The SNES Classic Edition is soon to be upon us and it comes packed in with 21 absolutely stellar games. Of course, not all games are created equal, and in our excitement we’ve decided to rank them all. One thing to note, though, is that no matter the placement on this list, none of the games on the SNES Classic Edition are bad games in any way. In fact, many of them represent the top of their genres, even when throwing in modern installments. So without further ado, here’s our ranking of every game available on the SNES Classic Edition.
1 or 2 Super Mario World Super Mario World is not just one of the best games on the SNES, it’s one of the best games that Nintendo has ever put out, period. The platforming that was created on the original NES was refined to near perfection, had a wonderful soundtrack, challenging yet genius level design, and it introduced Yoshi who is now a huge star. Fans have been chasing that near perfect ever since, and Nintendo has been delivering with fresh ideas with every new game. Super Mario World was proof that the company could innovate over something it already nailed, and will forever go down as one of the greatest games to ever exist.
1 or 2 The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is one of those games that is truly timeless. It’s considered by many to be one of the greatest games ever made, along with its SNES cohort Super Mario World, and is the standard by which subsequent Zelda titles are based on. It took everything from its predecessors and upped the ante to deliver a classic action-adventure that lives on as inspiration to others.
3 Super Mario Kart Where it all began. Before all of the horns, ink splots, and incredibly large roster, there were just eight hapless drivers from the Super Mario universe that took their fight to the race track to settle things like adults… turtles… apes… and mushrooms. It was the first must-have party game and to this day it’s still separating the weak from the strong and ruining friendships.
4 Super Metroid Metroid was an instant classic, putting players into the space armor of Samus Aran as she fought against a seemingly insurmountable threat. The sequel, which came over a decade later, was well worth the wait as it introduced Samus to SNES owners and upgraded every aspect of gameplay. You could shoot in all directions, you had a new grapple beam which added new traversal mechanics, and the world itself was richer and filled with more to explore.
5 Donkey Kong Country For a long time Donkey Kong was just that monkey dude who kidnapped Mario’s girlfriend and loved to throw barrels. However, the SNES reintroduced him as a hero who took Nintendo’s tried and true platforming formula and mixed things up for something truly unique. The visuals offered a pseudo-3D look at characters and backgrounds, you could bring a friend, and even swap between heroes, all while collecting bananas, finding collectibles, and finding neat creatures to ride. And don’t even get us started on the soundtrack. Donkey Kong Country was ahead of its time, and we can’t wait to replay the classic as we look forward to something great from the future.
6 Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars Square and Nintendo used to be like two peas in a pod. Nintendo hosted the stellar Final Fantasy series for the first six entries, and after such a strong relationship the two company’s joined forces to make a game that shouldn’t have worked as well as it did but is one of the greatest SNES RPGs ever. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars took the Final Fantasy formula and mixed it with Super Mario’s world, characters, and even some of the mechanics. The story was full of humor and even had us join forces with Bowser. Also, it showed us just how powerful Princess Peach really is. If you haven’t played this in the past, definitely move it towards the top of your list when you pick up the SNES Classic.
7 Earthbound EarthBound is yet another stellar RPG found on the SNES (and one we’re still waiting on more games for). It was very much a traditional RPG, though it mixed some things up like eliminating random encounters, instead letting you see enemies on the overworld. The story surrounding Ness’ adventure with his friends, which involves aliens and other oddities, is full of charm, and the challenge offered by the game’s combat will keep you on edge. It’s a well put together game that definitely deserves more time in the spotlight.
8 Star Fox Star Fox was well ahead of its time, providing three-dimensional visuals on the SNES. Players took on the role of Fox McCloud as he fought through space to rid his home of Andross. It was fun getting into dogfights with alien ships and navigating the beautiful worlds. Also, seeing the origin of the Arwing, which still looks pretty much the same, provides a great dose of nostalgia.
9 Super Punch-Out Well before ARMS was even an idea, Nintendo had Super Punch-Out!!, an over the shoulder fighting game that had players feeling like they were in teh ring as they dodged and threw some punches of their own. Don’t let the cartoony graphics fool you, this was a tough one to get through that will hook after your first punch.
10 Final Fantasy III Final Fantasy III on the SNES was actually Final Fantasy VI in Japan, also known as one of the best entries in the entire series. This was the pinnacle of 2D RPGs that offered a deep battle system, a superb soundtrack, and flying your airship. Oh, and there’s an insane clown villain who you won’t be able to erase from your memories. Ah, the SNES Classic, bringing us the experiences that truly matter.
11 Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper FightingStreet Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting is a must own for any fan of the series, as SFII Turbo is among the best out of all the releases. Not only were options given for more speed, but Turbo also introduced Akuma, and it even gave new abilities to almost every single character on the roster. If you think you have skills, why not dial it all up and test yourself in this SNES classic.
12 Mega Man X Mega Man X took the classic formula of its predecessors and added a healthy dose of new options on top to provide a more well rounded gameplay experience. While it still had the same game at its core, the ability to scale, slide, and bounce off of walls added new traversal options, and the upgradable “X” really made exploration a much bigger deal as you sought to make the best Mega Man you could make. There was even a secret Capsule that let you use the Hadouken. All in all, Mega Man X took something solid and made it great, creating one of the best experiences you could enjoy with the hero.
13 Kirby Super StarKirby Super Star is a collection of games that help to remind fans just why Kirby is so lovable (and how freakishly powerful the pink fluff is). Not only do you get a remake of the original Kirby’s Dream Land, but you also get games such as Dyna Blade, Gourmet Race, The Great Cave Offensive (which is like Kirby meets Metroid). It’s the best collection of Kirby experiences you could possibly get, and it was the SNES that brought it to us.
14 Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts Countless hours were spent trying to navigate cemeteries and haunted castles as Arthur as he slowly lost his armor to damage. It’s one of the most challenging games of its time and there’s no greater satisfaction than reaching the end… only to find out that you didn’t really beat the game and have to do it all over, only it’s even harder now.
15 Kirby’s Dream CourseKirby’s Dream Course is actually a golf game that has you use Kirby instead of a ball as you defeat enemies by hitting them and making your way to the hole. There’s a bit of strategy involved as you choose paths and powerups that make things easier for you. It’s an odd golf game, but one that is quite enjoyable, especially if you’re a fan of this particular ball of pink fluff.
16 Yoshi’s Island After being introduced in the first game, Yoshi got his turn to star in a game (while Luigi was still waiting on the sidelines). The dinorsaur’s mission? To escort a crying Baby Mario through treacherous levels in order to rescue Luigi. The game added new challenges to the platforming and puzzles of the Mario universe which all revolved around Yoshi’s unique abilities. It was an interesting take on the series,and one that placed Yoshi forever in the hearts of fans.
17 Super Castlevania IV You just can’t go wrong with a Castlevania game. The exploration, the combat, the evil denizens waiting to devour you. The interesting thing about Super Castlevania IV is that it’s largely considered a remake of the original, though it does have its differences which come mainly in the form of controls and new weapons that made the experience easier to manage. It is a great game, but being a remake puts it lower than a lot of the great, new titles introduced on the SNES.
18 Secret of Mana Secret of Mana came out at a time when Square could do no wrong (which is probably why they have three games in the SNES Classic collection). The game takes a lot of the mechanics found in other RPGs of the time, such as a large world, varied classes, and unique abilities. However, the real time combat and the drop-in/drop-out co-op make this a standout. It’s often overlooked by those who weren’t around at the time of the SNES, but it’s definitely one of the platform’s great games.
19 F-ZeroYou’re going to hear this a lot, but F-Zero was a game well ahead of its time. Thanks to Mode 7, a scrolling technique used by Nintendo that simulated 3D environments and gameplay, you got a quick racer that looked years ahead of anything else, which helped since it was set in the distant future. It was a challenging experience that used sharp turns and aggressive competition to force players to be their very best.
20 Contra Contra III: The Alien Wars is when consoles were first almost on par with their arcade counterparts. The result is one of the best looking side-scrolling shooters of its time as well as some top-down levels (or as I like to call it, true Contra). The ability to utilize and switch between multiple weapons, the faster enemies, and shooting in eight different directions while hunkered down was a great experience that stood out in the Contra series.
Star Fox 2 Star Fox 2 is in last place here only because it was never officially released. While playable versions of a large portion of the cancelled project are quite impressive, it just didn’t seem fair to place it above finished products without seeing what may have changed. Of course, out of all the games on the SNES Classic, this is the one we’re looking forward to the most.