Super Nintendo Hidden Gems (Part 1)

Super Nintendo Hidden Gems (Part 1)

5 underrated 16-bit treasures

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for Retrospectives on

The Super NES library contains some of the greatest games ever made as well as some very cool hidden gems. After going through my collection, I chose 5 such games so perhaps you'll see something here that piques your interest!

Photo of all 5 featured games
I'm always happy to pull some games out to share with chums

Pop'n TwinBee: Rainbow Bell Adventures

If you're a North American gamer like I am then you've probably never seen Pop'n TwinBee: Rainbow Bell Adventures at your local game store. This is because it only released in Japan, Europe, and Australia. Heck, even the Wii U Virtual Console release never made it to the North American eShop. I happen to own the Japanese version and it's one super-fun 2D platformer. That's right; whereas other TwinBee games are scrolling shoot 'em ups, this spin-off is a stage-based platformer! In it, you control an agile TwinBee who runs and jumps as well as collects power-ups which are crucial to success. As you acquire them, you'll earn use of a hammer, laser pistol, shield, and plenty of other enhancements which will make you virtually unstoppable. One of my favourite aspects of its gameplay is that you can hover in mid-air then dash in various directions which just feels great, especially if you can collect a bunch of bells by bouncing off walls.

Pop'n TwinBee: Rainbow Bell Adventures screenshot
Who knew a platformer based on TwinBee would be so much fun?

Ka-Blooey

Ka-Blooey is an interesting little puzzle game that definitely doesn't look like much but its very clever gameplay will keep you coming back for more. You essentially move a big blue goofy-looking mascot across grid-based stages while detonating bombs but be careful not to get yourself blown up or have valuable tiles disappear because you'll have to start the stage all over again! As the campaign progresses, you'll encounter loads of gameplay mechanics such as slippery tiles, the ability to carry bombs along paths, and different-sized bombs which have respectively-sized blast radii. The music is incredibly annoying and the graphics are subpar at best but the core gameplay will keep you hooked until you master every puzzle. Fun fact: Ka-Blooey originally debuted as Bombuzal for other consoles in 1988 and a sequel released for PS1 called The Bombing Islands which was later ported to Nintendo 64 as Charlie Blast's Territory.

Ka-Blooey screenshot
It looks super-goofy but Ka-Blooey is literally a blast

Cacoma Knight in Bizyland

I love Taito's classic arcade game Qix and own a ton of its sequels, spin-off, and clones. So, when I picked up Cacoma Knight in Bizyland, I was pleasantly surprised with its fun twist on the classic gameplay. Controlling your little chum to draw closed-off areas on the colourful stages and watch them come to life is satisfying stuff indeed. Plus, you can enjoy it simultaneously with a local pal which is somewhat rare when it comes to Qix games and it makes the gameplay a lot more fulfilling. That being said, don't expect much of a challenge here as the stage goals are easy to achieve, you'll obtain plenty of power-ups, and there aren't many hurdles that'll get in your way if you're familiar with playing Qix games. Even with its lack of difficulty, I still highly recommend this lighthearted co-op hidden gem.

Also featured in: Top 10 Super Nintendo Co-op Multiplayer Games
Cacoma Knight in Bizyland screenshot
Cacoma Knight in Bizyland is one of the few Qix clones that you can play with a pal

Equinox

When I was a kid, my siblings and I were obsessed with a NES game called Solstice. It's an isometric adventure game where you control a wizard while working through grueling scenarios and gradually expanding your abilities. Little did I know, it received a SNES sequel in the form of Equinox and it's just as fun and tricky. Equinox streamlines quite a few aspects of its predecessor as the campaign is broken up into areas and there's an overworld map that you can use to enter various rooms of the elaborate dungeons below. It can be an exceptionally confusing game to navigate but that's what makes it appealing so if you enjoy wandering around dungeons while solving puzzles and collecting cool gear, you're bound to have a great time with Equinox.

Equinox screenshot
If I keep throwing daggers at this ghost, will it eventually go away?

Firepower 2000

A game simply titled Firepower 2000 certainly doesn't sound like much but it's one solid vertical shoot 'em up. Well, it's also known as Super SWIV in other regions but I digress. In it, you control either a helicopter or jeep and each has their own advantages. Namely, the jeep can shoot in multiple directions while the helicopter can simply fly over obstacles. I know what you're thinking and yes, you can play cooperatively with a friend which makes the explosive battlefield much more chaotic and rewarding. Therefore, if you're a shmup fan and enjoy local couch co-op games, you definitely need to add Firepower 2000 to your collection.

Also featured in: Top 10 Super Nintendo Shoot 'em Ups
Firepower 2000 screenshot
I'm glad I opted for the rust-proofing and missile launcher

That about does it for my very first batch of Super Nintendo Hidden Gems! Have you played any of these fun titles? Do you have any buried treasures for SNES that you'd recommend? Let's chat below!

Gameplay video playlist for Super Nintendo Hidden Gems (Part 1) 12:33
Super NES RPGs Trivia

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