Commander Keen for Nintendo Switch

Over the last few weekends I have been porting the Commander Keen interpreter Commander Genius to the Nintendo Switch. I am quite happy with the current state of the port, which supports plenty of features. Most notably:

  • Multiplayer co-op with up to four players
  • Touch screen support
  • Integrated game downloader (Requires WiFi)
  • Native resolution (+ scaling options)


Just download the ZIP and extract the whole “CommanderGenius” folder into the “switch” folder on the SD card. Then start the application from hbmenu. (Preferably NOT in applet mode)

Download: (07/12/2020)

Update 01/10/2021:
Automated builds can be found here.

The default controls: (Can be remapped)

Walking directions
(Left, Right, Up, Down)
Directional buttons
(On left Joycon)
Back/MenuPlus +
StatusMinus –
Camlead (Multiplayer)R

Adding the games

To use the integrated downloader just select “+ More” after starting Commander Genius. Depending on the mirror the download sometimes takes up to ~30 seconds. If it still fails, just try again or download the games manually.

If the integrated downloader causes issues, or if one just wants to keep the Switch offline, the shareware titles can also be downloaded here and extracted to /switch/CommanderGenius/games/ on the SD card.

Note: Besides the shareware episodes, Commander Genius also supports the commercial Commander Keen titles.

Source Code

My patches to the Switch port can be found on GitHub and were built using devkitPro. Big thanks to Gerhard Stein for Commander Genius and his support that made this port possible. We will also be working to upstream the changes so the Switch port can keep up with the latest development.


    • I don’t think I will, since I actually never played that game. Also one of the reasons I chose Commander Genius was that I felt the multiplayer support really matched the Switch particularly well.

  1. Hey Elias!
    Thank you a lot! This release was one of my child’s dreams 🙂

    I have a few questions left:
    1. when i download and start the .nso from the zip archive “ (07/12/2020)” thats not the actual one, right? Do i have to replace the latest version of the .nso with these from this list “Automated builds can be found here.”? Hope you understand what i mean….

    2. is it possible to use the joysticks of the switch controller to move, as well?

    3. for the multiplayer part: is it possible to coop-play at one screen? so for couch coop i mean.. Can players controll keen with different joycons?

    Thanks a lot for the hard work!
    Greets, Tim

    • Yes you may start with the zip for the folder structure and then replace the .nso. The joycons can be used to control the game. For coop scrolling will be locked to one of the players, so you have to stay reasonably close. But choosing a higher resolution helps with this, as it expands the visible area of the level.

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