Nintendo Switch Online finally adds new Sega Genesis games, and it's a good bunch

Altered Beast character art
(Image credit: Sega / Nintendo)

It's been a bit of a bumpy ride for the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack subscription service thus far, but the higher tier service has finally received a handful of new Sega Genesis / Mega Drive games. It's a decent selection, too, featuring a mixture of Sega stalwarts and a couple of unexpected classics.

Announced by Nintendo via its social media channels, Expansion Pack subscribers can play the new Sega Genesis / Mega Drive additions right now on their Nintendo Switch. The five new games are as follows:

  • Altered Beast: an iconic brawler that any Genesis / Mega Drive collection would feel a tad hollow without. It's very rough around the edges, and not as good as Golden Axe, but has a brilliant soundtrack and some hilarious voice acting (rise from your grave!)
  • ToeJam & Earl: a bizarre, juvenile adventure game that is painfully 90's. The trickiest part of ToeJam & Earl is just figuring out what you're supposed to do, but there's a high volume of visual randomness to keep things fairly interesting throughout.
  • Dynamite Headdy: yet another Treasure classic makes its way to Nintendo Switch Online. Delightfully colorful visuals and a creative "backstage" motif really help this one stand out, as does Treasure's penchant for gameplay that's barely aged.
  • Sword of Vermilion: A quirky RPG that mixes dungeon-crawling exploration with side-scrolling combat. It's a fairly ambitious game for its time, even if that ambition comes at the cost of confusing level design and clunky combat. Still worth a look, though.
  • Thunder Force 2: The Thunder Force series of shoot-em-ups dominated the console with hard-as-nails gameplay, an innovative power-up system, and consistently excellent metal soundtracks.

As we expected, Nintendo has been fairly slow in rolling out new games for Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack. On the N64 side, just one new game has been added since the subscription tier's launch, that being Paper Mario. Don't get us wrong, it's arguably one of the best N64 games, but the slow drip of updates is disconcerting to say the least.

Here's hoping Nintendo can ramp up the updates in 2022. We already have a bit of a roadmap for the N64, with games like Banjo-Kazooie and F-Zero X coming soon. But Sega Genesis / Mega Drive updates are a little up in the air at present.

We previously reported on a dataminer's findings after they dived into Expansion Pack's code, and it looks like plenty more titles are on the way, with the potential of Game Boy and Game Boy Color games being added at a later time.

For now, though, we have to hope that Nintendo will continue to fill the Expansion Pack's library with the best its retro consoles have to offer, from popular classics to lesser-known cult hits.

Rhys Wood
Hardware Editor

Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.