Best Licensed Nintendo Switch Games
Image: Nintendo Life

Just recently we saw the anniversary of The Mummy Demastered, an example of a great game based on the most mediocre of movies. Historically, licensed games — usually movie tie-ins — haven't enjoyed the best of reputations due to them often being rush jobs thrown together on a shoestring by an under-resourced developer crunching their socks off to make the movie's release date and, presumably, capitalise on some cross-media marketing synergy and whatnot.

Of course, there are games like GoldenEye 007 that arrived spectacularly late (21 months after the movie!) and proved that a quality game can stand on its own two feet, but despite a general improvement in quality when it comes to licensed games on consoles, there's still a stigma around them. Licensed games are bad is the prevailing mindset, even if 'average' would be a more appropriate adjective.

Well, we thought it was about time to see how things stand on Switch. While the definition of licensed games is a broad one — hey, what about FIFA or the NBA games? — we've eschewed sport licences here and stuck with media properties that have made a great transition to Switch in one form or another.

Ready to roll? Let's take a look — in no particular order — at some of the best licensed Switch games. We start with one we've mentioned already...

The Mummy Demastered (Switch eShop)

They say don't judge a book by its cover, and you shouldn't judge this game based on its tie-in movie. WayForward's The Mummy Demastered deserves to stand on its own as one of the best examples of not only a retro-styled pixel art aesthetic, but as an excellent combination of run 'n' gunning, platforming and exploration. The game benefits from paying homage to multiple 16-bit ancestors rather than strictly sticking to its celluloid source material; The Mummy Demastered is a polished, accomplished and satisfying adventure that will entertain more than just Metroidvania fans.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game - Complete Edition (Switch eShop)

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game – Complete Edition is a great beat ‘em up which became available to purchase once again back in 2021 after years stuck in delisted purgatory. Combining elements of both Bryan Lee O'Malley's graphic novels and Edgar Wright's film, the game's bombastic presentation and crunchy combat gameplay make it enjoyable from start to finish. It can feel like it runs a bit short, and the difficulty spikes can be rather intense, anybody looking for a fun, short game to play in co-op is in for a treat. Let's just hope it sticks around for longer than it did last time.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge (Switch eShop)

The Turtles have been in a fair few video games — with many of them being very good, too — but Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is the best Turtles beat 'em up ever made. It looks delicious, sounds superb, and rekindles childhood memories beyond all expectation, time-warping you back to 1987 if you happened to be alive at the time when the games from The Cowabunga Collection were first released. Shredder's Revenge's combat system is so much fun to mine that you feel compelled to keep coming back to try new strategies, and with its awesome multiplayer the experience evolves again and again. Like any beat 'em up, it does get repetitive as you enter the last third, but that’s more a fault of the concept than the game. A really excellent use of a licence, then.

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South Park: The Stick of Truth (Switch eShop)

South Park: The Stick of Truth proves itself just as good a fit on Nintendo Switch as South Park: The Fractured But Whole. Both a pastiche of classic RPG tropes and a wonderfully empowering example of how to make a great modern take on the genre, this is still one of Obsidian’s best exports and as authentic as any episode of the cult TV show it’s so closely tied to. What more could you want from a licensed game?

The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season (Switch eShop)

Whether you played this back in 2012, or are completely new to the series, Telltale's The Walking Dead: Season One is a masterpiece of video game storytelling. It features some of the best voice-over performances you’ll find on any gaming platform and sets the stage for a grand, multi-season odyssey of tragic proportions. However, this is also a satisfying and poignant collection even if you never play the subsequent episodes. Even if you lost patience with Rick Grimes and TV series adaptation of Robert Kirkman's comic books, this remains an incredible interactive adaptation of Kirkman's world of walkers.

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga (Switch)

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is a fantastic experience, a great big celebration of everything Star Wars. The upgrades to the series' core gameplay here — the combo-focused combat, flashy space battles, boss encounters, over-the-shoulder shooting action, and cover system — all combine to make this the best Lego Star Wars has ever felt to play. Throw in a humongous open-world setting that's bursting at the seams with secrets and collectibles and you've got an absolute smorgasbord of all things Star Wars to dig into. Yub nub.

Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered (Switch)

Your enjoyment of Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered will depend almost entirely on your affection for the movies. For anyone who adored the first two, this is a wonderful form of time travel — far better than the vast majority of licensed Ghostbuster games desperate fans have tried to love over the years. It has no real business calling itself a 'remaster' and is best approached as a straight port of a ten-year-old game, but it’s a fine one. Mechanically speaking, there's little you haven’t seen elsewhere, but it’s a good-looking, fun third-person romp dripping in slimy nostalgia, and the chance to spend time in the company of these old friends – some of them dearly departed – is too good to pass up if you've ever strapped on your school backpack and gone out to bust ghosts in the garden.

Alien: Isolation (Switch eShop)

Alien: Isolation is a survival horror masterpiece and straight-up one of the very best horror video games ever released in a series that's had more than its fair share of licensed video game misses. It's a nerve-wracking affair – a slow, methodical game of cat and mouse against a brilliantly clever recreation of one of cinema's most infamous killers – but if you're up to the task you'll find one of the most satisfying gameplay experiences in the genre; a brilliant and beautiful homage to one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time. Feral Interactive has done a stellar job with this Switch port and the excellent motion controls and inclusion of all previously-released DLC only go to sweeten the deal. This is essential stuff for survival horror fans.