia lane before going back to modern beat-’em-ups like a Yakuza game.

Kirby’s Dream Course

Kirby's Dream Course Nintendo Switch Online gameplay

Platform: SNES

Release Year: 1994/1995

With so many Kirby games having released on NES and SNES, it’s difficult to say which is the best one to pick up now. Many fans would say Kirby Superstars is the one to go with, but Dream Course offers a more unique retro experience.

It’s a golf game from an isometric perspective where players must deflect Kirby using angles and spin mechanics. Though it doesn’t feature more classic Kirby-style mechanics, it offers a different spin on the golf genre.

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