What are the best SNES games ever created?
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System launched in Japan in 1990 and landed itself a place in the annals of gaming history with 49.10 million consoles sold.
If you had a SNES, chances are certain games immediately spring to mind when you think about it.
It’s no secret that this console boasted some incredibly impressive and memorable games, and today we’ve done our best to single out the best of the best.
The Best SNES Games Ever Created
Our ranked lists are created by researching and rounding up information from the most reputable web sources.
If you enjoy this list, don’t forget to check out our other Nintendo game lists:
- The 50 Best GameCube Games of All Time
- The 50 Best Gameboy Color Games of All Time
- The 50 Best GBA Games of All Time
- The 50 Best Nintendo DS Games of All Time
- The 50 Best Nintendo Wii Games of All Time
- The 50 Best Nintendo Wii U Games of All Time
Here’s our list of the 50 best SNES games ever created:
50. Gradius III
While the first game of this series made its debut on the NES, Gradius III was released the same day as the SNES and it served to highlight the strengths of the new console.
The magnitude of this game with its huge bosses and incredible environments truly was something special, and it further confirmed Konami’s reputation as one of the gaming industry’s best developers.
49. Yoshi’s Cookie
Yoshi is a beloved character and in this Nintendo puzzle game, his insatiable appetite is brought to the forefront.
With Mario playing chef and lining up matching rows of cookies, it was Yoshi’s job to gobble them all up in this family-friendly favorite.
48. Donkey Kong Country 3
Although this game was one of the latest releases on the SNES, and by extension, many players passed it over, those who did stick around to play it got to enjoy the fantastic gameplay, visuals, and story.
Sporting an impressive array of environments, more side quests, and a new playable character, DKC3 was the perfect follow-up to the previous game, and it definitely earned its place as one of the best Donkey Kong Country games.
47. Super Ghouls ‘N Ghosts
Serving as a follow-up to the NES Ghosts ‘N Goblins, a rage-quit-inducing game that saw many frustrated but dedicated fans, this game doesn’t shy away from bringing back the challenges.
While this game may be just as headache-inducing as its predecessor, the visual effects made all the punishment worth it in the end.
Combining side-scroll platforming with unrelenting action, ActRaiser was one of the most unique games available on the SNES.
Essentially, this game gave players the ability to play god, while also throwing in side-scrolling action sequences where you got to take on monsters. It was amazing.
45. Mortal Kombat II
Fans of the series often consider this game to be the best in the franchise and today it is still considered one of the best 16-bit fighting games.
Additionally, unlike the first game which was censored, this game was bold, bloody, and colorful, something that really made it stand out on the SNES.
44. Breath of Fire II
Building upon the foundation of the first game, Breath of Fire II introduced players to Ryu, a blue-haired mercenary whose dragon ancestry was gradually revealed throughout the game.
While he might not be the most well-known dragon-born in gaming history, this RPG featured plenty of unique encounters, interesting characters, and turn-based battles that fans immediately fell for.
Even if the bad text translations left a bit (read: a lot) to be desired.
43. Super Bomberman
The first 4-player game to be released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Bomberman was the must-have party game back in the 90s.
With superb gameplay and the fantastic Battle Mode, this multiplayer was a stand-out success on the SNES.
42. Kirby Super Star
Kirby Super Star was the ultimate Kirby game of its time and it combined a plethora of the pink hero’s smaller adventures into one incredible game.
For fans of Kirby, this was the game that you just had to have on your SNES.
41. Harvest Moon
In a world where titles such as Farming Simulator (which just released a new game in November 2021) are things that people really enjoy playing, Harvest Moon fits right in.
While the premise of having to tend your fields, plant seeds, and harvest crops might not have seemed that interesting at first, it turned out to be incredibly fun.
There’s just something about pretending to do manual labor that appeals to people!
40. Demon’s Crest
This Capcom title surprisingly didn’t do well in sales despite the gameplay being engaging and creative, and it holds the honor of being the only Super Nintendo game to register negative sales.
After starting out as a supporting character, Demon’s Crest gave Firebrand a chance to strike out on his own, and while it might not have been the greatest game on the console, it definitely deserved more love than it got.
39. Breath of Fire
Another title from Capcom, this game was the first in the role-playing series, and in many ways, it built a solid foundation for the sequel to build off of.
With a cast of 7 heroes, engaging turn-based combat, and loads of random encounters, this game ranks higher than its successor due to it being the first to employ a lot of the gameplay features that made the sequel so good.
38. Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen
The game that launched a franchise, March of the Black Queen, was an in-depth tactical title that had so many facets you could play it for weeks on end and still not experience everything it had to offer.
With sequels popping up later on the N64, Game Boy Advance, and Playstation, fans of the series have this original game to thank for kicking off all of the later games.
37. Earthworm Jim 2
Although a mutated earthworm may not seem like the most interesting protagonist, Earthworm Jim went on to be one of the most iconic characters from the 16-bit era.
In this sequel, Jim partnered up with Snott, a giant booger who helped him stick to and swing from obstacles.
Was it weird? Yes. But it was definitely fun.
36. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time
This game was one that all TMNT fans needed to have in their SNES library. A staple of the ’90s, these pizza-loving turtles were a SNES port of the Turtles in Time arcade game.
At the time, this game had everything fans could want: bright graphics, awesome combat gameplay, and an engaging story that involved the turtles warping through history all the way from the Jurassic Era to the far-away future.
35. Sim City
Sim City had already been making the rounds as a favorite on the computer before it came out on the SNES.
However, once it was picked up by Nintendo, it became an even greater success with the addition of some of Nintendo’s most popular characters.
Even today, Sim City has a dedicated fan base, and numerous games and spin-offs have been launched because of the first game’s success.
34. NBA Jam
Sports games are always popular, and when the arcade version of this game was brought to the SNES it became an instant hit.
Allowing players to engage in one-on-one matches using the game’s most well-known superstars, this game took basketball to all new heights.
33. Kirby’s Dream Course
Another classic Kirby game and arguably one of the best on the SNES, this game gave players control of the pink hero as he did his best golf ball impression.
Essentially a mini-golf game, this title was deceptively difficult and it could take a while to master every level and make it to the end.
32. Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals
Despite being the second game, Lufia II served as a prequel to the first game that launched on the SNES.
Taking place 100 years earlier than the events of the original game, Rise of the Sinistrals took the style of role-playing games and added in the excitement and pace of an action game to create a wonderfully engaging hybrid.
31. Legend of the Mystical Ninja
The first Goemon game to release to Western audiences, Legend of the Mystical Ninja is a Konami classic and we wish more of the games had been released in America.
However, this creative take on feudal Japan more than made up for the games that we lacked in the West, and the cartoonish demons that inhabited this world made this one of the most memorable and entertaining games on the system.
30. Tetris & Dr. Mario
What could be better than combining two of the most recognized franchises into one incredible game?
With the multiplayer mode, players could challenge themselves to play both games simultaneously to see just how far they could get.
Needless to say, things could get complicated fast, and it took some real focus to make it through this mode.
29. Mega Man X2
With the original game being such an explosive hit, fans weren’t sure if the sequel could live up to the hype.
Thankfully, Mega Man X2 blew expectations out of the water and gave fans all-new enemies to engage with, and brought back fan-favorite sidekick Zero.
28. Wario’s Woods
Although Wario’s Woods was the last NES game to be officially released, a SNES version also dropped the same day, bringing this 8-bit wonder to the newer console.
Along with this distinction, Wario’s Woods was also Wario’s first debut as a title character, something that many fans enjoyed immensely.
27. The Lost Vikings
This trio of time-traveling Vikings definitely wasn’t in the North anymore. In fact, they weren’t even on Earth at all!
The best part of this game was that the incredible puzzles required players to use each character’s unique skills, which required a lot of forethought and problem-solving.
It definitely wasn’t a walk in the park, but it sure was fun!
26. Super Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
The second Star Wars adaptation to make it to the SNES, this game threw players into all of the most iconic fights from the movie.
From Dagobah to Cloud City, this game didn’t lack incredible locations or action-packed combat.
25. Mortal Kombat 3
Another title that came late to the SNES, this game singlehandedly wrapped up all the ones that had come before it and didn’t hold back when it came to action-packed combat.
As a fighting game, it was one of the best, and fans of Mortal Kombat games still hold it in high regard today.
24. Contra III: The Alien Wars
This SNES classic utilized all the strengths of the console to make Contra III one of the best shooters on the system.
Featuring gigantic bosses, an epic hard rock soundtrack, and a spinning overhead perspective, it was considered one of the most extreme games of the time, and it didn’t hold back when it came to difficult situations.
23. The Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse
When it came to the action and adventure genre of games, Capcom was one developer who dominated the industry during the SNES system’s heyday.
In this game, players were treated to Mickey’s costume-changing action as he turned from Magician to Firefighter and more in his attempts to stop the dastardly Emperor Pete.
22. Mario Paint
Developed for and packaged with the Super NES Mouse, an addition that never really took off, this game was meant to get players acquainted with the new peripheral.
Although the Mouse may not have caught on, fans did embrace this game with open arms, and it came packed with numerous drawing, animation, and music-making tools. There were even minigames that were surprisingly engaging.
With so much to do, it’s no wonder fans are still asking for a sequel even today!
21. Super Castlevania IV
Castlevania is one of the most long-lived franchises, and many fans consider Super Castlevania IV to be one of the best in the series.
This game lets players follow Simon Belmont as he tries to defeat Dracula once and for all.
With five new levels, improved controls, and additional gameplay mechanics that make killing the undead even more satisfying, this game was one of the best ever released on the SNES.
20. Tetris Attack
There’s no denying that any Tetris game is addicting, and with this one featuring the cast of Yoshi’s Island, it was bound to be a hit.
However, what really made this game memorable was its addition of a competitive mode where you could send a load of blocks tumbling onto your opponents’ board.
19. Super Punch-Out!!
This game wasn’t fancy and it focused on the classic fight moves like uppercuts and right hooks instead of superpowered finishers or gravity-defying kicks.
That said, this game was anything but boring, and each match forced players to learn their opponents’ weaknesses in order to defeat them.
Gamers love racing games and F-Zero was one of the best to come out of the SNES era and it even created a new genre!
A racing game set in a futuristic world, it contained some truly mind-blowing tracks that were challenging to anyone, regardless of how well-versed they were in the racing genre.
17. Donkey Kong Country 2
This sequel took everything that Donkey Kong Country offered and bumped it up another 10 notches.
In this installment, the big gorilla himself gets captured and players must help Diddy and Dixie Kong get him back.
It was action-packed, filled with adventure, and quite literally more fun than a barrel full of monkeys.
16. Super Mario All-Stars
Mario games are popular no matter what console they are on, and this Mario game was one of the best on the SNES.
Composed of some of the plumber’s most memorable adventures, made better by the improved graphics of the SNES, this title was a must-have when it was released in 1994.
15. Final Fantasy IV
For fans used to Final Fantasy III on the NES, Final Fantasy IV came as a bit of a shock.
Forgoing the tabletop roleplaying game inspiration, this title was much more about character development with fully fleshed-out backstories, instead of giving players a blank slate to build upon themselves.
Despite the deviation from what Final Fantasy III offered, this game was an incredible success, and it was hard not to love the characters and gameplay we were given.
This game was the only one in the Mother series to be released in North America, and while it didn’t see spectacular sales, the premise of the game alone earned it a spot on this list.
Set in an idiosyncratic version of the West, this game served as a hilarious and satirical commentary on Western culture.
A weird and wacky game to be sure, it has since developed a cult following and the character Ness even earned a place in Super Smash Bros. as a fighter in the first installment on the N64.
13. Secret of Mana
With real-time combat, numerous characters, and exciting RPG elements, this game took the action RPG genre and shook it up.
Unlike a lot of other RPG titles, the inclusion of co-op play made Secret of Mana very unique, as that was something rarely seen at the time, or even now.
12. Mega Man X
This SNES classic built on the foundation of the original by adding brand new mechanics and characters.
Mega Man X was a fast-paced, interactive, and engaging game that took the Blue Bomber to a whole new level that gamers were immediately invested in.
11. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
Super Mario RPG is often cited as one of the best Nintendo games and it certainly was one of the best SNES titles to be released.
With action RPG gameplay mixed with light platforming, this addition to the Mario franchise is a cult favorite that fans still praise today.
10. Donkey Kong Country
In light of the release of the PlayStation and a move from 16-bit to modern 3D visuals, Donkey Kong Country served as Nintendo’s saving grace, keeping Super Nintendo alive when many thought it wouldn’t be able to keep up.
When DKC dropped, it was stunning. With CGI graphics that redefined the industry and an eye-catching style that immediately set it apart, this game was a stand-out success that saved the Super from premature extinction.
9. Star Fox
After having taken over the Star Fox Team after the apparent death of his father, Fox McCloud soared onto screens in Nintendo’s first 3D game.
Coupled with a load of other memorable characters, such as Peppy and Falco, this game stood out as one that all SNES players had to have.
8. Super Mario Kart
Mario Kart is one of the most popular Nintendo games ever, and even non-gamers know what it is.
When it was released, this game turned the racing genre on its head with the inclusion of power-ups and launching turtle shells and banana peels.
Hours upon hours could be spent with friends playing multiplayer, and an ample number of friendships have ended on the infamous Rainbow Road.
7. Super Street Fighter II: Turbo
Super Street Fighter II was a game that helped define a genre and it is hailed as one of the most iconic fighting games.
Although it may not have packed the punch that games in the arcade could, Street Fighter was top of the list when it came to at-home console fighting games.
6. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
As the game that defined Yoshi as we know him, Yoshi’s Island highlighted all of his now-iconic moves and treated players to loads of engaging puzzles and power-ups.
It also affected all the games that came after it, and if you’re a fan of Baby Mario, you have this game to thank for him.
5. Final Fantasy VI
Final Fantasy VI was one of those games that surpassed its competition immediately and rewrote the standard for JRPGs.
With visually stunning graphics, item customization, amazing characters, and an impactful storyline, this installment in the franchise was by far one of the best, and even today it stands out as one of the most iconic Final Fantasy games.
4. Super Metroid
Metroid is one of the most recognizable Nintendo games, and when Super Metroid debuted it received high praise for its gameplay, graphics, and soundtrack.
From the moment the game began, it was pure engagement and fun, something that only increased the further you got into it.
3. Chrono Trigger
Chrono Trigger is one of those classic games that was nearly impossible to put down once you picked it up.
The action-packed story in Chrono Trigger kept you enthralled with intuitive pacing and gameplay. It even boasted 13 unique endings, something that not many RPGs are able to do.
2. Super Mario World
Super Mario World took on the monumental task of following behind Super Mario Bros 3, and many fans felt that it would be hard to beat.
This game was also responsible for introducing the world to Yoshi, which is something fans of Super Mario Bros. are incredibly thankful for.
1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Although the original Zelda game set the stage for this incredible franchise, it was A Link to the Past that turned the Zelda games into one of the most legendary in gaming history.
This game featured some of the most memorable gameplay on the SNES and remains one of the most beloved games in gaming history.
The SNES is a legendary gaming system that played host to numerous amazing games that set the stage for some of gaming’s most beloved franchises and series.
Although there are numerous great games for the SNES, these 50 are by far the most memorable and they stand out from all the others of the time.
Here’s a quick recap of the 50 best SNES games ever created:
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
- Super Mario World
- Chrono Trigger
- Super Metroid
- Final Fantasy VI
- Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
- Street Fighter II: Turbo
- Super Mario Kart
- Star Fox
- Donkey Kong Country
- Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
- Mega Man X
- Secret of Mana
- Final Fantasy IV
- Super Mario All-Stars
- Donkey Kong Country 2
- Super Punch-Out!!
- Tetris Attack
- Super Castlevania IV
- Mario Paint
- The Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse
- Contra III: The Alien Wars
- Mortal Kombat 3
- Super Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
- The Lost Vikings
- Wario’s Woods
- Mega Man X2
- Tetris & Dr. Mario
- Legend of the Mystical Ninja
- Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals
- Kirby’s Dream Course
- NBA Jam
- Sim City
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time
- Earthworm Jim 2
- Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen
- Breath of Fire
- Demon’s Crest
- Harvest Moon
- Kirby Super Star
- Super Bomberman
- Breath of Fire II
- Mortal Kombat II
- Super Ghouls ‘N Ghosts
- Donkey Kong Country 3
- Yoshi’s Cookie
- Gradius III
What’s the best SNES game ever created, in your opinion? Leave a comment below.
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