If you want to play games online on your Switch, then you’ll need a Nintendo Switch Online membership.
Yes, needing to pay more money to play our own games online is an ever-present bugbear, but thankfully, a Nintendo Switch Online membership gives users many more benefits. There’s useful stuff, like automatically syncing all your saves to the cloud, which is a godsend. But there’s also fun stuff too, like a huge library of NES and SNES games available to play.
And for people of a certain age, who grew up with an original Nintendo console or a SNES, this feature of Nintendo Switch Online is absolutely brilliant. It’s also invaluable for younger players who want to experience the roots of some of their favourite games franchises. Mario, Zelda, Star Fox, Kirby – all the Nintendo classics are there.
But with so many games to choose from, it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up a list of six of our favourite, most quintessential Super Nintendo games that everyone really ought to play. So, if you have a Nintendo Switch Online membership, consider these to be the best SNES games you can play.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1992)
Yes, yes, Breath of the Wild, Majora’s Mask, Ocarina of Time. They’re all wonderful. But in our opinion they all pale in comparison to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. This game is almost thirty years old but thanks to its timeless 2D art style, it’s still just as beautiful now as it ever was. It’s also a great entry point into the Zelda universe, where players start out as a defenceless Link, woken in the middle of the night to follow his uncle into the cellars of Hyrule Castle. He, of course, doesn’t stay defenceless for long; soon enough he’s ready to set out on an epic adventure to save Princess Zelda, and save Hyrule.
If you’ve enjoyed any modern Zelda game, we implore you to give A Link to the Past a try. It’s timeless, full of adventure, and has one of the most iconic soundtracks of the series to boot. Maybe we’re biased, but it’s undoubtedly one of the best SNES games you can play on Nintendo Switch Online.
Super Mario All-Stars (1993)
What makes Super Mario All-Stars so good? Well, it’s the fact that it’s multiple Mario games in one. This collection, which released on SNES in 1993, bundles up the first four Mario games: Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, Super Mario Bros. 2 and Super Mario Bros. 3. All four of those games originally started life on the NES, and all came out of the 1980s. And for games that are coming up to their 40th birthdays, they all hold up surprisingly well.
It’s always interesting to go back to see where Nintendo’s mascot started (or at least where he became established, anyway). And as far as side-scrolling platformers go, they absolutely stand the test of time. Okay, we can take or leave Super Mario Bros. 2 – that’s certainly the black sheep of the family – but the first is a classic, and Super Mario Bros. 3 might still be our favourite Mario game of all time. Seriously, if you’ve got Nintendo Switch Online, this is one of the best SNES games you can play. Get on it.
Kirby Super Star (1996)
The pink blob that is Kirby is getting on in years, but the fun-loving nature of Kirby games is something that has never changed over time. One of the most loved entries in the series, Kirby Super Star packs in eight games, all slightly different in tone and gameplay. There’s Spring Breeze, a remake of the very first Kirby game, Kirby’s Dream Land (also available on Nintendo Switch Online!). And there’s also the racing game Gourmet Race, Metroidvania-style adventure The Great Cave Offensive, The Arena, a boss rush mode, and more.
Whichever game in Kirby Super Star you opt to play, you’ll be greeted with familiar gameplay. Inhaling enemies allows Kirby to sometimes acquire their abilities, making for a fun and varied adventure.
Donkey Kong Country (1994)
Forget the original Donkey Kong. Whenever we think of that big gorilla, we picture Donkey Kong Country. And while its rudimentary 3D graphics may have aged rather badly, its gameplay is just as fantastic as ever. Players take on the role of Donkey Kong and his smaller sidekick Diddy Kong on a platforming adventure you’ll not forget in a hurry. Get shot out of barrels, swing from vines, ride minecarts, jump on the back of a rhino and more. Ah, it makes us all tingly with nostalgia just thinking about it.
We’d love to see Nintendo do a full remake of this one day, but until then, we’ll settle for paying Donkey Kong Country on Nintendo Switch Online. It’s undoubtedly one of the best SNES games on the service – heck, it’s one of the best SNES games of all time.
Super Metroid (1994)
You’ve heard the phrase “Metroidvania”, right? Heck, I used it just a little while ago in this very article. Well, Super Metroid here is where the ‘Metroid’ part of that word comes from (with the ‘vania’ coming from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night). So not only is Super Metroid one of the best SNES games on Nintendo Switch Online, it’s also a game responsible for creating an entire genre of video games. That’s some good going.
It deserves its legendary status too. The third game in the Metroid series, Super Metroid puts players in control of Samus as she explores the dangerous planet of Zebes. As you’d expect from a parent of the Metroidvania genre, you’ll explore large, interconnected areas, gathering upgrades which will eventually let you access previously locked-off areas. With a fantastic atmosphere, excellent enemy design and an unforgettable soundtrack, you really must play Super Metroid.
Super Mario World (1991)
Forgive us for including two Mario games on the same list, but we’re talking about Nintendo here – what do you expect? Super Mario World was Mario’s first outing on Super Nintendo, and the extra visual fidelity offered by the system really shows. Mario was suddenly more colourful and vibrant than ever, and his world simply popped to life on our screens.
It still does, in fact. The joy of Super Mario World may have long since been superseded by more modern outings for the dungaree’d plumber, but there’s still a lot of joy to be found here. Riding on Yoshi’s back? Jumping on giant, oversized bullets to take them down? We have fond memories, and it’s a game still worth jumping into today. So, if you have Nintendo Switch Online, consider this one of the best SNES games you can play on it.