Best Cheap SNES Games Between $20 and $30
When I published the first edition of this article back in the distant, simpler year of 2020, the “Under $20” list was quite long! I’ve had to remove 10 items from the first part of the list, and at least a few of those remaining will be more than $20 within a month or two.
As we continue through the list, you’ll find more in-demand titles on this part of the list and could bag a few of the real classic SNES games that will make your collection even more playable.
Super Punch Out
The brilliant followup to Punch Out!! for the NES. There are plenty of new characters, new patterns to memorize and more fantastic character sprites that fill the screen with dread and detail.
Of course it’s hard. But like the original, the difficulty ramp feels fair and doesn’t get in the way of having tons of fun with this one.
PSA: I found tons of counterfeit cartridges of this one on eBay. Proceed with caution and don’t buy anything that’s listed as “Brand New”.
X-Men Mutant Apocalypse
Here’s another side-scrolling beat-em-up with great graphics and challenging gameplay.
As usual, Capcom knows what they’re doing, and the comic art style, and characters are on point. All our favorite mutants from the 90s are here: Wolverine, Psylocke, Gambit, Cyclops, and Beast.
Mutant Apocalypse is set up a bit like Mega Man, there’s a level select screen, and each X-Men character has their own level. You can choose which character to use for the final fight against Magneto and each of them has their own ending. Sorta.
Super Ghouls ‘N Ghosts
I’ve mentioned enough times that these old games are difficult. Same goes for this one.
Unlike its NES predecessor, Ghosts ‘N Goblins, this one is at least playable. I’ve made it as far as halfway through the game, so an actual “gud” player should do quite well. The graphics and music are nice, and Capcom knew how to make a nice SNES game, so you can be assured this is a quality title.
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest
Same as everything in the Donkey Kong Country entry, but with a 2 on the end. (And about $5 more.)
Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble
The Donkey Kong Country series was immensely popular. Nintendo made more than enough copies of this trilogy to go around and as a result, the price for each of these games has been relatively stable.
If you like barrels, this is a great series.
Another beat-em-up with big, beautiful sprites!
This one is also single-player only, but what are you going to have? Two Batmans? Batmen?
This one is extremely popular thanks to the graphics and gameplay, but it is pretty tough and can get repetitive. Which is saying a lot for a beat-em-up.
Movie tie-ins tend to stay cheap. It’s like the games’ popularity is based on the movie’s popularity. In the case of Alien 3, that’s our good fortune, because this game is legitimately good.
You play as Ellen Ripley, clearing out the Fiorina 161 prison colony of its unwanted inhabitants. And there are tons upon tons of those inhabitants.
Choose from a wide range of weapons to eliminate a wide range of aliens in a mission-based complex that sprawls far and wide.
It’s hard to overstate how big this game is. There is much to keep you busy across 6 stages consisting of several missions each.
The biggest drawback to this game is how repetitive the stages become, with their limited “realistic” color palettes and just tons and tons of unforgiving xenomorphs. But for its price, Alien 3 hits very hard with a glut of quality gaming content and serious challenge.
The Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse
As usual, Capcom was out to destroy children with punishing gameplay in a happy-fun package. Seems like Konami and Capcom were in a contest to see what favorite childhood franchises could crush the most young egos.
Magical Quest looks great. Like a lot of 90s games, it really looks like you’re playing a cartoon. The controls are slick. It’s Capcom, after all. But despite all of that, you’re in for a serious whoopin’. Capcom in the 90s did not care if you were an innocent child. You better git gud.
Secret of Evermore
R.I.P. – I’m sad to announce that Secret of Evermore is no longer a secret. What used to be an affordable alternative to one of my favorite SNES games is now officially not a cheap SNES game.
I’m still hopeful that prices will relax a bit when COVID runs its course and the Wata bubble bursts. But even still… this is an excellent game and now that the secret is out, there’s a good chance the price will continue to rise.
Here’s the Pricecharting chart and I’ll leave the original entry below so we can all read and remember when this awesome game was still cheap.
Unfortunately, The Secret of Mana is a bit expensive for this list. I still highly recommend it, but for a more price-friendly alternative, try SoM’s time-travelling cousin Secret of Evermore.
This game features the same great play style as Secret of Mana, with the same graphics engine. It’s not a sequel, though. Just a “spiritual successor,” and it doesn’t have the same haunting, emotional quality to its music. But it is still really a solid play, and one of the better action RPGs if you’re collecting on a budget.– Me in 2020
Mega Man X
Mega Man’s (well, not the original Mega Man, but a robo-descendant) debut on the SNES, this is a true classic in the platformer genre. With all the white-knuckle gameplay you expect from a Mega Man game, but massively expanded and with mad replayability, this is a great one and one last essential cheap game for your growing SNES collection.
Also, while the price of Mega Man X has almost doubled since 2020, it seems to be steady at its current range between $25 and just a hair under $30. This is probably due to Mega Man X having multiple production runs, including a “budget” release by Majesco. These were made in Mexico and came with a black-and-white instruction manual.
If you’re collecting naked carts (and if you’re looking for “cheap” SNES games, why wouldn’t you be?), it shouldn’t matter a bit. The Majesco version plays exactly the same. Mega Man X is absolute peak SNES and you simply must own it.