Ever since the Nintendo Switch debuted over two years ago, many smaller publishers and bigger ones have been slowly releasing more and more physical games. For many people, owning games digitally on a portable system like the Switch is great for convenience but others like myself still prefer owning physical games. I’ve been collecting physical games for many platforms but the sheer amount of new publishers and older ones going above and beyond for Switch releases is worthy of a highlight. There is also a downside to this with some publishers cheaping out on a physical release by making players download mandatory huge patches that make the physical cartridge nothing more than a license or DRM. One example of the worst kind of physical release is below:
For this feature I wanted to showcase five of the best physical releases on Switch. This does not include games that had freebies given alongside the release or any form of collector’s editions. I could’ve bent the rules to include the fantastic VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action since the Japanese physical included an artbook and a CD for free. While I have tried to cover many bases, the best physical publisher on Switch for me is definitely Nicalis with almost every release being worth owning for all physical media enthusiasts. I’ve reviewed and owned most of their catalogue digitally but still get every release physically because they really are the best at Nintendo Switch physical releases. Here are the top 5 physical releases on Nintendo Switch in no particular order:
Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA – NIS America
This release is great not only because it brings one of the best action RPGs of the generation to Switch but because NIS America clearly put in effort into the physical release. The launch edition is dubbed the “Adventurer’s Edition" and it includes a reversible cover, double sided map/poster, and three character cards in a sealed case.
Puyo Puyo Tetris – Sega of America
Puyo Puyo Tetris is a fantastic game. The physical release for this had a special bonus in North America. It included a Puyo and Tetrimino keychain and an outer box to house the game case and the metal keychains. The only complaint I have with this release is SEGA could have used better quality material for the cardboard box. The keychains are great and a lovely freebie for the launch edition. This release doesn’t have a reversible cover but SEGA made creative use of reverse art for detailing the controls.
Cave Story+ – Nicalis
Cave Story is a game that has been released multiple times across different platforms but the Nintendo Switch release is the most content complete and feature packed release out there. This is the second Nicalis release I bought and one of my favourite releases on the system. The physical launch release includes a thick colour instruction booklet, a mini CD with music, and reverse artwork featuring original Japanese artwork. It was smart of Nicalis to use a mini CD so it can fit inside the game case. The edition available now has different artwork and none of the physical goodies.
Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom – FDG Entertainment
Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom is my favourite of the retro revival / spiritual successor releases that have slowly started hitting consoles and PC. Game Atelier and FDG Entertainment’s first print Switch release is gorgeous. It has two sets of stickers, a full colour instruction booklet, reverse art that is positioned nicely for the cartridge.
Runner3 – Nicalis
Runner3’s physical release was by Nicalis on Nintendo Switch and it includes a plethora of extras. It includes a reversible cover, the game on cartridge, a lovely keychain of Commander Video which lights up, a mini CD soundtrack, and an instruction booklet. This is by far the best and most content packed physical release I own on Switch and I have over a hundred physical games for the system.
It is disappointing that many of these are out of print or hard to find now. Limited Run Games’ releases are also great but they don’t really have anything above a manual and inner art with a few exceptions like Oxenfree’s physical release that had a nice reflective cover. What are your favourite physical releases on Nintendo Switch or are you all digital?