Remember, this list is dynamic and based on the User Ratings for each game submitted in the Nintendo Life games database. It is, therefore, subject to fluctuation, even now! If you haven't rated any of the games below, simply tap the star on the corresponding entry and rate the game out of 10 to exert your personal influence on the ranking, or use the search tool just below to find your favourite SNES game that doesn't appear (yet). Enjoy!
A lot can happen in 30 years. To be fair, a lot can happen in one year (2020 was a stark reminder of that), but 20?!? We saw five-ish console generations in that time, and some incredible advances in the tech and design ideas behind video games, but there was something special about the 16-bit generation.
Maybe it's just rose-tinted specs for our long-lost childhood. Maybe the console wars and the playground debates gave every game release an extra little frisson. Or perhaps developers and hungry platform holders really were at the very top of their game—the peak of their powers—before polygons arrived and sent teams back to the drawing board to re-examine and experiment with the expanded possibilities of household gaming.
Whatever the reason, the 16-bit Super Nintendo and SEGA's Genesis / Mega Drive represent a pinnacle of gaming for many of us. 2020 was the 30th anniversary year of the Super Nintendo's launch in Japan (known there as the Super Famicom, of course). We asked Nintendo Life readers to submit user ratings for their favourite SNES games and we present to you below the top 50 Super NES games ever, as rated by you.
Much like our previous Top 50 lists covering other Nintendo consoles, the ranked list below is dictated by User Ratings for each game in the Nintendo Life game database. As such, the order below is fluid and can fluctuate even after publication. Haven't rated your favourite SNES games? Simply click on the User Rating star next to each title below and give it a score out of 10. The score will immediately be counted towards the total and reflected in the ordering.
If there's a game bubbling under the top 50 that you'd like to rate, feel free to find it using the search tool below and give it a score out of 10. Already rated your SNES collection? Thank you! In that case, simply sit back and prepare to scroll through the 50 best SNES games ever...
Note. In order for games to become eligible, they need a minimum of 50 User Ratings in total.
50. Star Fox (SNES)
Star Fox is obviously a classic, and its use of the Super FX chip resulted in an experience that felt awe-inspiring to anybody who witnessed it on their Super NES back in 1993. It's a little more jarring for players these days, especially anyone who got into the Star Fox series later on. Players who are violently ill when viewing anything less than a silky 60fps will want to sit this one out, but the underlying game design still shines even if you can't muster enthusiasm for the game's achievements with some 16-bit historical context.
Those who were there at the beginning and are pining for the return of Fox, Peppy, Falco, and maybe even the ever-rubbish Slippy will thoroughly enjoy jumping back in the cockpit of an Arwing and saving Corneria again, though. The fact that it's now available on Switch makes accepting that mission all the easier, too.
Final Fight 3 has a lot up its sleeve to entertain you with thanks to four playable characters and branching paths that make for differences on subsequent playthroughs. The range of moves and special attacks mean it doesn't offer the simple straightforward fun of the earlier titles, but there's plenty of entertainment to be had from beating up the various villains with your numerous attacks.
By no means a bad game, Mega Man X3 is disappointing. From a design standpoint, there's simply too much that feels lazy and incomplete compared to X or X2. Unremarkable weapons, illogical solutions to environmental puzzles, and repetitive boss fights take some of the shine off the X series, although franchise fans will find enough here to warrant a play-through. Those looking to dip a toe, however, would be much better served by either of its predecessors.
It goes without saying that if you're a fan of the NES classic R.C. Pro-Am, you're going to absolutely love the racing action in Rock & Roll Racing. Not only is the core gameplay idea still intact, but the unique hard rock soundtrack and impressive race announcing breathe new life into the game and make it truly stand out from the other racing titles available for the Super Nintendo system. If you're a fan of the isometric racing genre, you owe it to yourself to see why so many racing game fans hold this game in such high regard. It's not only one of the more enjoyable racing titles to come out of the 16-bit era, it's also one of the more unique as well.
A great looking game from genre-hopping studio Rare, the SNES port of arcade fighter Killer Instinct is yet another feather in the Twycross studio’s considerable cap. Bringing the arcade experience into the home on 16-bit hardware was most impressive back in the day, and the series would go on to be one of the few fighting games to appear on Nintendo’s next console.
There's certainly no denying the quirky charm Soul Blazer emanates as you take part in the quest, but what makes this game such a joy to play is the incredible play control system and unique gameplay elements inherent throughout. Who would have ever thought that some of the better ideas from Actraiser could ever make for such an engrossing RPG experience when placed in the right developer's hands? If you want to see what the action-RPG genre is really all about, look no further than this 16-bit classic.
Street Fighter II' Turbo: Hyper Fighting is arguably the best entry in Capcom's premier fighting franchise on the SNES, but there are more than enough flavours of Street Fighter II floating around to satisfy all tastes. While not the best Street Fighter on the system, squeezing Street Fighter Alpha 2 onto the Super Nintendo was a hugely impressive feat that deserves your admiration. You can play the arcade port of the game already on Switch as part of the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection, but the SNES version is still a sparkling example of what could be accomplished on the console.
The opening level of U.N. Squadron may be a little too tough but the difficulty curve is otherwise well-judged in what is a challenging game. The occasional instances of slowdown are unfortunate but there's not much else to fault with this excellent shooter. With some great music, varied levels, exciting action and interesting bosses, U.N. Squadron is a game that's enjoyable to play through again and again.
42. Shadowrun (SNES)
There are some things about the controls that irritate and visually Shadowrun lacks polish but for the most part the game is challenging fun, with atmospheric music, interesting characters and a gripping narrative that makes each play through an absolute joy. Perhaps the only disappointing thing is that the ending mentions ‘Shadowrun II’ and whilst games based on the license appeared on the Mega Drive, Mega CD and Xbox 360, sadly none were the much-deserved sequel to this.
The game that birthed an entire genre (albeit a genre it dominates to the point where you wonder why any other company decides to make their own kart racer), Super Mario Kart got so much just right from the starting line that it still remains surprisingly playable and accessible decades later. There's no worrying about picking karts or wheels here; you select your character and hit the track. The split-screen layout (which is present even when racing solo) encourages a second player to pick up the pad, and it's certainly a game that is best enjoyed with a friend (or foe). The Battle mode has also stood the test of time superbly, and that iconic power-slide move still feels natural and intuitive.
The mainline games that followed may have refined the formula to the Nth degree, but despite feeling barebones by comparison, controls, track design, and item balance are still nigh-on perfect in this first outing, and getting behind the wheel still feels good. Super Mario Kart is fun distilled, and its narrow focus can actually end up being a benefit – especially if you're looking for the ideal pick-up-and-play multiplayer challenge.