The Nintendo Switch surprisingly has become my go-to console for playing two of my favorite genres, arcade-style shooters and straight to the point beat’em ups. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a strong dialogue-heavy adventure/action game but more often than not, I just want to jump in a game to shoot bad guys and do some over the top fisticuffs.
All the games on my list are multi-platform and the main reason I single out the Nintendo Switch as the go-to platform is for the portability factor. These games are suited perfectly when playing in handheld mode. So enough of the chatter, let’s get to the games.
Publisher – Devolver Digital
Developer – Deadtoast
This over the top platform shooter is an instant classic. The story is simple. You play as a guy who just got the snot beaten out of him and in turn, an imaginary banana named Pedro appears to guide him on a bloodthirsty journey for revenge. The beautiful art design and entrancing soundtrack set the stage for some crazy acrobatic bullet-time gameplay.
How about shooting an enemy’s head off then punt kicking his head to knock out his buddy behind him? You earn a score and a grade level based on your performance which motivates you to replay the stage to obtain that glorious “A” rating. If you want more info on this game then feel free to check out my review. Spoiler – I gave it a 90%
Publisher – Devolver Digital
Developer – Le Cartel Studio
Mother Russia Bleeds is an insanely violent 16-bit style side-scrolling beat’em up. You play one of four characters that street fights for money in a fictional 1980’s Russia ruled by the Soviet Union. During a fight, some shady men arrive and kidnap you to perform drug experiments on. A month later you and the other three escape and all hell breaks loose. Each character has a unique move set, but all can perform horrific pain on their target. You are now addicted to this drug and can harvest it from dead enemies. This will also fill your rage meter and when activated will for a short time turn you into an unstoppable killing machine.
A unique feature to Mother Russia Bleeds is the ability to have AI teammates. You can add one or all three additional characters and unleash all-out brawls. If a teammate is down then you have the ability to revive him. The same applies if you are downed. The fast paced action along with creative stage design makes this an absolute blast to play.
Publisher – The Arcade Crew
Developer – JoyMasher
Blazing Chrome is everything we wanted and wished from a new Contra game but never received. Developer’s JoyMasher has done an amazing job creating this challenging platform shooter. Play alone or co-op to take down the Skynet like robots now controlling our world. The art and audio design scream the 1980s and if this was loaded into an arcade cabinet (which I might do for a future project) you would think it was an actual game from that time period.
You will have a continuous smile on your face while progressing through this Thrill ride of a game. One minute you are run & gunning, the next you are jumping into a mech suit to do battle with heavily armed enemies or speeding down the road on a motorcycle with enemies attacking you from all angles. This would absolutely be a quarter muncher if it was in the arcades as you will die frequently. Each boss battle has a unique feel and requires you to strategize your approach.
Developer – WayForward
I’m pretty sure this is a no brainer for those familiar with the Kunio-kun series. This is a spin-off of the 1989 beat’em up classic “River City Ransom” which was released on multiple platforms such as NES, PC Engine and Gameboy Advance just to name a few. In River City Ransom (RCR) Kunio and Riki battle high school bullies and other bad dudes throughout River City with the end goal of rescuing Riki’s girlfriend who has been kidnapped by a super bully named “Slick”.
In River City Girls, you now play as the girlfriends of Kunio and Riki who have both been kidnaped by an unknown foe. This is a beautifully colorful beat’em up with some RPG elements sprinkled in. You can take multiple paths and purchase health items along with other goodies to help you on your journey. The combat system is true to form with a jump, weak and strong attack. River City Girls also has some entertaining dialogue and an ending that no one could have predicted.
Publisher – QUByte Interactive
Developer – QUByte Interactive
The first word to come out of my mouth after playing this game was “WOW!” This amazing 16-bit style beat’em up incorporates so many new & old gameplay elements from multiple genres. The story is very straight forward. A magical artifact called the “99vidas” is missing and it’s your job to find it. Each character has a unique move set and new playable characters can be unlocked. There are also tons of unlockable moves for these characters which keeps the gameplay fresh.
Each character can perform a special attack. Similar to the special attacks in Streets of Rage, when performed all enemies on screen will either be killed or knocked down. Each level has a unique design and throws something unexpected at you. For example, in one level as your battling what appears to be an endless wave of enemies there is a truck behind you steadily approaching to run you over. There are multiple fun game modes to keep you playing for hours especially since this version comes with all the DLC.
Now if you are more of a nostalgia gamer when it comes to these genres the following titles are also must-haves to fill that itch.
Contra Anniversary Collection – infamous 30 lives code still works
Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle – yes, Final Fight arcade version is included
SEGA Genesis Classics – includes Streets of Rage 1, 2 and 3
ACA NEOGEO METAL SLUG 3 – The other games in the franchise are also available but in my opinion, this was the best of the bunch.
Mega Man Legacy Collection – …its MEGA-MAN!