If you didn’t act fast enough to grab the classic games you wanted from the Wii Shop Channel’s Virtual Console before it closed up shop, and passed up a chance to buy the NES Classic during its second act, the Nintendo Switch Online service’s Nintendo Entertainment System app is the next best thing.
Not exactly the a la carte marketplace of the old Virtual Console, the NES games on Switch — a fringe benefit to being a Switch Online member (along with online multiplayer, save data cloud backup and access to some cool exclusive Joy-Cons), is more of a curated channel that adds a couple new titles each month.
This month, the new additions — coming Feb. 13 — will be Super Mario Bros. 2 and Kirby’s Adventure.
Super Mario Bros. 2 and Kirby’s Adventure are coming to #NintendoSwitchOnline – Nintendo Entertainment System. Set up your membership now and start playing on 2/13! https://t.co/74HzxjRR0T pic.twitter.com/kxx8x9vzkI
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) February 6, 2019
The black sheep of the Mario family, but still beloved, 1988’s Super Mario Bros. 2 was a radical departure from the original that was actually a reworked version of Doki Doki Panic, a Japanese game that had nothing to do with Mario, Luigi, Toad or Princess “Peach” Toadstool or the Mushroom Kingdom. This U.S. adaptation allowed you to play as either of those characters as they explored a surreal dream world of stoic Shy Guys, egg-spitting Birdos and creepy Phanto masks (shudder), picking up and throwing vegetables, bombs and even enemies themselves, using potions, pots and magic carpets to get around rather than stomping all over the place among pipes and fancy costumes.
This re-release is the original 8-bit version, not the Super Mario All-Stars Super NES 16-bit remaster, which was lovely in its own way.
The 1993 platformer Kirby’s Adventure was a sequel to the monochrome Game Boy game Kirby’s Dream Land that came late in the NES’ life cycle, a couple years after the Super NES’ debut, and is hailed as one of the venerable system’s best.
You can try the Nintendo Switch Online service free for a week. One month costs $3.99, three months cost $7.99 and a year costs $19.99 — but the best value is a family plan that costs $34.99 a year and accommodates eight people with free Nintendo Accounts. If you want to play Switch game online (Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, etc.), you’ll need to sign on with this service anyway.