Switch has become many a gamer’s go-to console for revisiting retro classics, at home on the TV or wherever you happen to take the handheld hybrid. Squeezing in nostalgia trips between the big new releases has never been easier, and there have been a host of exceptional collections and compilation packages on Nintendo’s system that bring together bundles of retro games, often with new features, bells and whistles.
We’ve put together the following list of the best compilations on Switch. We’ve stuck to bundles which include a minimum of three games (many of them contain a lot more than three). While most of the collections below feature retro gaming delights from yesteryear, you’ll also find trilogy collections of more recent games. Plenty of good-value variety for everyone!
So, without further ado, let’s dive into our picks — in no particular order — of the best compilations and collections on Switch.
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We begin with one of several collections of Mega Men. Digital Eclipse did a great job with all the details in Mega Man Legacy Collection, presenting the original games in their best possible light, while tossing in a handful of extra features and challenges on top to sweeten the deal. The rewind feature is a welcome inclusion that helps to mitigate the difficulty of some of the games, and the overall quality of the series difficult to dispute. We would highly recommend you pick this one up – all the included extra features coupled with the ability to play these games both at home and on the go make it a no-brainer.
Borderlands Legendary Collection is an excellent Switch showing for this beloved series, though it’s difficult to determine if the price is right; sure, there’s an enormous amount of content here so you’re certainly not being ripped off, but it’s old content and these games are routinely extremely cheap on other services. Still, it’s a technically excellent port of three expansive, enjoyable shooters, and they’re a perfect fit for the Switch. Whether played alone or with pals, the gameplay is terrific to dip into for 20 minutes or get stuck into for a massive grinding session. If you’ve somehow never played Borderlands before, you can’t go wrong with this set. And if you have, but want to try a different character class on the bus ride home, now’s your chance.
Publisher: Capcom / Developer: Digital Eclipse
While some of the games included in this compendium are rendered somewhat superfluous by the fact that far superior sequels and updates exist alongside them, Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection remains an utterly essential purchase for any self-respecting fighting game fan. This is like a history lesson in how the one-on-one fighter has evolved over time. The experience really benefits from using the right controller; while the Joy-Con are perfectly acceptable when you’re hosting impromptu local multiplayer challenges and the Pro Controller’s D-Pad is passable, we found the 8bitdo SN30 and SN30 Pro pads to be much better options, and if you have an arcade stick that’s compatible with Switch, now is the ideal time to dig it out – this is fighting game nirvana, pure and simple.
Sega’s had more than one stab at creating a comprehensive collection of its best Mega Drive titles and, as a result, Sega Mega Drive Classics does lose some of its impact due to sheer familiarity; for example, we already have an immaculately-ported version of Sonic on the Switch eShop right now. Even so, it’s hard to argue with the 50-odd games that ship with this new compendium, and only a fool would contest the fact that it showcases some of the best games of the 16-bit era. The modern-day enhancements are welcome too, and while this isn’t the first time many of these games have gone portable, it’s a real boon to be able to play the likes of Phantasy Star IV or Story of Thor on the bus. When you take into account how much quality there is on offer here, Sega Mega Drive Classics becomes an easy recommendation.
While it’s a shame that there are fewer games here than in other Konami collections – we’d have loved to have seen NES title Contra Force or the now-extinct WiiWare title Contra ReBirth – the ones included in the Contra Anniversary Collection are universally brilliant. The 8-bit and 16-bit Contra games are among the finest examples of the run ‘n gun genre, and to have almost all of them included in a single release and emulated flawlessly is an absolute treat. Whether you’re a fan of the series or a curious onlooker who’s always wanted to see what the fuss was all about, this is essential.
Publisher: Activision / Developer: Toys for Bob
Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is a ruthlessly faithful recreation of some of the earliest successes in 3D platforming. Levels are slick, gorgeous to look at, and recreate the feel of the originals superbly. Newcomers to the series may be put off by the steep difficulty spikes and little to no explanation of some of the finer mechanics. All the fun and the foibles of the original three games are here, for better or for worse, and despite some odd design choices it still manages to be a really enjoyable retread of some old classics, warts and all. This is definitely worth a look if you’re a fan of 3D platformers, but just as was the case back in the ’90s, Crash isn’t in quite the same league as Mario when it comes to playability, inventiveness and entertainment. If you’re after a nostalgia trip, though, it’s tough to beat.
Publisher: NIS America / Developer: Digital Eclipse
SNK 40th Anniversary Collection is how retro compilations should be done. Although the emulation has a few little hiccups along the way, the overall package here is wonderfully presented. Rather than just slapping a rudimentary menu over a bunch of old ROMs, it’s clear there’s been a lot of effort made here to catalogue an often forgotten period in one of Japan’s most important game developers. As with all compilations, there are a few misses, but the quality is generally high, and the supporting museum mode is an absolute treasure trove for retro enthusiasts.
Publisher: Bandai Namco / Developer: Bandai Namco
Namco Museum does a great job of highlighting the illustrious lineage of one of video gaming’s most famous arcade companies; not only is it packed with addictive games that will keep you glued to your Switch for many weeks to come, but it boasts excellent emulation, a host of options, online leaderboards, a special challenge mode for each game and a new version of Pac-Man VS. which is sure to become the go-to party title for many Switch players. While there are a couple of titles that we’d have swapped out for other, more worthy offerings from Namco’s past, you’re still getting an excellent selection of games for a reasonable price here.
Mega Man X Legacy Collection is a fantastic re-release of several must-play gaming classics, presenting them as authentically as possible while still including a few modern features on top that help to improve the overall experience and keep it from feeling antiquated. Throw in the new X Challenge mode and an enormous archive of museum content and this stands as the definitive way to play the Mega Man X games in the modern era. Four fantastic games, a bevy of extra content, and the ability to play at home or on the go make this one an easy recommendation.
The original Ace Attorney is almost two decades old, which is remarkable when you consider just how well it holds up. Sure, it’s been ported plenty of times and the jump to Nintendo DS certainly helped shake off the retro cobwebs, but as a piece of interactive history, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy is as utterly addictive and truly rewarding as it was back at the turn of the millennium. Whether you’re brand new to the world of virtual defence law or a veteran attorney, Phoenix Wright’s first adventures are still a fine set of cases to undertake.
We had an absolute blast playing through these three gems all over again, especially now they look sharper than ever. It’s a shame that the presentation is practically barebones with no bonus content beyond the soundtracks, but there can still be no denying the quality of the games on offer here. Super Mario 3D All-Stars is the Beatles’ Greatest Hits of the video game world, and is an absolute treat whether you’re reliving it in HD or discovering it for the first time.
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