Top 6 Best Nintendo Switch Online NES Games You’ve Never Played

Top 6 Best Nintendo Switch Online NES Games You've Never Played

There are a lot of great Nintendo Switch Online NES Games. With all of these games you might be wondering what is an NES hidden gem and what’s a dud. The good news is that there are several hidden gems available in the Nintendo Switch Online NES Games library. Several that you’ve probably never even heard of. This post will cover the Top 6 Best Nintendo Switch Online NES Games You’ve Never Played!

River City Ransom

River City Ransom is a side-scrolling open-world arcade beat ’em up meets action RPG. You play as two high school students Alex and Ryan as they try and save Ryan’s kidnapped girlfriend.

Along the way, you’ll battle various gang members that have overtaken the city. The gameplay feels similar to Double Dragon, but with more RPG elements. As you defeat enemies you’ll gain gold that you can use to buy items in many stores in River City.

These items and food can restore your health but also boost your character’s stats. You’ll have many categories that grow like attack, defense, health, and much more. There are a variety of weapons that you can pick up and use against your enemies. Weapons like chains, brass knuckles, and much more.

The open-world feel of the game greatly increases the replay value as well. There isn’t a set path you have to go in River City. You are free to explore and find your own way to rescue Ryan’s girlfriend.

The game can also be played cooperatively. If you like beat ’em ups, RPGs, and side-scrolling action, I’d highly recommend River City Ransom. It’s one of the best NES games on Nintendo Switch Online and is definitely worth playing.

Blaster Master

Blaster Master is another one of the best Nintendo Switch Online NES games available right now. Plus it’s’ likely another game that you’ve probably never played. This game is an action platformer combined with a top-down dungeon crawler with many Metroidvania-style elements.

In this NES game, you play as a young boy Jason who has a pet frog. Jason’s frog escapes his cage and jumps into a deep cavern and gets in contact with a radioactive box. This causes your pet frog to grow to a massive size and escape from the cavern.

While in the cave you find a giant tank Sophia the 3rd and a special suit of armor and guns. You’ll go on an adventure exploring the vast caverns and fighting mutants. Some of them become huge bosses you’ll have to fight to find and rescue your pet frog.

The game features a huge map and many areas to explore and as you defeat bosses you’ll gain powerups giving your tank additional abilities to help you reach new areas. Things like tires that cling to walls and hover abilities. You’ll also gain power-ups for your blaster for the dungeon-crawling areas, and powerful bombs, but these bosses and areas are incredibly challenging.

If you like action platformers and Metroidvania-style gameplay you need to check out Blaster Master on the Nintendo Switch Online NES games library.

Star Tropics

Star Tropics is another great NES game on the Nintendo Switch Online service. It is an action-adventure game that plays similar to the early games of the Legend of Zelda series.

You’ll play as a young boy Mike Jones as he goes on an adventure after taking a trip to visit his archeologist uncle. When he arrives at the island his uncle is working on he finds that his uncle has disappeared and you eventually learn he has been kidnapped.

You’ll explore dungeons visit small villages and take on unique enemies to unravel the mystery of what happened to your uncle and go on a quest to rescue him. The game takes place in modern times and feels like a combination of the Legend of Zelda and Indiana Jones.

There are plenty of secrets and puzzles throughout the game and there was even a secret code hidden within the instruction booklet of the original game. You needed to soak the map included with the game in water to reveal a secret code to progress past a certain part of the game.

You’ll find weapons like baseball bats, yo-yos, slingshots, and much more to take out a variety of unique enemies. If you like action-adventure games and dungeon crawlers with a great story you should check out Star Tropic as it’s one of the best Nintendo Switch Online NES games.


Crystalis was the first action RPG I ever played. It still holds up as one of the best NES RPGs and is one of the top NES games on Nintendo Switch Online. In Crystalis, you take on the role of a hero who has just awoken from years of cryogenic sleep.

The world has slowly been recovering after the fallout of a devastating nuclear war and has reverted to medieval-like age of technology. You’ll need to take on mutant monsters and the evil Draygonian empire that are threatening to destroy the world yet again.

This action RPG features different elemental swords that give you the power of fire, water, wind, and thunder. You also have orbs and bracelets you’ll find that allow you to charge up your swords and unleash powerful projectile attacks.

Not only do these powerful attacks deal massive damage, but they can also grant you access to new areas of the map. The water sword when powered up releases a frozen slash that freezes paths across rivers as an example.

You’ll also find power-up items and spells as you explore the world and defeat major boss enemies. The level-cap of Crystalis is only level 16 so you also won’t need to spend a whole lot of time grinding and leveling up your character. You certainly can help you get past some tough bosses, but you’ll reach your max level naturally as you go through the story.

If you like action RPGs definitely check out Crystalis as it is one of the best Nintendo Switch Online NES games available.


Rygar is another hidden gem on the NES and also makes my list of the best Nintendo Switch Online NES Games. This game is an action platformer that has both RPG and Metroidvania-style elements. You’ll play as the hero trying to defeat the evil king Ligar and go on a journey to try and save your realm.

At first glance, you probably won’t realize this game is an RPG or a Metroidvania-style game either. As you defeat enemies you’ll gain two forms of experience. One that will power up your regular attack damage and another that will eventually increase your health meter.

The game is quite open-ended and there are many areas to explore. As you explore you’ll meet different gods that will give you clues on where to head next and as you defeat bosses they will also give you unique items that can help you reach new areas.

Your character also has 3 spells you can use. One will power up your main weapon and allow you a further reach, the 2nd will allow you to hit all enemies for damage even if you can’t reach them, and the final will restore your health.

The map can become quite a maze if you don’t know where you are going, so you may want to enlist the help of a walkthrough to make things a bit easier as many of the game clues can be quite cryptic.

If you haven’t played Rygar for the NES I recommend it and you can check it out on the Nintendo Switch Online NES Games library as well!

Earthbound Beginnings (Mother)

Now you may have played Earthbound for SNES, but there’s probably a really good chance you’ve never played Earthbound Beginnings. This game was originally only released in Japan and went by the title of Mother. It wasn’t until the game was brought to the Nintendo Switch Online NES games library that we got an official English translation.

In Earthbound Beginnings, you play as Ninten and other heroes to unravel the mystery of weird psychic and paranormal disturbances. You’ll encounter crazed monsters, possessed humans, household items that come to life, and even aliens.

This NES RPG has a quirky story and gameplay similar to its Super Nintendo sequel Earthbound. In a similar fashion, you’ll fight against unconventional monsters like red necks, hippies, lamps, and much more.

The battle sequences are in the first person and feel similar to other classic RPGs like Dragon Quest. Earthbound Beginnings isn’t set in a fantasy setting like most RPGs of the NES era. The setting for this classic RPG is set during the 1980s.

The Nintendo Switch Online NES games library finally released a translated version of this game and it’s definitely worth playing.

Conclusion – Best NES Games On Nintendo Switch Online

There are many great NES games on Nintendo Switch Online and several you have likely never heard of. Hopefully, in this list, you’ve found some new games to check out and play that are worth playing.

What are some of your favorite NES games? Are there any we missed? Comment below and let us know if there are any other top NES games you recommend. Are there any others you wish were on the Nintendo Switch Online NES games library? Let us know!

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