Asking me to pick the Best SNES Games of all time is like asking me what my favourite type of pasta is. The answer normally takes a long time and most people end up drifting off to sleep, but fortunately for you, you can skip out my thinking process and get straight onto the results.
Some of my best gaming memories are playing on Duck Hunt on the NES using a massive bazooka controller that my Uncle had in his collection. I think that’s where my love of Nintendo consoles first started, and since then I’ve owned every single one that they’ve produced. GameBoys, N64, Wii’s; you name it and I’ve got it.
Seeing Zelda up on the big screen for the first time and trying your hand at Mario Kart all in glorious colour; those memories just don’t go away!
The console that changed it all for me and many other gaming fans out there, however, was the SNES. Although I found it incredibly hard to pick the Best SNES Games of all time from the vast list of titles in my collection and out there in the world, I’ve tried to whittle it down to 15 for you to look through and reminisce.
15. Mario Paint
Using a mouse with a Nintendo plastic mousemat might seem like a strange concept on a games console, but this game had hours of fun hidden away inside it.
You might find it hard to become the next Bob Ross or Leonardo Davinci (I bet that’s the first time those two have been in a sentence together), but it was great for mucking about doodling your own designs or making bizarre drawings.
If you’re a whizz on Microsoft paint like Jim’ll Paint It, then you probably can make anything you want by using this game!
Two of the most memorable parts of this game were the melody maker, in which you use different character faces and emblems as different notes and instruments in a bid to remake classic Nintendo songs, and the fly swatter game which still remains infuriatingly addictive.
It might not be a game that you play on religiously for months, but it’s one of the Best SNES Games for letting off steam after losing your temper with Zelda or dying for the 100th time on Super Mario World. Test it out and see what you can create!
14. Super Star Wars
Star Wars is one of my favourite film franchises of all time, so it’s no surprise that ‘Super Star Wars’ made it into this list. Not content with simply recreating the 1977 first entry into the series, Nintendo slapped ‘Super’ on there to bring it in line with the SNES branding.
Does that make Luke ‘Super Skywalker’? I kind of like it!
Super Star Wars has everything that a classic ‘run and gun’ title should have. It’s side-scrolling brilliance with perfectly designed backdrops that recreate all of your favourite scenes from the movies.
While most of the action revolves around running through iconic areas from the film, you will also be able to drive a landspeeder and pilot an X-wing just like in the movie. You can also play as multiple characters from the original story too.
The game follows the plot-line closely with a few adjustements to make it work as a game. It’s the perfect title for any space-nerds like myself out there and a must have for any Star Wars fans.
13. Mortal Kombat 3
Where do I begin with the next title on my list of the Best SNES Games. Mortal Kombat 3 soaked up so many hours of my childhood life. Perfecting the special moves for Sub-Zero, Cyrax, Smoke, Nightwolf. Cindrel, Liu Kang; my friends and I played as all of them until we were the best!
The Mortal Kombat series is known for its gruesome fatality scenes and pushing the boundaries of fighting games. Back in the day, Mortal Kombat 3 had a bit of blood and portrayed the ideas of gruesome finishing moves, but they weren’t too harrowing to watch as a kid.
The game itself was absolutely awesome. While other fighting titles proved more popular, none were as weird or as brutal as Mortal Kombat. Robots that fired missiles, a warrior that could freeze you and break you into chunks of ice. These guys and girls weren’t messing around!
I played this game around the time that the cartoon series came out too. I knew all the good guys from the bad guys (watch out, Kano) and always fought as my favourite fighters from the show. If you’re looking for a fighting game with a difference, then check this out!
12. Super Castlevania IV
Castlevania IV had some of the best music of any computer game ever made. Add that to Konami’s winning vampire-slaying formula and Simon Belmont slaying ghouls and demons, and you’ve got yourself one of the greatest games of all time.
Many people do consider Castlevania IV to be one of the best games ever made, and once you’ve played it, it’s not hard to see why. The graphics were cutting-edge for the time, the gameplay makes it impossible to put down, and the expanded play controls made it superior to all of the entries in the series before it.
So what is Castlevania IV? Well, the story follows Simon Belmont on his mission to kill Dracula. It’s 1961, Simon has a whip that can block projectiles and attack enemies, and there are undead people trying to eat him alive. ‘Nuff said; this game kicks ass!
You might recently have played this game on the SNES Classic Mini amongst the other pre-installed titles on the system. If you’re a fan of side-scrollers with attitude, then Castlevania IV should be high up on your list.
Many of you will have battled your way through Super Smash Bros. using the all-powerful ‘FALCOOOON PUUUUNCH’, but Captain Falcon didn’t start his career on the battleground.
Well, not a fighting battleground at any rate.
Captain Falcon starred in F-Zero, a futuristic racing game set in the 26th century. Fans of Mario Kart beware – this is not a game that you can play while relaxing back in an armchair. This is high-speed danger driving at its best.
F-Zero was famous for being a hard and challenging game. Bashing into the sides of the track would result in you losing power to your space racer, while special energy strips would fill your bar back up again.
You could race as different characters, all of whom had ships with different attributes. The courses felt so much different to the friendly worlds in Mario Kart – this was a ‘race or die’ kind of challenge where banana skins were the least of your worries!
10. Super Mario All-Stars
The next entry in our list of the Best SNES Games features four titles for the price of one. Super Mario All-Stars was one of the best titles for the SNES and was loved by gamers and critics alike. It’s a pure work of genius and features all of the best Mario titles in one game pak with some nice extras thrown in for good measure.
I loved this game as it had ‘everything under one roof’, so to speak. I could quickly swap and change through my favourite Mario games as I pleased without getting out of bed. You could play as Luigi, Toad, and Peach too, which added even more Mushroom Kingdom madness.
Super Mario All-Stars featured remastered renditions of the original games, something that Shigeru Miyamoto wanted to bring to the table after the successful completion of Mario Kart. This game sold over 10.5-million copies, making it one of the most successful SNES games and Super Mario titles of all time.
If you’re a die-hard Mario fan, then the chances are you’ve already played this game. If, however, you’ve joined at Super Mario Odyssey and want to get to know the plumber’s illustrious back catalogue, then this is a great place to start!
9. Super Mario World
Ask anyone who the character is with the red hat and blue overalls, and 99.89% of people will tell you that it’s Mario. He could well be the most famous game character of all time, if not the most famous plumber, and his franchise spans generations.
You have to be a pretty dark and moody gamer not to enjoy hearing that ‘yahoo’ or ‘let’sa go!’ whenever he jumps or enters a level, and the controls are also so perfectly simple that anyone could pick them up and have a go.
Super Mario World sold an astonishing 20million copies, making it the winner of the Best SNES Games of all time accolade (in terms of sales at any rate). The storyline is classic; save Peach from Bowser, but this time you have to save Dinosaur Island at the same time.
What’s more, you can now play as Luigi and use Yoshi to get around too! Things just don’t get better than this.
If you haven’t played Super Mario World then you really need to wake up and get onto eBay, stat; this is one game that you need to play before you run out of real-life 1-Up mushrooms, so to speak.
8. Yoshi’s Island
Yoshi first debuted in Super Mario World, even though he was born in the minds of developers back in the NES days. Thanks to Super Mario World becoming one of the Best SNES Games of all time and one of the best platformers on the console to boot, Yoshi managed to snag his own title on the console.
Game critics and players everywhere loved the graphics, the style, the music; everything about this game was a winner. It’s no surprise with Shigeru Myamoto behind the wheel really; everything that man touches turns to video gaming gold!
Yoshi is still loved by Nintendo fans all over the world today; my girlfriend always snaps him up when we play Mario Party before I even have a chance to pick him!
The colouring book style setting and scribble drawings in the background add a new texture never before seen in the SNES game world, one that we would go on to see in Yoshi’s Story and feel traces of in Yoshi’s Wooly World.
This side-scrolling game sees you controlling Yoshi as he jumps, flutters, and eats his way through a multitude of worlds, solving puzzles and grabbing collectables on the go.
You have to get Baby Mario back across all 48 levels and rescue Baby Luigi from the Koopalings, all without losing our little red-capped friend along the way. It’s a brilliant game and on that firmly deserves a place in our Best SNES Games list.
Ok, time for something non-Mario related next!
7. Star Fox
In a world where side-scrolling 2D games reign supreme, one Fox dares to make a difference.
That should have been the title for the advertising slogan, but unfortunately, I was too young to be employed by Nintendo at the time.
Thanks to the Super FX chip (everything is’ Super’ in the Nintendo-verse), the first-ever Star Fox game was a 3D forward scrolling space-age shooter, which was a very nice surprise for Nintendo fans and a kick in the teeth to their competitors.
Star Fox features the one and only Fox McCloud and his space crew; Falco Lombardi (still the best character name ever), Peppy Hare, and Slippy Toad. It’s based in the Lylat System, and their mission is to defeat the evil Andross from taking over the galaxy.
I’m a big fan of space-age fighter games, and Star Fox still retains all of the tension and excitement that it did back in the day. Firing torpedos at robots and enemy craft is something I’ll never be able to do in real life, so at least I can get my fix in a virtual way.
Being able to temporarily speed up and slow down to avoid enemies was a very nice touch and, unlike Rogue Squadron where every altercation with a mountain seems to kill you, Fox’s Arwing has a decent shield around it to stop you from becoming a slice of furry burnt toast every time you crash into the world around you.
It’s tricky and it can be stressful at times, but it’s one of the Best SNES Games that I’ve ever played, so I’m sticking it in the list!
What made Pilotwings so exciting to play? Maybe it was the fact that many of us will never actually have the guts or the skills to get up in the air in a real plane? Perhaps it was the fact that it was just so damn addictive? Either way, it’s a worthy entry into our list of the Best SNES Games and one that you NEED to try.
Pilotwings is an amateur flying game where the player takes to the skies in a variety of different aircraft and using thrill-seeking adventure equipment. You have to train to gain a license in light plane flight, skydiving, hang gliding, and the super-cool rocket belt!
One of the best bits about this game was the name of the training area – the ‘Flight Club’. I guess the second rule of Flight Club is that I can’t mention it again, so I better move on.
You get points for completing certain tasks and how fast you finish each stage. The graphics were pretty stunning for the time and the gameplay itself was so intriguing, largely down to the fact that I never had the cahoonas to do any of these sports in real life.
If you want a challenge that doesn’t involve eating 1-Up mushrooms or bouncing on piranha plants, then give Pilot Wings a try. It’s hi-octane fun from the comfort of your own home.
5. Street Fighter II – The World Warrior
This game tried to destroy me a number of times, but I desperately wanted to become the world warrior (which I finally did when I was about 16. No biggy).
Fighting as Blanca, Guile, Ryu, Ken, Dhalsim, E. Honda, and the rest of the Street Fighters was like nothing that I had experienced before on a computer game. To this day, I still don’t know what Blanca’s deal is, and I can’t think about Yoga without seeing Dhalsim’s massive arms. And how hard was the bullfighter dude at the very end of the game! Capcom sure now how to make good punch ’em ups!
The controls are pretty simple if you want to kick and punch your way to victory, but with a plethora of special moves up our heroes sleeves (expect for Blanca who doesn’t wear sleeves), you can pull out some insane techniques that will make it impossible for your opponent to gain the upper ground.
Each fight follows a ‘best of three’ system and the person with most health will win if no-one defeats their opponent in the last round.
FUN FACT – I was in a band called ‘Hundred Hand Slap’ for a little while. None of us wore Sumo skirts though; we might have been more popular if we did.
4. Super Mario Kart
This game doesn’t really need an introduction, or any write up to follow it if I’m going to be perfectly honest. But, I have a word count to hit…so…lets…give…it…a…go.
Accelerate, brake, fire weapons, steer, drift. That’s all you need to know to play Mario Kart, which makes it one of the Best SNES Games for beginners and the most accessible racing game of all time.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a tattooed goth who loves Dark Souls or a princely pup who continuously craves Nintendogs, everyone loves Mario Kart, and the SNES version of Rainbow Road still makes me excited whenever I play on it.
Even though the graphics are a little dated now and the players look a little squashed, the gameplay and the racing format that we have come to know and love is exactly the same. It’s a timeless classic and one that I’m definitely going to be showing to my future kids to let them know where kart racing began.
This game would go on to influence Mario Kart 64, arguably the best title in the series, and many other racing games across all of the other platforms.
3. Super Metroid
Samus Aran couldn’t be more kick-ass if she tried. A space soldier in a robotic suit that uses a plasma cannon to defeat alien monsters; it doesn’t get much better than that!
Samus travels to Zebes to take an infant Metroid creature from the hands of a notorious space pirate named Ridley. If you were still wondering whether this is a good game before the last sentence, then hopefully that will have convinced you that this is another one of the Best SNES Games of all time.
You can fire your plasma cannon in eight different directions as you travel through the different levels, using your grappling hook to swing over canyons and pull objects towards you. The Morph Ball has always been one of my favourite functions linked to Samus’ suit, especially because you can plant bombs while you’re rolling!
And don’t get me started on the massive enemies and bosses that you come up against; those guys just don’t know how to die! Samus is a space-age heroine of epic proportion, and her games are all highly rated by the global gaming world. One small leap for space soldiers, one giant leap for Nintendo-kind!
2. The Legend Of Zelda – A Link To The Past
Zelda games are my childhood (and my adulthood if I’m being perfectly honest). Link is one of the greatest characters of all time and just as influential as Mario when it comes to pushing new Nintendo consoles (there’s a reason why the Switch launched with BOTW!).
A Link To The Past see’s our green-garbed crusader trying to stop his arch-nemesis Ganon from being released by an evil wizard. It follows the alternate reality in which the Hero of Time did not succeed, which for all you non-nerds out there means that Ganondorf is trapped in the Sacred Realm with the triforce pieces, but in his beast form, named Ganon.
The Sacred Realm is now the Dark realm and Link is the only one that can save the descendants of the Seven Sages (the ones from Ocarina of time that you don’t technically know about yet) and defeat the wizard, thus saving Hyrule and cleansing the Sacred Realm.
Whether you understood that top bit or not doesn’t matter; the fact is that this is a stellar game and one that everyone needs to play at least once in their lifetime. It’s the first title where we come into contact with
You can play it on the SNES or try it out on the Nintendo Switch through the online membership. What have you got to lose?
1. Donkey Kong Country
Shigeru Miyamoto might not have liked the pre-rendered graphics on this game, but Donkey Kong Country will forever be one of the Best SNES Games of all time in my humble opinion. I used to play this game with my cousin all the time, taking it in turns whenever one of us died or lost a life.
Riding Rambi the rhino and shooting around levels using the barrel cannons was so amazing, and there’s something about a kick-ass fighting squad of apes defeating walking crocodiles that will never stop being awesome.
King K. Rool might not be as well known as Bowser or Ganondorf, but he’s still a tough cookie to crack!
I still don’t know why King K. Rool stole all of Donkey Kong’s bananas, but he was messing with the wrong ape when he took those sweet yellow snacks away from Kong’s jungle house.
Players must take the duo through the different levels and collect as many bananas as they can while trying to avoid and/or defeat the minions along the way. It’s a fast-thinking fast-paced adventure game that I still love playing today, and when I think of the SNES, I always think about Donkey Kong Country and those blasted blasting barrels first.