Gamer Koala

The Best SNES Games of All Time

The pinnacle of 16-bit gaming!

With its iconic and vast library of games, the SNES introduced us to some legendary characters, groundbreaking gameplay mechanics, and captivating stories. It’s hard to put into words how much of an impression on me the Super Nintendo made back in the early ’90s.

I had friends who were Genesis kids, and while there were a few games on that platform that I enjoyed very much, I never understood how anyone could choose that system over the amazing Super Nintendo System.

But that’s neither here nor there. We’re here to talk about the 10 best SNES games. Let’s get into it!

10. Super Castlevania IV

Super Castlevania IV

Super Castlevania IV is a gothic action-platformer that follows vampire hunter Simon Belmont as he battles the forces of darkness in Dracula’s castle. Players traverse treacherous levels, use Simon’s whip and various sub-weapons, and face off against iconic monsters and bosses. The objective is to defeat Dracula and rid the world of his evil influence.

The atmospheric visuals, haunting soundtrack, and tight controls allowing precise whip combat set Castlevania IV apart from other platformers. Its challenging difficulty, the feeling of exploration and discovery, and the timeless appeal of the Castlevania series made it a standout title and a must-play for fans of action platformers.

9. Street Fighter II: Turbo

Street Fighter 2 Turbo

Street Fighter II: Turbo is the best version of the fighting game available on Super Nintendo. Players select from a roster of iconic fighters and engage in intense one-on-one competitive battles against other players. You could also fight computer-controlled opponents, but that was vastly less enjoyable.

Responsive controls, raw speed, a diverse cast of characters with unique move sets, and the sheer depth of its gameplay mechanics kept players returning for more punishment. Its competitive multiplayer, iconic special moves like Ryu’s Hadouken and Chun-Li’s Spinning Bird Kick, and the heated matches against friends or at the arcade made it a standout fighting game and a pillar of the genre.

8. Super Mario Kart

Super Mario Kart

Super Mario Kart is the original kart racing game that brought the beloved Mario characters into the competitive racing world. Players choose from a roster of iconic characters and race across whimsical tracks filled with power-ups, obstacles, and traps. The objective is to outmaneuver opponents, utilize items, and claim victory.

An addictive multiplayer mode, tight controls, and the thrill of intense races cemented Super Mario Kart as a legendary SNES game and the beginning of an incredibly successful series. Its memorable track designs, the introduction of iconic items, and the opportunity to compete with friends and family in split-screen multiplayer made it a standout multiplayer experience.

7. Mega Man X

Mega Man X

Mega Man X takes the classic Mega Man formula and injects it with a dose of futuristic flair and adrenaline-fueled action. Players control Mega Man X, an advanced robot, as he battles against powerful Maverick robots led by the villainous Sigma. The objective is to defeat the Mavericks, acquire their powers, and restore peace to the world.

Mega Man X engaged players with its tight controls, challenging platforming segments, and the thrill of battling powerful bosses. Its memorable boss design, the ability to dash and wall jump, and the satisfaction from acquiring new skills and strategizing against different enemies made it a standout action platformer on the SNES.

6. Final Fantasy VI

Final Fantasy VI
Square Enix

Final Fantasy VI, known as Final Fantasy III in North America, is a sprawling RPG that tells an epic tale of a group of rebels fighting against an oppressive empire. Players control a diverse cast of characters, each with unique abilities and stories, as they navigate a world on the brink of destruction. The objective is to confront the empire’s sinister machinations and save the world from chaos.

Deep character development, emotional storytelling, and an innovative Active Time Battle system made Final Fantasy VI an entry to remember. Its memorable soundtrack, breathtaking moments, and the game’s willingness to tackle mature themes made it a standout entry in the long-running series and a favorite among RPG enthusiasts.

5. Donkey Kong Country

Donkey Kong Country

Donkey Kong Country is a platformer that pushed the boundaries of what was thought possible on the SNES. Players control Donkey Kong and his sidekick, Diddy Kong, as they journey through challenging levels filled with enemies, obstacles, and hidden secrets. The objective is to reclaim Donkey Kong’s stolen banana hoard from the villainous King K. Rool.

Donkey Kong Country’s revolutionary pre-rendered graphics, tight controls, and memorable level design made it an instant classic. Its catchy soundtrack, the introduction of iconic characters like Cranky Kong and the Kremlings, and the satisfyingly difficult yet rewarding gameplay cemented it as a platforming gem.

4. Chrono Trigger

Chrono Trigger
Square Enix

Chrono Trigger is a timeless RPG that follows the adventures of Chrono and his companions through time to save the world from an impending catastrophe. Players embark on a journey of time travel, epic battles, and memorable characters. The objective is to prevent the rise of an ancient evil and alter the course of history.

Its innovative battle system, multiple endings, and rich and intricately woven narrative won over RPG fans in a big way. The beautiful visuals, captivating musical score, and the ability to influence the story through player choices made it a beloved title in the SNES library.

3. Super Metroid

Super Metroid screenshot from SNES

Super Metroid is a genre-defining action-adventure game that immerses players in the atmospheric and sprawling world of the intergalactic bounty hunter Samus Aran. Players explore a labyrinthine planet, acquire new abilities, and battle menacing creatures. The objective is to rescue a kidnapped baby, Metroid, and thwart the plans of the Space Pirates.

Non-linear exploration, moody ambiance, and iconic gameplay mechanics stood out to players worldwide. And a haunting soundtrack, sense of isolation, and the thrill of uncovering secrets and backtracking through the game world made it an unforgettable experience and a benchmark for the Metroidvania genre.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past screenshot from SNES

After an odd diversion with The Adventure of Link, the franchise not only returned to their roots — they perfected the formula. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is an action-adventure game that takes players on a grand quest as Link. Players navigate a vast, interconnected world, solving puzzles, battling enemies, and exploring dungeons. The objective is to rescue Princess Zelda from the evil wizard Agahnim and, later, defeat the evil Ganon.

A Link to the Past captivated players with its engaging gameplay, intricate dungeons, and the sense of wonder and discovery that permeates its world. Its memorable characters, beautiful graphics, and timeless exploration, combat, and puzzle-solving formula made it a standout title and a pillar of the Zelda series.

1. Super Mario World

Super Mario World

Super Mario World is a platforming masterpiece that introduced us to Mario’s iconic side-scrolling adventures on the SNES. Players guide Mario or Luigi through a vibrant and varied world, collecting power-ups, stomping on enemies, and navigating treacherous obstacles. The objective is to rescue Princess Peach from the clutches of the villainous Bowser.

Precise controls, imaginative level design, and a fun cast of characters made Super Mario World an instant classic. Its charming visuals, catchy soundtrack, and sheer joy of exploration and discovery made it an instant classic and a favorite among gamers of all ages.

But let’s be real. The introduction of the lovable Koopa-eating, egg-laying Yoshi is what it’s really all about, right?