SNK 40th Anniversary Collection (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Athanasios 10.12.2018

Review for SNK 40th Anniversary Collection on Nintendo Switch

SNK has never reached the stardom level of Capcom, Konami, or Namco, but any gamer worth his or her salt should definitely respect how the Japanese developer always seemed to focus on its "The Future is Now" motto. As for those who don't know anything about it… worry not! To celebrate its 40 years in the industry, this veteran of the arcades has crafted a nice little collection of titles from the '80s; a collection that is so finely polished, that other companies would definitely benefit from copying it. The big question is this, though: are the games in here worth anyone's time?

Within SNK's bosom (note to self: stop think about Mai Shiranui), one can find plenty of wonderful games… and many that simply aren't that great. More specifically, while SNK was always one of those companies that pushed the boundaries of what could be done with the medium, its creations weren't really that big of a hits, at least when it comes to the West, and especially the non-arcade community. Furthermore, its best titles where, without a single doubt, the ones released in the '90s. "Sadly," SNK 40th Anniversary Collection is about the decade before it; SNK's early years. Does that mean that it's a bad videogame anthology? Not really.

Screenshot for SNK 40th Anniversary Collection on Nintendo Switch

Here's a quick rundown of the titles on offer. For starters, there are many military-themed shooters, vertical and horizontal, ranging from Guerilla War, Iron Tank, TNK III, and the Ikari Warriors trilogy, a bunch of space shooters like Alpha Mission and Vanguard, some more… unique like Prehistoric Isle, side-scrolling action games Athena and Psycho Soldiers, brawlers/fighters P.O.W. and Street Smart, and the NES classic RPG, Crystalis. If 14 pieces of old-school fun don't sound like a bargain, just wait until 11 of December, where even more SNK goodies will be available for free.

The thing that matters the most, of course, is how good these are… so, how good are they? The answer is simple: apart from a tiny amount of mediocre ones, this is generally a fine bundle. It's just that there's not something in here that can be considered a must-have. Many amongst those were quite impressive for the time they came out, but, innovative or not, some far better alternatives appeared afterwards, and not now, but back then. In other words, this is, above all else, a collector's item - something that belongs in the hands of retro aficionados, and probably no one else.

Screenshot for SNK 40th Anniversary Collection on Nintendo Switch

The good news is that, for those who are into this kind of products, this is really something else. For starters, SNK has made sure to include US and Japanese versions, as well as both the console and arcade instalments. Secondly, it's possible to fiddle a bit with the settings, and increase or decrease the difficulty (you are advised to stick with 'decrease'), start from a specific stage, and, maybe, just maybe, with a few more - easy to lose - lives. Don't like the controls? Change them! Want to stretch, or make the screen bigger, add scanlines, remove the border, or swap between normal and landscape modes? You are free to do so!

Screenshot for SNK 40th Anniversary Collection on Nintendo Switch

Luckily, there are some additional bells and whistles, which prove to be very useful due to how the collection mostly consists of arcade titles, and those bells and whistles are as follows: first, a save feature that lets one quit and come back another time, and, secondly, a sweet, oh, so sweet rewind button, that works like a charm, and is bound to be your best friend - although, for some strange reason, it doesn't work for a handful of games, albeit a tiny handful. Of course, in some ways, the best thing about this anthology is none other than the portability the Switch gives it.

As the final cherry on top, there's also a museum mode, which includes all sorts of SNK history bits, whether that's trivia, covers/advertisements, concept art, or the OST of the games on offer, although, once again, not for all of the games. This of course, is another reminder of the products heavy, collection-focused mind-set, which won't really impress the rest of the gaming community. Fortunately, that is actually the only thing that should trouble potential buyers, because, as a collection, it's one that's surely worthy of its price tag.

Screenshot for SNK 40th Anniversary Collection on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

SNK 40th Anniversary Collection is not full of flawless gems that everyone will love, and it suffers a bit in terms of variety. Strictly viewed for what it is, however, which is part retro videogame anthology, part history lesson, it is one of the finest one in the market, making this the definite product for those who want to try the titles on offer.


Digital Eclipse


NIS America





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date None    Also on Also on Nintendo eShop


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