Don't be fooled by the connection to Metroid II: this game has been revamped, redesigned and rejuvenated to such an extreme degree that to all intents and purposes it's a brand new adventure. This is far and away one of the best Metroid games ever made, and one of the best examples of the entire Metroidvania genre as a result. Melee counters and free aiming have made combat feel fresh and exciting again, while the environments are incredible – especially when viewed in auto-stereoscopic 3D. It's a given that this is a must-buy for Metroid fans, but it's also essential for those who've never played a 2D Metroid and want to see what the fuss is all about. This is what the fuss is all about, and the wait was so, so worth it.
Super Mario 3D World remains one of the better linear Mario games, and anyone playing it for the first time is in for an absolute treat. Add to that the curious bonus adventure that is Bowser's Fury and you've got a package that provides great value for money. It isn't without its flaws, but most of these (online multiplayer, repetitive missions in Bowser's Fury) relate to the new additions; the main game itself remains as pure and perfect as it was seven years ago. Had it just been Super Mario 3D World on its own, we'd be thoroughly recommending it anyway; Bowser's Fury is just the cherry on top.
Skyward Sword HD is a superb remaster of the decade-old Wii game that not only gives it a much-needed visual upgrade but also throws in so many quality of life improvements (not least of all a free camera) that it immediately makes the original version obsolete.
This phenomenal looking, remarkably detailed simulator somehow also manages to be the perfect entry point for complete beginners curious about the genre. If this is the start of a game due to be continually updated, we can’t wait to see what heights it reaches.
The original Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and its sequel are two absolute classics that deserve to be treated with reverence and respect. This new remake does exactly that, preserving what made them so enormously satisfying to play while making them look infinitely better than they ever have, all while ensuring that none of modern gaming’s more problematic trappings are allowed to infiltrate the purity of this wonderful time capsule.
Forza Horizon 5 is the best game in the series and the best Xbox Series X/S game to date. Its flawless racing and wealth of activities are backed up by a gorgeous setting and a fantastic new progression system which encourages players to focus on the features they enjoy most. Utterly essential.
Pokémon Legends is the breath of fresh air the series has needed for so long. It may not have been apparent from the trailers, but this is one of the most entertaining, engaging and engrossing games in the entire history of the Pokémon series, and is highly recommended to both long-time fans and complete newcomers.
Monster Boy is a tremendous accomplishment. It's a gorgeous looking game with a fantastic soundtrack and does its spiritual predecessors proud by nailing the Wonder Boy mechanics while still offering something that will appeal to modern audiences. As long as you can appreciate that it's still very much an old-school game at heart and you're going to get some 8-bit era platforming trickiness as a result, you're going to thoroughly enjoy playing through this adventure for the 12-15 hours it'll take you to beat it. It may not be Wonder Boy by name, but it's definitely wonderful by nature.
Cuphead was an absolute masterpiece when it launched on Xbox 18 months ago and nothing has been sacrificed in its move to the Switch. It's the same visually jaw-dropping, aurally delightful, knuckle-whiteningly difficult game it was on Microsoft's console and the Switch's library is all the better for its presence. Its focus on intense boss battles won't be to everyone's tastes, but as long as you know what you're getting yourself into we can't recommend it enough.
Despite its 'Definitive Edition' moniker, the vast majority of what you get in the Switch version of Rayman Legends has been seen in every other edition. The only truly new features here are a complete character roster for the first time and a tournament mode for its football mini-game. That's not to say it's a bad game; that couldn't be further from the truth. It's still one of the best plumber-free platformers ever made, and its budget price means if you haven't played it before this is the perfect time to jump in. Just be warned: if you already got your fill on Wii U or any other system, there isn't really much here you won't have already seen.
If you've been craving an arcade racer for your Switch, look no further. Horizon Chase Turbo is a hugely enjoyable love letter to a gaming era when the cars were fast, the music was catchy, the action was smooth and the sky was bluer than an Eddie Murphy stand-up routine. Its enormous selection of tracks, addictive World Tour mode and excellent local multiplayer make it an absolute must-have for anyone even remotely interested in the genre.
We're very careful when we use this word, but Gris is a masterpiece. Its jaw-dropping visual style and heart-wrenching score combine for one of the most emotional pieces of interactive art you'll ever play. It may be too short for some, its puzzles may be on the simple side and the lack of any real challenge may not be to everyone's taste, but this is a game focused more on fragility than ability and as long as you're willing to go along for the ride, it's one that will stick with you for a very long time indeed.
If you originally missed out on the 3DS port, this is about as essential a retro release as you can get. Out Run has always been an infinitely playable game, and the new unlockables and online rankings only increase its longevity further. Those with the 3DS version will have to decide whether it's worth buying what's more or less the same game again in order to play it on their TV, but for everyone else with an interest in retro gaming, it's a must-have.
While it's a shame that there are fewer games here than in other Konami collections – we'd have loved to have seen NES title Contra Force or the now-extinct WiiWare title Contra ReBirth – the ones included are universally brilliant. The 8-bit and 16-bit Contra games are among the finest examples of the run 'n gun genre, and to have almost all of them included in a single release and emulated flawlessly is an absolute treat. Whether you're a fan of the series or a curious onlooker who's always wanted to see what the fuss was all about, this is essential.
Not since Scott Pilgrim vs The World was released nine years ago have we played such an entertaining, satisfying beat 'em up. Whether you're playing alone or teaming up with a friend in co-op mode, River City Girls is a visually superb, aurally fantastic, out-and-out love letter to the genre. Fans of River City Ransom and other Kunio-kun games will adore how it respects the past but makes it relevant today, while those new to the series will simply find a hugely enjoyable and infectiously cheerful scrapper.
Sayonara Wild Hearts is the video game equivalent of Prince: it's extremely short and its journey maybe ends a little sooner than you'd hoped, but it packs so many varied and beautiful ideas into its brief life and masters so many different styles that even though there's a real disappointment it's over so quickly, what it did give you will remain with you for an extremely long time. A true creative masterpiece.