The Nintendo Switch Online service recently introduced a collection of Nintendo 64 titles. It’s only fair that we rank them.
Releasing in 1996, the Nintendo 64 saw many revolutionary titles across the console’s lifespan. Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda ushered in a new era of gaming. Many games released today owe features we take for granted to these innovative titles.
Beyond those two games, many other releases saw widespread success on the beloved Nintendo console. For example, Banjo-Kazooie, GoldenEye 007, and Perfect Dark helped establish Rare as a premiere developer.
Today we’re going to rank every available Nintendo 64 game for Nintendo Switch Online from worst to best. Since Nintendo routinely releases new games for the service, we’ll update our list as new titles become available.
Win Back: Covert Operations is a third-person shooter for the Nintendo 64
One of the lesser known Nintendo 64 games for Nintendo Switch Online, Win Back: Covert Operations is a third-person shooter that was originally released in 1999.
Developed by Omega Force, the title was released on both N64 and PlayStation 2 (in 2001). Sadly, the limitations of the N64 controller were evident; the lack of a dual-stick control setup meant that the cover-based shooting wasn’t always effective. Furthermore, the graphics were limited by the Nintendo 64 hardware.
There’s a lot of potential within Win Back: Cover Operations, but sadly it was never fully realized.
Yoshi’s Story is a charming and accessible platformer
If you’re looking for a cute platformer that you can defeat with little to no challenge, look no further than Yoshi’s Story.
One of the easier Nintendo 64 games on Nintendo Switch Online, Yoshi’s Story is the perfect example of the type of game you’d want to rent rather than buy. Its presentation is top-notch, and there’s no denying its charm. Once you get past that, however, the gameplay is relatively shallow.
This is a game designed and marketed to a younger audience, one that may be turned off by the intimidating size and scope of other games that we’ll talk about on this list. In this regard, Yoshi’s Story succeeds. If you’re looking for anything beyond that, you’ll be disappointed.
Pokémon Puzzle League features characters from the anime series
While it may not compare to other puzzle games out there, Pokémon Puzzle League is still an enjoyable time.
Heavy influence from the anime is obvious from the get-go; Ash, Brock, Misty, Team Rocket, Gary, and others all make appearances in the game as both playable and non-playable characters. This helps add a connection to the television series that doesn’t always exist in the video games.
The gameplay is, sadly, satisfactory at best. There’s nothing entirely special going on here, but there’s still a good time and solid Pokémon game to be found here.
Dr. Mario 64 is a remake of the original game
Next on our list of the best Nintendo 64 games for Nintendo Switch Online is a superior puzzle title.
Dr. Mario 64 doesn’t necessarily do much to innovate beyond the original, but it also doesn’t have to either. A remake of the original, Dr. Mario 64 delivers a satisfying puzzle experience. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it doesn’t try to, either. Instead, the focus is on refinement over innovation.
The type of N64 game you can start playing and easily lose track of time, you can’t go wrong with Dr. Mario 64 as a part of the Nintendo Switch Online library of Nintendo 64 games.
Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards is a vibrant platformer
While this platformer didn’t receive as much love as other marquee Nintendo franchises, Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards is still a solid outing for the little pink puffball.
The side-scrolling platform benefits greatly from the jump to the Nintendo 64 hardware. Kirby 64 is a beautiful game, filled with bright and vibrant colors that invite the player in. It may lack the depth of other platformers, but that’s never been Kirby’s forte.
It’s hard to compare Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards with the recently released Kirby and the Forgotten Land. They’re opposite games; the former is a simple, satisfying, and accessible platforming adventure. The latter pushes the envelope and combines everything great about the Kirby franchise with modern platforming design and a decent challenge. That’s not to say Crystal Shards is bad, but instead that you need to be aware of what you’re getting yourself into.
It’s definitely more complex than Yoshi’s Story.
F-Zero X features 60 beautiful frames per second of racing action
The futuristic racer is a welcome addition to the collection of Nintendo 64 games on Nintendo Switch Online. We may not have a new F-Zero game soon, but we can still relive the series’ glory days.
It may not have aged as well as the GameCube version, but F-Zero X is still a good game. The high-octane fast-paced racing the series is known for is alive and well here. The game’s visual quality isn’t on par with other Nintendo 64 games, but the steady frame rate makes up for it.
Pokémon Snap is a relaxing and charming Nintendo 64 Switch Online game
There’s something incredibly relaxing about the Pokémon Snap experience. It lacks the pressure or grind of the mainline franchise, instead focusing on taking pictures of Pokémon in the wild.
Pokémon Snap succeeds as a spin-off thanks to its charming and laid-back atmosphere. Despite being graded on your performance, there’s never a sense or feeling of pressure as you play the game. Instead, the main focus is kicking back, relaxing, and taking pictures of Pokémon.
One big issue with the original release was whether or not it was worth the full MSRP price. On the Nintendo 64 for Nintendo Switch Online library, however, there’s no concern about extracting full value. Pokémon Snap is a perfect pick-up and play type of game.
Mario Golf is a solid Mario sports title
The second entry in the Mario Golf franchise, though the first one with the Mario Golf moniker, is a great addition to the Nintendo 64 library on Nintendo Switch Online.
While it lacks the depth of its Game Boy Color counterpart, the core gameplay is still fantastic. Mario Golf’s N64 outing rivals others in the series, including the Switch’s own Mario Golf Super Rush.
The only real detriment here is the previously mentioned lack of RPG elements from the Game Boy Color version. However, don’t let that make you think this is a shallow game. There’s still plenty to love.
Mario Tennis is a great sports game on Nintendo 64 Switch Online
The debut of the Mario Tennis franchise delivers an authentic tennis experience for the Nintendo 64.
Few of the Mario Sports games have delivered a legitimate experience that rivals those of mainstream sports titles. The Nintendo 64’s Mario tennis is an outstanding tennis experience, combining an impressive physics system with the personality and flair you’d expect from a Mario game.
Like Mario Golf, Mario Tennis lacks the RPG-like story and depth that its Game Boy Color counterpart has. Don’t let that fool you, though. There’s a lot to do here, easily dwarfing the most recently Mario Tennis release on Nintendo Switch a few years ago.
Wave Race 64 is an impressive Nintendo 64 launch title
What started as a tech demo for the Nintendo 64 became one of its most iconic launch titles.
Wave Race 64 is an impressive game that’s undoubtedly one of the best N64 games for Nintendo Switch Online. Just writing this now, I’m humming the iconic theme song in my head.
Combining an arcade-style racer approach with impressive water physics, Wave Race 64 offers the right amount of challenge and fun. It may not have had the lasting legacy of Mario Kart, but it’s still a great game.
Star Fox 64 is a Nintendo 64 classic on Nintendo Switch Online
The game that the Super Nintendo Star Fox was always meant to be, Star Fox 64 is an arcade rail shooter at its finest.
Piloting the Arwing alongside Peppy, Falco, and Slippy through the nonlinear space progression is an absolute blast. Each planet/region offers unique objectives and enemy encounters. Missions vary from progressing through the on-rails track to aerial combat within an enclosed arena.
What helps elevate Star Fox 64 is the constant in-game banter. It’s both insanely quotable and surprisingly natural.
Sin & Punishment is a long-lost classic for Nintendo 64 on Switch Online
An arcade rail shooter fan’s dream come true; it took a long time for Sin & Punishment to see a Western release.
Originally released for the Nintendo 64 in 2000 for the Japanese market, Sin & Punishment’s acclaim drew enough attention that people imported copies from abroad. It wouldn’t see a local release until 2007 on the Nintendo Wii Virtual Console.
Thankfully, Sin & Punishment was an early release for the Nintendo 64 library on Nintendo Switch Online. The intense action and addictive gameplay are in a class of their own. There are few games even today that can compare with its action, which is doubly impressive given that it’s a Nintendo 64 game. Doubly remarkable are the game’s graphics, which rank amongst the best on the system.
Mario Kart 64 is a great kart racer
Super Mario Kart is an enjoyable, albeit frustrating, kart racer. Mario Kart 64 takes the franchise to a whole new level.
Bringing Mario Kart to the 3D world is a no-brainer. In addition to more refined and precise controls, the stages of Mario Kart 64 are incredible. There’s something for everyone to love, from the over-the-top Wario Stadium, the marathon that is Rainbow Road, and the mayhem of Yoshi’s Valley.
Mario Kart 64’s Battle Mode offers an enjoyable take on deathmatch in a kart racer. Is it perfect? No, but it’s still far more fun than it has any right to be.
Paper Mario is Nintendo’s take on the turn-based RPG genre
Originally planned as a sequel to Square’s Super Mario RPG, Paper Mario, developed by Intelligent Systems, is a charming and clever RPG and the start of an award-winning franchise for Nintendo.
It’s hard to pinpoint the high mark for Paper Mario between its adorable visuals, engaging combat, and clever writing. Can we just say all of it? We’re going to say all of it. Paper Mario’s graphics play into the paper side of things, presenting the game in a paper-like aesthetic. The game’s writing is also enjoyable and easily puts a smile on your face while playing.
In the end, though, Paper Mario’s combat is a true success. Combining turn-based combat with tactical prompts presents a battle system accessible enough to RPG newcomers while still engaging enough to keep you entertained.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask is a unique experience amongst other Nintendo 64 Switch Online games
For some, Majora’s Mask is the superior Nintendo 64 Zelda entry. For the purpose of our list of best N64 games for Nintendo Switch Online, it will have to settle for a spot behind Ocarina of Time.
Nintendo followed up the revolutionary breakthrough title by doing the exact opposite of playing things safe. Majora’s Mask represents a bold and daring gamble from Nintendo, presenting a story that may have been too dark for its audience and a gameplay loop that ran the risk of being repetitive.
Despite these concerns, Majora’s Mask delivers yet another smash hit for the Zelda franchise. It may not have the same widespread acclaim and beloved legacy as its predecessor, but don’t let that deter you. Majora’s Mask is an absolutely fantastic game.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is one of the best games of all time
Widely regarded as one of the greatest video games ever made, Ocarina of Time is an all-time classic.
The first Legend of Zelda title for the Nintendo 64 may best be known for its impressive level of detail. No stone is left unturned here; whether we’re talking about gameplay, the story, or the game’s graphics, everything has been given an insane amount of love, care, and attention.
Just as Super Mario 64 set the industry standard for what a 3D video game can be, so did Ocarina of Time. It revolutionizes what’s possible from a third-person action-adventure while simultaneously delivering an unforgettable experience.
Super Mario 64 is a revolutionary platformer
The Super Mario franchise had spent its earlier years putting Nintendo on the map. Both the NES and Super Nintendo releases are timeless classics that hold up extraordinarily well even today.
Super Mario 64 doesn’t just meet its lofty expectations but also revolutionizes gaming. This marks the moment we entered the new 3D gaming world, where seemingly anything and everything is possible.
The amount of freedom available was, at the time, unparalleled. The only limits on what Mario could do were your own; a cavalcade of moves is available, opening up seemingly endless options to explore each stage the game presents.
Super Mario 64 is a revolutionary platformer and easily one of the best Nintendo 64 games for Nintendo Switch Online.
Banjo-Kazooie is the best Nintendo 64 Switch Online game
If Super Mario 64 defined what a 3D platformer could do, then Banjo-Kazooie perfected it.
The quality of life update where the game doesn’t kick you out of a level when completing an objective is enough of an improvement alone. Everything else, from the vibrant visuals, amazing soundtrack, and charming characters, is just icing on the cake.
Banjo-Kazooie is a platforming wonderland that’s just good old-fashioned fun. It knows how to put a smile on your face and put you in the best of moods. This is, without a doubt, the best N64 game for Nintendo Switch Online.
That does it for our list of every Nintendo 64 game for Nintendo Switch Online ranked from worst to best. How do you think we did? How would you rank them? Let us know in the comments below!