25 Best SNES Platforming Games

When it comes to platformers, there is arguably no console that has given gamers more classic genre titles than the Super Nintendo (SNES).

The best platforming games on the SNES come from classic franchises like Mario, Donkey Kong, and Castlevania just to name a few – but there are also plenty of hidden gems on the console as well. Whether it be somewhat more underrated platformers like ActRaiser and Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, or even quality licensed Disney games, the SNES truly has it all.

Needless to say, when it comes to the best platforming games available, the SNES is second to none. And if you're looking for some must-have SNES games, this is definitely a good place to start.

The 25 Best SNES Platforming Games:

1. Super Mario World

Super Mario World
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Description: “Mario's off on his biggest adventure ever, and this time he's brought along a friend. Yoshi the dinosaur teams up with Mario to battle Bowser, who has kidnapped Princess Toadstool once again. Guide Mario and Yoshi through nine peril-filled worlds to the final showdown in Bowser's castle. Use Mario's new powers and Yoshi's voracious monster-gobbling appetite as you explore 96 levels filled with dangerous new monsters and traps. Climb mountains and cross rivers, and descend into subterranean depths. Destroy the seven Koopa castles and find keys to gain entrance to hidden levels. Discover more warps and thrilling bonus worlds than ever before!”

What The Critics Say: “Super Mario World is a masterclass in side-scrolling platforming design, to the point that modern 2D game developers should be encouraged to study it as a pre-requisite of mastering their craft.” – Nintendo Life

2. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island

Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island
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Description: “The Evil Magikoopa, Kamek, is out to kidnap Baby Mario! In this sequel to Super Mario World, you play as Yoshi. Your goal is to successfully carry Baby Mario back to his parents in the Mushroom Kingdom while avoiding all of Kamek's clever traps and evil minions. Enjoy the various backgrounds of the rich and vibrant locales of Yoshi's Island as you race to complete your quest.”

What The Critics Say: “Yoshi's Island isn't just a great platformer: it's a reminder of why this silly little hobby of ours is so wonderful. Sure, the game contains no political satire, no poetic justice, no character development. But if what Miyamoto and Tezuka crafted isn't a work of art, then the definition of ‘art' needs to be amended.” – Nintendo Life

3. Mega Man X

Mega Man X
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Description: “Released from the capsule by Dr. Cain, ‘X' is born into the world of the future where the robot rebellions are a thing of the past. But when Dr. Cain tries to implement Dr. Light's designs into a new series of Reploids, something goes hideously wrong. Now the future lies on the brink of destruction and a new Mega Man must emerge to face Sigma and his forces before the human race is wiped from the planet!”

What The Critics Say: “No video game is perfect, but Mega Man X is damn near close.” – USgamer

4. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong's Quest

Donkey Kong Country 2
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Description: “Okay kid, wipe that drool off your chin and listen up if you really want to learn something about this game. Sure, it's got newfangled computer graphics and what Diddy calls stereo sound that ‘rocks heavily and with little resistance!' But, the gameplay? Well, they finally added some proper challenge to the game – a snap for me of course.

And the story? You sure ask a lot of questions, kid! Kaptain K. Rool and his cruelest cut-throat Kremlings have kidnapped that flea-bitten ape Donkey Kong. I figured I'd rescue him when the little pip-squeak Diddy pops up along with his girlfriend, and they head off fixin' to prove themselves heroes or something. Come to think of it, I haven't laid eyes on those two for quite a while. I just may have to help them out after all!”

What The Critics Say: “Donkey Kong Country 2 is a great platformer known for its intricate levels, computer-rendered graphics, and occasionally cruel level designs.” – GameSpot

5. Super Metroid

Super Metroid
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Description: “Take on a legion of Space Pirates and a new Metroid force as you forge into the covert underworld of Planet Zebes! It's up to you as Samus to recapture the lone-surviving Metroid hatchling before evil hands unleash its energy.”

What The Critics Say: “Super Metroid is one of the greatest SNES games ever made, and arguably Samus Aran's greatest outing. If you've never played a classic side-scrolling Metroid game before, Super Metroid is the one to start with.” – Nintendo Life

6. Super Castlevania IV

Super Castlevania IV
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Description: “A century of Transylvanian tranquility is about to come to a shocking end. Once again the mortifying screams of helpless villagers shake the ground as they huddle against new nightmarish horrors unleashed by the Duke of Darkness, Count Dracula. And this time he has a tombstone with your name on it, Simon Belmont.”

What The Critics Say: “It's a fun game to look at and play through, thanks to its pleasant variety of ghastly enemies and colorful locales. The game also boasts some great music to help propel you through your arduous journey.” – GameSpot

7. ActRasier

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Description: “Long ago, you and your people built a peaceful land. Since then, your world has been taken over and inhabited by the evil Tanzra and his Guardians. Your once-tranquil land has become a breeding ground for monsters, Injured, you have retreated to your Sky Palace and have fallen into a deep sleep. Now, many years have passed and you have recovered from your injuries and slumber. You must punish Tanzra and restore the world to your people or lose their faith forever.”

What The Critics Say: “ActRaiser‘s mix of action and civilization-building is unique, but it's the masterful art direction and music composition that will win you over.” – GameSpot

8. Donkey Kong Country

Donkey Kong Country
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Description: “Donkey Kong is back with a new sidekick, Diddy Kong, in a crazy island adventure! Challenged by the crazed tribe of reptilian Kremlings, they endeavor to get back their stolen banana horde! Armed with lightning-quick moves, chest-pounding muscle, and awesome aerial acrobatics, our duo is ready to face their cunning adversaries. With the help of Donkey Kong's quirky family and his wild animal mounts, they squabble and scamper their way through the unending monkey mayhem.”

What The Critics Say: “Along with Super Mario World, Donkey Kong Country is one of the Super NES's defining platformers. Nintendo and Rare went to great lengths to break new ground with it in 1994, and that effort is a good reason why the game has aged so gracefully. The graphics and audio haven't lost their appeal in the years since, and the platforming, while straightforward, is still very addictive.” – GameSpot

9. Super Mario All-Stars

Super Mario All-Stars
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Description: “Revisit the magic and fun of the classic Super Mario Bros. series on your Super NES! All the great Super Mario Bros. games for the NES have been powered up with 16-bit graphics and sound and collected on one super game pak. As an added bonus, the previously unreleased ‘Lost Levels' are included. These super challenging courses have never been available in this country until now!”

What The Critics Say: “Save the princess all over again! All-Stars is a masterpiece from beginning to end. Although it really is nothing new, All-Stars blows the roof off the fun factor! Four fun games with enhanced graphics and music is just too much. The best part is that all those wonderful secrets have been left in. Ditch those old 8-Bit versions for this one!” – Electronic Gaming Monthly [Sept 1993]

10. Kirby Super Star

Kirby Super Star
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Description: “Dream Land is under siege again! Our hero, Kirby, returns to instigate a rescue. King Dedede is snatching up Dream Land's food supply, but he's not the only one! Dyna Blade, Meta Knight and a slew of other evil baddies are on the loose and wreaking havoc throughout the land. Use any of Kirby's amazing powers to create a “helper” to assist you in battle. Or have a friend join you for some two-player action by taking control of Kirby's helper.”

What The Critics Say: “If you're a fan of the Kirby series, Kirby Super Star is the game to own. Not only are there quite a few homages to classic releases in the series strung throughout, but there are also enough new gameplay ideas tossed into the mix to please even long-time fans of the series who've given the previous titles countless play-throughs.” – Nintendo Life

11. Mega Man X2

Mega Man X2
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Description: “Just when Mega Man X thought he had brought down all the X-Hunters, several months later an uprising moves from within an abandoned factory. While 8 all-new X-Hunters occupy Mega Man X, a triple threat plots to resurrect a secret weapon that is all too familiar!

The good Dr. Light supplies Mega man X with incredible new abilities hidden in capsules buried deep below the surface. And with new vehicles like the mobile attack cycle plus powers he gains from the X-Hunters, Mega Man X will be ready to face his destiny as a Maverick Hunter. Now it's all or Zero for Mega Man X!”

What The Critics Say: “Mega Man X2 is still one of the best games in the franchise, and dare I say, on the entire system. It’s really that good.” – Infinity Retro

12. Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts

Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts
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Description: “You are Arthur, the boldest bladesman alive. You are caught in a dangerous quest! Fiendish foes and grim demons are about to hurl disaster your way! You must save the wondrous Princess Guinevere. But beware! The reeking ruler of the forbidden land can call forth evil and destruction. Who knows what creeping, leaping terrors haunt this dripping realm!”

What The Critics Say: “Super Ghouls ‘N Ghosts is a great example of what the SNES was capable of. Almost 15 years later it is still every bit as enjoyable as it ever was. Not many games stand up to the test of time like this.” – Nintendo Life

13. Earthworm Jim

Earthworm Jim
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Description: “Jim wasn't always a studly super-worm. He was once just a spineless, dirt eater with no real mission in life… Then a cosmic twist of fate placed him in control of an ultra-high-tech-indestructible-super-space-cyber-suit. Now Jim must make it to Princess-What's-Her-Name by staying clear of Psy-Crow, the intergalactic bounty hunter, until the final battle with Queen Slug-for-a-Butt.”

What The Critics Say: “However you choose to grab this game, go give it a playthrough. Beautiful artwork, great humor, challenging gameplay, and fantastic audio make this one… GROOOOVY!” – 1 More Castle

14. Demon's Crest

Demon's Crest
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Description: “The demon realm is peaceful until six wondrous stones fall from the sky. Each stone represents a portion of the Demon's Crest. When united, the stones of the Demon's Crest bring the user ultimate power over demons and humans. These stones were so highly sought that civil war broke out in the realm. The fight led to much bloodshed until one gargoyle emerged victorious: the red demon known as Firebrand.

After Firebrand's final battle, his evil nemesis Phalanx ambushed Firebrand and stole the stones. Now Firebrand must recover the stones and unite the power of the Demon's Crest before both realms fall into the hands of the sinister Phalanx!”

What The Critics Say: “It's fairly safe to say that if you loved the Ghosts ‘n Goblins franchise, you're going to love this spin-off, and even if you're not a big fan, you may find that the added playability of Demon's Crest might be enough to make a fan out of you.” – Nintendo Life

15. Earthworm Jim 2

Earthworm Jim 2
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Description: “Two times two is four! Too much to list, but keep reading:
From Evil the Cat's ‘Circus of the Scars' to the planet of Meat, join Jim on a madcap chase across the galaxy. Saving cows, thwarting lawyers and outsmarting Psy-Crow are all in a day's work for Jim. Are you up to the challenge? Can you handle the awesome new weapons? Excellent! Then stop reading this. Take it up to the front counter and try it at home! Trust no one, play it yourself… or EAT DIRT!”

What The Critics Say: “For the most part, this long-awaited sequel has answered the success of the first installment using more of the same humor, action, and skill, adding a few surprises this time around.” – Next Generation

16. Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!

Donkey Kong Country 3
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Description: “Revisit Donkey Kong Island and join the Kong family for their latest adventure. The Kremlings have a mysterious new leader named KAOS and are up to their usual mischief, even capturing Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong. Now it's up to Dixie Kong and the newest Kong, a giant infant named Kiddy, to rescue the two missing apes.”

What The Critics Say: “Aside from the few new features, DKC3 is pretty much just like the second game. Many people haven't played this one, but if you liked the previous two, you won't be disappointed” – Nintendo Life

17. Mega Man X3

Mega Man X3
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Description: “Named after the scientist reploid, Doppler Town was supposed to be a place where humans and reploids could live in harmony. After discovering a virus that was turning reploids to Mavericks, Doppler's anti-virus was a big success. But Doppler itself became infected with the virus and assembled a team to take out the Maverick Hunter Units. The Doppler Effect is about to unfold, with Mega Man X and Zero the only cure for the deadly virus!”

What The Critics Say: “If you’ve never played it and like solid platforming, find a way to play it. You’ll thank me later.” – Nerd Bacon

18. The Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse

The Magcial Quest Starring Mickey Mouse
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Description: “Pluto has disappeared and his pal Mickey is hot on his trail! But evil Emperor Pete won't make it easy. He's snatched poor Pluto and hidden him deep within his dungeon. Now, Mickey must summon his courage and begin a treacherous trek through Emperor Pete's magical world to rescue his chum before it's too late!”

What The Critics Say: “If you give this one the chance it deserves, make sure that you settle down and take your time. Explore every part of every level. Marvel at the sense of atmosphere, at the simple but effective platforming bits and the exciting boss battles. Snatch each coin, take blind leaps of faith and just have a great time. They don’t make enough games like these now, and perhaps they never will again.” – HonestGamers

19. Disney's Aladdin

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Description: “Join Aladdin and his pet monkey Abu, as they race through the marketplace toward their date with destiny. Watch as Jafar tricks our hero and his friend into retrieving the lamp from the dangerous Cave of Wonders. But Aladdin and Abu outwit Jafar, releasing the power of a wacky blue Genie! Aladdin will have the chance to spoil Jafar's devious plans and win the hand of the beautiful princess Jasmine. But it will take more than magic to make his wishes come true… “

What The Critics Say: “Aladdin is a strong platformer with tight controls, great graphics, and fantastic level design. The art style is colorful, and the action is nicely complemented by the soundtrack, which is basically SNES versions of the OST from the movie. If you're a fan of Aladdin, platformers, or SNES games, give this one a go.” – The Old School Game Vault

20. The Lion King

The Lion King
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Description: “You think you want to be King? Get real. You're starting life as Simba, the cub. To survive and grow into a powerful adult lion, you must perfect your savage pounce, reckless roar and master fighting with all four paws. If you survive the challenge, you'll grow into a strong, ferocious adult lion.”

What The Critics Say: “… The Lion King proves to be a rewarding voyage. An addictive and often enchanting journey that almost promises to never end. You see the real trick of this game is to sporadically introduce a level that verges on being spectacular, one that lessens the blow of the long-term drudgery of the others.” – HonestGamers

21. The Lost Vikings

The Lost Vikings
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Description: “It's just another cool day of Nordic seafaring and pillaging when Erik the Swift, Baleog the Fierce and Olaf the Stout are suddenly sucked into an alien spaceship. And only you can help them find their way home. But each mysterious door you help them through throws them into different eras in time – and smack into new enemies! Will Baleog conquer Elmo the Dinosaur in Prehistoria? Will Olaf shield himself from the berserker mummies in the Great Pyramids of Egypt? And can Erik outrun the maniacal ripsaw in the Great Factory? Hurry! Only you can get these vanished Vikes out of the grasp of their alien captors and home through the chaotic arcade action!”

What The Critics Say: “t is smart, stylish, and different, and those are the same qualities we still look for today.” – IGN

22. Kirby's Dream Land 3

Kirby's Dream Land 3
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Description: “Kirby, Dream Land's resident hero (and everyone's favorite puffball), must once again save the day when the mischievous King Dedede starts causing trouble. Kirby must travel through an assortment of levels, battling an exotic array of enemies (both new and familiar) determined to stop him from completing his mission. Always armed with his trusty ability to swallow enemies and gain special attacks, Kirby can also unite with some of his animal friends and make use of their particular talents.”

What The Critics Say: “Kirby’s Dream Land 3 is a worthy sequel, improving and expanding just about every aspect of its handheld predecessors. The leap to home consoles gives it a delightful coat of paint and multiplayer support, both of which have become specialties of the series.” – Nintendo Life

23. Metal Warriors

Metal Warriors
25 Best SNES Platforming Games 48

Description: “It's the year 2102 and the Dark Axis Forces – an intergalactic army threatening to enslave the Earth – are knocking at your door with a plasma-blast greeting. You've got a three-ton laser-sword wielding, energy-cannon-firing, jet-propelled suit of robotic armor at your disposal.

What are you gonna do? Jump into one of six armed-and-ready battle droid units and blast through over 9 huge missions. Or, if you're just looking for a fight, try the 2 player mode & kick your friend's metallic butt. If you're enough of a Metal Warrior to get the job done.”

What The Critics Say: “Metal Warriors is a wonderful game to play by yourself or with friends. The difficulty is a bit high, but nothing you can't handle. The music and graphics are first-rate and the gameplay will not let you down. This is one of those games that often gets overlooked for flashier 16-bit action games like Contra III, but Metal Warriors is a must-own for any Super NES library.” – Defunct Games

24. Mega Man 7

Mega Man 7
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Description: “Dr. Wily's crusade to rule the world ends abruptly at the hands of Mega Man, so what's a villain to do? Create a diversion and break out of prison! Mega Man has his hands full as 4 gigantic machines exit Dr. Wily's lab to ravage the city, but… who is behind this new plot as Wily sits behind bars?”

What The Critics Say: “Mega Man 7 isn't the best entry in the franchise, but it's still a solid game nonetheless. Its good graphics, nice music and proven action platforming lead to a fun experience, even if it can sometimes feel like more of the same.” – Nintendo Life

25. Joe & Mac 2: Lost In The Tropics

Joe & Mac 2: Lost In The Tropics
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Description: “Our heroes, Joe and Mac, have volunteered to search for their leader's crown and bring it back so that peace can be restored. Of course, they're not risking their lives just out of the goodness of their hearts – they're out to impress the cave-babes, too!”

What The Critics Say: “Joe & Mac 2: Lost in the Tropics is an excellent Super Nintendo game. The action is great and the game has a fair challenge making it a must-play title.” – Joy-Con Reviews

Honorable Mentions

Again, there are simply a ton of quality platforming experiences on the SNES. There are so many, in fact, we wanted to give a shout out to a few more titles.

These are just another handful of quality recommendations – if interested, click the links to see pricing at eBay:

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