The Legend of Steel Empire remains a faithful reimagination of the original release, even including the end credits gag. It will take a medium-skilled player less than an hour to do a complete loop but it is such a good time, that can't be considered a fault. While it doesn't quite enter the bullet hell pantheon of other shoot 'em ups on Switch, it is certainly worth the shelf space in your collection and might be the perfect excuse to dust off your arcade stick in 2024. Maybe one day down the line we'll get a proper 16:9 sequel handled by the original HOT-B staff, but in the meantime, this is a welcome return for the original.
Double Dragon Neon is an old game for sure, but fortunately, it's far from being an outdated one. Under the watchful consultation of series creator Yoshihisa Kishimoto, WayForward managed to successfully reboot the franchise back in 2012 for a whole new audience by adding a healthy dose of craziness to the more classic tropes of the genre, and that inventiveness still holds merit in 2021. What other game allows you to stop, pop'n'lock, break dance and beatbox mid-level? The Lee brothers have just become the perfect way to spend your time until Mr. Scott Pilgrim drops onto the eShop early next year.
The Eternal Castle [REMASTERED] is a neo-retro masterpiece. Even if you play the game from start to finish just once in a single sitting and never come back to it, this minimalist post-apocalyptic epic will stay with you for years to come. If you already have Another World and Flashback in your Switch collection and are looking for the next true evolution of the genre, look no further. They just don't make them like this any more… and we found ourselves wondering 'why not?'.
1993 Shenandoah is an unexpectedly polarizing title: previous Commodore Amiga owners and fans will undoubtedly love it and blissfully enjoy the sights and sounds of their beloved childhood, but folks who either missed out on the Amiga or are too young to know the machine might feel completely baffled that such titles managed to hold anyone's attention for long.
Rigid Force Redux is a short but extremely sweet 2.5D shmup that fans of the genre will find appetizing, while everyone else will likely praise its accessibility when stacked against Japanese bullet hell blasters. While we admit that the game is very derivative and sadly does not use the interesting core mechanics to their full potential, it still remains a truly enjoyable experience that plays, looks and sounds like a dream – it's just a shame that this dream is so fleeting. However, considering the long wait ahead for the release of R-Type Final 2, Rigid Force Redux does a decent enough job of filling the void.
Space Invaders: The Invincible Collection does a competent job in bringing in over four decades of alien shooting action to your Switch in a comfortable and accessible package. Solo players will relish the challenge of the online leaderboards, while fun multiplayer antics are provided by a couple of the available titles. The fact that there are no real emulation issues proves to be a relief, but there are also a few aspects that feel like missed opportunities: Space Invaders Extreme II is a no show and Arkanoid X Space Invaders is a straight-up mobile port with no Switch specific extras. While this is definitely an import to consider for genre fans, it slightly misses that essential purchase status thanks to the issues we mentioned. However, if you’re going for the complete Switch shmup library, you certainly won’t regret the investment.
In summary, Kunio’s catchphrase “Don’t underestimate me!” perfectly describes the content of this compilation. Do not be surprised to find most of these decades-old Famicom games among your go-to choices when you have friends around.
Speedway Racing is a mostly competent but ultimately unexceptional attempt to emulate the thrills and spills of Daytona USA – a courageous endeavour indeed. But like the many faux sponsorship advertisements dotted around this game’s speedways, closer inspection drops the curtain to reveal some hard-to-ignore shortcomings.
For the tiny asking price you get a complete and charming single experience that will keep rewarding your efforts with extra content that, in turn, helps to expand the multiplayer portion of the game. Tight controls and enjoyable in-game physics seal the deal, and while a more traditional racing mode would have been nice, what's on offer more than justifies the low asking price.
Stay Cool, Kobayashi-san!: A River City Ransom Story is an interesting entry in a genre that is experiencing a revival of sorts on the Switch thanks to the ever-increasing number of re-releases and brand new experiences.
If parachuting onto an island with 99 other people (or, alternatively, staring at a black hole for hours) is your exclusive definition of Battle Royal(e), we can be fairly certain that you weren't around at a time when Kunio’s 8-bit, 4-player multitap-enabled Famicom rumbles coined the expression.
Vasara Collection jumps from obscurity into the top tier of bullet hells on the Switch by offering both original brilliant titles without any technical hiccups and supporting the ever popular TATE option along with a whole new game that proves to be one of the few proper four-player options of the genre on the system. The zany characters and plot just make things sweeter, and make up for the somewhat derivative origin of the series. Considering the relative obscurity of the original releases, for a reasonable asking price you might just end up with three quality, 'brand new' manic shooters in your collection.
War Tech Fighters does exhibit a few rough spots here and there, but it is undeniable that it ticks all the right boxes for any self-respecting mecha fan. As of right now, it's a toss-up between this and Project Nimbus Complete Edition for the title of top mecha game on Switch, but if you're after a fast and exciting robot-based space shooter and don't mind long loading times and the odd awkward menu system, then this is worth a look.
Psyvariar Delta truly is a comprehensive package that combines all the features from both Medium Unit and Revision, giving the player the chance to customize the experience in a way that has never been possible in prior releases. Add in the graphical upgrade, Tate support (which is perfect for the Flip Grip, by the way), an exclusive level, a new optional character to use and smooth performance either docked or portable, and this becomes a must-have for any Switch-owning shooter fan; however, casual players or those who simply aren't fans of the genre may find the focus on high scores and short length off-putting.
Over the years, Windjammers has slowly achieved cult status due to its simple pick-up-and-play controls that hide complex mechanics that only become apparent the more you play against human opponents. Data East's extreme sports versus title has now arrived on the ultimate multiplayer-friendly console, once again brandishing the same fast and addictive gameplay that had us hooked in 1994. Despite the passing of the decades the core gameplay still manages to entertain, and the 2D visuals have likewise stood the test of time rather well. The bone of contention remains the single-player side of things; if you're playing alone, you'll get bored relatively quickly. However, with online play and easy-to-configure local multiplayer, there's plenty of scope to embrace the game's true USP: two-player action.
Cycle 28 disguises itself as a solid arcade shooter with minimalist aesthetics but slowly reveals itself to be something far beyond that. It successfully manages to engulf the player in the mystery that led to the player character's current predicament and entices you to seek the truth, find answers to questions you didn't know existed and attempt to break the cycle and… who knows, maybe freedom and a happy conclusion? We rarely get to play video games where each 'Game Over' offers the possibility to solve a mystery, so we kept coming back to it again and again - and so will you.