Every year, it feels like the Nintendo Switch is having its best year when it comes to releases across all formats. More and more games are released physically through boutique publishers, large scale retailers, and developers’ own storefronts. For this feature, I’m going to highlight my favorite physical releases including a bonus one from Japan. If you’ve been reading prior SwitchArcade Specials on physical releases, XSEED Games and NIS America are regulars who return for the feature in 2022. Here are the top 5 physical releases on Nintendo Switch in no particular order with one bonus at the end.
The wait for a Cuphead physical has been almost as painful as when I tried beating the entire game with a drifting Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. I own Cuphead on every platform, but wasn’t going to pass up a chance at owning a Switch physical of the game with DLC on cartridge. For this release, iam8bit and Studio MDHR have done collectible comic art cards, a membership card, reversible art, and the game with DLC on cartridge. This is one of the best physical releases iam8bit has done yet. If you skipped the digital release, your wait has been worth it for this quality package.
Rune Factory 5
Xseed Games is one of the few publishers left that has consistently been shipping instruction booklets with its physical releases. With Rune Factory 5, the publisher included a color instruction manual with art, the full game on cartridge, and a reversible cover sheet. I remember Rune Factory 4 on 3DS also had a nice booklet and reversible art sheet. I’m glad that Xseed Games is continuing that tradition, and hope to see it return with Rune Factory 3 Special next year. If you bought the limited edition, it even included exclusive DLC on cartridge which is something you don’t usually see on Switch.
Two Point Campus
Sega is hard to predict with physical releases on console, but the publisher went all out for Two Point Campus. The launch edition on console platforms includes a university prospectus, a foldout map, and bonus DLC for Two Point Campus and Two Point Hospital. The outer box for the Two Point Campus Early Enrollment Edition also has unique art. This was priced the same as the standard digital release making it an even better deal. I hope Sega does a new physical release with all DLC on cartridge once post-launch support has ended. The current Space Academy DLC is excellent if you haven’t gotten it yet.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero
Another year, another Falcom release from NIS America with some lovely extras. The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero on Nintendo Switch includes a small artbook, a digital soundtrack sampler, and a reversible cover for the game. This release of The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero is also a superb version of the game with all the important PC features. If you haven’t gotten into Trails yet, this is a great entry point as well and it has a budget asking price with all these bonuses included.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge
Ever since it was revealed, I was hoping Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge would get a large-scale physical release on all platforms. It was confirmed to have one through Merge Games in Europe, Happinet in Japan, and Limited Run Games in the USA. I ordered the physical release on Switch from both Europe and Japan to ensure it reaches me on time, and I was able to get it soon after launch. This is a double-feature because both the European and Japanese physical release are worth highlighting. The Japanese one which you can see above from Shaun’s photograph includes the complete soundtrack, acrylic stands, and the game on cartridge. The European physical pictured below has a color booklet, a keychain, reversible art, and the game on cartridge. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge also happens to be one of my favorite games in years, and I recently bought the PS5 physical for my collection.
Bonus: Bayonetta 1
If you were lucky enough to pre-order the Japanese Bayonetta 2 Infinite Climax Edition a few years ago, you would’ve had a physical version of the first Bayonetta for Nintendo Switch. Every other release across regions included the second game on cartridge and a code for the original Bayonetta. With the hype around Bayonetta 3, Nintendo did a physical print run of the original Bayonetta for Switch in all regions. While the launch was messed up in Europe, it has been easy to buy in North America and Japan. I got this North American release to support Bayonetta even though I own a copy of that collector’s edition from Japan which included the physical. This specific physical release isn’t anything special when it comes to bonus content, but I’m glad Bayonetta fans have an easier and cheaper way to own a physical version of the first entry. I know many missed out on the Japanese special edition.
With 2022 done, I want to know what you thought of the Switch library this year across digital and physical releases. It feels like we are getting more physical releases than ever before despite many people claiming physical media is dead. 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?
(Special thanks to my friend @thoraxes for help with photographs for Cuphead, Rune Factory 5, Bayonetta 1, and The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero)