Kirby 64 has finally arrived on the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack, so it’s the perfect time to revisit this dynamic, real-time ranking of every announced game for the service and add (or maybe even reevaluate) your User Ratings for every one you’ve played. Enjoy!
The library of N64 games available with the ‘Expansion Pack’ for the Nintendo Switch Online subscription service boasts some of the system’s heaviest hitters and it’s a good first pass at getting a varied catalogue of quality 64-bit games in the hands of Switch owners.
But which of the N64 games coming the Nintendo Switch Online are the very best? Well, we can answer that question with the help of Nintendo Life readers who have rated the titles on our Games Database.
The following list is compiled using the User Ratings (out of 10) given to each N64 game scheduled to arrive on Switch in the West. It should be noted that this ranking is not set in stone and will automatically fluctuate over time depending on assigned User Ratings (and new additions to the NSO library, of course).
Think a game below deserves to be higher up on the list? Simply click on the ‘star’ button and score it yourself — your personal rating could boost its placement in the overall ranking.
So, sit back and enjoy the best N64 games coming to Nintendo Switch soon…
We don’t know about you, but games like Operation: WinBack (as this was known in Europe and Australia) and Konami’s Hybrid Heaven occupied a the B-tier on our ‘to get’ lists back in the day — they looked interesting, but they were way down the list behind the first-party purchases and many of us simply never got around to catching up with them once the 64-bit generation came to an end.
While Koei’s third-person shooter wouldn’t go down in the annals of covert ops gaming as a classic, its cover system felt fresh back in 1999 and the ability to check out the game on Switch and place it in its historical context is most welcome.
This puzzler is essentially a 64-bit remake of the original Dr. Mario and was never released in Europe or Japan (although it did appear in the Japan-only Nintendo Puzzle Collection on GameCube alongside Panel de Pon and Yoshi’s Cookie). Dr. Mario 64 is just Dr. Mario, but prettier than it had ever been; a solid puzzler with little to get too angry or excited about.
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo EAD
Coming after the incredible (and incredibly beautiful) Yoshi’s Island on SNES, it’s no surprise that Yoshi’s Story rubbed some people the wrong way with its accessible, storybook approach and cutesiness. It’s certainly not the strongest or most complex 2D platformer you’ll ever play, but it’s brimming with the Yoshi series’ trademark charm and we’d say it’s worthy of reassessment if you’ve dismissed it in the past.
The N64 wasn’t blessed with an abundance of side-on platformers, but armed with the knowledge that this isn’t a 64-bit Yoshi’s Island, this is a great little game starring everyone’s favourite fruit-munching dino.
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: HAL Laboratory
In Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, HAL Laboratory managed to keep the core structure many knew and loved about the Kirby series while glossing it up with a shiny coat of polygonal paint for the new console generation.
Kirby’s 64-bit foray into the third dimension (well, kinda — it’s 2.5D, or on-rails 3D, if you prefer) stands out as one of the more unique entries in the series, feeling somewhat fresh in comparison to the many, many 2D Kirby platformers and still pleasurable to play to this day.
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: HAL Laboratory
The whole concept of catching Pokémon and making them battle each other doesn’t bear thinking too deeply about, but the idea of going out on a safari and shooting the critters was never going to wash. Switch a gun for a camera, though, and you’ve got yourself a fun little ‘mon-filled rail-shooter.
Pokémon Snap might have only had 63 Pocket Monsters available, but the outpouring of love shown for the original game when the long awaited sequel came to Switch in 2021 is testament to its charm. The act of hunting down Pokémon arguably wouldn’t be bettered until years later when Niantic caught the world’s attention with Pokémon GO.
Camelot brought Mario and his golfing pals onto the 3D fairways in this excellent entry in his catalogue of sports games. This game also linked up with the superlative Mario Golf for Game Boy Color. They’re very different games, and the handheld version is probably even better thanks to its brilliant RPG elements, but together they make an unbeatable pair. When we’re disappointed that later games like Mario Golf: Super Rush don’t match the quality of older entries, it’s Mario Golf that we’re remembering with a faraway wistful look in our eyes.
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Treasure
Gamers in the West wouldn’t be able to get their hands on Treasure’s hectic N64 on-rails shooter (not easily, that is — there was always the option to import) until it came to the Wii U Virtual Console.
On original release it quickly became a cult classic thanks to its developer’s heritage and its Japan-only status, and while it’s probably not worth importing a Japanese console to enjoy this game alone (we did, but we’re a bit obsessive), and its sequel Sin and Punishment: Star Successor for Wii arguably improves on this foundation in every way, this is still a very fine shooter from a very fine developer.
Cracking box art, too.
The first in the Mario Tennis series (second, if you count Mario’s Tennis for the Virtual Boy) was one of a winning doubles team in the Mushroom Kingdom sports department from Camelot — the studio also released the brilliant Mario Golf for N64, as well as Game Boy Color versions of each game that linked up with their home console cousins via the Transfer Pak.
Mario’s played a lot of tennis over the years, but this remains one of his finest on-court showings.