We’re all familiar with “classic” Super Nintendo games like Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Donkey Kong Country, etc., but with such a large game library, there must be new great games to discover, right?
Well, Yes, of course. There are some cool games buried under the buzz of fan favorites that we all know and love. We’re going to try to keep this gem list to 10, and since you are a SNES fanboy you may have heard of a few of these before. These are the
10 Best Hidden Gems On The Super Nintendo
The SNES was known for its JRPGs, and if you enjoy Zelda, this epic dungeon-crawling adventure game will keep you busy for a while.
Released in 1992 and selling only 70,000 copies in America, it became a cult classic that has never been re-released on any other platform, and while RPG and Retro Gaming enthusiasts may know about it, the regular gamer may have missed out.
If you know its sequel “Illusion of Gaia” and liked it, try out the game that started the trilogy.
Sonic BlastMan 2
The original was an arcade game where you had to hit a punch pad to measure your strength and defeat enemies, but for the SNES version, they made a Beat ’em Up as they were all the rage in the 90s.
The 1st one is very slow-paced and kinda forgettable, but the sequel adds two new fighters to choose from and is a very fun brawler to play with a friend.
If you used to play Double Dragon and Final Fight in 2-Player Mode, give this one a chance.
Arkanoid: Doh It Again
A BreakOut style game where you control a spaceship equipped with a giant bouncing ball and must defeat Easter Island Giant Heads (Moai) at the border of the galaxy.
It can be played with the regular controller or with a SNES Mouse for “more accurate” control.
The objective of each stage is to break every block on the screen, and every 11 levels there’s a boss fight.
The overall concept of this game may have started in the early Atari arcade days, but this is still a very addictive title that was overlooked by most people since it was released in 1997, at the very end of the Super Nintendo life cycle.
On a system that had great Football titles, J. League Excite Stage 94 as it was known in Japan, is an excellent sports game with nice colorful graphics, smooth gameplay, tight controls, catchy music, and even slow-motion replay when a player scores a goal.
It has the option to play Indoor Soccer for a more fast-paced match, and while is not affiliated with FIFA and has no official teams, you can make out who some players are based on their names.
Similar to how Panel de Pon had cute anime girls in its original release in Japan, and for the American version we got Yoshi and friends, Super Puyo Puyo featured characters from a Japan-only RPG and got a Kirby makeover for its port on this side of the pacific.
Since it was released at the end of the SNES console life, and not being a platformer where our favorite pink puffball swallows and copies powers, it wasn’t as well known as the platformers featuring our round pink hero, or even Kirby’s Dream Course (Golf game) which was released a year earlier and then got ports of the Nintendo Wii eShop and even got included in the SNES Mini.
The Puyo Puyo Puzzle formula is exciting and in the later levels, it can become lightning fast and make you play like a madman.
The Kirby characters don’t seem out of place and the story mode is enjoyable from start to finish.
This is a game that deserved some kind of re-release for new and old gamers, that may not have had a chance to play it in the mid-’90s.
Ganbare Goemon 2
Konami’s Ninja Goemon may have been super famous in its origin country, but here we only got the first SNES game of the pipe-wielding coin-tossing thief, and that one was kind of mediocre.
The sequel though is an incredible sidescrolling platformer that must be played by everyone that is a fan of 16-Bit era 2D games. The music, gameplay, graphics, presentation, and even the story are top-notch, and you don’t even need to speak Japanese to finish the game.
It is a shame that American gamers never got a chance to enjoy the great Goemon games on Super Nintendo and we had to wait until the N64 titles, so if you’re into imports, consider this a must-buy.
Super Pinball: Behind the Mask
A forgotten pinball simulator that features three nice-looking tables and will have you bouncing the ball for hours with its simple yet addictive gameplay.
Since real pinball games back then were available at the still popular arcades, and their videogame simulators weren’t very fateful, most players passed this one out, but the physics work really well and while it may seem simple at first, getting to 60 million points to get to the next table is quite a challenge.
Give it a try if you enjoy virtual pinball.
A sidescroller action game that was developed by an obscure company and published by a not-so-well-known one.
Makeruna! Makendō as it was known in Japan, features a Shojo Manga-inspired magical girl that must defeat monsters with her kendo stick.
It came to America years before Sailor Moon became a hit with western audiences, and while it got a sequel for Super Famicom and even an anime adaptation, here the original port of the first title was just one more on the shelves of GameStop.
Maybe if the cover wasn’t such a medieval fantasy picture and had more of a magical girl style, it would have appealed to female gamers once the Sailor Scouts became popular here in the mid-’90s.
In 1993 the Beat ’em Up genre was still incredibly popular and we had excellent examples of them at the arcades and home consoles, but for some reason, this one made by Jaleco never really got the recognition it deserved compared to Streets of Rage or Ninja Turtles Games.
The graphics, art style, and music are great, and while the gameplay may be a tad slow, and the story pretty non-existent (at least here, in Japan it has more cutscenes and backstory, this being the 2nd game in a trilogy) the strong combat mechanics make this is a very enjoyable game for fans of beating up thugs on the street.
Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to make this game unrelated to the first one, Rival Turf! which was a decent brawler in its own right.
Nowadays only the most hardcore fans of classic fighting games may have played it from start to finish, and is totally worth your time, alone or multiplayer with a friend.
In a time where Shoot ’em Ups were popular, and when seeing the Konami logo on the title screen was a sign of quality, the 6th game of the TwinBee series made its way to the Super Famicom in Japan and SNES in Europe, but the US didn’t get an official release here until very recently.
This game series sets itself apart from the serious top-down shooters and sci-fi SHMUPs of the 16-Bit era by being cutesy and having a distinct visual and audio style that wasn’t the norm back in the early 90s.
Nowadays we have a bunch of “Cute ’em Ups” featuring magical female protagonists or furry little animals that talk, but before it became sort of popular, we got strange looking round humanoid robot ships shooting color-changing bells in the sky and dropping pink round bombs to giant pineapples on the ground.
If you enjoy shooting Top-Down shooters where you destroy everything on screen and want something “different”, you can finally buy this one in the Nintendo Switch Online service, 27 years after its original release. Better late than never.