The Samurai Shodown games are among the best in the fighting genre: the seven games on offer in the Samurai Shodown Neo Geo Collection are perfect examples of this, and the exceptional Museum mode will keep you busy for hours. Its online may be a non-starter and it may have offered even more titles if it had lifted its self-imposed Neo Geo-only restrictions, but that doesn't take away from what's an otherwise strong collection of brilliant fighting games.
Darius Cozmic Collection is now available now in the West split into two versions: Darius Cozmic Collection Console and Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade. Overall, they float somewhere between the barebone lack-of-care ports like the Psikyo ZeroDiv releases and the passionate ocean of love that are M2's ShotTrigger ports. With its save-states (though limited), replay function, controller configuration (again limited), and selection of games, it's ahead of the competition, although M2 has since proven it can do much better with the excellent ESP Ra.De Psi. In comparison to the robust accessibility features, extra modes, soundtracks, and overall polish seen in that game, this release does fall short to the gold standard set by its ShotTriggers brethren – but if you're a fan of shmups or have even the slightest degree of affection for Darius, this remains a recommended purchase.
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Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection is everything that you could’ve hoped it to be. This is ultimately six great Mega Man games presented to you with a slew of customisable features, extra content, and quality of life updates. If you’re a fan of either Mega Man or side-scrolling action games in general, you owe it to yourself to give this release a go and see what all the fuss is about. These are hard and occasionally frustrating games, but they offer up some rewarding, action-heavy gameplay that even today stands among the best of its class. Don’t pass this one up, it’s definitely worth the punt.
What you've got here are two of the finest examples of the genre, accompanied by a third likeable entry which is also well worth a look. When you consider how many titles Konami is packing into its Anniversary Collection packages – and that their retail price is almost half what Square Enix is demanding for the three games included here – it's impossible to not question the value of Collection of Mana. However, there's no denying the fact that Secret of Mana is one of the finest console RPGs of all time, and even though it's readily available elsewhere, playing it on Switch is like wrapping yourself up in a warm and familiar blanket; it's just right somehow. We could argue that Secret of Mana is merely the appetiser for the real star of this collection: Trials of Mana. It's nothing short of a masterpiece and finally getting the chance to play it officially in English is a landmark moment for SNES and RPG fans alike.
Double Dragon & Kunio-kun: Retro Brawler Bundle goes well beyond a standard ROM compilation due to proper curation of the source material, and it successfully shines an overdue spotlight onto a sizeable selection of 8-bit Kunio masterpieces that most Western players never had the chance to experience. Contrary to what the tile may suggest, the NES games included end up being merely filler, while the real thrillers are undoubtedly the Famicom games, accessible to non-Japanese gamers for the first time here. A very large offering of varied single-player content complements nearly infinite multiplayer replayability, provided you keep it local, of course, as finding a game online is borderline impossible. In summary, Kunio’s catchphrase “Don’t underestimate me!” perfectly describes the content of this compilation. Do not be surprised to find most of these decades-old Famicom games among your go-to choices when you have friends around.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy is a wonderful love letter to a classic series, keeping everything that made the original games what they were, but slapping on a fresh coat of paint for the HD era. There are a few creaking bones showing their age here and there, but only due to the developers’ desire to keep things as accurate as possible. The Switch version looks absolutely stunning and runs surprisingly well, so if you’re looking for a classic 3D platforming experience, you should definitely give this a look-in.
Despite the sheer volume of solid gold hits in the series, Castlevania Anniversary Collection is a somewhat mixed bag from Konami, with stone-cold classics sharing the spotlight with a couple of undead clunkers that really should have remained dead and buried. Still, even with the questionable inclusion of Simon's Quest and Castlevania: The Adventure, the 'highs' on offer are among the highest points in the entire franchise, and a Western debut for Kid Dracula is a lovely treat for retro gamers looking for something new. As long as you’re willing to ignore the lesser titles in this package and you're not too bummed out by the omission of other classic entries, then you’re going to have a very good time with what’s left – and there's always room for Castlevania Anniversary Collection 2, we guess.
This is unlikely to be the Aleste collection anyone wanted. Those interested in the early days of Aleste will quickly notice the lack of the MSX2 games and the omission of Musha, Dennin (AKA: Robo), and Super Aleste will disappoint those fond of the most popular entries in the series. However, even without those, M2's Aleste Collection still contains five great shmups and represents excellent value for money, especially when you consider this package costs much less than some second-hand cart-only auctions do for single games contained within it – and that's before you even consider GG Aleste 3's very welcome addition.
Capcom Arcade Stadium is a very good package filled with brilliant games, each updated with modern functionality and a dusting of modern convenience. For purists, it doesn’t rival the quality of original hardware (or the likes of M2’s sublime individual ports of arcade masterworks as seen with the release of Esp.Ra.De Psi), but with a launch price of £30 for thirty-two games — and with debut console ports of Progear and 1944: The Loop Master — Capcom's legacy makes it well worth investigating, warts and all.
A strong showing for the Neo Geo Pocket Color, this is an eight-game compilation with seven avowed recommendations. That's a pretty high ratio, and that tantalising "Vol. 1" in the title makes us hope and pray that more SNK handheld goodness is to come. Neo Geo Pocket Color Selection Vol. 1 is a great little compilation and all the better if you didn't buy all the previous standalone releases. If you did, is it worth the money? We think so, yes, but we totally understand if you wish to quietly seethe about the financial imposition.
NES - Nintendo Switch Online
That's the end of the retail and eShop games, but we couldn't leave these collections off the list, could we?
With an ever growing catalogue of classic games from the 8-bit era, Nintendo Switch Online subscribers have access to some of the best titles released on the console which transformed the company into the gaming giant we know today. With well over 50 NES titles to choose from with added portability, save states and the ability to rewind gameplay, this is a fine way to conveniently play the classics.
It's hard to pick favourites from the lineup, although Nintendo Life readers did just that and ranked every NES game on Nintendo Switch Online.
Super NES - Nintendo Switch Online
Finally, of course, there's the growing SNES collection, too. With over 40 titles available, there are certainly some gaps in the 16-bit catalogue on Switch. Still, when you look at the line up of classic after classic, it's hard to argue that what is there isn't pretty special.
Once again, Nintendo Life readers have ranked every single SNES game on the service. Nice bunch, that lot. The games, too.
Which are your favourites from this list? Think we've missed something essential? Feel free to let us know down below and we may well update it along with future Switch collections and compilations that float our boat.
This article is one of our Switch Essentials guides which cover a wide variety of genres, including the Best Switch FPS Games, the Best Switch RPGs, the Best Switch Games For Kids, the Best Switch Couch Co-Op Games and the Best Switch Fitness and Exercise Games. We can also help out hunting down the Best Switch Horror Games, the Best Switch Racing Games, the Best Switch Action-RPGs, the Best Nintendo Switch Roguelikes, Roguelites and Run-Based Games, the Best Free Switch Games, and even Games to Play After You've Finished Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Whatever your favourite genre, we've got you covered: Strategy Games, Metroidvanias, Puzzle Games, Party Games, Online Multiplayer Games, Local Wireless Multiplayer Games, Shmups, Visual Novels, Fighting Games, Hidden Gems, 2D Platformers, 3D Platformers, Run and Gun Games, Sports Games, Beat 'Em Ups, Chill Games, Family Games, Retro-Inspired Games, Short Games, Card Games and Deck-builders, Flight Sim and Space Combat, Point and Click Adventure Games, and the Best Switch Exclusives, as well as Every Arcade Archives Game, Every ACA Neo Geo Game, Every SEGA AGES Game On Switch, and the Best Switch Collections And Compilations.
If you're looking for the best Switch games regardless of genre, our reader-voted selection of the Best Nintendo Switch Games should help you out, and you can also find the Best Nintendo Switch Games of 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020. And finally, if you're interested in other Nintendo consoles and retro games, check out the Best Game Boy Games, Best Nintendo DS Games, Best Nintendo 3DS Games, Best SNES Games, Best N64 Games, Best GameCube Games, and Best Wii Games, as well as Every Nintendo Switch Online NES Game and Every Nintendo Switch Online SNES Game.