Over the last few years, we’ve published many features covering the best games in specific genres on Nintendo Switch. I’ve enjoyed putting together our end of year posts focusing on the best ports and remasters quite a bit. With Super Mario RPG out now, I decided to put together a list of the best remakes on Nintendo Switch. This will cover games available on older platforms that have been redone for Switch. Note that I’m avoiding basic ports here regardless of how good they are. This list will cover both first and third party games, and it isn’t in any particular order.
Before getting into the games, I want to cover what makes a remake good or even great. While a lot of remasters and remakes aim to bring older games to modern platforms, my favorite ones also make said games feel good enough to play for newcomers. I experienced many of the games below for the first time through the new remakes, and then checked out the originals when possible to see how things changed for the better. Let’s get into it then.
Metroid Prime Remastered ($39.99)
Despite the name, Metroid Prime Remastered is basically a remake of the GameCube classic with redone visuals, new control options, smoother performance, and more. This release is notable for also being a budget-priced title. We’ve seen publishers charge a lot more for remakes or remasters that do a lot less. Metroid Prime Remastered feels like an anomaly in a good way, and an essential for anyone who owns a Switch. It is that good, and I hope Nintendo lets us experience Metroid Prime 2 and 3 on Switch in similar releases in 2024 or 2025. Metroid Prime Remastered is an action adventure masterpiece.
STAR OCEAN THE SECOND STORY R ($49.99)
Square Enix, that’s a name you will be seeing a lot here. Despite the publisher releasing many remasters and remakes across platforms, I feel like the ones we’ve gotten in recent years have been better than ever before thanks to games like STAR OCEAN THE SECOND STORY R. A full remake of STAR OCEAN THE SECOND STORY for Switch and other platforms brought a new aesthetic that blended 2D with 3D, offered multiple music and portrait options, and delivered a stunning action RPG for modern platforms that is not only a great entry point for newcomers, but also a brilliant STAR OCEAN game on its own.
Famicom Detective Club: The Two-Case Collection ($59.98)
Both Famicom Detective Club games in the single Two-Case Collection package are surprisingly great adventure games. While some elements of the gameplay are a bit obtuse, these are gorgeous releases with fantastic music and a great story. I’m glad Nintendo took a chance and released this globally for the first time through the Nintendo Switch remakes, and still hope they do a physical release for North America in the future. A lot of the games in this list have been discounted, but the Famicom Detective Club: The Two-Case Collection is yet to see a single discount. Trust me. It is worth full price.
LIVE A LIVE ($49.99)
Square Enix’s Octopath Traveler saw the company strike gold with a superb JRPG that I still think about today for its music, visuals, and characters. That HD 2D aesthetic was taken and applied to an unlocalized SNES gem with LIVE A LIVE for its Nintendo Switch remake simply titled LIVE A LIVE. LIVE A LIVE with its varied stories, fantastic payoff, and superb aesthetic shines on the Switch OLED screen. It also has one of Yoko Shimomura’s best soundtracks. This one has a demo and I urge you to try it out to see how creative it is.
Pocky & Rocky Reshrined ($29.99)
Pocky & Rocky AKA Kiki Kaikai, was another SNES game I didn’t know about until its remake was announced. Pocky & Rocky Reshrined, a fantastic remake of the run and gun shooter debuted on PS4 and Switch before coming to Steam and also Xbox platforms recently. Now, some folks who played both versions will likely already be a bit annoyed at me calling this a remake, when it does things differently, and becomes its own new game in ways. After gorgeous recreations of classic elements, it changes things up. Reshrined in a lot of ways could also stand for remixed or re-arranged while also remaking things. Splitting hairs aside, Pocky & Rocky Reshrined is fantastic, and I will call it a remake for this list. Out of all the versions, I’ve been revisiting it on Switch and Xbox Series X quite a bit lately. It really is a gem. I’ve linked the Digital Foundry analysis video showcasing how much better this version is above.
Super Mario RPG ($59.99)
The most recent release on this list is Nintendo’s Super Mario RPG. I had heard so much about this one over the years, but never played it. As a huge fan of the Mario and Luigi games on DS and 3DS, I figured I’d end up enjoying Super Mario RPG when I got around to it. I waited and experienced it directly through the Switch remake. In a lot of ways, I wasn’t sure if this was worth including because it didn’t do much extra over the original based on what I was seeing, but as a faithful remake that brings a classic to modern times with a fresh coat of paint, Super Mario RPG is absolutely worth it. It even serves as a nice introduction to the genre for newcomers. Now that Super Mario RPG’s remake is out, hopefully Nintendo and Square Enix can add the original to Nintendo Switch Online in the future so both versions are playable on modern platforms.
Tactics Ogre: Reborn ($49.99)
Square Enix’s Tactics Ogre: Reborn, an enhanced remaster/remake of Tactics Ogre: Let us Cling Together which itself served as a remake of the SNES game, was one of the more shocking releases from the publisher in a good way. It felt like a ton of care and attention was put into making it feel great for newcomers and veteran fans. Tactics Ogre: Reborn on Switch is also the rare Square Enix remake that has no issues at all. It just feels perfect to play in handheld and docked, and fits the hybrid nature of the platform. Tactics Ogre: Reborn is one of Square Enix’s best releases in years, and an essential for tactical RPG fans.
STORY OF SEASONS: A Wonderful Life ($49.99)
Marvelous has brought quite a few Story of Seasons and Rune Factory games to Switch, but some of them have suffered technical issues. STORY OF SEASONS: A Wonderful Life, a remake of the GameCube and PS2 game, arrived on Switch and other platforms earlier this year. I hadn’t played the original release, so STORY OF SEASONS: A Wonderful Life felt like a brand new game for me. Not only is it a lovely remake, but it also serves as the best entry point into this legendary series on Switch.
Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe ($59.99)
After Kirby Star Allies disappointed me, I longed for a return to form for the series’ 2D entries from the 3DS days. When I played Kirby and the Forgotten Land, I was blown away by how good it was, but I still hoped to have a great 2D entry. When Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe released, it was my first time playing the game, and it felt like the successor to the 3DS 2D games I always wanted, despite being a remake of a Wii game. The new content is also great, and Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe is one of my favorite Kirby games.
Risk of Rain Returns ($14.99)
Risk of Rain Returns does enough to feel fresh, but manages to nail what I loved about the original with my rose tinted memories of it from back in the day on PS Vita. I adored playing Risk of Rain Returns on both Switch and Steam Deck recently, and it is the best version of a true indie classic for modern platforms. I hope it gets a Switch physical release soon, and can’t wait to play more of it over the years just like I did the original.
There are still so many great remakes like Blaster Master Zero, Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap, and more. I’d likely have been able to put together 25, but I wanted to keep this to just the best 10. With so many newer remakes as well, hopefully you found something you hadn’t played yet. If you think I missed something notable, please let me know in the comments below. As always, thanks for reading.