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SNES Classic Edition – Review of the games

Well yesterday we had a cool announcement. After the success of the NES Classic Edition which Nintendo made no effort into capitalizing on (seriously guys, it’s free money, keep that stuff on the shelves… cancelling it was a huge mistake financially), they now have an SNES Classic Edition coming out. Longer controller cords, 2 controllers, 21 absolutely great games, and possibly the biggest surprises from Nintendo this year (which is crazy to think after E3).

Despite the mini-console being 3 months away from release… nothing’s stopping me from reviewing the most important part of it now, since I have played all the games in it.

I MIGHT write a review of the actual hardware once it comes out though. We’ll see. I will include “games that should’ve been in here” and other such shenanigans at the end of the post.

Let’s go!

Contra III: The Alien Wars

There’s not much to say about Contra 3. Run, jump, shoot. Get Spread Shot. Kill more stuff. I actually don’t like this game as much as the NES titles. It looks better, it even has cool gameplay additions and cool new weapons, but the top-down levels are pretty subpar IMO. Still a great game.

Donkey Kong Country

DKC was a HUGE release on the SNES. It came out when other companies were announcing fifth-gen consoles, and extended the life of the SNES while waiting for the N64. It featured mindblowing graphics (that still hold up) and extremely fun, tight gameplay. I just love this game. It has a different platforming feel from most others, rolling is fun, there’s secrets all over the place. The boss battles are pretty weak compared to the rest of the series, but everything else is top-notch. It’s not QUITE as good as DKC2 (and arguably 3), but man this is a superb game to this day. Plus it’s a really fun speedrun filled with glitches you would never have found out playing it normally.


Earthbound is a fantastic inclusion, partly because of how dumb collectors and resellers got its price inflated to the point of it being unbuyable, mostly because it’s a game that’s really unique and interesting. It’s a fairly basic RPG, but it has this really wacky world that’s colorful and weird. Sad that it’s actually not included in the Japanese version of the mini-console, it was greatly popular there.

Final Fantasy III

Commonly known as Final Fantasy 6 nowadays (yay for Squaresoft not releasing the entire series here at the time), this is the game in the series that I’d call objectively the best. Unironically. There’s others I personally like more (4 and 5 are ones I have a bit more fun with), but this is probably the most interesting of the bunch. You have customizable characters with the esper system, a really deep story, probably the greatest villain in the series, a dynamic battle system, a lot of characters which can eventually be split up in several teams, each character having his own gimmick in addition to being customizable, a lot of different things to do in the world, a plot twist no one expected, absolutely great visuals, great classic music… I cannot praise this game enough. FF7 is basically an insult to this game.


The mode 7 racer to end all mode 7 racers, almost. It was a launch SNES game, all about fast racing. It’s more about optimization of movement, really, a game where you try to maintain speed using a handful of movement techniques. Plus it has pretty fun music. Really great game that’s rather underrated nowadays. It still looks really cool too.

Kirby Super Star

8 games in one but not really! The best Kirby game, I’d say, even to this day. Lots of powers, lots of levels, lots of bosses, really solid design. It’s so good. Newer Kirby games probably have smoother gameplay with larger movesets for all the powers and stuff, but I really like the design and variety of Super Star a bit more. And I find it a bit faster. I like all the different modes of gameplay and different styles here. Plus there’s really large, interesting levels here. And the mini-games are fun I guess.

Kirby’s Dream Course

The oddball choice in this mini-console. But it’s one I fully appreciate. Kirby’s Dream Course is a 3D Kirby minigolf game (without clubs to hit the ball with). The ball is Kirby. You choose in which direction you want to hit, choose an angle and try to “hit” with the power you want like other golf games, then Kirby goes rolling (or bouncing if you hit him to fly up). Hitting enemies kills them, and killing all enemies but one spawns a hole where the last enemy is, and getting in the hole is the final goal. Some enemies give Kirby powers as you may expect, which can do a variety of things like freezing ice for Kirby to slide on (water slows him down), or increasing speed, or floating with a parasol. It’s a really weird game, but one I do recommend trying out. It’s pretty fun. The japanese version of this isn’t getting this game.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Probably my favorite Zelda game. It’s just so well designed, the items are fun, the open world is interesting to explore, the fighting is simple but it works really well, the bosses battles are great. Nothing bad to say about this one. I’ve actually been playing this a lot recently because I’ve been learning the randomizer. It’s a game that never gets old (and now slightly less because of the randomizer). It’s gonna be weird to play this non-randomized… maybe I should learn the NMG run…

Mega Man X

One of the best platformers ever. This game is still so damn fun. It added enough to the classic Mega Man formula to become its own thing. The upgrades, dashing, wall-jumping, charging-up special weapons, really interesting boss battles and level design. There’s also other things like levels changing when you complete other levels, such as Flame Mammoth’s level freezing when you beat Chill Penguin’s first. This is just an amazing game.

Secret of Mana

Secret of Mana is a pretty damn classic game. It’s actually one of the games here I’m least familiar with here though. I remember getting pretty far into it back in the day, but even though I own a copy of it I haven’t really played through it again since. It was definitely a fun game though. The fact that it’s multiplayer was always a selling point. But the action-RPG gameplay in it worked really well, using spells and stuff was always pretty fun to me. It’s one I’ll probably revisit pretty early once I get a hold of this console.

Star Fox

I still think it looks really cool graphically, plus I have played it recently and it’s still really damn fun, and challenging as fuck unlike Star Fox 64 which is a pretty easy experience overall (unless you play it in expert mode). It was a huge thing for the SNES itself, just shows how hard a piece of hardware can be pushed. At the time it made people question why we needed new platforms when the SNES was doing great (yeah) 3D visuals. Star Fox is absolutely a great game.

Star Fox 2

So okay. Star Fox 2. Nintendo were shitheads back in the day and decided not to release this game even though it was completely finished. I’ll never understand why. Thankfully for us Star Fox fans several prototypes were leaked, so nearly-final versions of the game have been playable for a while. So while I can’t review the version that’s in this mini-console, I can still talk about Star Fox 2 a bit.

So yeah… This game is fucking great. It’s actually similar to Star Fox Command, and did things Star Fox Zero tried to do but actually decently. You go to different planets, or battles in space. All-Range Mode started here, actually. For each level there’s some objective. On planets there may be dungeons of sorts that you have to open up, and in those dungeons you can switch the Arwing from flying mode to a Walker mode for less dangerous maneuvering (it has slightly odd controls but it works pretty well considering the SNES’ controller… and it’s miles above the Wii U motion controls in SFZ), or go back to the Arwing if you want to go fast. The game is somewhat real-time, so once you’re done in a mission and head to different levels stuff on the map screen moves as you move. You must defend Corneria from missiles and stuff, and eventually you go fight Andross. It seems like different playthroughs may get different things happening too. There’s bosses I saw in videos that I didn’t see when I played it. Plus you can play as different characters, I don’t remember if that’s actually differences between them. Fay kinda freaks me out.

Very very happy it’s finally getting an official release.

Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting

It’s Street Fighter 2. Actually probably the most disappointing game here. You can play better versions of SF2 all over the place now. Not that Hyper Fighting is a bad version or anything, but SSF2THDR exists, and USF2 exists, so whatever.

Super Castlevania IV

It’s Classicvania at its maybe-best. I personally prefer 1, but this is a badass game nonetheless. I can fully understand why people like this one best of the classics. The multi-directional whipping is what makes this game. And having air control on your jumps. And just top-notch presentation except for the mode 7 parts. Hard to really complain about this one. Though japanese people should complain because it’s not on their version of the mini-console.

Super Ghouls ’n Ghosts

Ghosts n’ Goblins on the NES Classic was a big surprise to me. This is a game that is probably a bit less annoying than the NES one, partly due to double jump, but it’s still about as hard. There’s the weird armor system that doesn’t give you any more defense but gives you weapon upgrades and a charge attack instead. There’s shields too. On the annoyance side you do have to finish the game twice again, and the conditions to get the weapon you need to fight the final boss (a weapon that sucks balls) are really obscure (requires a top-level shield and gold armor and opening specific chests, IIRC). A game that merits being rediscovered despite the frustration.

Super Mario Kart

I find this game to be extremely underrated in the whole of the Mario Kart series. People just don’t seem to care about it much. It’s actually really fun. I find it more methodical than any following Mario Kart game. Sure the tracks aren’t nearly as interesting as in the other games, but they fit the gameplay quite nicely. And the music is solid fun.

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

A fairly simple RPG, kind of an introduction to the concept of RPGs. But a really strong game, whether you’re an RPG enthusiast or not. It features actual personality for the Mario characters for once (even Mario actually has character, despite being a silent protagonist), and lots of fun unique characters or character types we never see again in the series (where the crap are the cloud people since this game?). It plays great, it looks great, love this game.

Some of the only acceptable use of QTEs in gaming with the timed hits/blocking, since they’re not specifically button-prompts, are entirely missable and have an actual effect on the gameplay. Crazy how SMRPG perfected something that modern games still can’t do.

Super Mario World

Well it’s Super Mario World. The most popular 2D Mario in the gaming community, which kinda surprises me. The spinjump is a cool addition, there’s a few cool gameplay gimmicks, Yoshi is fun, the cape is broken as fuck. The Special levels were really memorable to me. It’s just a really solid game that deserves the love it gets.

Super Metroid

This remains one of the most solid games ever. It’s the gold standard for what we now like to call “Metroidvania” games. It set the standards all games in the genre need to adhere by now (building onto a solid foundation in the 2 previous games), and nearly perfected them. From the map system to the upgrades to great boss battles to hidden items, this game is still nearly perfect. It just has really smooth gameplay that feels really good. It does have a few aspects that aren’t as great such as no teleport system and wall jumps being way too hard to do (IMO), but I never found it really bad in this case.

Super Punch-Out!!

I gave lots of praise for Punch-Out in the NES Classic review, and Super Punch-Out gets very similar praise. Super Punch-Out is definitely the better game in every aspect though. Deeper mechanics, much nicer and more colorful graphics, more varied enemies, more personality and style, it’s really awesome.  Sad for the japanese players who get this mini-console because this game isn’t in it.

Yoshi’s Island

This is the top Mario game of that generation. I find it to be not as appreciated as Super Mario World, but it’s a really strong game. It’s beautiful, it has really unique level design and gameplay mechanics, it has really entertaining boss fights, it’s fun to 100%… I love it. Plus the final boss music might be the most epic final boss music ever. Yoshi’s Island also happens to be the best Yoshi platformer. None of the sequels even come close.


This is an a fantastic library of games. Not completely without fault (SF2 is honestly a weak choice), and there’s some really obvious games missing, but this IS better than the NES Classic Edition’s game choices. Not that the NES Classic Edition was bad (not even close), but it had at least 7 games I’d call filler that would’ve absolutely been replaceable with much better games. The SNES Classic has fewer games, but it’s all top-shelf stuff.

The japanese version of this is definitely inferior though. They lose Kirby’s Dream Course, Super Castlevania 4, Super Punch-Out and Earthbound. The games they get instead aren’t a great replacement. Ganbare Goemon: Yukihime Kyuushutsu Emaki (Legend of the Mystical Ninja, which IS great), Super Soccer (lol?), Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem and Panel de Pon (Tetris Attack). Huh. The games it gets that aren’t on the western version do not compensate for the games it’s losing.

I do feel they could’ve gotten to 30 games like the NES Classic Edition pretty easily though. 21 games feels like a weird number to me.

Games that are missing IMO

I’ll only talk about games that I believe are possible here, to keep this short. I figure you could’ve grabbed a few of these and have a number of game equal to the NES Classic Edition to make it truly perfect.

Actraiser is a confusing omission. It’s a near-launch game that is really unique and interesting and definitely something that would complement what’s already on here.

DKC2 and DKC3 are just… randomly missing. Why? They’re right around the top of the SNES library as far as quality goes, and they’re first-party… so why not include them?

Legend of the Mystical Ninja is not a choice I was expecting, but it IS on the japanese version of this… I’m curious why they didn’t just put it on both versions. It’s a fantastic game that would’ve deserved new attention.

Demon’s Crest. Just… Demon’s Crest. I would’ve been okay with removing Street Fighter 2 to add that one in. This is a fairly unknown game overall.

Mega Man X2 or X3 would’ve been nice.

Lost Vikings. I know Blizzard sucks now and refuse to make a proper Lost Vikings game because it has no online multiplayer competitive/MMO potential (just hire an external dev to make it you bastards!), but it would be a pretty awesome game to have here. Too few people played the original IMO. Or the even better sequel.

RPGs… I mean there’s already great ones here, but no Chrono Trigger, or FF2/4? I do question that somewhat, since they’re at least as important as FF3/6. I assume SE were shit to work with to get anything on here and FF6 is probably the most they could possibly get… but still.

Maybe something a bit more unknown like Lufia 2 could’ve been nice.

Terranigma. Star Fox 2 was an amazing surprise, but Terranigma getting its first US release would’ve been an almost-as-good surprise. A lot of people missed this classic, really interesting RPG. It would’ve made the SNES Classic go from a must-buy to a really-must-buy.

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