It’s time to break out the Joy-Cons and break the bank at the same time, as we check out the most rare Nintendo Switch games and how much they’re worth!
The popularity of Nintendo’s Switch console – and its proprietary software format – has facilitated the rise of games with limited runs and special editions – many of which are printed once with a specific number of copies and then never again.
Though often available digitally for prices that aren’t exorbitant, the physical editions of these games are usually highly sought after and rise in price very swiftly indeed.
A quick note: we’re ranking these games by the prices we could find them for at the time of writing, which of course could potentially change as time goes on.
So let’s crack on and take a look at the top 10 rare Nintendo Switch games and how much they’re worth!
10. Castlevania Anniversary Collection – Classic Edition (2019)
The Castlevania series has been going strong since the 80s and there are countless classic titles in the series (just check out our best Castlevania games list for more information!). This collection – which released alongside two other Anniversary Collections from Konami: the Contra Anniversary Collection and the Arcade Anniversary Collection – is a superb compilation of games from the early days of the series.
This edition plays heavily on the nostalgia factor of the series, with NES style collector’s packaging (featuring metallic ink too!), the game itself in a standard Switch case, a NES-style game sleeve, reversible poster and the soundtrack on CD.
Though not as fully loaded or expensive as other titles on this list, it’s a gorgeous package and it’s definitely one of the strongest retro game collections on the Switch overall – a fitting entry for our rare Nintendo Switch games list!
Current Value: £95-£150
9. River City Girls: Limited Classic Edition (2019)
Initially looking like any other scrolling beat ‘em up – and not being particularly well received upon release in 1989 – the years have been kind to NES game River City Ransom (which also appears on the Evercade – and features on our best Evercade games list!).
Despite its simplistic looks, River City Ransom was, impressively, an open world, pseudo-RPG beat ‘em up – which has only grown in popularity as time has passed.
So much so, in fact, that its spawned numerous recent sequels – including the excellent River City Girls, by WayForward.
This Limited Classic Edition comes with plenty of extras for fans too, with some truly brilliant collectibles included.
Of course there’s the game itself, but as well as that you have a 2-disc soundtrack, double-sided poster, commemorative retro cartridge (unfortunately for display only!), fake concert tickets, school ID cards for the main characters, a heart locket, a menu from the in-game burger bar, character art cards and even a photo of the kidnapper from the game itself.
No wonder this one is such a popular choice – and with it being a limited, long out of print edition, the price (like many other games on this list) is sure to continue rising, so no doubt this’ll be higher up the list of rare Nintendo Switch games in the future!
Current Value: £170-£400
8. Fire Emblem: Three Houses Limited Edition (2019)
Though it was the Advance Wars series of turn-based strategy games that first gained real mainstream popularity in the West, its sister – fantasy-themed – series Fire Emblem has long outlasted it in terms of the number of games and its popularity.
This Switch entry has proven hugely successful – both critically and commercially – and continues to draw in new fans three years after initially releasing.
The rare Limited Edition of Fire Emblem: Three Houses doesn’t actually contain that much in the way of extras. That’s not to say it doesn’t have cool stuff; just that there’s numerous other titles on the rare Nintendo Switch games list that are overflowing with goodies!
Contained in this version is the game itself (and a steelbook for it), along with an artbook, a ‘sound selection’ on a USB stick and a Three Houses pin badge set.
It’s a testament to the popularity of Fire Emblem that the value of this one is so high, given how relatively thin the collector’s edition is – and explains its position on the rare Nintendo Switch games list!
Current Value: £180-£450
7. Bayonetta: Nonstop Climax Edition (2018)
The Bayonetta third person action adventure games have been critical hits since the first one was released in 2010 – yet despite how well received the game was, it didn’t sell enough for a sequel to be funded by Sega.
Nintendo stepped in to fund the sequel, which appeared on the Wii U (and appears on our best Wii U games list) – and this Switch edition contains the first two games (with a third game in the series due for release in 2022).
The Nonstop Climax Edition isn’t a particularly fancy Collector’s Edition filled with collectible items – in fact, all it contains are the two games, a Steelbook case, stickers and some cards. So why is it so sought after?
Well, this edition released only in Japan – and was a limited run; so once it sold out at retail, that was that.
Also, it remains the only way to get hold of a physical copy of the first Bayonetta game for Switch – with the non-Japanese region limited editions only containing a download code, rather than the physical game card – all of which makes this particular edition highly desirable for fans and collectors alike!
Current Value: £200-£450
6. Streets of Rage 4: Limited Collector’s Edition (2020)
This brilliant sequel to Sega’s iconic 90s scrolling beat ‘em up is by indie developers Lizardcube, who also produced a stunning update of Master System classic Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap.
Featuring beautifully animated, huge sprites and some excellent updates to the classic beat ‘em up formula, Streets of Rage 4 was everything fans could have hoped for – and somewhat made up for the disappointment that was Streets of Rage 3 (albeit very belatedly!).
This doesn’t appear on our list of the best beat em up games for nothing, you know!
The game itself isn’t rare of course, but this Collector’s Edition seems highly sought after and hardly ever pops up online. It’s no wonder, considering the long-lasting loyalty of the Streets of Rage fanbase, coupled with the fact that just 1500 units of this version were released worldwide.
This one wasn’t cheap upon release either, with a hefty price tag of $149.99, though of course it’s worth a few times that now.
Containing a special collector’s box, a soundtrack CD, roast chicken stress ball(!), a poster, steelbook, metal Genesis cartridge, art book, statue, Genesis game case and a ‘Classic Edition’ case (which looks like an oversized Genesis case) that holds the steelbook and game, this is one special edition that fans are understandably still clamouring for – despite its cost!
Current Value: £300-£500
5. Celeste: Collector’s Edition (2019)
An indie platformer with 8-bit audiovisual style – and an 8-bit era difficulty level too – Celeste sees the protagonist Madeline attempting to climb the deadly, eponymous Mount Celeste.
The game makes important, well delivered points about mental health and – despite being incredibly tough – features some great accessibility options, for players who would otherwise struggle to see the worthy story through to its conclusion.
The Collector’s Edition – from Limited Run Games – is an excellent edition for the hardcore Celeste fan looking to properly commemorate their mountain conquering abilities.
Featuring, naturally, the game itself along with a Steelbook case, a poster, a soundtrack on cassette (which matches the in-game cassette tape collectibles!), stickers, a patch, postcard, a plush strawberry (again, a reference to in-game collectibles) and a strawberry pie recipe, it certainly is a nicely designed and fully stocked edition of the game.
Though the print run was a relatively high 2500 copies, the game’s quality and its endearing nature means that this is a collector’s edition that’s still highly sought after.
Though it retailed at $74.99 upon release, sealed copies are currently on offer for hundreds of dollars.
Not bad for an indie game initially created in just four days!
Current Value: £200-£600
4. Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana – Limited Edition (2017)
The Ys (pronounced just like ‘Ease’) series of has a very storied history, with the first of the action RPG titles having released on the Japanese NEC PC-88 home computer in 1987.
Since then, the games have appeared on a bewildering variety of consoles, with this first entry for the Switch having released in 2017 – thirty years after the release of Ys I. Ys Book I & 2 even found a home on our best PC Engine games list!
This edition comes with the game, a special box, a softcover art book, hardcover in-universe journal (purporting to be written by the game’s protagonist), a sword letter opener and soundtrack CD.
Though the Ys games are lesser known in the West, their longevity has seen them retain fans who have grown up enjoying the series – and can now, as adults, afford to splash out a bit on editions like this, filled with great collectibles.
Current Value: £250-£750
3. Skylanders Imaginators Starter Pack (2017)
There was a time a decade or so ago when the toys to life genre was absolutely dominant in video game shops – you couldn’t move for plastic, NFC-chipped figures.
After seeing the huge success of Activision’s Skylanders series, Disney got in on the action with Disney Infinity (which eventually expanded beyond Disney specific toys and into the Star Wars and Marvel universes) and Lego also carved out their own niche with Lego Dimensions.
Activision got there first though, with the Spyro spin-off Skylanders – which had the usual Activision rushed release schedule, seeing new versions released annually and new, ever more elaborate, gimmicky and expensive toys to go with them.
Much like Guitar Hero before it, the greedy publisher absolutely ran the property into the ground to such an extent that it’s now non-existent.
Given its relatively recent ubiquity, it’s actually pretty weird how fast Skylanders has disappeared from the public’s consciousness.
Despite this, the final release in the series – Skylanders Imaginators – has a Starter Pack on Switch that is highly sought after due to its relative scarcity.
Complete, brand new editions go for £599-£1000 – and even pre-owned copies shift for a good few hundred quid. Not bad for a set of games and toys you couldn’t even give away by the end of the last decade!
Current Value: £250-£600
2. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: Master Edition (2017)
Nintendo’s first party titles are well known for holding their value; the standard edition of Breath of the Wild costs just as much today as it did upon release in 2017 – it’s still high in demand.
Yet that’s nothing compared to this limited edition version of the game, which naturally comes with the game itself, a collector’s coin, a map, Sheikah Slate Switch carry case and a Master Sword statue.
The original price of £129.99 feels like an absolute bargain next to the prices a new-in-box version will set you back these days.
Prices can reach in excess of even the top title on this list, though the fact that it’s often possible to find the game slightly cheaper (though still in the high three figure region!) means that it doesn’t quite make it to number one of the rare Nintendo Switch games list.
With Breath of the Wild’s depth and breadth still seeing players uncovering new things even five years later, it’s no wonder that super fans want to get hold of some this very attractive, incredibly rare package.
It also helps that Breath of the Wild is a very highly rated entry in the Zelda series – check out our list of the best Zelda games and just look at where it appears!
Current Value: £750-£1500
1. Shantae & The Pirate’s Curse Collector’s Edition (2018)
At the top of the list is this entry in the phenomenally popular Metroidvania series by masters of 2D platform titles, WayForward.
The very first Shantae game was released on the Game Boy Color in 2002 (yep, 20 years ago – which makes me feel incredibly old!). Shantae & The Pirate’s Curse was the third entry in the series, originally arriving in 2014 on 3DS and Wii U, but later being ported to PC, PS4, Xbox One and Switch.
It’s this limited collector’s edition of Shantae & The Pirate’s Curse that’s extremely rare and highly sought after; so much so that prices will easily reach four figures!
Surprisingly, it’s not a particularly packed set in terms of what’s included: there’s the game itself of course, along with a reversible poster, soundtrack CD, a commemorative retro cartridge (which doesn’t even work – it’s purely decorative!), a display stand and three art cards.
Nor was it produced in numbers as low as other games on this list, with 2900 copies released worldwide.
However, it just goes to show how big the Shantae fanbase is – and how keen they are to get their hands on this set, which has easily claimed the top spot of our rare Nintendo Switch games list!
Current Value: £1200
Jason – who lives in the UK – has had a lifelong interest in video games, which all started when he discovered Space Invaders in the early 80s. The first game he ever completed was Wonder Boy in Monster Land on the Sega Master System – which remains one of his proudest gaming achievements. Jason is a passionate writer – and has been writing about gaming since the late 90s. He currently runs pop culture blog midlifegamergeek.com, which he updates on a daily basis (and has written more than 700 articles on the blog alone!).
Outside of video games, Jason is a keen tabletop gamer, film buff and comic book fan.