Hello, friends. Upon reviewing the paperwork here at TouchArcade Towers, I noticed that the last time we compiled a list of the best beat-em-up games on the Nintendo Switch was in 2021. Wow! While we knew the sweet flavor of Streets of Rage 4 by then, we were still living in a pre-Shredder’s Revenge world. In other words, we’re well past due to add ten more great games to that pile. Just like our other follow-up “Best of” lists, this doesn’t replace the original article but rather appends to it. When you’re done reading this one, make sure to head back and check that one out as well. In no particular order, here are ten more great beat-em-ups to play on your Nintendo Switch.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge ($24.99)
It was never going to be an easy job to create a modern TMNT brawler that lived up to the Konami classics, which are some of the best and most beloved games in the genre. Much to the surprise of many, the developers rose to the challenge with Shredder’s Revenge. It’s an excellent brawler whether you’re playing alone or with friends, and it’s packed to the brim with winks and nods for fans of the Turtles to enjoy. It feels very much like a descendent of the Konami games, but expands on them in a lot of smart ways that make for a fun and smooth experience. A must-have for anyone interested in the genre.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Cowabunga Collection ($39.99)
At first I thought I shouldn’t include two TMNT titles in one list, but I would be doing a disservice to the readers if I didn’t also mention the Cowabunga Collection. It collects all of the classic era Konami TMNT games, and that means you get the outstanding TMNT: The Arcade Game (arcade and NES), TMNT: Turtles in Time (arcade and Super NES), and TMNT: The Hyperstone Heist (Genesis). There are several other titles on here in the action, platforming, and fighting genres, but even on the strength of the beat-em-ups and the included archival material alone it is worth the price.
Castle Crashers Remastered ($14.99)
The beat-em-up genre has had some big ups and downs over the years, but a few games managed to stick in the collective consciousness even when things were at their leanest. Castle Crashers is perhaps one of the most famous from the post-arcade era, presenting a ridiculous adventure with lots of action and humor to keep the good times rolling all the way to the very end. You never quite know what is going to happen next in this game your first time through, but even if you’ve played it a hundred times it’s still a blast.
Double Dragon Advance ($6.99)
A little respect for one of the grandfathers of the genre. Double Dragon isn’t where it all started, but it did a lot to popularize the genre and set down a lot of its structure. That arcade original is also very hard to go back to now, but if you want to have a good time with it in some form then you should check out Double Dragon Advance. It mashes elements of various Double Dragon games together into one game, and offers a lot more depth than you might initially think. I think it may well be the best Double Dragon game, and it’s presented very nicely here.
River City: Rival Showdown ($24.99)
Let’s touch on another important franchise from the history of the genre. River City: Rival Showdown is, theoretically, a remake of River City Ransom. It certainly tells a similar story, and you’ll recognize many aspects of it if you’re familiar with the original game. With that said, the experience is quite different. The game takes place across four days, and certain events will only occur at particular times and locations. If you aren’t there at the right time, you’ll miss it. It creates a lot of replay value, and if you want to see the best ending you’ll need to plan your route carefully. There isn’t much else like this in the genre on Switch, and it’s worth checking out.
Final Vendetta ($24.95)
If you’re looking for a brawler that will kick your butt six ways from Sunday, Final Vendetta is your ticket. This game is gorgeous, with excellent sprites and interesting, detailed backgrounds to catch your eye as you smash heads. The gameplay is very good, but the level of challenge is rather high so you’ll need to practice plenty if you ever want to see the end. Still, even if you lose again and again, you’ll find this to be a satisfying, visceral experience. And I have to say it again: it looks and sounds fantastic.
The Friends of Ringo Ishikawa ($14.99)
Let’s slow things down a little for this one. While River City Ransom takes an over-the-top approach to the 1980s Japanese juvenile delinquent culture, The Friends of Ringo Ishikawa tries to do things a little more dramatically. What happens to a young hooligan after high school is over? How will he spend those last months with his friends, knowing they’re likely going to go their separate ways? There is plenty of action in this game, especially if you go looking for it, but it’s equally strong as a narrative experience. A unique game that might just be exactly what you’re looking for.
Dawn of the Monsters ($29.99)
Alright, back to the mayhem. This isn’t a conventional beat-em-up by any means, and the stages aren’t nearly the stars they usually are in games of this genre. But if you want the experience of being a giant monster smashing other giant monsters in destructible cities, Dawn of the Monsters delivers on that promise with interest. It’s certainly a bit more shallow than some of the other games I’ve talked about here, but it’s another one of those games where if you’re in the right mood it will hit the spot like no other brawler could.
Capcom Arcade Stadium ($39.99)
Capcom Arcade Stadium covers two separate releases, each offering their selection a la carte or in bundles. It just so happened that Capcom loaded up pretty much all of its beat-em-ups into this first collection, and I think it’s well worth buying all the way in rather than picking out the beat-em-ups. From stone cold classics like Final Fight to lesser-known but still fantastic games like Battle Circuit, there’s plenty of quality action to be found here. You also get some fun extra modes and challenges to give you even more reasons to play.
Mayhem Brawler ($19.99)
There are a lot of decent indie brawlers that perhaps don’t quite reach the upper tiers of the genre, but are still worth picking up and playing. Mayhem Brawler is one of those, and if you’re looking for something vaguely similar to Streets of Rage while still being somewhat distinct, it’s a good pick. The visuals are quite good, and the impact of the hits is solid. The story and dialogue aren’t great, but there are other games in this article to go to if that’s what you’re after. Meat and potatoes stuff, but it will certainly fill your belly.
And that’s the lot for this time. Do you have any beat-em-ups on Switch that you like and don’t see here? Hit the comments below and let us all know. The whole point of these articles is to find good new games to play, and I think “the more the merrier” is in full effect in that case. We’ll be back with more updated recommendations in other genres soon, so do look forward to that. Thanks for reading!