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Top 10 Best Super Nintendo Platformers

Top 10 Best Super Nintendo Platformers Cover

The Super Nintendo has an abundance of platforming games to choose from. Some of them panned out, some of them, not so much. From licensed games to brand new mascots. Here are the Top 10 Best Super Nintendo Platformers. We’ll be picking one game per franchise, otherwise we could end up with every Donkey Kong Country game here.

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Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts

10 - Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts

The original Ghouls ‘N Ghosts was an arcade classic and while Genesis owners got a great port of the arcade release, Super Nintendo owners got an entirely new platformer. Arthur is back sent out to save the princess yet again so it’s up to him running around in his underpants to save her. You start off with a suit of armor and have various upgrades you can pick up that alter your weapon or charge your weapon up. You can also pick up different weapons like a dagger, a scythe, an ax, a box or even a torch. For me the dagger is the best weapon in the game.

Best Super Nintendo Platformers Super Ghouls n Ghosts 1

One new improvement in Super Ghouls ‘N Ghosts is that Arthur now has the ability to do a double jump. This can be pretty difficult to execute since you can’t alter the direction mid air. I couldn’t tell you how many times I died from double jumping right into an enemy.

Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts is also incredibly tough and can be hard to pick up if you’re new to the platforming genre as a whole. Get ready because in order to get the true ending, you have to complete the game twice.

Best Super Nintendo Platformers Super Ghouls n Ghosts 2

Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts looks fantastic. There’s so much detail in each of the sprites and the mode 7 is used well with the rotating platforms and some of the bosses. The sound designers really did a great job in capturing the spooky atmosphere and displaying it in Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts.

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One other issue with this game is the slowdown and I really mean slowdown. Like, picture a turtle running a 100 meter dash slow. If you’re up for a challenge and don’t mind the slowdown, give Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts a go!

Demon's Crest

9 - Demon's Crest

Is this deja vu? I thought we just talked about the red devil in Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts? Take the Red Devil from Ghouls ‘N Ghosts and why not give FireBrand it’s own game?

Best Super Nintendo Platformers Demon's Crest 1

The control system is way ahead of what was in Ghosts & Goblins. FireBrand can fly mid air, grab onto ledges and use a variety of attacks or special moves. FireBrand can also use his shoulder to break things in the background. I mean how cool is that?

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You can also pick up items that allow FireBrand to transform into a way more powerful demon that can do all sorts of cool stuff like jump higher, cut away at vines, swing and even reducing the amount of damage you take from enemies.

The one downfall of Demon's Crest is that it’s a little on the short side having only seven stages but that’s a bit misleading as there’s tons of secrets to find and hidden branches that lead to alternative bosses. You can also take these stages in any order but be prepared to switch between forms quite often in order to progress.

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Demon's Crest is a rather dark game and didn’t fare well back when it was first released like the colorful platformers Nintendo was releasing at the time. Don’t overlook the excellent Demon’s Crest.


8 - Plok!

Plok goes around from level to level looking for his flag but seems to keep finding an article of clothing hanging from the flagpoles. He then finds out it was taken from a race of fleas.

Best Super Nintendo Platformers Plok 1

The game breaks out into platforming stages where you can shoot your limbs out as a weapon to have them return almost like a boomerang. I thought this was incredibly unique since most platformers just jump on the heads of bad guys or shoot out a weapon.

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Plok also breaks out into stages where you have to hunt down fleas in order to complete a stage. Along the way, you can pick up different power ups that change Plok into different forms.

The soundtrack in Plok is the cream of the crop. It was done by Tim and Geoff Follin and is one of the best of the best in regards to Super Nintendo Soundtracks.

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I covered Plok in a separate review if you’re more interested in how great of a hidden gem Plok is. It’s disappointing that Plok didn’t sell well back in the day and if you’re seeing Plok for the first time, give it a go any way possible.


7 - Actraiser

Think about Actraiser if you threw Sim City and Castlevania into a blender and let it rip. You get to control the God who can control the weather, plow through forests using a fire and expand the town’s population by taking out enemies by shooting your arrows at the monsters until you seal their lair.

Best Super Nintendo Platformers Actraiser 1

Each section leads to a platforming section where you can play through the level while using magic and going toe to toe with some of the best bosses on the Super Nintendo.

Best Super Nintendo Platformers Actraiser 2

The graphics are top notch, especially in the platforming sections. The sprites are massive and there’s no noticeable slowdown anywhere to be found.

One really cool aspect of Actraiser is once you beat it once, you’ll unlock the platforming only “Professional Mode” that bumps up the health to max, take double damage against enemies, and lose the magic abilities.

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The music was composed by the legendary producer who made the Streets of Rage games. I feel that Actraiser could very well be his best work on any console game. It’s got a mix of mellow and urgency in the tracks.

Even today Actraiser controls like a dream. It’s truly an amazing game that I’ve covered in the past. I hope you give it a chance.

Kirby's Super Star

6 - Kirby's Super Star

If I told you that a game with 8 actual games in one you’d think that’s quite a deal, right? If then I told you that this was a Kirby game you’d probably tell me that Kirby games are aimed towards kids and it shouldn’t be on this list. But Kirby's Super Star is the go to Kirby game on the Super Nintendo.

Best Super Nintendo Platformers Kirby's Super Star 1

You get to pick from a remake of Kirby’s Dream Land, a new platforming game, a one on one racing game against King Dedede, a cave exploration game, a time attack rush mode, a boss run and a large platforming game that Kirby can switch between powers.

Kirby's Super Star was also pretty innovative with the introduction of hats to distinguish each ability. It was also the first time that abilities had multiple actions like blocking, dashing or a charged shot.

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The soundtrack is absolutely incredible and there’s a ton of meat on the bones here in Kirby's Super Star. It’s also everywhere including the Nintendo Switch Online.

Yoshi's Island

5 - Yoshi's Island

Yoshi’s Island takes everything that was great about Super Mario World and well, throws it down the drain. Instead of making Mario the main character, Yoshi is now the main character with Baby Mario now taking a backseat. But let’s give Yoshi's Island a pass since it’s a fantastic game.

Best Super Nintendo Platformers Yoshi's Island 1

Yoshi uses the eggs that it picks up along the way by digesting enemies to shoot at enemies that try to poach Baby Mario away by running out of time when Yoshi takes a hit. Along the way Yoshi has a ton of different power ups that can change Yoshi into an Airplane, a Submarine, a Car and many others.

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The multicolored art style is simply wonderful. With multi-layered backgrounds and parallax scrolling, I seriously wish every Super Nintendo had graphics this good. There’s also some clever use of the mode 7 graphics in some of the sprites and boss battles.

The music in Yoshi’s Island is fantastic. Especially the final boss theme that smacks you in the face with the heavy metal riff.

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With it’s distinct crayon drawn graphics and puzzle solving elements and item collecting, Yoshi's Island is simply a work of art meant to be experienced. Yes it’s not a true sequel to Super Mario World but can be regarded as a great game that shines among the rest.

Mega Man X2

4 - Mega Man X2

Mega Man X2 is bigger, badder and better than the original Mega Man X. For starters the game is much harder than the original Mega Man X. You can also now do a mid air dash and that was really neat. Speeding up the gameplay so much. X also gets a new upgraded charge attack that was just so rewarding to fire two charged attacks.

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The biggest improvement in Mega Man X2 is in the hardware. It uses the CX4 chip to do some really cool wireframe effects. X2 also focuses a lot around the platforming rather than the action which is a positive since this review is built around platforming games.

Some of the bosses are incredibly aggressive and have random patterns for you to deal with. This was clearly a step in the right direction since the bosses in Mega Man X were mainly pushovers for the most part.

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The music in X2 is a step down from the first game but is overall significantly better than other platformers on the Super Nintendo.

Best Super Nintendo Platformers Mega Man X2 2

Mega Man X2 takes everything that was great in the original X game and improves on it in almost every aspect.

Super Castlevania IV

3 - Super Castlevania IV

Super Castlevania IV is all about the presentation. It sets the mood the moment the fog disappears and Belmont is standing in front of the Castle he’s about to take on and anything in his way.

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Every level just looks and plays extremely differently from one another. Keeping every aspect of the gameplay feeling as fresh as a homemade burger right off the grill.

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Onto the difficulty, I’m in the camp where Super Castlevania IV is very unique in terms of challenge. With enough practice you can get good at it in order to zip through the levels.

The music in Super Castlevania IV is like straight up something you would want to put on an iPod and listen to on the go. Does anyone actually even use iPods anymore?

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Super Castlevania IV was one of the first games I reviewed and I can only go back to that and smile with how far I’ve grown as some random guy on the internet who reviews games.

Donkey Kong Country 2

2 - Donkey Kong Country 2

Donkey Kong Country 2 could very well be the greatest platformer of all time. It was definitely a close one for me. Seeing that opening menu screen gives me chills to this day. Don’t get me wrong, the first Donkey Kong Country game is still a great game, but had its flaws. Where Donkey Kong was pretty much useless if you had the faster Diddy, Dixie Kong gives you a better variety with her flying ability.

Best Super Nintendo Platformers Donkey Kong Country 2 1

The animal powerups in Donkey Kong Country 2 were much better than the ones in the original game. For starters the Rhino now can charge up, the snake can jump even higher than the frog, the spider that lets you build and climb platforms.

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Tons of the levels in Diddy’s Kong Quest run vertically which improves the format of the Donkey Kong Country games significantly. You’ll also need to find the items in the game to do all kinds of stuff like unlock new areas on the map or save your progress so locating them doesn’t feel like a chore but more of a quest.

The best Donkey Kong game on the Super Nintendo is Diddy’s Kong Quest bar none. It takes everything the first game did and amplified it to the extreme.

Super Mario World

1 - Super Mario World

What’s there to really say about Super Mario World except it’s not only the best platformer on the Super Nintendo but the best platformer of all time. Don’t believe me, it’s only got unforgettable levels, a soundtrack designed for the masses and platforming perfected controls. Think about the leap from Super Mario Bros 3 to Super Mario World.

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I mean Super Mario World has 96 exits you can go through and explore. Super Mario World is in a tier of it’s own against all of the other platformers on the Super Nintendo and that’s saying something considering it’s a launch title that they would give away when you brought the thing home from the store.

Best Super Nintendo Platformers Super Mario World 2

Super Mario World brings you some new items like the ability to fly with the feather. The different colored Yoshi’s that each bring you different powers every time you pick up a shell. To the multiple ways to complete a stage indicated by the red colored dot on the overworld map.

The music blew my mind the first time I heard the orchestra sounds in Super Mario World. To this day I’ll randomly catch myself humming the underwater theme.  

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What I like most about Super Mario World is the multiple ways you can finish the game. You can skip right through to the end by going to Star World or carefully explore all 96 exits or do a bit of both and take any path you want.

Super Mario World is a timeless classic and I have so many good memories opening that Super Nintendo box on Christmas of 1991 and not turning the system off taking turns in the two player mode with my brother until the wee hours of the night.



Passionate gamer and nostalgia enthusiast. Journeying through the pixelated realms of retro video games, unearthing forgotten gems and sharing the joy. Join me on a nostalgic adventure! 🎮✨