A Year One Review of the Nintendo Switch NES Library

Well the first year of the Switch Online Service has only been three months. But I thought it would be worth looking at the games they’ve put out so far. From my point of view this small library of games is really the only worthwhile thing Nintendo is offering so far. Paying just to play a super small amount of games online seems bad especially when it still seems so far behind their competitors. Plus my love for old games knows no bounds so I thought it would be worth taking a quick look at what they’ve released up to this point.

List items

  • A puzzle game that is about matching different Mario enemies together. Instead of the standard 3 match this one is all about matching 2 together. The addition of a Yoshi egg that is split into two lets the player clear a stack of random enemies if you match the eggs together. It has a endless mode and a mode focused on clearing the board. The second one presents a mini cutscene of Yoshi eating a power up after every round is cleared.

    Because this is a puzzle game it is still fun to play. Sure it is rather simple but it does pose quite the challenge as the speed picks up. Although the replayability is a bit lacking. I never really wanted to attempt another go at it after losing. Which is something I like to see in a really good puzzle game.

  • Plumping is hard work and the Mario Bros have quite the problem on their hands. A bunch of mutant turtles,flies and crabs have infested the pipes. Only a swift bop from below and a good follow up kick afterwards will get rid of them. As the game goes on things start to speed up and new obstacles get introduced like a icicle.

    While this certainly doesn’t have the delph of what was to come it is a solid little arcade game port. The controls are still snappy and it offers a solid challenge even if the end game is eventually defeat. Mario Bros has always been a game I like to come back to for 30 minutes and it continues to be that kind of experience for me.

  • A vile force of evil has scattered the triforce throughout the land of Hyrule. Only our hero Link was bestowed a sword to fight evil from a wise old man. Now he must travel across the land to 9 different dungeons to rid the world of the evil Ganon.

    I’ve played this game multiple times at this point but the roughness of this first outing is a bit tough to go back to. That didn’t stop me from finishing it although the layout is ratter baffling compared to how well most future titles are laid out. Very rarely do I accidentally stumble upon the final dungeon after only finishing the first one. Plus rebeat battles with bosses was a bit of a let down too along with some of the later levels been a bit unfair without a health potion. So this is one you might not want to revisit.

    The special version of this game they released is just a save with a powered up Link from the start. Uninteresting use of these new versions.

  • With Mario referring these matches of tennis the tension is palpable in every match. Becoming the champion is our newbie tennis players goal and no one will stop him/her.

    While this is certainly a step up from the early days on the Atari this is rather basic. With two difficulty levels being the main replay factor. Mid match it is possible to control where the ball goes depending on positioning and which way the player is holding on the dpad. Being able to lob shots too makes this is solid take on the sport. With no real depth it isn’t really something I could see wanting to play more than once.

  • Becoming champion of the Tecmo Bowl is the goal of any football team. Weeks of matches will be put to crown the champion of the league.

    A lot of what I said for Tennis applies here. They did a excellent job of recreating football on the NES. Being able to choose a reasonable amount of plays that can used to trump your opponent if you pick the right one. At least with the AI if I did pick the right counter they would 100% get wiped out every time. It was at least fun to blow through the computer once. Plus the little cut-scenes they added give some flair to each match.

  • King Koopa and his Koopa Kids have turned every king in the land into animals. Along with the required Princess Peach capture that is all but required every time he thinks up a evil plot. Only Mario & Luigi have the jumping skills to wipe out his army one jump at a time.

    With Nintendo’s third take at the Mario Bros foruma the name of the game was more. Every land is unique looking and new power ups are introduced to give a few extra options mid level. Additionally the way it controls feels much more snappy compared the first Super Mario Bros. Eh this is pretty much a timeless classic I don’t need to tell you that it still holds up.

  • The start of a everlasting legacy starts now. King Koopa has one thing on his mind and he is willing to turn every living thing in the Mushroom Kingdom into brick blocks. Only one brave plumber stands in his way. After falling into this strange new world he takes up the task to save the princess from the clutches of this evil king.

    Even with a heavy dose of nostalgia this first attempt at jumping around with Mario doesn’t quite feel that great compared to what they do later. Even the stage design is rather repetitive too looking at it in a modern context. Not that it isn’t still good since I still like it just feels more dated than the rest.

  • I can’t think of any sort of story to spin for this sports game. It doesn’t even try to give the player much of a reason to play this more than once. Either winning or losing the one match goes directly back to the main menu. Sadly playing this doesn’t even feel that good because it is sooooo slow. It takes forever to make it to the other side of the field. Really saps any small interest I might have had in this title. At least it has some flair with the team running all over the place once a goal is scored.

  • Jumpman Mario has a huge issue and his name is Donkey Kong. This primate just kidnapped his girlfriend and took her up a huge under construction building. Only with his powerful jumps and handy hammer skills will he even stand a chance to save her.

    These early NES arcade game ports are very formulaic in how they are all made. Each one has a A & B game that is slightly harder. Which doesn’t change to much other than things being slightly faster. This is another game that feels very timeless to me. The short length is certainly really bad unless you really want to go for the high score. Yet I seem to come back to this game quite often to just play through till I get a game over once. A small oddity popped up while I was playing this. The first level glitched out a bit on my third time through the first level. Just some graphical glitches on the screen which seemed odd for something emulated.

  • All is well in king Arthur's court. Until a vile demon lord shows up while he was on a picnic with the princess. She gets taken away and Arthur being the brash type just starts running after them. Which is ill advised thanks to the many foes that stand between him and the castle of the demon lord.

    Many times have I played a assortment of versions of this game and the sequel. Never made any progress at all because this game is 100% crafted in a way that will destroy your will to finish it. Which does mean it is a faithful adaptation of the arcade game even if the graphics aren’t as good. Jumping around slinging lances and other weapons at foes feels good. If only the stages didn’t seem to be laid out in a way where you pretty much need to memorize everything. Pointless tough games like this don’t interest me anymore but I’m sure to some this game is still a tough but fun game.

  • A masked group of rouge ballooners have appeared on the scene. They have popped every portable balloon citizen in the land. This will not stand it is up to our lone hero to knock them out of the sky before he himself is fish bait.

    Without a doubt this is just Joust but now your a cute Balloon guy. Nothing wrong with that since I this might be the better playing of the two control wise. Gameplay wise it was very easy to time button presses to dodge most enemy attacks. Plus compared to all the other arcade ports this on actually has a extra mode. The goal of Balloon trip mode is to survive as long as possible. Still a very short game yet I just seem to think early arcade classics are just a bit more timeless than other offerings.

  • Becoming champion of the World Virtual Wrestling League is the goal of any newcomer. Five grueling matches await but even if you earn the belt keeping it will be ever harder.

    This isn’t one I quite understand. According to the manual timing is key to pulling off wrestling moves without failure. Yet it doesn’t really give any indication what I could be doing wrong. Especially since smashing the buttons does quite well against the AI. I did figure out holding the d-pad does cause different moves to go out after a grapple. Ye old ground slam seemed to be the most effective on the later fights. With this being such a early wrestling game I just don’t think it has any depth to stand the test of time.

  • One racer has decided to step up to the challenge to beat every time trial course around. No matter how random the track his control of the bike shall be key to victory.

    The only motocross game I’ve ever liked. With the goal just being able to beat times it comes down to memorizing the track and then pulling off all the right moves. Using the dpad to land correctly and almost never letting off the boost button is required to succeed. Kinda wish I actually owned this on NES since I might have used the track editor to make some cool tracks. Additionally like all most early NES games this also has a B mode that puts a infinite amount of racers in your way while racing down the track. Because I didn’t play this till recently I can easily say it holds up well.

  • The Vic Viper is the last defence for humanity. The rest of the fleet has been destroyed so only one small craft has the mobility to make it through the rest of the hostile alien forces.

    While this is one of the first side scrolling shooters I never liked how some shooters reset progress on death. Especially since any upgrades get reset as well thus making the later stages even harder. Clearing the game without dying is the goal. Like with Ghost ‘n Goblins the game is built to kill the player a lot. Which isn’t something I look for when revisiting old game even if I could use save slates to make some progress quicker. I’m sure this game holds up better for others than me but I just don’t like this one.

    The Special versions of games that Nintendo has put out are a neat idea. In the case of this one it puts you into stage 5 with all the upgrades. Thus letting me see how much you really need all the upgrades to succeed later on. I’m impressed that they even do one last screw job to the player with the final boss door closing if you don’t quickly go through it. Good job Konami!

  • Nana and Popo have one goal in the life. Climb every mountain in the world. No matter how dangerous or how many teradaytles they need to use to fly down the mountain they will continue to persevere.

    One of the few early NES game with no harder difficulty. It even has continue function if you want to pick up on the mountain that you died on. No real ending though which is odd since this wasn’t a arcade port. Like the game says the goal is to jump up the mountain by smashing through blocks with a hammer. Yeti’s block off any holes you make if your not quick to jump to the next section of the mountain. Moving platforms, peradatyles, and ice blocks are the main offensive enemies that keep popping up. SInce this is a endless game the main difference per mountain is the layout. With how the climbers control it feels a bit rough to come back to this one.

  • A viral contagion has covered the world in viruses. Picking up the stethoscope for the first time Mario uses his knowledge of capsule pills to exterminate this new virus outbreak.

    Another puzzle game means it can still be easily enjoyed today. Since each capsule is one of 3 colors the way it ups the difficulty is how the viruses are placed on the board. Lining up the colors just right to match up more than one virus at once just isn’t really a skill I have. Still a challenging puzzle game if your up for the challenge.

    The Special version of this game puts the player right before the ending of the game. Honestly didn’t know this had a ending at all. Neat to see it since I would have never beaten all 20 levels on high speed.

  • Ryu Hayabusa's Dad had a fated confrontation with a rival ninja. He never returned and only a letter remained. It included a demon artifact and a note telling his son that he should go see a friend in America. With his blood bolling Ryu heads out for one reason only, REVENGE!

    I was really impressed at just how well this game controls. Jumping around as a ninja should feel great. Even the range of the standard sword attack is useful and the extra ninpo magic covers any weak points. No mercy on the knockback range and the respawning enemies. Yet it still feels fair throughout the five levels I’ve played through. (Nevermind the late game really wants to mess up the player.) Just requires some good timing on some attacks to prevent getting hit. Even the boss design is set up in a way where taking them down just requires learning their move set. Additionally this has to be one of the first games that really tries to tell a story via cut scenes in between levels. Thus makes this one a timeless game from my point of view.

  • Man early NES baseball sucks. Not being able to at least control one of the players on the field when a ball gets hit makes me mad at the horrible ai. While playing through 3 innings I literally watched as it stood on top of a ball long enough for the runner to reach third base. Watching players get thrown out when they reached the base before the ball was also annoying. Simple baseball games can still be fun but this one doesn’t seem to be one.

  • A gang of thugs have taken Billy Lee’s girlfriend hostage. The only way they will get her back is if they give the thugs the secrets to the Double Dragon martial art. No way will that happen so along with his bro Jimmy they head out to beat up the big boss to save Marline.

    Whenever a arcade beat em up comes to console I never liked the fact they limited continues. Sure they want the player to keep replaying it since if you did have infinite continues the experience would only last a hour instead of 10+. Anyway this is a okay port other than the fact you can’t play coop at the same time. Why take turns? Early beat em ups like this one don’t really seem that fun these days. Good for one attempt but not much else. The extra mode in this one is a vs mode that is very unbalanced.

  • A famous galactic bounty hunter has be hired by the federation to take out a band of space pirates. They are using the infamous Metroids to raid planets. After landing on the planet Zebes Samus steps out to explore the pirate base.

    It is almost impossible to come back to the first Metroid thanks to how much they improved on it with the sequels. Because it isn’t linear and it has no map it unless your willing to draw one yourself it is easy to get turned around. Samus also can’t fire in 8 directions making dealing with enemies more annoying than it should be. Along with not having a easy way to heal makes exploring a pain since you’ll need to farm health and missiles. While this gets transformed into a amazing game later this first attempt isn’t that fun anymore.

    The special version of this puts the player in front of Kraid with all upgrades unlocked. After beating him and looking up a map this games it pretty easy to see the best ending in the game. Although Mother Brain is still a pain.

  • In the living craft Twinbee you’ll need to face many weird enemies to wipe out a unusual attack on a group of islands.

    The variety of enemies is the neatest factor for this game. Kinda it’s main selling point since otherwise it is a solid top down shooter. At least when this was released fighting turnips and scissors wasn’t quite a thing. It’s kinda odd after fighting a bunch of mostly odd enemies the bosses are all have a similar sleek spaceship look. As the levels go on it becomes apparent that most of the effort went toward enemy design because almost every level looks the same Still Once the TwinBee is fully powered up it feels like a snappy arcade shooter designed around dodging a reasonable amount of shots.

  • Do you have the skills to lead team USA to become the dodgeball champions? Find out in this gruelling fight through all the best teams in the world and beyond.

    They were reallying pushing the NES to it’s sprite limit with this one. All the flickering makes it kinda rough to look at now. Even more so now since I very much enjoy the remake of this one much more on the GBA than here. Still the core of what they were trying to do is here. Being able to smack some guys with a ball is fun especially with all the specials shots employed. Like a teleporting ball or one that bob’s a weaves. Yet against the AI I tend to just lob special attacks at em. Not really seeing much reason to sling a normal shot since it does very little damage. Which does make the gameplay boring after a while.

  • Wario has decided to team up with some monsters that want to take over a certain magical woods. Must be something valuable in these woods yet Mario isn’t available to take him on. Toad steps up to use bombs to solve this problem. Birdo is also here to assist our little hero along with a sprite that transports the bombs to Toad.

    Was this one of the last NES games released? Didn’t expect to see the release date of 1994 on this game. Like a lot of other Nintendo puzzle games this is a match 3 game. The goal is to match at least 2 sprites with a bomb of the same color. They can be matched in any formation. Toad has quite a few options to clear the board in his favor. Either by picking up a entire stack or just one that’ll cause a chain reaction. Was also surprised to see a boss fight in a puzzle game. A monster appears in the field and only matching 3 near to him will lower his HP. All of this is really cool and the pacing of the game is enjoyable.

  • Unlike most of the other early Nintendo sports titles this one has a unique music theme compared to the rest that all had the same one. Speed is also on this side of this game with it being very snappy. It even has different types of players like a big tough guy that won’t be knocked down as easily as the rest. Adds a bit of strategy along with the fact you do have full control of at least one many on the field and the goalie at the same time. Pretty much one ups almost every other sports title in this list so far.

  • Oh no, the royal family has been kidnapped and put into a pyramid! Only Jack has the jumping ability to fly past enemies and disarm all the bombs.

    I’m super impressed by how much the game lets to control Jack’s jump. Between mid air floating and a extra high jump it gives you all the tools to succeed. Enemies constantly respawning is a bit of a bummer though. They can easily get in the way of collecting power ups. Most levels are somewhat linear although different paths can be taken to find secrets. Certain sections require collecting all the bombs to open up a door while enemies spawn in. Although I feel like you can be put into a unwinnable situation the difficulty is fair if you keep moving. So I actually took some time to play though this when I just expected a sub par platformer.

  • Turns out being a plumber doesn’t pay after all. Needing some money and seeing that being good at golf could pay out over a million dollars Mario decides to try it out.

    Yup, this is 100% golf. Some quality of life features aren’t quite implemented yet which is tough to go back to. Yet it is a solid golf game. Nothing more than that. With 3 courses that have eighteen holes it has plenty of stuff to master. Yet this isn’t really the game I think of when I want to go back to play a golf game.

  • Dana the mage has learned that many fairies have been locked in a labyrinth. He decides to use his block creation powers to save them. Yet once he enters the dungeon it starts to become clear that his task won’t be easy.

    A lot of early Tecmo games seem to have a leaderboard of some sort sense they keep giving me a GDV value after every game over. If only I knew what that meant. Anyway using Dana’s block powers to solve problems is the gist of the game. Grabbing the key is how to leave the level but collecting the fairy always takes a bit more effort. Being on a timer makes it a bit stressful. From the levels I saw they seem simple enough to solve since they are all one just one screen. Seems like a okay game but it didn’t really spur me on to try more than one attempt.

  • Slick wants to get rid of the toughest guy on the block. The best way to do that was to kidnap his girlfried obviously. Ryan isn’t going to take this lying down as he heads off to beat up every gang in the neighborhood.

    This is another game that I just prefer the GBA version to this one. Although they are certainly the same game. The start of the beat em up with a RPG style tint to it. In the case of this one picking up money from foes can be used to buy upgrades. Which is absolutely required and needed to succeed. Which does mean you’ll need to grind a bit. At least beating up enemies still feels good. I’ve never really looked into all the details about this game. I know it has some sort of morality system that can go down if you beat up on a down opponent. Overall still a game worth checking out.

  • Lolo was just minding his own business with his girlfriend Lala one day when some jerk showed up. His name was King Egger and he took Lala away to his castle full of deadly traps. Walking through the front door like a champ Lolo looks over the first room as he prepares to use his brain to succeed.

    I owned this one so I have some nostalgia coming back into this one. Although it just reminded me how many times I ended up dying since I didn’t figure out the puzzle. Each one 100% only has one solution so having to go back through the same ones again is just boring. Would be nice if these old games had the manual too since figuring out what each new threat poses lead to a few deaths. Because the game doesn’t do a great job of showing you what they do. Which is to bad. Gameplay wise each section is one room that is full of hearts to collect to open a chest. Different enemy types and the age old pushable blocks stand in Lolo’s way. It’s till a okay game it just doesn’t have much replay value like every other puzzle game on this list.