Every Nintendo Switch Online N64 Game Ranked

The library of N64 games announced as part of the upcoming ‘Expansion Pack’ for the Nintendo Switch Online subscription service boasts some of the system’s heaviest hitters and a good first pass at getting a varied catalogue of quality 64-bit games in the hands of Switch owners.

But which of the N64 games coming the Nintendo Switch Online are the very best? Well, we can answer that question with the help of Nintendo Life readers who have rated the titles on our Games Database.

The following list is compiled using the User Ratings (out of 10) given to each N64 game scheduled to arrive on Switch in the West. It should be noted that this list is not set in stone and will automatically fluctuate over time depending on assigned User Ratings (and new additions to the NSO library, of course).

Think a game below deserves to be higher up on the list? Simply click on the ‘star’ button and score it yourself — your personal rating could boost its placement in the overall ranking.

So, sit back and enjoy the best N64 games coming to Nintendo Switch soon…

Dr. Mario 64 (N64)Dr. Mario 64 (N64)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo

Release Date: 8th Apr 2001 (USA)

This puzzler is essentially a 64-bit remake of the original Dr. Mario and was never released in Europe or Japan (although it did appear in the Japan-only Nintendo Puzzle Collection on GameCube alongside Panel de Pon and Yoshi’s Cookie). Dr. Mario 64 is Dr. Mario, but prettier than it had ever been; a very solid puzzler with little to dislike.

Yoshi's Story (N64)Yoshi's Story (N64)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo EAD

Release Date: 10th Mar 1998 (USA) / 10th May 1998 (UK/EU)

Coming after the incredible (and incredibly beautiful) Yoshi’s Island on SNES, it’s no surprise that Yoshi’s Story rubbed some people up the wrong way with its accessible, storybook approach and cutesiness. It’s certainly not the strongest or most complex 2D platformer you’ll ever play, but it’s brimming with the Yoshi series’ trademark charm and we’d say it’s worthy of reassessment if you’ve dismissed it in the past.

The N64 wasn’t blessed with an abundance of side-on platformers, but armed with the knowledge that this isn’t a 64-bit Yoshi’s Island, this is a great little game starring everyone’s favourite fruit-munching dino.

WinBack: Covert Operations (N64)WinBack: Covert Operations (N64)

Publisher: Koei / Developer: Omega Force

Release Date: 20th Oct 1999 (USA) / 7th Jul 2000 (UK/EU)

We don’t know about you, but games like Operation: WinBack (as this was known in Europe and Australia) and Konami’s Hybrid Heaven occupied a the B-tier on our ‘to get’ lists back in the day — they looked interesting, but they were way down the list behind the first-party purchases and many of us simply never got around to catching up with them once the 64-bit generation came to an end.

While Koei’s third-person shooter wouldn’t go down in the annals of covert ops gaming as a classic, its cover system felt fresh back in 1999 and the ability to check out the game on Switch and place it in its historical context is most welcome.

Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards (N64)Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards (N64)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: HAL Laboratory

Release Date: 26th Jun 2000 (USA) / 22nd Jun 2001 (UK/EU)

In Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, HAL Laboratory managed to keep the core structure many knew and loved about the Kirby series while glossing it up with a shiny coat of polygonal paint for the new console generation.

Kirby’s 64-bit foray into the third dimension stands out as one of the more unique entries into the series, feeling somewhat fresh in comparison to the many, many 2D Kirby platformers and pleasurable to play to this day.

Pokémon Snap (N64)Pokémon Snap (N64)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: HAL Laboratory

Release Date: 30th Jun 1999 (USA) / 15th Sep 2000 (UK/EU)

The whole concept of catching Pokémon and making them battle each other doesn’t bear thinking too deeply about, but the idea of going out on a safari and shooting the critters was never going to wash. Switch a gun for a camera, though, and you’ve got yourself a fun little ‘mon-filled rail-shooter.

Pokémon Snap might have only had 63 Pocket Monsters available, but the outpouring of love shown for the original game when the long awaited sequel came to Switch in 2021 is testament to its charm. The act of hunting down Pokémon arguably wouldn’t be bettered until years later when Niantic caught the world’s attention with Pokémon GO.

Mario Golf (N64)Mario Golf (N64)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Camelot

Release Date: 26th Jul 1999 (USA) / 14th Sep 1999 (UK/EU)

Camelot brought Mario and his golfing pals onto the 3D fairways in this excellent entry in his catalogue of sports games. This game also linked up with the superlative Mario Golf for Game Boy Color. They’re very different games, and the handheld version is probably even better thanks to its brilliant RPG elements, but together they make an unbeatable pair.

When we’re disappointed that later games like Mario Golf: Super Rush don’t match the quality of older entries, it’s Mario Golf that we’re remembering with a faraway wistful look in our eyes.

Mario Tennis (N64)Mario Tennis (N64)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Camelot

Release Date: 28th Aug 2000 (USA) / 3rd Nov 2000 (UK/EU)

The first in the Mario Tennis series (second, if you count Mario’s Tennis for the Virtual Boy) was one of a winning doubles team in the Mushroom Kingdom sports department from Camelot — the studio also released the brilliant Mario Golf for N64, as well as Game Boy Color versions of each game that linked up with their home console cousins via the Transfer Pak.

Mario’s played a lot of tennis over the years, but this remains one of his finest on-court showings.

Sin and Punishment (N64)Sin and Punishment (N64)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Treasure

Release Date: 1st Oct 2007 (USA) / 28th Sep 2007 (UK/EU) / 21st Nov 2000 (JPN)

Gamers in the West wouldn’t be able to get their hands on Treasure’s hectic N64 on-rails shooter (not easily, that is — there was always the option to import) until it came to the Wii U Virtual Console.

On original release it quickly became a cult classic thanks to its developer’s heritage and its Japan-only status, and while it’s probably not worth importing a Japanese console to enjoy this game alone (we did, but we’re a bit obsessive), and its sequel Sin and Punishment: Star Successor for Wii arguably improves on this foundation in every way, this is still a very fine shooter from a very fine developer.

Cracking box art, too.

F-Zero X (N64)F-Zero X (N64)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo EAD

Release Date: 26th Oct 1998 (USA) / 6th Nov 1998 (UK/EU)

Forum wars continue to wage over whether F-Zero X or its successor on GameCube is the superior white-knuckle futuristic racer. Both are essential, of course. The 64-bit entry is metal: pure, simple, guitar-screeching, all-out metal. EAD stripped back extraneous detail to achieve the smoothest, most blistering and nail-bitingly precise racing experience. At this speed, on these dizzying tracks, even the tiniest prod on the spindly analogue stick matters, and the original N64 pad offers peak precision for micro adjustments which make the difference between gracefully sweeping through a corner with nary a pixel to spare… or catching said corner and ricocheting between barriers to an explosive, humiliating retirement.

How much more metal could this get? None. None more metal. Flaming skulls and chromed motorcycles would actually reduce the metal content of this game.

Mario Kart 64 (N64)Mario Kart 64 (N64)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo EAD

Release Date: 10th Feb 1997 (USA) / 24th Jun 1997 (UK/EU)

While the characters might not have been truly 3D (rather they were detailed Donkey Kong Country-style sprites created from 3D renders), Mario Kart 64’s huge, undulating circuits showed off the hardware and added inclines, items and obstacles, plus a four-player multiplayer mode. This is the game which gave us Toad’s Turnpike.

Each iteration of the Mario Kart series adds a little something new, but following on from the flat circuits of Super Mario Kart, there’s arguably been nothing quite like that first jump to 3D. Like any entry in the series, add three friends and you’ll have an epic time in no time.

Paper Mario (N64)Paper Mario (N64)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Intelligent Systems

Release Date: 5th Feb 2001 (USA) / 5th Oct 2001 (UK/EU)

Two decades on and Paper Mario might not look as sharp as it once did, but it holds up very well where it matters and jostles with The Thousand-Year Door for the title of Best Paper Mario Game.

The N64 original does very well to ease Mario fans into a new style of adventure while providing a depth for RPG gamers that you might not expect from the paper-thin premise. With a great supporting cast and buckets of trademark Nintendo charm, the original is up there with the best. The ability to play it on Switch is great news to anyone who missed out but still enjoys the more recent, less vital entries in the Paper Mario series.

Star Fox 64 (N64)Star Fox 64 (N64)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo EAD

Release Date: 30th Jun 1997 (USA) / 20th Oct 1997 (UK/EU)

Known as Lylat Wars in Europe, Star Fox 64 originally came in a whopping great box containing a Rumble Pak and was many a gamer’s introduction to force feedback on a console. It paired beautifully with the cinematic battles and derring-do of Fox McCloud and the gang’s dogfighting in this on-rails shooter.

It’s still an excellent game, and some might be tempted to say the series peaked on Nintendo 64. There’s a discussion to be had there, for sure, and Star Fox 64 presents a very strong case for itself.

Super Mario 64 (N64)Super Mario 64 (N64)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo EAD

Release Date: 26th Sep 1996 (USA) / 1st Mar 1997 (UK/EU)

The 3D platformer that defined what that label meant, it’s remarkable just how much Shigeru Miyamoto and his team got right with the first swing of the bat.

It’s available on Switch if you nabbed a time-limited copy of Super Mario 3D All-Stars or as part of a Nintendo Switch Online subscription from October, and we could go on endlessly about its genre-birthing mechanics and the infinity of tiny details that make Super Mario 64 a joy to fire up all these years later.

But you know about all that. Do yourself a favour and blast through a couple of dozen stars next time you’re pondering what to play. It still feels almost as good as it did the very first time.

Banjo-Kazooie (N64)Banjo-Kazooie (N64)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Rare

Release Date: 31st May 1998 (USA) / 16th Jul 1998 (UK/EU)

Rareware put out several platformers on Nintendo 64, each with their own pros and cons, but the Twycross team arguably never topped the debut of the bear and bird. There’s something in the precise platforming and fairytale formula of Banjo-Kazooie that resulted in the quintessential 3D collectathon. It’s big, but not sprawling; sweet, but not sickly; challenging, but never unfair (okay, a couple of those Rusty Bucket Bay jiggys walk a fine line). From the roaming grublins to Mumbo Jumbo’s hilarious transformations, its colourful characters and varied worlds are shot through with humour, adorable animation, tight controls and an ‘oom-pah’ musical box soundtrack that nails the spirit of a cheeky storybook adventure perfectly.

Mario 64 might have the edge when it comes to prestige, invention and influence — that’s the 3D platformer you vote for with your head — but Banjo steals hearts. An absolutely brilliant game.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (N64)The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (N64)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo EAD

Release Date: 26th Oct 2000 (USA) / 17th Nov 2000 (UK/EU)

Known colloquially around these parts as Majora’s Marmite, the three-day cycle added a constant pressure that turned off many players. However, that cycle is also key to the unique way Majora’s Mask focuses on its cast of uncanny characters and soaks the adventure in melancholy and madness.

In fact, ‘adventure’ isn’t quite the right world for this Zelda game. It’s more of a Lynchian dreamscape in cartridge form, and one which isn’t for everyone. The excellent 3DS remake is probably the best way to play these days thanks to some convenient additions for managing your limited time, but the clockwork land of Termina offers something truly unique in the Zelda series wherever you play.

Oh, and we don’t really call it Majora’s Marmite.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64)The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo EAD

Release Date: 23rd Nov 1998 (USA) / 11th Dec 1998 (UK/EU)

What is there that hasn’t already been said about this one? A seminal video game, Ocarina of Time brought The Legend of Zelda into the third dimension as successfully as the plumber made the leap in Super Mario 64. Yet where Nintendo could throw any playground-style idea into Mario’s launch game, Ocarina had to tell a story and evoke a consistent mood throughout.

Going back these days, the frame rate and cumbersome menus may surprise you, and Hyrule Field feels decidedly smaller (more like a field, in fact) compared to the vast kingdom of Hyrule presented in Breath of the Wild, but the pure magic of the game still shines through any ageing systems. This set the template for not only every subsequent Zelda title, but also the majority of action adventure games from the past two decades; no wonder it’s so revered.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D on 3DS is arguably the best way to play today, but there are things that Grezzo’s excellent remake couldn’t quite recapture. Whether its the Rumble Pak-powered Stone of Agony or the 64-bit mist hanging over Lake Hylia in the early hours, the N64 original still has that special something.

Let us know your thoughts below, and remember — if you haven’t rated your favourite games from the list, you can still do so and influence the overall ranking. New games added to the service will appear here, too, so check back in the future and rank them as well. You know, if you like.

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