Co-op is a big focus here at Cousin Gaming. We love playing good 2 player co-op games and chill out and the best console for that is most definitely the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). Over the years we have actively sought these games out and played them rigorously. Take a look at our picks for the Top 10 SNES Co-op Games.
10. NBA Jam
RAZZLE DAZZLE!!!! NBA Jam, a game that is always fun to pick up, basketball fan or not. Being a basketball fan surely makes it more important to me though. It has a simple but fun gameplay. Versus mode or co-op, you can always pick up and play even if you are short on time. The cartoony, over the top style of this game, is what makes it so accessible to everyone. It is just a 2-on-2 basketball game but with insane 5 meter high dunks, high field goal percentage and almost no rules so it’s a game not just for sports fans. I have to admit I love seeing the old superstars from 1995, it makes the game more nostalgic for me to be honest but I play this game plenty with non-basketball fans and they also have a lot of fun.The simple, carefree gameplay is what makes this game great and puts it at number 10.
I have to mention the announcers. They help solidify NBA Jam’s fun, cartoony identity with great phrases like “Razzle Dazzle!”, “Boomshackalacka!” and more. Overall fun game.
It is available for the SNES and Sega Mega Drive and more. All versions are worth checking out
9. Kirby Super Star/Kirby’s Fun Pak
Kirby is always fun! Especially in this one where you can take a pal out on multiple fun adventures. This game offers a wide variety of characters and/or powers for both you and your partner to enjoy in this easy-going platformer. Being a Kirby game, it is not that much of a challenge but going for a 100% takes a lot of perseverance and exploring. The game also has a couple of mini-games that are very easy to enjoy.
8. Secret of Mana 2/Seiken Densetsu 3
The sequel to Secret of Mana that never made it to the West “Seiken Densetsu 3” is an Action/RPG that allows up to 3 players at one time (in a hacked ROM. Otherwise just 2). This Squaresoft title is in many ways similar to Final Fantasy but it has a combat system in real time more similar to Zelda. The first Secret of Mana has too many flaws for our taste to make the list but this sequel almost fixes all of them. This is an awesome game. Being an RPG it takes a looong time to clear so if you want to go through it in co-op you better clear your schedule and make sure you and your friends are not half-assing it because this is going to take a while. Probably 12-20 hours. As an RPG and as a co-op game it excels but is still not without its own flaws. Spellcasting still takes too much time and it can be a bit too forgiving if you just stock up and spam healing items. Using those items then stops the action cutting the flow of the fights which can get a bit tiresome with 3 players fighting at the same time.
Despite this game is just an excellent game. It even has a branching class system that allows your character to choose from multiple side-classes and abilities. The point of view of the story also depends on who your main character is, who are six in total, so playing it again is very fun.
The problem with this game though is that it is only available in Japanese or emulated illegally with a fan translation. We tried both 🙂
(I am sure we will do an article on the Secret of Mana games in the near future)
Edit: Seiken Densetsu 3 is only a 2 player game but though Secret of Mana(Seiken Densetsu 2) is 3 player. We played a hacked ROM that allowed us to play 3 players. I didn’t even realize this because we were only 2 when we played the Japanese version.
7. Super Smash TV
This braindead shooting survival game makes the list for pure action packed fun. The premise of this game is hilarious. You and your friend are taking part in a deadly reality show which has the goal of killing as much shit as you can without getting killed yourself. Do well and you get points that convert into brand new VCR’s and stuff like that granted you won’t get killed yourself. With this game’s fast-paced action, simple gameplay, hilarious premise, everyone-can-join kind of atmosphere earns it a spot on the list. Try it out if you have an hour or so of nothing to do.
6. King of Dragons
King of Dragons is a 2 player co-op fantasy beat em’ up game that was originally supposed to be a licensed Dungeons & Dragons game but for some reason, the license didn’t go through. Despite that, this game is a solid fantasy beat’em up with many different moves and characters. Enemies are fun and diverse, same can be said about the bosses who look amazing. The game is very challenging which makes it even more fun. You have to strategize, find a good combination of characters to play as and really stay on your toes. This game is an arcade port, so one thing that really brings this game down is that it quite frequently lags and slows down. You will notice it and be a bit bothered by it but it will still not ruin the experience. A very solid pick-up for anyone looking for a challenging beat em’ up with a fantastic setting.
5. Sunset Riders
Yeehaw! Sunset Riders (what a cool name) is a western run and gun arcade style game for 2 players. You pick 2 of 4 playable Sunset Riders and go nuts! Your revolvers/shotguns have infinite ammo just like in Contra and you just have to shoot and dodge your way through. The western theme is very cool and it is enhanced by cool enemies, bosses and some sweet tunes. You have considerable freedom when it comes to the difficulty of this game. You pick the number of continues and rests (1-4) and you can also pick between easy, normal and hard. Picking easy with 4 rests and 4 continues is not very challenging but the default setting is extremely difficult to clear (normal, 2 rests, 2 continues). Sunset Riders is for everyone, easy goers, and the hardcore, grit and grind near impossible challengers alike. Highly recommended!
4. Contra III: The Alien Wars
You knew this one was coming. Probably the best known co-op game on the SNES. Contra III: The Alien Wars is a constant action in your face run and gun co-op goodness that makes you come back for more. The constant threat of being shot or crushed will make sure you cannot take a breather for a second. This Contra is probably not as difficult as the original on the NES but it will still test your skills to the fullest. The constantly engaging gameplay, awesome guns, all the gruesome bosses, the tense atmosphere, and tunes make this game a must for all co-op enthusiasts.
3. Turtles in Time
Turtles! Yes, of course, Turtles in Time is here. This classic is also a 2 player co-op side-scrolling beat’em up, a genre we very much like. You cannot go wrong with Turtles in Time if you are looking for pure fun with a pal. The tight controls, colorful backgrounds, uplifting music and the simple beat’em up gameplay, everything about this game just screams great fun! It might have scored higher, but honestly, this game is kind of a button masher.
2. Wild Guns
The wild west…and robots! Genius idea. This gallery shooter from Natsume reeled me right in with its concept and the four selling points on the cover. This game is “The first Sci/Fi Western”…awesome, an “Intense shoot’em up action”… pretty awesome, it has “True arcade feel!” … awesomer! And it is ”2 player simultaneous” Awesomest!
Wild Guns is a super fun fast paced shooter that never gets boring. I can play it again and again, and I always have a good time doing so. The game is not that long so you can always just pop it in and have a good time. I still listen to the music on my phone when I go for a walk, the game’s tunes always make me think “so awesome!”. Such an awesome game. Recommended for everyone.
1. Knights of the Round
Knights of the Round….. When I got this game I was hoping for an ok Final Fight/Streets of Rage kind of fantasy co-op beat ’em up, but we cousins were very pleasantly surprised. I saw that it was a Capcom so it had to be at least pretty good, but it still puzzles me why this game is so little known because the quality of this game is through the roof. Out of all the side scrolling beat em ups, we have played this one has to be one of the best, if not the best. This is originally an arcade game like most of the games on the list but I have to say it has been ported very well unlike King of Dragons.
Knights of the Round is just such a solid co-op adventure. It takes time to defeat and brings you back in with even harder difficulty levels (easy, normal, hard). Just normal is fiendishly difficult to clear but the gameplay and game feel, along with the music and environment makes you feel great while playing, even if you are getting your ass kicked. The game is very difficult, yes, but at the same time it is not because of some broken reason, it just takes skill and persistence. That persistence pays off because clearing this game was such a glorious moment for us, it was so fun and so rewarding.
If you have a dedicated pal, friend (or cousin) you are in for a sweet ride. This is one of our favorites.
That’s it! Knights of the Round maybe somewhat surprisingly takes the top spot. But if you read the full review on the game it is properly justified there so take a look if you have the time.
Secret of Mana just didn’t make the list because like I said it has too many flaws and of course the competition is fierce and Secret of Mana 2 just totally eclipses it in every way and it deserves to be there even though it was only released in Japan.
Other games I have probably played just didn’t make it. Go ahead and make your case of what game you think should be on the list!
This is of course just based on 2 persons’ opinion so tell us what you think! What co-op games are your favorites? Take part in the readers’ vote and voice your opinion!
Thanks for reading!
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