The 9 Best Classic Retro Games on Nintendo Switch

Love classic retro games but wish you could play them on a modern gaming console? Check out these great games on Nintendo Switch.

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The Nintendo Switch is a great console for playing retro games. The annual Nintendo Switch Online service—which is insanely affordable at $20/year—unlocks a sizable library of retro games from the NES and SNES systems.

But there’s more to the Nintendo Switch than Mario and Sonic.

Whether you’re looking to experience retro games that you’ve never played before, or simply wanting to revisit that one great retro game that you loved as a child, you might be in luck!

Here are some of the best classic retro games on the Nintendo Switch, most of which are fairly priced and just as fun today.

1. Gunbird 2

You might recognize this game if you played shoot ’em ups on the Dreamcast or PlayStation 2 in the early 2000s. Gunbird 2 is a vertical scrolling shooter from the masters at Psikyo.

While shooters of this type may seem the same from game to game, this varies things by throwing the first few levels at you in random order, meaning playthroughs feel varied.

2. Zero Gunner 2

Zero Gunner 2 is like a look at what multi-direction shooters might have become if twin-stick controls never took off.

This game sees enemies coming at you from all over the screen, but aiming works unusually: you need to hold a button while moving to turn your ship to aim at the enemies.

While this sounds counterintutive, it becomes second nature quite quickly. Despite being a remake of a Japan-only Dreamcast remake from 2001, the graphics hold up rather well.

3. Puyo Puyo 2

While I’m sure hardcore fans might notice major differences, all of the Puyo Puyo games I’ve played have felt pretty similar to each other, including this one.

That said, this Sega Ages re-release for the Nintendo Switch has some neat extra features and costs the same low price as other games in the Sega Ages series.

If the only Puyo Puyo you’ve played is Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, it’s worth giving this one a shot.

4. Puzzle Bobble

Free bubble shooter games are available all over the web, and chances are good you’ve played one. What you might not know is that all of these are based on one game.

And that game is Puzzle Bobble.

Instead of a bland background with plain bubbles, you get cool friendly dragon things and a catchy soundtrack. If you own a Switch and love puzzle games, this is one to check out.

5. Phantasy Star

While the Phantasy Star series might be popular now, the first game in the franchise isn’t nearly as well-known as the sequels that followed it or the spun-off Phantasy Star Online.

This game is something of a relic given that it’s a turn-based RPG from an era before that genre really figured out what worked and what didn’t. But it’s worth playing just to see what early examples of the genre had to offer, for sure.

6. Money Puzzle Exchanger

Another overlooked puzzle game, this arcade gem has you adding up various coins to make larger amounts.

You can think of Money Puzzle Exchanger as similar to the mobile game Threes, except replace the tiles with coins, make it much more anime-inspired, and change the gameplay entirely.

Okay, maybe it’s really nothing at all like Threes… but if you like puzzle games where numbers keep ticking higher, check out Money Puzzle Exchanger.

7. King of the Monsters 2

If you like fighting games that are closer to the wrestling side of the spectrum but you aren’t exactly a fan of proper wrestling, then A) you have unusually specific tastes and B) you’ll probably love playing King of the Monsters 2.

This game is all about big monsters. Fighting. Other big monsters. Sounds great, right? This is the Neogeo arcade version, which is generally considered superior to the Genesis version.

8. Fantasy Zone

Another Sega Ages re-release, Fantasy Zone is a side-scrolling shooter that plays unlike most other scrolling shooters. As the name implies, this takes place not in space but above a brightly colored world with supremely goofy enemies.

As you explore the world, you’ll eventually wrap around right back to where you were, which gives it a very different feel.

9. Demon’s Crest

The only game on this list included in the SNES app available to subscribers of the Nintendo Switch Online service, Demon’s Crest is an action-platformer with light RPG elements.

What really makes it worth seeing is its setting and style. The game is short if you know how to get through it, but complex enough that you won’t rush through it on your initial playthrough.

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