Over the past 30 years, Nintendo has remained one of the most prominent video game developers in the world. Even during their low points, like the Wii U, they’ve had great games for fans to enjoy. The gaming industry wouldn’t feel right if a big player like Nintendo suddenly dropped out. There’s no denying their importance and contribution to gaming, even in recent times with the Nintendo Switch. Nintendo really does have some of the best titles and franchises in existence.
With such a powerful brand name, it’s natural for some of their games to receive a bit more praise than necessary. What most people would call “overrated.” Now, we want to stress that overrated does not equal bad. In fact, all of the games we’ve listed as “overrated” are all great games that you should definitely try out. It should be mentioned that all 30 games on this list are worth playing. Every single one. Some may be hard to access now, but the ones you can, you should try out.
As for the games worth a second look, these are titles we believe are a little underrated. They were fantastic games at release and still are. It would be too sad to see them fade away into obscurity, so that’s we’ve brought them out on to the spotlight. To keep things interesting, we’re going to consider all Nintendo exclusives. So, some of the games here are not developed by Nintendo, but all of them are still exclusive to a Nintendo console.
30 Overrated: Super Mario Galaxy 2
Both Super Mario Galaxy games are great and some of the best on the Nintendo Wii. However, Super Mario Galaxy 2 doesn’t do a whole lot, as a sequel. It’s more of the same, which is good, but not amazing.
For most other franchises, a sequel that plays it so safely would never have received such critical acclaim.
Traditional Mario games aren’t suited to these types of sequels. The leap from Super Mario 64 to Super Mario Sunshine makes sense. In that same vein, Super Mario Galaxy 2 should’ve been more unique.
29 Second Look: Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
When talking about old Fire Emblem games, you usually hear about Blazing Swords or Mystery of the Emblem. Even Sword of Seals gets some decent recognition despite being exclusive to Japan. You don’t often hear about The Sacred Stones.
This is easily one of the better Fire Emblem games in the franchise. It has a great story, better than even the modern titles. The support system is outdated, but that’s not what makes Fire Emblem great. It’s all about the strategy RPG gameplay, where this game excels.
28 Overrated: Pokémon (Main Series)
Pokémon was revolutionary at the time. A monster-collecting RPG that was accessible to everyone. However, it hasn’t evolved much since the days of generation one. Every game feels too similar to the last.
Even for an entry-level RPG, the games are too easy. Plus, you have better alternatives for monster-collecting RPGs like World of Final Fantasy, Digimon Cyber Sleuth, and Dragon Quest Monsters. Pokémon needs to step up its game.
27 Second Look: The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword
While met with critical acclaim at first, Skyward Sword is now considered to be one of the worst Zelda games. A title which it doesn't deserve at all. Now, I won’t sit here and say that this the best Zelda game, because that’s not true.
Yet, this game is still worth playing. The story and characters in Skyward Sword feel more fleshed out than usual. The dungeons are fantastic and the art style is gorgeous, even in standard definition. And believe it or not, the motion controls work perfectly fine.
26 Overrated: Xenoblade Chronicles
Xenoblade Chronicles is a great JRPG, but its quality is overstated a little bit. Part of this stems from the fact the PS3/360/Wii generation had fewer JRPGs worth playing than before.
The game does have some problems though.
The Wii makes this game look unappealing to look at. The battle system is a strange combo between action and turn-based and doesn’t always click. And the story falls into some of the usual JRPG tropes. Still, this is the best “Xeno” game with an ambitious open-world.
25 Second Look: Mario And Luigi Superstar Saga
The Mario and Luigi RPGs don’t get as much attention as Paper Mario. In reality, these games are just as fun, especially Mario And Luigi Superstar Saga. It has the same charm and humor alongside a revamped combat system.
These games also offer more interactivity with the world and better platforming challenges. The lack of party member is a shame, but there are plenty of great supporting characters to make up for it. Plus, Luigi finally gets to go an RPG adventure with Mario!
24 Overrated: Super Smash Bros. (Franchise)
This isn’t just the original game, but all of them. They’re solid 2D fighters, but lack the depth of games like Street Fighter or Guilty Gear. You could argue it’s for casual players, but they seem to enjoy the more “advanced” games just fine.
The main gimmick is the crossover between Nintendo and other third-party franchises.
Once you get over the novelty of it all, there’s not much left here. It’s a slightly above average (but very polished) fighting game that’s fun during a party.
23 Second Look: The Legend Of Zelda: Four Swords Adventure
The recent Tri-Force Heroes was an attempt at co-op Zelda, but it wasn’t that great. Four Swords Adventures, however, is a blast. This is the Zelda game to play with your friends or family. It has the perfect blend of combat and puzzle solving to challenge a team of four.
The game also does single player better than Tri-Force Heroes. You control one Link, but the others will follow. You can even set different formations to help solve the various puzzles in the overworld. This is the most underrated Zelda game by far.
22 Overrated: Fire Emblem Awakening
Fire Emblem Awakening does add some new elements to the gameplay. Pairing-up and offsprings add some depth while keeping things fresh. Critics and fans will have you believe this is the ultimate Fire Emblem experience.
That’s an exaggeration. The story doesn’t hold up as well as previous entries. The new support system is great but doesn’t make up for the lack of a compelling plot. It also showcases how one-dimensional and flat the characters. Although that’s an issue with most Fire Emblem games.
21 Second Look: Xenoblade Chronicles X
This is an excellent open-world game but didn’t deliver on the story front. It was also stuck on the Wii U and wasn’t able to reach a wider audience.
This would’ve been more recognized on the PlayStation 4.
Xenoblade Chronicles X draws from games like Xenogears instead of its predecessor. There’s a much greater science fiction tone and you can even ride a Mech. The gameplay is similar to the first, but the world is gorgeous this time. It deserves another chance on the Switch.
20 Overrated: The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Twilight Princess gets some praise for being a “dark” Zelda game. However, it doesn’t quite live up to that reputation. The misconception comes from the fact this game uses dull, washed-out colors. Everything else about this game has the same Zelda weirdness.
The game itself is also not amazing. The sections with Wolf Link are tedious and the extra combat techniques are underused. If you want an actual dark Zelda experience, then you should play Majora’s Mask.
19 Second Look: Pokémon Conquest
This spin-off title is a refreshing take on the Pokémon franchise. It’s a strategy RPG and a pretty solid one. You can collect and evolve Pokémon like usual, but the battles are much different. This is for all those who have become bored of the regular Pokémon games.
It’s a little surprising this game isn’t very popular.
Usually, the Pokémon brand name is enough to get some level of recognition. However, this remains an obscure Nintendo DS title with no hope for a sequel. With all that in mind, it’s still worth playing.
18 Overrated: Paper Mario
Paper Mario is a decent RPG, but it’s not one of the best in the genre. The main faults are its simplicity, in both gameplay and story. Mario and Luigi Superstar Saga improves on the gameplay elements quite a bit.
The Nintendo 64 and GameCube were sorely lacking when it came to RPGs. This game would not have stood a chance on the PlayStation against mammoths like Final Fantasy. In that sense, being a Mario game has helped its chances of success.
17 Second Look: Hyrule Warriors
This is a really fun combo-mashing game. The Dynasty Warriors formula isn’t for everyone, but they’re still enjoyable. Hyrule Warriors is no different except that you can play as your favorite characters from The Legend of Zelda.
There’s a ton of content in this game as well, in addition to some DLC stuff. It’s a fun game that could appeal to those that aren’t a fan of the slow-paced Zelda games. It’s also great for Zelda fans as a love letter to the franchise.
16 Overrated: Bravely Default
This was going to be a return to the classic Final Fantasy format. In that regard, Bravely Default does a good job. However, that’s about all this game accomplishes. It’s a great game, but slightly on the overrated side.
The story and characters are okay, but not quite up to the standard of the games Bravely Default is trying to imitate. Add to that a very tedious final act, and you have a good, but not great, RPG.
15 Second Look: Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
This is an awesome game. The SRPG gameplay has been further refined and makes for a fun, albeit easy, experience. The job system is back and better than ever. And the world of Ivalice is colorful and full of personality.
The story is much lighter than the original Final Fantasy Tactics, but it has a certain charm to it.
Final Fantasy spin-offs are usually very high quality, and this game is no exception. Definitely give this game a shot if you can find it.
14 Overrated: Super Mario World
Don’t get me wrong, this is a great game. It’s an excellent 2D platformer that captures everything we love about Mario games. But it’s just a tad overrated. 2D platformers have come a long way since then and this feels a little dated.
Even though this in the overrated section, you should play this game if you’re yet to do so. It’s easily one of the greatest 2D Mario games, right up there with Mario Brothers 3. A fun experience, but not the best.
13 Second Look: Golden Sun
Another lost RPG on the Game Boy Advance. Before Xenoblade Chronicles, Nintendo had its very own JRPG called Golden Sun. It was developed by Camelot and is a massively underrated gem.
It’s a simple story but executed brilliantly. Where Golden Sun shines is the turn-based combat. You can find Djinns to augment your characters abilities in battle. It allows you to customize your party which is unique in party-based games with strict character roles. You can also use certain abilities to interact with the overworld which is a nice touch.
12 Overrated: Mario Kart (Franchise)
Like Super Smash Bros., this is another overrated core Nintendo franchise. It’s a great game series that’s fun to play with friends but is over-reliant on luck. I understand that this isn’t meant to be entirely skill-based, but the luck factor is too prominent.
For many, that’s part of the joy. However, it makes the game feel trivial at times. At least in Super Smash Bros. players with skill are rewarded, even with all items on. Other than that, Mario Kart is decent but is popular because of the Mario name.
11 Second Look: Radiant Historia
Atlus does more than just Persona! It’s too bad many people don’t realize that. Radiant Historia is no less in quality than the Persona games, other than the lower budget and being stuck on a handheld.
As a console game, this would be right up there with Atlus’ best.
More on the game itself, this is a fantastic RPG with a gripping time travel story. The branching pathways are well-executed. It’s an ingenious way to implement puzzles as you have to figure out how to alter time. The 3DS version is the one to play, even though the new content isn’t very substantial.
10 Overrated: Super Mario Odyssey
Super Mario Odyssey was really hyped up. It was a return to the old format of Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine. The result is actually a pretty good game, but a Metacritic score of 97 from critics is a tad too high.
It’s a solid game but needed more pure platforming and challenge to keep things interesting. The capture mechanic is excellent, but not enough to make Super Mario Odyssey one of the best games ever made. It’s a must-own for Switch owners.
9 Second Look: Super Mario Strikers
When first playing this game, I had my reservations. Those didn’t last very long though. This game is so awesome. This is what Mega Man Soccer should’ve been. A game full of energy and over-the-top madness.
This game is seriously crazy with all of the special attacks. And all of the characters are absolutely ripped and angry. I don’t think anyone smiles in this game. Whatever the reason, this is a great game that should get a sequel on the Nintendo Switch. Or at least a port of the older one.
8 Overrated: Earthbound
This game is quite charming and is a unique take on JRPGs. The modern setting is a nice change of pace and the humor is appreciated. But it doesn’t quite reach the same heights as games like Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy VI.
Comparing it those games seems unfair, but that’s what being the best requires.
Earthbound is a good game that you should all play, but not quite a masterpiece. It’s a shame we don’t see more games like this one.
7 Second Look: Terranigma
Now on to an underrated Super Nintendo RPG. This is an action RPG like Secret of Mana but doesn’t get as much recognition. The story, setting, and music are very different from other games available on the console.
This game would’ve had more attention if there was a Squaresoft logo on it. Such was the nature of the 90s and early 2000s. Still, that’s no reason to ignore this excellent RPG. It’s won’t be easy to find, but give it a shot if it’s feasible.
6 Overrated: Pokémon Snap
This is a novelty game, simple as that. It was the first time we got to see 3D models of Pokémon in their natural environments. While you take pictures of them going about their daily business. A unique take on the first-person “shooter” genre.
This game is only good because of the Pokémon. Without those critters, this would be an awful game. Regardless, that doesn’t make it a must-own N64 game. Although you may want to do so anyway since the console’s library lacks the depth of the PlayStation.
5 Second Look: The Legend Of Zelda: Minish Cap
Look at that, another Game Boy Advance game. There are tons of overlooked titles on that little device. Minish Cap is one of the most underrated Zelda games, alongside Four Swords Adventures.
This is a charming 2D Zelda with great dungeons and puzzles. The overworld is quite large (for the GBA) with tons of secrets to find. If you’ve somehow missed this game, then you owe it to yourself to play it. This is a fantastic Zelda game.
4 Overrated: Mario Party (Franchise)
Similar to Mario Kart, this is an excellent game to play with a bunch of friends or family. The mini-games are fun and the older versions have some really fun boards.
However, it’s even more reliant on luck than Mario Kart.
While they are fun to play, these can’t be classified as must-plays. It’s worth having around if you have lots of friends who play video games, otherwise, there’s not much point in buying it.
3 Second Look: Pokémon Mystery Dungeon
These are some pretty fun dungeon crawling RPGs. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games are full of charm and solid gameplay. It’s a nice departure from the “same” feeling of the main series games. There is so much exploration, party building, and questing to do.
It’s also cool to see Pokémon as actual characters and communicate with them in a different way. They have legitimate societies with towns and markets. While the older games are better, you can’t go wrong with some of the newer ones if you just want to get into the series for the first time.
2 Overrated: Kirby Super Star
This is one of the best Kirby games, but it’s still a Kirby game. These games are very simple and easy, offering no challenge. It’s mostly about having fun and enjoying yourself. Yet, sometimes there is joy in overcoming a tough obstacle.
Also, there’s not really much depth to this game. You have a few game modes outside of the 2D platforming and that’s about it. Eating enemies to gain new powers is cool, but never fully fleshed out. Still, if you want to play a Kirby game, this is the one to play.
1 Second Look: Tactics Ogre: The Knight Of Lodis
The best SRPG on the Game Boy Advance and possibly every Nintendo console. This is an amazing game with great tactical gameplay. The story shows the harsh nature of war properly, without any of the comprises you see in Fire Emblem.
There are multiple endings based on choice, in-depth character customization with a job system and a balanced difficulty curve.
This is absolutely a must-play if you own a GBA and is also available on the Wii U virtual console.