The Sega Ages version of Puyo Puyo does the best it can with the source material it has, but that offered fairly slim pickings in the first place. A few optional tweaks to the controls make it a little less frustrating to play, but the reality is that compared to other Sega Ages offerings this has probably had the least work put into it. Puyo Puyo devotees will want it because it's where the series all began, but everyone else should look into alternatives if they want to keep coming back for another one of those blob-dropping feats.
It looks lovely, sounds superb and offers an interesting new assist for newcomers, but at its core Space Harrier is still Space Harrier and M2 is only able to do so much with it. This isn't one of Sega's masterpieces and therefore isn't a must-have: it'll have to settle for being merely 'pretty good' instead.
Much like the port of the first game, Doom II on Switch delivers a solid rendition of a classic FPS with only a handful of audio and visual issues preventing it from being perfect. It holds up just as well the original Doom does, and its price is similarly reasonable: as a result, we naturally recommend this one just as much as we do its predecessor.
Automachef is absolutely not for everyone; it's a puzzle game that overwhelms you from the start and only piles on more complexity as you progress through its 45 stages. There's a degree of satisfaction to be found in spending hours putting together large, elaborate automated set-ups, troubleshooting their flaws then finally seeing them work as intended, but you need to put in a hell of a lot of work for that payoff and for many the toll it takes on the old noggin won't be worth it.
As long as you're playing it docked and willing to put the time in to master its helium-light handling, Rise eventually reveals itself to be a rewarding and visually fantastic arcade style racer with an interesting Challenges mode. Its slightly blurry handheld visuals and the complete lack of multiplayer are disappointing, but persevere with its slippery steering and the payoff is a fun – if unforgiving – solo racing game.
Etherborn looks fantastic, sounds incredible and revolves around a brilliant game mechanic that initially feels like it's going to lead to some clever puzzles but ramps things up far too quickly and engulfs you with frustratingly complex stages while you're still trying to find your feet. There's still a great game in there, but you'll need to have the patience of a saint to stumble up its 90-degree difficulty curve to find it.
It’s nice to see another relatively uncommon Sega game getting the Sega Ages treatment, but while it’s still perfectly playable after more than three decades, the arcade version of Monster Land suffers from frustrating combat and a general lack of spark.
Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled is a visually phenomenal upgrade on a PlayStation karting classic, and one that faithfully recreates both its positives (its unique drift boosting system) and its potential irritants (30fps, tricky AI). It does bring a whole new set of issues – mainly lengthy loading times and the fact that playing offline stops you making any progress towards unlocking anything – but while these prevent the game from becoming an absolute must-have, they don't sour the experience enough to stop us wholeheartedly recommending it regardless.
While it's a shame that there are fewer games here than in other Konami collections – we'd have loved to have seen NES title Contra Force or the now-extinct WiiWare title Contra ReBirth – the ones included are universally brilliant. The 8-bit and 16-bit Contra games are among the finest examples of the run 'n gun genre, and to have almost all of them included in a single release and emulated flawlessly is an absolute treat. Whether you're a fan of the series or a curious onlooker who's always wanted to see what the fuss was all about, this is essential.
Taken on its own merits, Team Sonic Racing is a fun karting game that doesn't quite match Mario Kart 8 Deluxe in terms of either performance or sheer level of content, but still offers satisfying handling and should still keep Sonic fans entertained for a while. It's impossible not to compare it to its predecessor, though, and in all the areas where Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed excelled, Team Sonic Racing is merely competent. By no means a bad game, then, but when we look back years from now it won't be standing on any karting game podiums.
Despite the sheer volume of solid gold hits in the series, Castlevania Anniversary Collection is a somewhat mixed bag from Konami, with stone-cold classics sharing the spotlight with a couple of undead clunkers that really should have remained dead and buried.
Table Top Racing: World Tour is an adequate enough racer that doesn't ever shoot high enough to delight, stumble low enough to frustrate or simply do anything that leaves a lasting impression on us, be that positive or negative. It runs fine, looks fine, plays fine. It's fine. And that includes the 'fine' Switch owners seemingly have to pay for a game that now costs ten bucks more than it did when it launched three years ago. When the only thing that stands out about a game is its price, that probably says it all.
Cuphead was an absolute masterpiece when it launched on Xbox 18 months ago and nothing has been sacrificed in its move to the Switch. It's the same visually jaw-dropping, aurally delightful, knuckle-whiteningly difficult game it was on Microsoft's console and the Switch's library is all the better for its presence. Its focus on intense boss battles won't be to everyone's tastes, but as long as you know what you're getting yourself into we can't recommend it enough.
My Time At Portia is an ambitious game that actually delivers on what it sets out to do. The crafting can be extremely overwhelming at first and the presence of some in-game timers can be a mild annoyance, but get your head round its detailed multi-step building missions and you'll end up with a game that could end up racking hundreds of hours on your Switch.
GALAK-Z isn't a game for everyone: its rogue-lite nature, its high difficulty level and its punishing policy on death (even in its easier Arcade mode) will infuriate some players who are just expecting a quick blast of non-stop action. Treat it like the slower-paced exploration and survival game it's supposed to be, and your patience will be rewarded with some genuinely satisfying space combat and a wide variety of customisable parts (not to mention its brilliant mech upgrade), all wrapped up in a fantastic '80s style aesthetic.
It takes a while to get going and it has its fair share of annoying quirks, but as it progresses Aragami becomes a solid stealth game with a compelling story. The addition of extra DLC chapters gives the game a welcome boost in longevity, and though its temperamental mechanics prevent it becoming an unarguable gem, its stylish look and the range of abilities you acquire by the end mean fans of stealth games (and fans of stealth only) will still have a fun time with it. Eventually.
If you originally missed out on the 3DS port, this is about as essential a retro release as you can get. Out Run has always been an infinitely playable game, and the new unlockables and online rankings only increase its longevity further. Those with the 3DS version will have to decide whether it's worth buying what's more or less the same game again in order to play it on their TV, but for everyone else with an interest in retro gaming, it's a must-have.
Too much hand-holding in games can be a problem, but Battle Princess Madelyn goes in the opposite direction with its main Story mode and is just as annoying (if not more so) as a result. Thankfully, its alternative Arcade mode really does save the day, stripping away all the convoluted and confused exploration and leaving nothing but pure, unfiltered arcade action goodness. It's just a shame its main mode – and perhaps the key reason the developer wants your £15.79 / $19.99 – is so frustratingly unhelpful and awkward to play. Still, fans of Capcom's Ghouls ‘n Ghosts will most definitely want to check this out.