Super Nintendo Entertainment System or SNES as we call it lovingly was one of the best gaming consoles of its time and even of all time and dominated the market. This console was the home to some of the best games ever made and there are a lot of such games. The original NES console did have a humongous lineup of cool games but the SNES took everything to a whole new level.
No other console has got as many quality games as this one has and the games of SNES are better and more diverse than anything that was seen at the time. It is the collection that makes SNES so popular. So, if you are overwhelmed with the plethora of games that you have come across and don’t know which one to try, then you have come to the right place. take a look at the list of the best SNES games of all time and enjoy.
Top 30 Best SNES Games to Play:
1. Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past
Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past is the seventh best selling SNES game and almost 5 million copies of this video game were sold worldwide. It is developed and published by Nintendo for the SNES console and is one of the top Snes games made to date. It is the third instalment to the ‘Legend of Zelda’ series and focuses on Link as he travels on a journey to save Hyrule, conquer Ganon and rescue the maidens related to the Sages.
A Link to the Past was ported to the Game Boy Advance platform with slight changes and is now also available on Wii, Wii U, and New Nintendo 3D via the Virtual Console. This instalment of the game uses a top-down perspective similar to the original game. A successor to the game titled Legend Of Zelda: A Link Between The Worlds was released for the Nintendo 3DS platform in November 2013.
2. Super Mario World
Super Mario World is another one of the best Super nintendo games that you have to try out and was developed and published by Nintendo for the SNES gaming console. It was released in the year 1990 and is the best-selling SNES video game with over 20 million copies sold worldwide. The players have to control Mario or his brother Luigi through a series of levels in which the goal is to reach the flagpole at the end.
It is the first Mario game for the SNES and was designed to make the best of the console’s technical capabilities. The storyline follows Mario’s mission to rescue the princess Toadstool and Dinosaur Land from the series of antagonist Bowser and his children – the Koopalings. This game introduced Yoshi, a dinosaur who can eat enemies and gain abilities by eating the shells of Koopa Troopas.
3. Super Metroid
Super Metroid is a side-scrolling action adventure video game designed for the SNES gaming console and was developed and published by Nintendo. The game was released in the year 1994 and the story takes place after the events of Game Boy game Metroid: Return of Samus. The game received critical acclaim or its atmosphere, music and graphics.
Super Metroid follows the protagonist and playable character Samus Aran who travels to planet Zebes in an attempt to retrieve an infant Metroid stolen by the Space Pirate leader Riley. The gameplay focuses on exploration with the player searching for power-ups that are used to reach inaccessible areas. It introduces a concept like an inventory screen, an automap and the ability to fire in all directions. the game has shipped 1.42 million copies worldwide by 2003.
Earthbound, also known as Mother 2 in Japan, is considered as another one of the best SNES games and was developed by Nintendo along with HAL Laboratory, Creatures and 1-UP Studio. It is a part of the Mother series of games which consists of 3 role-playing video games and this is the second instalment of the series. It is widely regarded as a video game classic and is included in multiple top ten lists and is known for its humour, originality and parody.
The gameplay is set in the late 20th century the United States and the player use weapons and psychic powers to fight hostile everyday objects. The main elements of the series included the lighthearted plots, the battle sequences with psychedelic backgrounds, and the rolling HP meters. In the absence of continued official support for the series, an Earthbound community organized online to advocate for further series releases through petitions and fan art.
5. Chrono Trigger
Chrono Trigger is another role-playing game designed for the SNES video game console and was developed and published by Square. The initial date of release of the game was on 11 March 1995 and the game was a critical and commercial success upon release. The storyline of the game follows a group of adventurers who travel through time to avoid a global catastrophe.
The players are meant to control the protagonist and his friends in the game’s 2D fictional world consisting of forests, dungeons and cities. Chrono Trigger is frequently cited as one of the best SNES games of all time and the Nintendo Power magazine described the game as revolutionary. It was praised for its multiple endings, plot-related sidequests and detailed graphics.
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6. Final Fantasy VI (Final Fantasy III)
Final Fantasy VI – also known as Final Fantasy III – is another game developed and published by Square for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The game is of the role-playing genre and was initially released on 2 April 1994. The gameplay is set in a fantasy world with a technology level the comparable to the Second Industrial Revolution. The game was ranked as the 2nd best RPG of all time by IGN.
The story of the game follows a group of rebels as they seek to overthrow an imperial dictatorship and features 14 playable characters, the most number of any game in the main series. The game was called Final Fantasy III when it was initially released in North America because the original Final Fantasy II, Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy V were not released at the time. The SNES and PlayStation versions of the game have sold over 48 million copies all over the world.
7. Final Fantasy IV (Final Fantasy II)
Final Fantasy IV, also known as Final Fantasy II, is another game in the Final Fantasy series of games and was initially released in the year 1991. This role-playing video game was developed and published by Square and is considered one of the top SNES games of all time. Because of the popularity, the game has been ported to other platforms with varying differences with an enhanced remake with 3D graphics released for Nintendo DS.
The story of the game follows Cecil, a dark knight who tries to stop the sorcerer Golbez from seizing powerful crystals and destroying the world. He will be joined by a frequently changing group of allies throughout the game. The game brought forward many innovations which set the foundation of the further instalments of games in the series. The game was re-titled Final Fantasy II during its initial release outside Japan at the time.
8. Super Mario Kart
Super Mario Kart is quite an old game which was released in 1992 and is considered one of the top SNES games. This kart racing video game was developed and published by Nintendo for the SNES video game console but now also runs on Wii and Wii U. This game is also the fourth best selling SNES video game with almost 9 million copies sold all over the world. This is also the first game in the Mario Kart series.
The player takes control of one of the eight Mario series characters with each of them having their own abilities. The player can race against computer controlled characters in the single-player mode over three different difficulty levels. They can also race against the clock in a Time Trial mode. In multiplayer mode, 2 players can simultaneously take part in the cups or race against each other one-on-one in Match Race mode. In a third multiplayer mode called Battle mode, the aim is to defeat the other players by attacking them with power-ups and destroying balloons that surround each kart.
9. Super Street Fighter 2: Turbo
Super Street Fighter 2: Turbo is a competitive fighting game released for the arcades by Capcom on 23 February 1994 initially. The game is also the fifth instalment of the Street Fighter II sub-series of the Street Fighter games. The game was not an instant commercial success but was critically acclaimed and had a huge impact on the competitive fighting game ‘e-sport’ circuit. This game is also the oldest competitive fighting game that still has an active competitive tournament scene throughout the world after 20 years of its original release.
The game introduced several gameplay mechanics not present in the previous instalments of the Street Fighter II like the addition of combination moves called the super combos and air combos. It also has a secret character called Akuma who was present in all the later instalments and other Capcom fighting games. This game allows you to play as versions of characters from the original game in addition to their regular counterparts in the game by inputting a code.
10. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island is one of the best super ninetendo games of all time and the 10th best selling video game with over 4 million copies of the game sold worldwide. The game was developed and published by Nintendo for the SNES console and was initially released on 5 August 1995. The game received instant and universal acclaim and the reviewers praised it for its hand-drawn aesthetic, art, sound, level design and gameplay.
The storyline of the game goes like in order to reunite the baby brothers, Mario and Luigi who was kidnapped by Kamek, the player controls Yoshi, a friendly dinosaur through 48 levels while carrying baby Mario. Yoshi runs and jumps to reach the end of each level while solving puzzles and collecting items. The game also introduces Yoshi’s signature abilities to flutter jump and produce eggs from swallowed enemies.
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11. Super Castlevania IV.
Super Castlevania IV is another platform game developed and published by Konami and is the first Castlevania game for the SNES system. It was released originally in 1991 and later re-released in 2006 for Wii and in 2013 for Wii U. Super Castlevania IV introduced expanded play control, 16-bit graphics featuring SNES mode 7 and soundtrack with brand new pieces based on the previous Castlevania music.
The players control Simon through eleven levels and begin the game with 3 lives and end in a ‘game over’ once they have lost them all. The health gauge can be replenished through food items that are dropped from candles or enemies or with a Magic Crystal which is obtained after defeating the boss at the end of each level. The players can attack enemies in 8 different directions with Simon’s whip and the power of the whip can be increased up to 2 levels by collecting an item called ‘Morning Star’.
12. Donkey Kong Country
Donkey Kong Country is a platform video game originally developed by Rare and later by Retro Studios and published by Nintendo for the SNES console. It was initially released in November 1994 and is a spin-off of the original Donkey Kong series. The series’ protagonists are Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, Dixie Kong, Kiddy Kong and Cranky Kong along with some other Kongs and their friends.
The player controls Donkey Kong and his friends to complete a series of side-scrolling levels that include enemies, obstacles and collectables. King R Rool and Kremling cohorts are the main villains of the game for most of the series. The game mainly takes place in the Donkey Kong island which can take many different forms and is quite diverse with a jungle, pine trees, icy mountains and lone industrial areas. In the original Donkey Kong Country, Donkey Kong along with his nephews and sidekick Diddy Kong must recover the stolen hoard of bananas from King R Rool and the Kremlings.
13. Secret of Mana
The Secret of Mana is an action role-playing game initially released in the year 1993 and was developed and published by Square for the SNES video game console. It is the sequel to the1991 game Seiken Densetsu which was released in North America as Final Fantasy Adventure and was the first Seiken Densetsu series to be marketed as a part of the Mana series. The game was praised for its brightly coloured graphics, expansive plot, Ring Command menu system and innovative real-time battle system.
The game is set in a high fantasy universe and follows three heroes as they attempt to prevent an empire from conquering the world with the power of an ancient flying fortress. The Ring Command system which is unique to this game pauses the action and allows the players to make decisions in the middle of the battle. The new cooperative multiplayer system allows a second or third player to drop in and out of the game at any time.
14. Super Ghouls N Ghosts
Super Ghouls N Ghosts is also an action side-scrolling platform game which was developed and published by Capcom for the SNES system in the year 1991. The game is the third instalment of the Ghosts N Goblins series and was also included in the compilation of the ‘Capcom Generations: Chronicles of Arthur’ for the PlayStation and Sega Saturn, as well as in ‘Capcom Classics Collection’ for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox and ‘Capcom Classics Collection: Reloaded’ for the PlayStation Portable. The game follows Arthur who starts the game with an ordinary suit of armour which can be upgraded up to 3 times.
The player takes the role of knight Arthur who must rescue the princess from the demons and the antagonist this time is the Emperor Sardius. Sardius kidnaps the princess in order to obtain the whereabouts of the Goddess’s bracelet which is the only weapon capable of destroying Sardius. Arthur must make the journey to Sardius’s castle and then return with the princess to the beginning and again make the journey to the castle in order to destroy Sardius permanently.
15. Mega Man X2
Mega Man X2 is one of the greatest SNES games which is very popular and was developed by Capcom for the SNES video game console. The game was released in Japan in the year 1994 and later in North America and PAL regions in 1995. The game is also known as Rockman X2 in Japan and takes place in the near future in which humans try to coexist peacefully with intelligent robots called ‘Reploids’. But some of the Reploids go ‘Maverick’ and threaten to disrupt the peace and daily life.
The game features much of the same action platforming elements as the first instalment of the series and follows the traditional gameplay of the original Mega Man series. The player has to complete a series of stages by destroying enemies, gaining power-ups and winning a special weapon of each stage’s boss. The game is also graphically similar to its predecessor but has a new Cx4 in-cartridge enhancement chip to allow some 3D wireframe effects.
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16. Contra III: The Alien Wars
Contra III: The Alien Wars, also known as Contra Spirits in Japan and Super Probotector: Alien Rebels in PAL regions, is a 1992 run and gun video game developed by Konami and factor 5 and published by Konami. It is the third instalment of the Contra series following the original Contra and Super C for the NES. The game received positive reviews from Electronic Gaming Monthly and GamePro and the only weakness mentioned was the awkward control configuration when playing on the Super Game Boy.
The game is set in the futuristic 2636 when the alien invaders defeated in the previous instalments have decided to launch a full-scale war against mankind on Earth. The identities of the original heroes were changed to ‘Jimbo’ and ‘Sully’ and the alien invaders were changed to ‘Red Falcon’ maintaining the continuity of the previous localizations. The level design is more complex and new levels include motorcycle chases, riding on missiles and two Moe 7 enabled top-view levels.
17. Star Fox
Star Fox is an action adventure science fiction video game and one of its kind which was developed and published by Nintendo and was released initially in the year 1993. The original Satr Fox was a forward-scrolling 3D rail shooter though the later titles added more freedom direction-wise. The game follows an independent mercenary unit of anthropomorphic animals called Star Fox led by the protagonist Fox McCloud and their adventures around Lylat system.
In the first Star Fox game, Fox McCloud and his team take on Andross who threatens to overthrow the Lylat system. Several boss battles of this game are included as mini-games in the Wii game WarioWare: Smooth Moves using Wii remote to fly the ships. The first game in the series used Super FX chip to create the first accelerated 3D gaming experience on a home console. The reboot of this game, called Star Fox 64, revolutionalized the video game industry by being the first Nintendo 64 game to feature the rumble pack.
18. Mario Paint
Mario Paint is another one of the best SNES games released in1992 for the SNES gaming console and was developed by Intelligent Systems and Nintendo together. the game was called the most ingenious and inspired idea Nintendo ever came up with and got many praises and is also included in the Nintendo Power’s top 200 games list. The game erased barriers between creating and playing, making it one of the most memorable and unique games ever to be released on the console.
Mario Paint allows the users to make custom stamps pixel by pixel aside from the basic drawing utilities. In addition to creating static pictures, the user can also make simple looping animations which can then be set to music created in the music generator. These animations made by the user can only be viewed on a television screen and while instructions were provided to users on how to record these to a video cassette recorder, there is no other way to export any work done in Mario Paint.
19. Tetris Attack
Tetris Attack is a famous puzzle video game developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo for the SNES platform and Game Boy and is one of the best SNES games ever. It was initially released in the year 1995 and is the first game in the puzzle league series. It was originally known as ‘ Panel de Pon’ in Japan for the Super Famicom and featured different art assets and characters but its English version was replaced with characters from ‘Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island’.
The single-player story mode takes place in the world of Yoshi’s Island where Bowser and his minions have cursed all of Yoshi’s friends and you will play as Yoshi. The player must defeat each of Yoshi’s friends in order to remove the curse and once all the friends have been freed, the game proceeds to a series of Bowser’s minions and then to Bowser himself. During the final matches, the player can choose Yoshi or any of his friends to play out the level.
20. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars is a role-playing game developed by Square and published by Nintendo for the SNES video game console and was initially released in the year 1996. The game has many similarities with the other Square Enix role-playing games like Final Fantasy and the Super Mario series. The game was very well-received and was praised for its 3D rendered graphics and humour. It is one of the best SNES games and has even appeared on the list of ‘greatest video games of all time’.
The story follows Mario and his party as they seek to eliminate the main antagonist Smithy who has stolen seven Star pieces of the Star Road where all the world’s inhabitants wish become Wish Stars. Mario must return the pieces so these wishes may again be granted. The game has got five permanent playable characters and only 3 members of these 5 can be used during a battle at any given time. The game is followed by 2 successive Mario-themed RPG series, the Pare Mario and Mario and Luigi series.
F-Zero is one of the must have SNES games. It has a series of futuristic racing video games originally created by Nintendo EAD with multiple games developed by other companies. It was initially released in the year 1990 and its success gave rise to multiple sequels on subsequent gaming consoles. The series is famous for its high-speed racing, unique characters and settings, difficult gameplay and original music. The first game in the series was also the first game for the platform to use a technique called ‘Mode 7 Scrolling’.
Each of the games in F-Zero series requires the player to beat opponents to finish line while avoiding obstacles such as land mines and slip zones. The game requires memorization of tracks and quick reflexes for its fast-paced gameplay. In F-Zero and F-Zero: Maximum Velocity, a speed boost is given to the players after each lap but since F-Zero X, players may use speed boost after they have completed one lap but in exchange for losing energy while boosting.
22. Mortal Kombat II
Mortal Kombat II is a fighting game which was released initially in the year 1993 and was originally produced by Midway for the arcades and was later ported to multiple home systems like the SNES console. This is the second game in the Mortal Kombat series improving the gameplay and expanding the mythos of the original Mortal Kombat with a lot more finishing moves. The game was a commercial success and was acclaimed by critics and received a lot of awards. The game also caused a major video game controversy because of its depiction of graphic violence.
The game features several iconic characters like Kitana, Mileena, Kung Lao, Noob Saibot and the recurring villain of the series, Shao Kahn. The plot continues from the first game featuring the next Mortal Kombat tournament set in another dimensional realm. The Outworld and Earthrealm representatives must fight each other on their way to challenge the evil emperor Shao Kahn. All the playable characters in the game share most generic attributes and normal moves are also the same.
23. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong’s Quest
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong’s Quest is one of the best SNES games and the sixth best selling SNES game ever with over 5 million units of the game sold worldwide. The game was developed by Rare and published by Nintendo in the year 1995 and is the second instalment of the Donkey Kong Country series and serves as the direct sequel to Donkey Kong Country. The game was also the second best selling game in the year 1995 and the highest selling SNES title to never be packaged with the system.
The story revolves around Diddy Kong and his girlfriend Dixie Kong who try to rescue Donkey Kong after he is kidnapped by King R Rool. The game is set on ‘Crocodile Isle’ in which there are eight worlds of varying environments and totalling 52 levels. The game features a wide number of enemies like land-based reptilian Kremlings, rats, bees and vultures and sea-based like pufferfish, eels and sharks. When hit by an enemy, the active character immediately leaves the screen and the control is transferred to the other character. The players can reclaim their partners through the DK barrels throughout the game.
24. Super Star Wars: Return of Jedi
Super Star Wars: Return of Jedi is a run and gun type video game released for the SNES system in the year 1994 initially and is the third and final game in the Super Star Wars trilogy which is based on the 1983 film Return of the Jedi. The game was praised for the musical scores but was criticized for frustrating controls, overly easy villains and level designs. But the Electronic Gaming Monthly praised it for the great graphics and the need to move carefully through the levels and was awarded the best Movie-to-Game of 1994 by the same.
The game closely follows the standard set by the previous instalments with the return of selectable characters, multiple playable characters and Mode 7 quasi-3D vehicle sequences. In addition to the standard Like Skywalker, Han Solo, and Chewbacca, Princess Leia and Wicket also appear as playable characters. Luke Skywalker no longer has nine Force powers but five and it is easier for him to recharge his abilities. Bosses include Jabba the Hutt, the Rancor Beast, Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine.
25. Sim City
Sim City is a cool open-ended city-building video game series designed by Will Wright originally and the first game in the series, SimCity, was published by Maxis in the year 1989. The success of SimCity paved the way for the creation of several sequels and spin-offs like ‘The Sims’ of the 2000s which itself became a best-selling computer game and franchise. The Sim City universe is based loosely on the 20th century California urbanization and all editions have some common thematic elements.
The player develops a city from a patch of undeveloped land and controls where to place development zones, infrastructures like roads and power plants, landmarks and public services like schools, parks, hospitals and fire stations. The player can also set the tax rate, budget and social policies of their cities and the cities are populated by ‘Sims’ or simulated persons who live in the city created by the player. The three development zone types are the major areas of inhabitation – the residential zone for the Sims to live in, commercial zone for Sim to shop and have offices and the industrial zones where Sims work in factories, laboratories or farms.
26. The Lost Vikings
The Lost Vikings is another one of the best SNES games developed by Silicon & Synapses and published by Interplay and is a puzzle platform video game. The game was originally released for the SNES console in the year 1993 and re-released later for other systems in the next year. In this game, the player controls three separate Vikings with different abilities and they must work together to finish each level and find their way back home.
The game has a two-player cooperative mode in which each player simultaneously controls one Viking and is allowed to change controls to the third unused Viking whenever they wish to. Every level is designed such that each Viking must contribute their unique skills to pass the level and if any Viking runs out of health, the level becomes unwinnable and the player will have to restart the level again. Each Viking has the ability to carry and use items like keys, bombs and food as well as unique skillsets like Erik can run the fastest of all three, Baleog can kill enemies with a sword or a bow and Olaf can block enemies and their attacks with the shield.
ActRaiser is a platform and city building simulation game for the SNES video game console and was developed by Quintet and published by Enix. The game was initially released in the year 1990 and combines the traditional side-scrolling platforming with urban planning god game sections. The game was also awarded the Best Music of 1993 by Electronic Gaming Monthly and has been cited as one of the GameSpot’s greatest games of all time.
The game follows ‘The Master’, a god-like being, in his fight against Tanzra aslo called ‘The Evil One’. The Master was defeated in his battle against Tanzra and his 6 lieutenants and he retreated into his castle for healing and fell into a deep sleep and meanwhile, Tanzra divided the world into 6 lands and turned the people evil. The player plays as the Master and although the player cannot control the master directly, the player interacts with the world by controlling an angel and an animated statue. The final level is an action-sequence boss marathon, ending in the final showdown against Tanzra.
28. Super Punch-Out!!
Super Punch-Out!! is a boxing video SNES game which was released in the year 1994 and was developed and published by Nintendo for the SNES gaming console. It is the fourth instalment in the Punch-Out!! series taking place after the Punch-out!! game for the NES. The game was praised for its cartoon-like style, colourful, outlandish opponents, simple gameplay controls and replay value. The game also had a colourful and detailed graphics which includes features that allowed behind the back perspective.
In this game, the player controls Little Mac as he fights his way to become the World Video Boxing Association Champion. The players have a ‘behind the back’ perspective and must knock out their opponents in three minutes to win. The players can launch jabs, uppercuts and hooks against their opponents as well as block, dodge and duck the opponents’ attacks. A meter not displayed on the screen called the dizzy threshold means that if the player manages to land a given number of consecutive punches, it will put the opponent into brief ‘dizzy’ animation.
29. Wario’s Woods
Wario’s Woods is a puzzle type SNES game designed for the SNES gaming system and was developed and published by Nintendo. It was released initially in the year 1994 and the game was re-cast multiple times, first as a broadcast on the Satellaview and then as a Virtual Console for Wii and later for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. The game recieved favourable reviews for the gameplay mechanics it introduced but wasn’t regarded as anything revolutionary.
This game is a falling block game similar to Tetris where the goal is to clear the playing field of monsters using bombs, arranging them in rows of matching colours. The player can directly manipulate the puzzle pieces and the player controls Toad who moves around the playing field and arranges the block as they have fallen. The monsters and the bombs must be arranged so that three or more objects of the same colour are placed adjacent to one another in horizontal, vertical or diagonal rows with at least one object being a bomb.
30. Metal Warriors
Metal Warriors is another one of the best SNES games which were released in the year 1995 and is an action platformer video game developed by LucasArts and published by Konami. The game is said to be very similar to the game Cybernator but the reviewers judged it to be an outstanding game due to the heavy challenge, simple controls and the ability to leave the mech suit. The game was also praised for its uncluttered graphics, the variety of equipment and the general fun it provided.
The game is et in the year 2102 and the player takes on the role of Lt Stone and is about the United Government being under siege from the Dark Axis led by the leader Venkar Amon. In addition to the single-player game, there is a two-player split screen versus mode and each selectable robot has their own melee weapons. The player is able to pilot six different types of assault suits and can use different suits in the same stage and at any time, he/she can also abandon their assault suit to find a new one.