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The best games on Nintendo Switch Online

Each major gaming platform has its own subscription service, giving players added bonuses such as access to games and other perks for a monthly fee. Xbox has Game Pass, PlayStation has the new PlayStation Plus, and Nintendo Switch offers the Nintendo Switch Online program. While Nintendo’s service isn’t on the same level as the other two across PlayStation and Xbox, it does give you access to some of the best retro games of all time — even more if you have the Expansion Pack upgrade, which includes N64 and Sega Genesis games, along with DLC packs for certain Switch titles. Included with the basic version of the Nintendo Switch Online subscription is the ability to play online, plus access to NES and SNES games.

Whether you’re a basic member or if you’ve upgraded to the Expansion Pack, there are plenty of fantastic games to enjoy via Nintendo’s subscription. But which are the best?

These are the best games on Nintendo Switch Online.

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The best Nintendo Switch Online games

Super Mario Bros. 3 — Nintendo Entertainment System

Super Mario Bros. 3 — Nintendo Entertainment System
89 %
E
Platforms Wii, Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, Family Computer
Genre Platform, Adventure
Developer Nintendo EAD
Publisher Nintendo
Release October 23, 1988
It might seem cliché to throw a Super Mario game on here, but this one is decidedly worthy of our list. To this day, Super Mario Bros. 3 holds up as one of the best platformers of all time, building upon the already excellent mechanics of previous installments. This is one of those games that looks, feels, and sounds timeless, thanks to its impeccable design from Nintendo. The game is famous for many things, but arguably its implementation of an overworld is the most important, redefining how platformers were presented. Beyond that, Super Mario Bros. 3 has some of the best level design of the entire series, defining a genre and creating a legacy that changed video games forever.
Super Mario Bros 3 - Commercial

Streets of Rage 2 — Sega Genesis

Streets of Rage 2 — Sega Genesis
84 %
E
Platforms Linux, Wii, PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 3, Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, Android, iOS, Arcade
Genre Hack and slash/Beat 'em up, Arcade
Developer Ancient, MNM Software, Shout! Designworks, H.I.C., Sega
Publisher Sega, Sega
Release December 20, 1992
Streets of Rage 2 has it all: incredibly beautiful spritework, a kickin’ rad soundtrack, and beat ’em up gameplay mechanics that were somehow a major improvement from the original. When it comes to games that hold up incredibly well, few Sega Genesis titles are in the same league as Streets of Rage 2. It’s incredibly timely as well, since the beat ’em up genre has gone through somewhat of a renaissance as of late, with titles like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge, River City Girls, and even Streets of Rage 4! So if you’ve enjoyed any of those, you absolutely have to play Streets of Rage 2.

Super Mario World — Super Nintendo Entertainment System

Super Mario World — Super Nintendo Entertainment System
93 %
E
Platforms Wii, Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), Wii U, Super Famicom, New Nintendo 3DS
Genre Platform, Adventure
Developer Nintendo EAD
Publisher Nintendo
Release November 21, 1990
We’re not going to debate which is better between Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World, but we will say both are legendary games that deserve praise despite being so different from one another. Super Mario World is known for being littered with secrets throughout its stages, giving players more to do while also featuring stunning visuals that — to some — blew all the previous games out of the water. Much like its predecessor, World is innovative, timeless, and just a joy to play. 
SNES Longplay - Super Mario World

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past — Super Nintendo Entertainment System

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past — Super Nintendo Entertainment System
92 %
E
Platforms Wii, Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), Wii U, Super Famicom, New Nintendo 3DS, Satellaview
Genre Role-playing (RPG), Adventure
Developer Nintendo, Nintendo EAD
Publisher St. GIGA, Nintendo
Release November 21, 1991

In many ways, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is easier to go back to than some of the installments that came after it. This is due to its top-down presentation and sprite-based visuals that hold up better than what you’d find in the Zelda games on N64. A Link to the Past is regarded as one of the greatest games of all time thanks to the way it streamlined many of the designs first introduced in earlier installments. It feels like a massive evolution in nearly every way, from its gameplay to its visuals and sounds. This is an epic adventure that feels monumental, with plenty of quirky characters and a huge world to explore, paving the way for immersive action games.

Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past SNES Japanese Commercial #1

EarthBound — Super Nintendo Entertainment System

EarthBound — Super Nintendo Entertainment System
90 %
T
Platforms Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), Wii U, Super Famicom, New Nintendo 3DS
Genre Role-playing (RPG), Turn-based strategy (TBS), Adventure
Developer HAL Laboratory, Creatures Inc., Ape
Publisher Nintendo
Release August 27, 1994
There truly isn’t anything like Earthbound. This is a turn-based RPG that has so much heart and charm it’s no wonder nothing else has replicated it nearly 30 years later. While many turn-based RPGs are fantasy-based, Earthbound is more relatable because it’s about a group of kids. Instead of swords and bows, this game requires you to use baseball bats, frying pans, and other household items. Though it does have its fair share of ridiculousness, such as an alien invasion, Earthbound’s strength is that it felt different from many other fantasy RPGs at the time. Its writing is witty and hysterical, its visuals are gorgeous, and the game’s story is surprisingly gripping. 
EarthBound Commercial

Super Metroid — Super Nintendo Entertainment System

Super Metroid — Super Nintendo Entertainment System
93 %
E
Platforms Wii, Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, New Nintendo 3DS
Genre Shooter, Platform, Adventure
Developer Nintendo, Nintendo R&D1
Publisher Nintendo
Release March 19, 1994

There’s a lot Super Metroid does right, from its pacing to its atmosphere, while looking so dang good at the same time. It’s a game that nails stripping you of your abilities while slowly giving them back as you advance, with a satisfying sense of progression that never gets old. There’s so much to do and see, and the game encourages you to explore as much as possible, giving you new upgrades to make things ever-so-slightly easier. The creatures in Super Metroid are bar-none some of the best things about it, along with its overall level design that makes the game so much fun to explore.

SNES Super Metroid Introduction

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask — Nintendo 64

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask — Nintendo 64
87 %
E
Platforms Nintendo 64, Wii, Wii U
Genre Adventure
Developer Nintendo EAD
Publisher Nintendo
Release April 27, 2000

Sure, Ocarina of Time gets all the love, but we’d argue that Majora’s Mask is better in more ways than one. One thing we love is just how creepy it is, with a slew of weird characters who mostly have incredibly tragic backstories. The entire game has such a horrifying presence due to the moon inching closer and closer to Earth each day, with an overwhelming sense of doom. Beyond that, the time travel mechanics are wild and — when you get the hang of them — are satisfying to play with, offering a unique experience that remains one of the most memorable Zelda games to date.

Majora's Mask Intro [HD]

Banjo-Kazooie — Nintendo 64

Banjo-Kazooie — Nintendo 64
85 %
E
Platforms Nintendo 64
Genre Platform, Adventure
Developer Rare
Publisher Nintendo
Release June 29, 1998
While Banjo-Kazooie certainly isn’t the first 3D platformer, it definitely was one of the best. It took many queues from Super Mario 64 but added more complexities thanks to the level design and sheer amount to do. With a greater push toward exploration, Banjo-Kazooie is an immersive adventure with wacky characters, tons of collectibles, and plenty of personality that’s fondly remembered to this day.
Banjo-Kazooie - Intro - HD

Editors' Recommendations