Top 10 Best SNES JRPGs

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Written By Antoine Clerc-Renaud

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Do you remember the days of playing your favorite Super Nintendo games? If you’re a fan of JRPGs, then you likely have fond memories of the classic games that were released for the system.

I remember spending hours playing some of these classic JRPGs, from the story-driven Chrono Trigger to the epic Final Fantasy VI. In this article, I’ll be sharing my top 10 best SNES JRPGs, based on my own experiences with the titles.

These games are some of the best the SNES had to offer, and I’m sure that if you’re a fan of the genre, you’ll find something you like. So, let’s get started with my list of the top 10 best SNES JRPGs!

1. Chrono Trigger

When it comes to the best SNES JRPGs, it’s hard to look past Chrono Trigger. The classic game was released in 1995 and quickly became an instant classic, selling millions of copies worldwide. It follows the story of a young, brave warrior named Crono as he journeys through time to save the world from destruction.

The game’s story is compelling and captivating, and its characters are memorable and endearing. The music is also top-notch, with its iconic battle theme being one of the most popular pieces of video game music of all time. The battles are also fun and engaging, with a unique Active-Time Battle system that allows you to strategically plan your moves.

But what really sets Chrono Trigger apart from other SNES JRPGs is its innovative time-travel mechanics. By using the Epoch ship, Crono can travel to different points in history and explore the world as it was in the past. This allows the player to make decisions that will affect the present and future, creating an incredibly immersive experience.

Chrono Trigger is an incredible game that has stood the test of time. Its engaging story, memorable characters, and innovative time-travel mechanics make it one of the best SNES JRPGs of all time. If you’re looking for a classic RPG experience, then there’s no better choice than Chrono Trigger.

best snes jrpgs

2. Final Fantasy VI

Coming in at number four on our list of top 10 best SNES JRPGs is Final Fantasy VI. This classic title from Square Enix is an absolute must-play for fans of the genre and is widely considered to be one of the greatest RPGs of all time.

The story of Final Fantasy VI is an epic one, filled with memorable characters and a wide range of emotions. It’s a story of love, loss, and the power of friendship, with a huge cast of characters that you’ll grow to love and root for. The game’s unique and compelling story is just one of the many reasons why this game is so beloved.

The game’s combat system is also noteworthy. Final Fantasy VI is a turn-based RPG, and it allows you to customize your characters and choose from a wide range of weapons and items. This allows for a great deal of customization, and it’s an incredibly fun system that rewards players for creative thinking.

The game’s soundtrack is also a highlight and is often cited as one of the best video game soundtracks of all time. With a mix of memorable tunes and classic themes, this soundtrack is sure to get you in the mood for some old-school RPG action.

If you’re a fan of the genre, Final Fantasy VI is an absolute must-play. It’s an unforgettable journey that will stay with you long after you’ve finished the game. With its engaging story and memorable characters, Final Fantasy VI is an experience that you won’t soon forget.

best snes jrpgs

3. Secret Of Mana

Next on our list of top 10 best SNES JRPGs is Secret of Mana. This game is a classic action RPG that offers a unique and incredibly engaging experience. It follows the story of three heroes – Randi, Primm, and Popoi – as they embark on a journey to save the world from a powerful empire and a mysterious being known as the Mana Beast.

The gameplay of Secret of Mana is a mix of real-time action and RPG elements. Players control one of the three main characters and can switch between them at will. Combat takes place in real-time and involves using weapons and magic. The game also features a cooperative multiplayer mode, allowing players to join and control the other characters.

The art style of Secret of Mana is also quite unique. The characters and environments are rendered in colorful 2D graphics and use a top down perspective. This gives the game a distinct visual style that is both nostalgic and timeless.

The music of Secret of Mana is also quite remarkable. The game features an acclaimed and memorable soundtrack composed by Hiroki Kikuta. Each track perfectly captures the tone of the game and adds to the overall immersion.

Overall, Secret of Mana is one of the best action-RPGs ever released on the SNES. It’s a classic that stands the test of time, offering engaging gameplay, an interesting story, and unforgettable art and music. If you’re a fan of action-RPGs, Secret of Mana is definitely worth checking out.

best snes jrpgs

4. Super Mario RPG Legends of the Seven Stars

If you’re looking for a classic JRPG experience for the SNES, you can’t go wrong with Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. This beloved classic was released in 1996 and was the first Mario game to feature a turn-based battle system.

This game was revolutionary in its time, and it’s still enjoyable to play today. It features a unique blend of RPG combat and classic Mario platforming, allowing you to explore the Mushroom Kingdom in a brand-new way. The story is full of surprises, and the characters you meet throughout your journey are lovable and memorable.

The turn-based combat system is fast-paced and fun, and it introduces a few new ideas like timed button presses for more powerful attacks. There are also a variety of mini-games that you can take part in, which add a nice touch of variety to the gameplay.

Super Mario RPG is a game that anyone can pick up and enjoy. It’s charming, funny, and features some truly memorable moments. With its innovative battle system and classic Mario elements, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better JRPG experience on the SNES.

best snes jrpgs

5. Terranigma

Coming in at number five on our list of the top 10 best SNES JRPGs is Terranigma. This game, which was released in Japan and Europe in 1996, is a classic action RPG that takes place in a post-apocalyptic world.

You play as Ark, a young man who is tasked with restoring the planet by reviving all living things that were killed by the previous cataclysm. As you progress through the game, you will explore a variety of locations, such as a submerged castle and a mysterious, floating city. You’ll also encounter a variety of monsters, which you must battle in order to progress.

One of the most exciting things about Terranigma is its battle system. Unlike other RPGs of the time, you can use a variety of techniques, such as combos and special attacks, to defeat your enemies. You’ll also have access to a wide array of magic spells, which can be used to give you an edge in battle.

The storyline in Terranigma is also quite unique. As you progress, you’ll face difficult moral choices, which will have a lasting impact on the game’s world. You’ll also get to witness the rebirth of the planet, which is an emotional and rewarding experience.

Terranigma is a fantastic RPG that combines engaging gameplay with an emotional story. The game’s unique battle system and moral choices make it stand out from other JRPGs of the time, and its immersive world will keep you captivated until the very end. If you’re looking for an unforgettable adventure, then Terranigma is the perfect choice.

best snes jrpgs

6. Earthbound

At number six on our list is Earthbound, a beloved SNES classic that still holds a special place in the hearts of many. It’s a unique and quirky RPG that was released in 1995 and follows a group of four children on a journey to save the world. With colorful characters, an irreverent sense of humor, and a memorable soundtrack, it’s no wonder why this game is so beloved.

Earthbound was not only ahead of its time in terms of its story and gameplay, but also in terms of its graphics. The game was one of the first SNES titles to feature 16-bit graphics, which gave it a unique, cartoon-like look that was unlike any other game at the time. This revolutionary graphical style was a major factor in the game’s success, as it helped to set Earthbound apart from its contemporaries.

One of the most interesting things about Earthbound is that it has sold over 600,000 copies worldwide. This makes it one of the best-selling SNES RPGs of all time, and it goes to show how much people still love and appreciate this classic game.

Earthbound is an all-time favorite that has stood the test of time. It’s a unique and witty RPG that still has the power to captivate players, and its 16-bit graphics are still a sight to behold. With its memorable characters, irreverent humor, and timeless soundtrack, it’s no wonder why this SNES classic is still so beloved today.

best snes jrpgs

7. Tales of Phantasia

The seventh spot on our list belongs to the classic JRPG, Tales of Phantasia. This game is a must-play for any JRPG fan, and it’s sure to be a hit with anyone looking for a classic, yet modern gaming experience. It’s also the first episode of the Tales of series and was created by Wolf Team before some of them left to create Tri-Ace and the Star Ocean series.

Tales of Phantasia is an innovative turn-based RPG that takes place in a fantasy world filled with magic and ancient technology. You play as the protagonist, Cless Alvein, who sets out on a journey to uncover the truth behind a tragic event that occurred in his past. As you progress through the game, you’ll gain access to new weapons, spells, and characters, each with their own unique abilities.

It’s easy to get lost in the world of Tales of Phantasia, as the game offers a wealth of interesting characters, locations, and storylines. The game’s Linear Motion Battle System is unique, and allows you to play through battles in a real-time fashion, with a wide range of moves and combos.

I particularly love the game’s soundtrack from one of Japan’s best composers, Motoi Sakuraba, which adds a layer of atmosphere to the game. The music is both epic and beautiful, and it helps to add to the sense of adventure and exploration.

Tales of Phantasia is an excellent game, a proud ambassador of the 16-bit era and it’s sure to be an unforgettable experience for any JRPG fan. With its unique battle system, interesting characters, and beautiful soundtrack, Tales of Phantasia is the perfect game to lose yourself in. So if you’re looking for a classic yet modern JRPG experience, then Tales of Phantasia is the game for you.

best snes jrpgs

8. Breath Of Fire II

The next game on our list of the top 10 best SNES JRPGs is Breath of Fire II. This classic RPG was released in 1994 and was the sequel to the original Breath of Fire. It was an instant success, selling over a million copies in Japan alone.

This game follows the story of Ryu, a member of the Dragon Clan who is on a quest to save the world from an evil empire. As you progress through the game, you’ll explore a variety of different locations and take on a variety of different enemies. You’ll also meet a number of interesting characters, as well as learn more about Ryu’s mysterious past.

What really sets Breath of Fire II apart from other JRPGs is its unique combat system. Rather than relying on traditional turn-based combat, the game utilizes an innovative real-time battle system. This system allows you to move around and attack your enemies while they are still attacking you, adding an extra layer of strategy to the battles.

The graphics in Breath of Fire II are also impressive. The game utilizes an impressive level of detail, with vibrant and colorful characters and environments. The soundtrack is also quite good, with a variety of tracks that give the game an epic feel.

Overall, Breath of Fire II is a classic JRPG that is well worth playing. With its unique real-time combat system, vibrant graphics, and memorable soundtrack, it’s easy to see why it remains one of the best SNES JRPGs of all time. If you’re looking for an old-school RPG experience, then look no further than Breath of Fire II.

best snes jrpgs

9. Tactics Ogre

At number nine on our list of the top 10 best SNES JRPGs is Tactics Ogre. This classic installment of the Ogre Battle Saga has become a fan favorite since its original release in 1995. Its unique blend of turn-based strategy, and role-playing elements has made it a timeless classic.

Many consider Tactics Ogre to be one of the best Strategy RPG on SNES, and it’s easy to see why. What makes this game stand out is its deep story, branching dialogue choices and its complex moral dilemmas that makes player consider their actions in the game. It also features a wide variety of classes and customization options for the player party that make the game even more enjoyable.

One of the most interesting thing about this game is its heavy emphasis on player choice, which ultimately will shape the outcome of the story in multiple possible endings. This branching narrative design is not common in the games of its time, making Tactics Ogre a true pioneer in the genre.

Tactics Ogre is an incredible game that offers hours of fun and deep replayability. Its captivating story and unique gameplay will keep even the most seasoned gamers hooked. If you’re looking for a challenging and thought-provoking turn-based strategy game, then this is definitely the game for you.

FYI: Tactics Ogre had a re-release on the Sony PlayStation, the SEGA Saturn, and the PlayStation Portable (under the name Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together for its first international release). Its latest release came in as a remaster in late 2022 under the name Tactics Ogre Reborn and is now available for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and PC via Steam.

best snes jrpgs

10. Illusion Of Gaia

When it comes to classic SNES JRPGs, Illusion of Gaia is definitely one of the most beloved and influential titles of the era. It was developed by Quintet and released in 1994, and has since become a classic in the genre.

At its core, Illusion of Gaia is a top-down, action-RPG. Players take on the role of Will, a young boy on a quest to save the world from an ancient evil. Along the way, he must traverse unique environments, solve puzzles, and battle strange monsters. But what makes Illusion of Gaia stand out from the crowd is its story.

The narrative of Illusion of Gaia is both deep and emotionally resonant. It follows Will as he discovers the truth about his own identity and the secrets of the world around him. The game’s themes of identity, destiny, and the power of love are explored in a way that is both subtle and profound. The narrative is further enhanced by its stellar soundtrack, creating a truly immersive and engaging experience.

Illusion of Gaia is also notable for its use of “euphemism,” a technique that involves creating a certain atmosphere through the use of poetic language. Euphemism is used to great effect throughout the game, as it helps to evoke powerful emotions in the player and to create a greater sense of understanding.

Illusion of Gaia stands as an example of the power of the JRPG genre. Its unique blend of story, exploration, and combat, along with its emotionally-charged narrative, make it an unforgettable experience and a must-have for any fan of the SNES.

best snes jrpgs

What are you waiting for to play these awesome SNES JRPGs?

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) offers an impressive selection of JRPGs, many of which have stood the test of time. From the classic Final Fantasy VI to the innovative Chrono Trigger, these are some of the greatest JRPGs of all time.

Each of these titles offers a unique experience, and they can provide hours of entertainment. Whether you’re a fan of traditional turn-based combat or more modern action-RPGs, the SNES has something for everyone.

So, if you’re looking for a classic gaming experience, check out the top 10 best SNES JRPGs. With some of the best storytelling, graphics, and gameplay of its era, you’ll be sure to find something you’ll love.

Honorable mentions but not the best SNES JRPGs

  • Dragon Quest V
  • Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem
  • Romancing SaGa 2
  • Star Ocean
  • Breath of Fire
  • Super Robot Taisen Gaiden: Masou Kishin – The Lord of Elemental
  • Seiken Densetsu 3
  • Bahamut Lagoon
  • Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen
  • Final Fantasy V
  • Dragon Quest VI
  • Ys V Kingdom of Sand
  • Dark Half
  • Live A Live
  • Treasure Hunter G
  • Romancing SaGa 3
  • Rudora no Hihou
  • Dragon Quest III
  • Brandish
  • Lufia & Fortress of Doom
  • Lufia II Rise of the Sinistrals
  • Secret of Evermore
  • The 7th Saga
  • Wizardry V Heart of the Maelstrom
  • Albert Odyssey
  • Front Mission
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