Nintendo Switch Online has announced the return of Goldeneye 007, Pokémon Stadium, and Mario Party 3 — three all-time favorites from the Nintendo 64 generation. Turns out, subscribers of the premium Expansion Pack tier will receive these at some point in 2023 as part of their usual annual subscription plan. And that's merely the icing on the cake to what should—fingers crossed—be a content-heavy year with plenty of fantastic additions.
In spite of Nintendo's lack of consistency when it comes to uploading new games to the NSO platform, there are still plenty of quality games already available to tuck into. With that being said, if you have an active subscription, or are looking to purchase one, then let these Expansion Pack add-ons be your incentives. Here are the best Nintendo Switch Online games you can play right now.
5. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
To this day, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is often regarded as one of the best video games of all time, and rightfully so. Even after countless prequels, sequels, and spin-offs, the 1998 entry continues to amass countless fans' attention and respect. Makes sense, then, that Nintendo would take the earliest opportunity to not only revive it for the 3DS in 2011, but also port it over to the Expansion Pack again in 2021.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is an open world action-adventure game that first found global success on the Nintendo 64 back in 1998. Featuring a stellar original score and one of the most iconic rosters in gaming, the 3D chapter was quick to find stardom after its release. Today, the game holds the highest score over on Metacritic, as well as an overwhelmingly high sales record. Does this warrant a new playthrough via the Expansion Pack, though? Yes. Yes, it does.
4. Super Mario 64
The Nintendo 64 fostered some of the most revolutionary platforming games of all time, notably Super Mario 64. In the years following on from its 1996 launch, the poster child of the brand has gone on to influence the genre and churn out some of the most noteworthy games in the book. You could say, then, that its blueprint was instrumental to the development of the platforming genre — and you'd be right to say that, too.
Super Mario 64 centers its award-winning structure around the Mushroom Kingdom, a fully rendered 3D world that boasts eye-catching levels, bosses, and signature collectibles. Plot-wise, it wears the same colors as any other Mario game in the book. And yet, for its time, its contents were something of another dimension; fresh, original, and breathtakingly invigorating. Does it still hold up against today's standards? Does Bowser have a mild obsession with kidnapping Princess Peach?
3. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe — Booster Course Pass
There isn't a household in the world that'd much rather settle a debate outside of a good ol' fashioned round of Mario Kart, and understandably so. But what better way to spark a family feud than to throw down in the series' running Booster Course Pass, a live-service model that lets subscribers delve into new tracks from the Mario Kart timeline? If you're short on any one particular reason to join the NSO squad — then this is it.
At present, subscribers can access 48 remastered tracks from some of the most popular Mario Kart courses, either alone or with friends. Looking ahead, players will be able to access a selection of new phases, which will in turn bring more courses, cups, and characters to the table. So, if you're searching for a game that will bring the whole family on-board, then you should aim to make this Switch favorite a primary port of call.
Nintendo 64's dynamic duo are back in action, boasting the revival of the cult-classic Banjo-Kazooie for Nintendo Switch Online's Expansion Pack. For the duration of the Expansion Pack's time as an add-on, subscribers can dive back into the land of banjos, witches, and honeycomb coves in all all-out whirlwind adventure that's evidently rife with platforming goodness.
Banjo-Kazooie is a beautifully orchestrated and childishly vibrant platformer that centers its world around the two unlikely heroes, Banjo, and Kazooie, who must work together to save Banjo's sister from the wicked witch that plagues the land. With plenty of hidden areas and memorable characters to discover along the way, the relatively short but iconic platformer comes clean as an absolute essential for anyone in possession of a Nintendo Switch Online subscription.
1. Mario Party 2
Mario Party 2 resurrects its slew of ice-breaking, party-starting hits for Switch in a completely new and jam-packed sequel that boasts a total of 65 mini-games. A classic by heart, and an essential to any OG Nintendo user's library, this ludicrously entertaining compilation of family-friendly party games deserves its place on the list of best Nintendo Switch Online titles, perhaps now more than ever.
In spite of Nintendo's best effort to push Mario Party Superstars into the limelight, there's definitely a number of reasons to venture back to one of the series' founding fathers—especially if you're curious to know how the foundations for some of the modern mini-games were planted way back when. And so, if you've got a subscription to the Expansion Pack tier, then do yourself a favor and recapture the highlights that shook the Nintendo 64 back in 1999. If it's an old school party you want, then it's an old school party you shall get.
So, what's your take? Will you be picking up any of the above five games on Nintendo Switch Online this month? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.