Must-play Neo Games on the Nintendo Switch

About four years ago I made a list of must-play Neo Geo games on the Wii Virtual Console. Since then, it’s become the most consistently accessed post on the blog. With Wii VC shutting down and Hamster continuing to release a Neo Geo game every week on Switch, it seemed like a good time to revisit the concept with Nintendo’s hybrid console in mind.

A few things to know about this list:

  1. This list is a living document. I will continue to add cool Neo Geo games to the post as they release on the Switch eshop.
  2. The port quality in the series is consistently good. No game is being left off of the list because it’s glitchy or anything. The ACA Neo Geo series has a (pretty much) universal feature set including settings for audio, video (filters, screen size, etc.), difficulty (level, continues, etc.), and region (Japanese or English version). Every game also includes online leaderboards in the form of Hi Score and Caravan modes. The games can be played in handheld, docked, or tabletop mode with the Joy Con removed. They all support screenshots, and some like Metal Slug 3 have been patched to allow for 30 second video capture. None of the games in the series offer proper online play.
  3. I love SNK and Neo Geo games. A ton. However, many of these games demand quite a bit of skill for high-level play, and that’s not me. I can tell you why Last Blade gives me chills everytime I play it, but I can’t break down the fighting mechanics and systems at play. So in the interest of giving a more complete picture in addition to my thoughts, I included links for “further reading” about the games chosen in the list.
  4. I tried to limit the number of entries from a single series. For example, while I think there is an argument to be made for every Metal Slug game to be on this list, I only included one, because that’s my favorite one. This was especially challenging with the King of Fighters series, but such is life.
  5. Attn World Heroes and Art of Fighting mega-fans: don’t read this list, you’ll only be disappointed.
  6. Finally, and this probably doesn’t matter to anyone except me, but I took all the screenshots for this article myself. This ensures that the images you’re seeing from these games is authentic Switch quality. I use the A1 (light scanline) filter (found in the options of each game).

Cool. Let’s get started.

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Ryan’s 30 Favorite Switch Games of 2017

So, I started writing my top ten Nintendo game picks for 2017. As I compiled my list, I decided to narrow it down to just Switch (Fire Emblem Echoes and Dragon Quest VIII were the only non-Switch games on the list). But I couldn’t narrow the list down to just ten games! So I thought about imposing a “NO PORTS” rule, but that seemed silly. A fun game is a fun game, regardless of whether or not it’s the new hotness debuting on a piece of hardware. As I let the ports creep in, I soon found myself with a list of about 35 games I’d enjoyed on the Switch this year. I narrowed that down to 30, so give me some credit. Anyway, here is a list of games I loved playing on my Switch this year (complete with arbitrary numeric ranking). Keep in mind, this is NOT a “Best Games On Switch!!” list. It’s my weird tastes, at this moment (December 28th at 7:30 AM Mountain Time).

So yeah, it’s pretty definitive.

Now, without any further ado…

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Revisiting Final Fantasy IV DS

With thousands of games available at the touch of a button across multiple platforms and a limited amount of free time, I’m constantly asking myself “what should I play?” Sometimes, the answer is easy: the week’s Hot New Release. Maybe I’ve been stoked for it for years, or maybe I just want to be “part of the conversation,” but in a technology and hype-driven industry, the HNR is always enchanting.

Other times, the choice is not always as clear. For me, it’s oftentimes a perfect storm of coincidences that results in me combing through my shelves (digital or physical) asking “do I have a copy of that?” And then, “how should I play it?” This was the case for me recently with Final Fantasy IV.

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Winter Blues – Why I am Setsuna is Leaving Me Cold

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Seasonal Affective Disorder typically starts “in the late fall and early winter.” It continues throughout the winter, eventually subsiding in spring to early summer.

There are many symptoms of SAD and the resulting depression, but one in particular stood out to me in regards to I am Setsuna: “losing interest in activities you once enjoyed.”

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Splatoon 2 Global Testfire First Impressions

While the Splatoon Global Testfire exists primarily as a way for Nintendo to get data and feedback on balance, server strength, etc., I had my own agenda. Outside of simply wanting to see the new stages and how the game ran on Switch, I was also excited to get a feel for the different play modes that the Switch offered.

In the video below, I played one match with the Pro Controller, motion controls on, using the ink roller. In the second match, I played with the Joy-Cons detached, Wii Remote and Nunchuck style, using the new Splat Dualies.

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Music as a Discoverable Reward in Breath of the Wild

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has proven to be a game so dense that it is many different things to different people. For many of us, BotW is a game about exploration and discovery. The game encourages exploration by doling out tiny, yet satisfying, rewards for every discovery. From Korok Seeds to shrines to materials, BotW offers plenty of incentive to venture off the beaten path.

As I continue to put hours upon hours into the game, I’m finding one of my favorite discoveries in BotW is music. Led by Animal Crossing composer Manaka Kataoka, the soundtrack here is excellent. From jazzy combat tunes to the almost Twin Peaks-esque piano piece that plays as you scale a tower, the OST is as unconventional (and high quality) as the game itself.

The music also fits with the sprawling landscape of the game’s world, as it’s used sparingly, only surfacing at specific moments. For me, finding a new place or triggering an event that has a music cue attached to it, even if it’s just a jingle, is just as exciting as discovering any riches tucked within the land of Hyrule.

As a huge fan of video game music, I will definitely be acquiring the BotW soundtrack at some point. But as for right now, I’m avoiding listening to any music from it outside of the game. At this juncture, hopping onto to YouTube and hearing a tune I hadn’t discovered yet in the game would be, for me, as big of a spoiler as <REDACTED>.