The Best Nintendo Switch Physical Releases of 2021 – SwitchArcade Special

This year was fantastic for Nintendo Switch releases across new and old games from both first and third party studios. More and more games are releasing physically through large retail channels and specialist online stores and boutique publishers. 2021 has seen some interesting physical releases across different regions with one I didn’t expect to be as good as it ended up being. If you’ve been reading prior SwitchArcade Specials on physical releases, XSEED Games and NIS America are regulars who return for the feature in 2021. Here are the top 5 physical releases on Nintendo Switch in 2021 in no particular order with some honorable mentions at the end.

The House in Fata Morgana: Dreams of the Revenants Edition ($39.99)

When I got into visual novels years ago, I kept hearing about The House in Fata Morgana. I ended up avoiding spoilers and finally playing it when it hit PS4 and PS Vita a few years ago and it blew me away. It remains one of my favorite stories in any medium ever. The console version was released outside Japan thanks to Limited Run Games and it included the base game, the prequel, a voiced sequel, and more. The physical release on Nintendo Switch was handled by Limited Run Games and it included more than the PS4 and PS Vita versions I bought before. Not only does it include the features patched into the PS4 version on the cartridge, but it also has lovely reversible art of the characters and a color manual. The House in Fata Morgana: Dreams of the Revenants Edition is a very special game and I’m glad it got such a lovely physical release.

Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle ($49.99)

Cygames’ Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle for Nintendo Switch released in the West through Xseed Games in North America and it is a game I didn’t expect to see released outside Japan let alone one that gets a proper physical release. Shadowverse is available on mobile and PC platforms worldwide, but it felt like Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle for Nintendo Switch would remain in Japan. Xseed Games went above and beyond for the release with an English dub option and a great physical release. If you buy Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle in North America, it includes a full color instruction booklet with some comics, tips, and a guide for the classes in the game. It also has reversible art with the controls and interface explained. Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle is featured here because it is an excellent game that got a physical release it deserves in the West. I hope we eventually get a sequel.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV ($59.99)

NIS America continues the tradition of bringing Falcom games to the West physically with excellent releases with The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV on Nintendo Switch. This version released a few months after the PS4 version and it includes a full reversible cover, a full color mini artbook, and a code for a sampler for songs in the game. This is all included in the “Frontline Edition" which is the only retail release The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV got on Nintendo Switch. Ys IX: Monstrum Nox from NIS America and Falcom got a similar physical release on Nintendo Switch, but The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV is a much bigger game brought out on a cartridge in a much better conversion. While it requires a lot of prior knowledge of the series to play, if you have kept up with the Trails of Cold Steel games before, this is a must have physical release.

Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town ($49.99)

Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town launched in a bit of a rough state earlier in the year on Nintendo Switch. Since then, the developers have gone above and beyond with patches to not only address the major issues, but also to build on what the DLC added to the game and make it a great Story of Seasons experience on Nintendo Switch. The physical release has reversible art (not a cover) and a tourist guide booklet. This booklet has the map, information about NPCs, the various points of interest, timings for stores, and a lot more. Unlike just an artbook, this booklet has useful information that helps a lot in the early hours of the game. The Story of Seasons releases have always had great physical releases in the West and Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town continues that tradition. Xseed Games earns two spots in this feature for the best physical releases on Nintendo Switch.

Dying Light Platinum Edition ($49.99)

I’ve played and reviewed a lot of Switch ports over the years ranging from unplayable to unbelievably good. Dying Light Platinum Edition from Techland Games is one of the best big game ports on Nintendo Switch. When I started playing it a little before release, I was floored at how well it felt despite the few technical issues (which have since been addressed in patches). Dying Light Platinum Edition also had a lovely physical release that varies by region. The good news is that all versions include the base game with all DLC on the cartridge. The European version ships with a double-sided map, stickers, survival guide, and reversible art. For North America, some retailers seem to have this, but the regular release is just the game cartridge in a standard case. If you don’t care about the bonus extras, the standard physical release is still worth it for owning this massive game with all DLC on a single cartridge. Good on Techland Games for not cheaping out like certain other publishers forcing a massive download on Nintendo Switch physical releases.

The two games below have physical releases that I wanted to highlight as honorable mentions. I try and avoid featuring limited editions or more expensive editions, but No More Heroes 3’s lovely limited edition in Japan and the Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid’s new release are worth a highlight.

Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid – Super Edition ($49.99)

Fighting games have moved to multiple season passes or character packs to prolong the life of a game over the years. This has led to the original retail releases being pretty worthless in many cases. Thankfully, Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid has gotten a few retail releases since it launched with the Super Edition including all DLC and patches as of the release day on cartridge. This is the most complete version of the game with only the fourth pass not included. I hope we eventually get another Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid retail release with all content included once the game is no longer receiving new content. The Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid – Super Edition is superb value and it even includes three season passes, the Street Fighter pack, and more. If you’ve held off on Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid so far, the Super Edition is the version to get.

No More Heroes 3 Killion Dollar Trilogy (Japan Import)

I love Grasshopper Manufacture’s No More Heroes 3 and was glad to see it get a large scale retail release in all regions this year on Nintendo Switch. The Japanese release was also available as a limited bundle that had both the first games on a single cartridge alongside No More Heroes 3 on its own cartridge. This was the only way to get the first two games physically outside the original Limited Run Games release. Since then, they have seen a separate Asian release, but the No More Heroes 3 Killion Dollar Trilogy is a fantastic package that I wanted to highlight here as an honorable mention. It also has a gorgeous outer cover and included two lovely pre-order bonuses in the form of a sticker sheet and a nice glass.

With 2021 done, I want to know what you thought of the Switch library this year across digital and physical releases. With many interesting ports and retail releases, what were your favorite releases of the year and did you grab any of the physical releases highlighted in this feature yet?

(Special thanks to my friend @thoraxes for help with photographs for The House in Fata Morgana, Shadowverse, and Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town)