When I sit back and reflect on what I really like about 51 Worldwide Games, it’s the memories it conjures up. Playing through many of the games on offer brings back dewy-eyed nostalgia as I recall experiences of fond favourites. Whether it’s a game of dominoes with my grandad during summer holidays, or a frantic game of air hockey with my friends at the local bowling alley, I find myself often reminiscing on past joys. It has made playing through Nintendo’s latest compendium of titles rather satisfying. And despite some minor issues, this is a compilation that many people will get a fair chunk of fun out of.
The variety on offer is the obvious draw, but not just because of the sheer amount of titles available to play. The mix of different types of games is also notable, with a good blend of puzzle games, card games, logic titles, and even more fast-paced sport and action activities. It means at any moment you can stop a relaxing game of Mahjong and inject a bit of pace with a frantic bout of boxing or table football, before settling things over a round or two of Blackjack.
The “Worldwide” part of the title is intentional, and something Nintendo doubles-down on with its execution. Because despite there being plenty of familiar games for you to try your hand at, you can also expect some more obscure titles. Games that originate from different parts of the world are here to enjoy, from the simple yet tactical Mancala to the unique Hanafuda. The latter of which was the card game that Nintendo first entered into business producing. So it seems only fitting that it takes its place in among other iconic pastimes.
And if you enjoyed that little factoid, then you’re in good company with 51 Worldwide Games. Aside from sampling this varied compilation, there’s also plenty of opportunity to learn more about each game as well. After you complete a game – win or lose – you’ll be presented with a fact from it. They vary from the forgettable to the mildly curious, but are a decent addition, especially for those games that you may not have played before.
Each game in the collection feels accessible thanks to a comprehensive set of rules and hints for each one. You’re also treated to a little skit between two characters before each one which is Nintendo all over, complete with sometimes cringey dialogue and over-exuberance. They’re harmless, and more family-oriented, particularly for younger players. And thankfully can be skipped should you just want to get into the action.
This all adds up to a very enjoyable, slick experience. You’ll find you naturally pick up old favourites instantly, but thanks to the well-explained rules, and pick up and play nature of all the games, you’ll be dipping in to everything for a taste before long. All the games feel responsive and the controls are simple to learn. Everything works as it should, with the only exception being the infamous Joy-Con drift affecting some games where you need to use their control sticks.
Despite a substantial offering for single-players, including different AI opponent difficulties and records of your best performances, 51 Worldwide Games truly excels as a multiplayer experience. Both local and online play is supported, but it’s worth noting that some games require multiple Nintendo Switch units to play. Poker, for example, needs you to keep your hand private, which makes playing on a shared screen impossible. If you are playing with multiple Switches though, you only need one copy of the software, which is a nice touch. Mosaic Mode, is an additional mode for local play with multiple Switches, where you use them laid flat as the gameboard. You can create different experiences with different layouts, which is a nice touch, if a little hardware prohibitive.
Connecting and playing online is really straightforward, done with players creating parties to play games within. For the most part, the online has worked very well, especially because most games are turn-based so don’t suffer with any lag issues. Naturally playing online does lose that benefit of seeing your adversary’s face when you are victorious that local play affords. However either using the Nintendo Voice Chat app, or indeed any video chat software means you can still interact with people online. And if you’re looking for something to spice up your voice chats with friends and family, and they have their own Nintendo Switch, then 51 Worldwide Games is a very competent option.
51 Worldwide Games feels like a really solid collection with plenty of variation, even if it does lack depth. Whether you’re looking for a way to play various games either solo or with friends, this is simple and straightforward, and will scratch a really familiar itch. There’s plenty of different experiences to sink your teeth into, and have a laugh with friends. It’s unlikely you’ll be wowed by any game individually, but you’ll likely learn a few new ones as you play through the whole collection. It’s not as grand as say Mario Party, or even as quirky as Wii Sports, but with 51 to choose from, there really is a game for everyone, and plenty of simple fun to be had.
Variety of games
Rules and hints are clearly explained
Controls feel slick
Games are polished
Some games require multiple Switches
Most games won't wow you