The 10 Best SNES games of all time, ranked

The 10 Best SNES games of all time, ranked

Every console generation has games that are remembered as classics, but the SNES has more than its fair share. The jump in graphics, sound, and gameplay allowed developers for the new 16-bit machine to create some truly memorable experiences for players. Whether you loved platformers, RPGs, or fighting games, there were plenty of titles to choose from. It wasn’t an easy decision, but here are our picks for the best games for the SNES and what made them amazing.

The best SNES games – our top ten picks

While these lists are always subjective, there are some important criteria to consider when ranking games like this. The influence the game had on later titles, its pop culture impact, and, of course, how much fun the game was are all important factors to consider.

10) Secret of Mana

The 10 Best SNES games of all time, ranked

Image via Square Enix

For many players, Square remains the biggest name in JRPGs. The developer of the Final Fantasy series created some of the most loved video games of all time, including this influential title from 1993. The game’s art style still holds up today and the music and story remain highly influential. It is a nearly flawless JRPG if it weren’t for how poorly the leveling system in the game has aged. Having to level each weapon individually made the game feel too grindy, even among its peers. Still, that bittersweet ending gets us teary-eyed every time.

9) Mortal Kombat II

The 10 Best SNES games of all time, ranked

Image via Midway

Of the three Mortal Kombat games released for the SNES, Mortal Kombat II is the one that finds the best balance between gameplay and an expanded roster. There is a sense that the franchise has been chasing this title ever since it was released back in 1994. The roster included characters that would become iconic to the franchise like Kung Lao, Mileena, and Kitana. But what made this such a step up from the original was the inclusion of different finishing moves like the Babalities and Friendships. This is probably the best fighting game for the SNES.

8) Star Fox

The 10 Best SNES games of all time, ranked

Image via Nintendo

Quick, do a barrel roll! Star Fox might look simple by today’s standards, but the game’s 3D graphics were incredible at the time. Rendering a 3D flight with that much action on the screen was an incredible achievement at the time, but each of the pilots, with their own personality and quirks, were simply fun to fly alongside. The concept might seem dated now, but Star Fox is one of the most influential games of all time so it easily makes its way onto this list.

7) Super Mario World

The 10 Best SNES games of all time, ranked

Image via Nintendo

No Nintendo console is complete without a Mario game. Super Mario World was one of the first games developed for the SNES and it would remain one of the best throughout the console’s lifetime. It took all the good things about the first three Super Mario Bros games and made them better, with iconic music, a beautiful color scheme, and, of course, the introduction of Yoshi. This is easily one of the best 2D Mario games of all time.

6) Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest

The 10 Best SNES games of all time, ranked

Image via Nintendo

Donkey Kong Country was a huge hit for the SNES so it wasn’t surprising that Rare took a swing at a sequel. It was a bold move to have the titular character relegated to a hostage, but it opened the stage for new and exciting gameplay mechanics. Diddy’s Kong Quest is easily one of the best Donkey Kong games of all time, but it also makes it onto this list because it was probably the strongest of the original Rare games for the SNES.

5) Super Metroid

The 10 Best SNES games of all time, ranked

Image via Nintendo

Until Metroid Dread came out in 2021, Super Metroid was the pinnacle of 2D Metroid games. This game captured the sense of isolation and exploration that were the hallmarks of the franchise, giving us a dark, gloomy, and imposing planet to explore. All of Samus’ powers were here, slowly opening up more of Zebes along the way. What puts this game so high on this list, though, is how it influenced gaming for years to come. When developers talk about creating a Metroidvania title, they are talking about recreating the feel of Super Metroid.

4) Final Fantasy VI

The 10 Best SNES games of all time, ranked

Image via Square Enix

The SNES featured several great Final Fantasy titles, but Final Fantasy VI is easily the best of the lot. The characters look bright and vibrant on the screen, the music is beyond iconic at this point, and the plot dares to show us a world where the villain succeeds. Kefka is one of the best villains in the series and this was the title that pushed the series into a more mature, grown-up era, setting the stage for Final Fantasy VII and the games on the PlayStation.

3) Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island

The 10 Best SNES games of all time, ranked

Image via Nintendo

While the original Super Mario World introduced Yoshi to the world, its sequel gave everyone’s green dinosaur a chance to shine. Yoshi’s Island is one of the best SNES games of all time because it improved upon almost every part of the original. The platforming was tighter. The graphics were sharper. The mission to protect Baby Mario introduced a unique feel to the gameplay. We still wake up at night in a cold sweat to the sound of Baby Mario’s cries.

2) The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

The 10 Best SNES games of all time, ranked

Image via Nintendo

For many Zelda fans, this was the best that the series ever got. The game’s use of the Light and Dark Worlds effectively doubled the size of the map while the story introduced concepts that would become key to the franchise in later years. This was the first time we saw the Master Sword or visited the Lost Forest. Hyrule felt like a living, vibrant world that reacted to the events around it. This is the standard against which all other Zelda games are measured.

1) Chrono Trigger

The 10 Best SNES games of all time, ranked

Image via Square Enix

If you ask JRPG fans to name their top five games of all time, most will include Chrono Trigger on the list. This title introduced concepts like New Game +, allowing players to go back into the story with their levels, spells, and weapons to unlock the multiple endings. It featured a unique time travel storyline, a cast of characters that included a talking frog and a robot from a post-apocalyptic future, and an innovative and fun combat system that didn’t require any grinding to complete. Yasunori Mitsuda’s soundtrack pushed the 16-bit processor to its absolute limit, but it produced not only the best game for the SNES but one of the greatest JRPGs of all time.

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