Many see the SNES as the platform of choice for experiencing classic singleplayer adventures. What many don’t realize, however, that the SNES has a robust library of multiplayer titles that can entertain virtually any crowd. From fun couch co-op titles to large party pleasers, today’s list dives into some of the best multiplayer SNES games to hit the system.
On To The Picks…
The 9 Best Multiplayer SNES Games of All Time
Super Mario Kart
Unsurprisingly the first title to make the list, Super Mario Kart has been a staple amongst couch co-op enthusiasts for decades thanks to its intuitive controls and accessible gameplay.
Initially launching in North America in 1992, Super Mario Kart would go on to become of the all-time best selling titles for the platform. Featuring three split-screen modes that has gone on to help define the entire multiplayer racing genre, Super Mario Kart is one of the best multiplayer SNES games for gamers looking to recapture that classic sense of couch-competitiveness.
Super Mario Kart stars a handful of Nintendo’s most recognizable characters, and a selection of maps inspired by their respective games. Players must throw items, master steep bends and turns, and discover helpful shortcuts if they want to take home the coveted first-place trophy. There’s also battle mode, which pits players and AI directly against each other in the form of a kart-based deathmatch. Each character has three balloons and must attempt to destroy their opponents’ balloons using items scattered across the map- the last player standing wins, no racing here.
Super Mario Kart is a household name for retro gaming fans the world over, and gamers looking to experience some of the most exceptional multiplayer gameplay around should add this quirky title to their collection.
Zombies Ate My Neighbors
A repeat guest here on Level Unlocked, Zombies Ate My Neighbors is the game that truly offers everything- challenging but satisfying gameplay, excellent graphics, and one of the most exhilarating multiplayer SNES experiences around.
Controlling both Zeke and Julie, players will team up to save their neighbors from the hoards of the shambling undead in this exciting side-scrolling title. Players must make use of makeshift weaponry and quick thinking if they want to make it to the end of this difficult title. Gamers must rescue an assortment of neighbors across each level to continue to advance through the game, which is easier said than done.
Neighbors not only die in one hit from any enemy in the game, but once they’re gone, they stay gone until either the players earn enough points to receive an “Extra Bonus Victim” award, or they begin a new run through the game. This makes it entirely possible to lose the game very early on if enough neighbors perish before the next level can be unlocked. Zeke and Julie must work closely together to prevent this, leading to some intense multiplayer scenarios.
Ultimately, Zombies Ate My Neighbors is one of the best multiplayer SNES games ever made and continues to draw new crowds to its zombie-infested yards thanks to its timeless design. For gamers seeking their next big retro multiplayer game, few games do it better than Zombies Ate My Neighbors.
Kirby Super Star
Technically, while Kirby Super Star consists of eight different games in one package, it does not have a real bonafide co-op mode. Primarily a singleplayer experience, Kirby Super Star surprisingly offers one of the best multiplayer SNES experiences around, if you know how to find it.
Throughout Kirby’s numerous adventures in Kirby Super Star, Kirby will have the ability to produce ‘Helpers.’ These Helpers can be controlled by the second controller if its plugged in, allowing for one of the most exciting multiplayer experiences available on the SNES. While Helpers aren’t always handy throughout the title, they are common enough for this game to make the list, as most of the game is playable with two players.
Kirby Super Star is eight games in one, ranging from a remade version of Kirby’s original adventure in Dream Land to a brand new arena mode where both players must fight through all of the game’s bosses gauntlet style. All of these games allow Kirby to bring a helper along with him at some point or another. Kirby’s adventures have always been an enjoyable combination of exhilarating platforming and entertaining combat, but bringing a friend for the ride makes it all the better.
Gamers looking for one of the best multiplayer SNES games of all time should keep an eye out for Kirby Super Star. It stands as one of, if not the biggest multiplayer titles on the platform.
Developed and released by Capcom for North American audiences in 1993, Goof Troop is cherished as being an incredibly fun and accessible multiplayer title that helped jumpstart many young gamers’ love for multiplayer gaming.
Staring Goofy and Max of Disney fame, Goof Trap asks players to work together to overcome five different stages. Each stage consists of various puzzles and ingeniously placed enemies. Goofy and Max cannot fight, but they can use items such as barrels or bombs scattered around each level to defeat enemies. They can also knock foes off the stage, lure them into oncoming enemy attacks, and kick blocks into them.
Goof Troop is not a very difficult game, being primarily targeted towards a younger audience, but the gameplay is great fun for fans of all ages. Players will complete the title in just a few hours with relative ease, but that shouldn’t dissuade retro gamers from diving in. Excellent level design, fun (if simple) puzzles, and that whimsical Disney charm more than make up for the lack of difficulty.
Gamers looking to experience a classic Disney title, or who want a unique multiplayer experience unlike most of what the SNES has to offer should give Goof Troop a try.
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
Mortal Kombat is a household name for gamers and non-gamers alike, and Ultimate MK 3 stands out as being one of the best multiplayer SNES games around thanks to its vast roster and flashy combo potential.
Ultimate MK 3 offers a staggering amount of content ideally suited for large group play. There is, of course, the traditional one vs. one mode that most are familiar with, but there’s also the new eight-man tournament mode. The new mode is a ladder tournament in which players take turns fighting each other until the final two best players face off in the battle for first place.
There’s also the new two vs. two mode, in which four players each choose a character and battle in teams of two in a tag team deathmatch. Once one player is eliminated, their teammate takes the controller and jumps in. Switching can also be initiated via a button command if players choose to swap places early, allowing well-coordinated teams to gain the upper hand quickly. This mode is dynamic and great for small group play since even a party of two can find exciting new gameplay possibilities with the swapping mechanic.
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 is an incredible party game, an excellent co-op game, and an enjoyable singleplayer experience. Gamers who pick this classic title up are sure to find enjoyment regardless of their group size.
Wild Guns is an exciting and fast-paced shooting gallery game that features incredibly fun two-player action.
While most shooting gallery games take place in the first-person perspective, Wild Guns is unique in that players can still see their avatar on the stage. The game consists of six levels, with each level broken into two stages and a final boss. Players must accurately shoot at robotic enemies that zip around the stage while dodging their oncoming fire. Accuracy and precision are required for this title, which can be challenging at times.
The entire game can be experienced through cooperative play, with one player controlling the protagonist, Annie, and the other controlling her hired bounty hunter, Clint. Players also have separate scores, which allows players to compete against one another while they go through the campaign. There’s also a target practice mode, which enables players to square up against one another directly to see who can get the higher score without having to worry about dying.
Wild guns is a little-known game with a lot of character, and gamers looking to experience one of the best multiplayer SNES games ever made should put this title at the top of their wishlist.
Secret of Mana
What makes Secret of Mana such an incredible multiplayer experience is also what makes it such a tremendous singleplayer experience: it’s a full-fledged JRPG that can be played entirely in co-op without any sacrifices.
There are no specific cooperative modes built for Secret of Mana, and that’s part of what makes it so great. Secret of Mana is a top-down role-playing game in the same vein as Final Fantasy, with an epic storyline and engaging combat to boot. RPGs with co-op were mostly unheard of in 1993 when Secret of Mana launched, and similar titles often offered a watered-down experience comparatively.
Secret of Mana’s combat takes place in real-time as opposed to being turn based. A small refilling bar appears under each character letting the players know when their attacks are at full strength and can be used again. Each player takes turns picking between which moves each character performs. Outside of combat, each player controls one of the characters as they navigate the overworld and explore the various kingdoms and forests found around the world.
Secret of Mana is a title that has a lot to offer both singleplayer aficionados and couch co-op enthusiasts looking to get their fix. Few multiplayer SNES games at the time can come close to providing the amount of content on display here, and Secret of Mana deserves to be at the top of every retro gamer’s backlog.
Super Bomberman is the first entry into a franchise that would go on to experience explosive growth as players realized how fun it was to blow up their friends in beautiful 16-bit glory.
One of few games at the time to support multitap peripherals for the SNES (and thus up to 4 player simultaneous multiplayer) Super Bomberman was an instant hit with gaming crowds everywhere. Utilizing a top-down perspective spread over a 13 x 11 grid, Super Bomberman sees four players attempt to blow each other up using powerups, items, and strategy.
Super Bomberman is a game of strategy, first and foremost. Players navigate through narrow corridors, planting bombs that blow up a few seconds after being dropped. These bombs destroy particular walls, and will kill other Bombermen caught in the blast. The goal is to be the last Bomberman standing, which is easier said than done. Bombs can accidentally set off other bombs, which can lead to chain reactions with unexpected consequences. Players also cannot walk through bombs until they detonate, making it possible to be trapped by opponents with no way out. All of this leads to incredibly exciting matches that can be turned on their heads in a moment’s notice.
Many young multiplayer gamers cut their teeth on Super Bomberman growing up, but the game remains as fun and engaging as it was when it launched. Gamers looking to flex their quick-thinking skills to their friends should add Super Bomberman to their collection as soon as possible.
While much can be said about Konami’s recent fall from grace in the modern gaming scene, there’s no doubt they produced innovative and technically impressive titles for the SNES.
Sunset Riders is one such title, which features a challenging and enjoyable campaign that can be played entirely with a friend. Each player can pick from one of four bounty hunters: Steve, Billy Cool, Bob, and Cormano wild. Each character has unique strengths and playstyles, and a weapon exclusive to them. With their character selected, players then battle together through eight stages, attempting to defeat the outlaw at the end of each and claim the bounty on their head.
While not the hardest game on the platform, Sunset Riders has its moments of incredible difficulty. These scenarios are considerably easier to do with a partner, making the two-player mode the default experience for many gamers. Stages regularly throw multiple enemy placements and tricky foes at the players, requiring quick reflexes and decent teamwork to get through some of the tougher areas of the game. Bosses can take multiple tries to overcome, as they each need a unique strategy to defeat them.
While there are many western-themed SNES action games, few offer the kind of fun and excitement that Sunset Riders has, and even fewer allow gamers to experience it all in co-op. Multiplayer fans, action game enthusiasts, and retro collectors alike all have a lot to benefit from adding Sunset Riders to their collections.