If this Best Games on the TurboGrafx 16 Mini – Top 25 list doesn’t make you want to stop what you’re doing and pre order it on Amazon, then you probably just don’t like retro games! Or maybe you just lack a pulse? If this looks amazing to you, please SHARE this story with your friends so they can see what all the fuss is about!
Unlike the news sites that give you common blurbs and rehashed descriptions, I own every one of these games and will give you the gaming enthusiast perspective on each one. All box photos are from my collection. I grew up loving and playing the TurboGrafx 16 and PC Engine, so my choices come from someone who has played and beaten every one of these games and loved the hell out of them!
So whether you prefer the Turbografx 16, PC Engine, or CoreGrafx Mini, don’t miss out on these amazing games!
TurboGrafx 16 Mini Best Games:
TOP 25 MUST PLAY GAMES! Read on below for a preview of each:
Aldynes – Air Zonk – Alien Crush – Blazing Lazers – Bomberman 93 – Bonk’s Revenge – Castlevania: Rondo of Blood – Ghouls n Ghosts – Gradius – Gradius II Gofer – Lords of Thunder – Ninja Spirit – Parasol Stars – RType – Salamander – Sapphire – Snatcher (Japanese only) – Soldier Blade – Splatterhouse – Spriggan – Star Parodier – Super Darius – Super Star Soldier – Ys Book I & II
Check out the slideshow below for screenshots!
Bonk’s Revenge is a no brainer! As the original mascot for the Turbografx16 this game is a must play.
The game is charming, colorful, has wonderful and addictive music, and is easy to pick up and play for anyone. It’s the Mario of the Turbografx world that everyone should play. Plus Bonk is FAR cuter than Mario or Sonic. Seriously look at that PUNIM !
Revenge is the sequel to the original Bonk’s Adventure (also included on the system) and is a more polished and improved version of the original. Both this sequel and the original are fun and worth playing, but if I had to choose just one of them it would be this game.
Lords of Thunder
Lord’s of Thunder can be summed up in a single phrase… this game is Metal AF! It will make you Rock Out with your Jock Out. I dare you to watch this video with sound and disagree.
It is one of the wildest shooters ever conceived for any console and still holds up to this day. The music is a non-stop rock ballad of metal from start to finish that is so awesome you’ll want to crank it to 11 whenever you play.
The graphics are large and colorful, the levels varied and creative, and the challenge adjustable. So if you are a true shooting game Rockstar set it to SUPER and enjoy the sea of Suicide Bullets. This is also the DEFINITIVE version of the game and better than the slightly rushed Sega CD port. Absolutely one of the best game on the TurboGrafx 16 Mini.
Castlevania: Rondo of Blood
Put away your Super Castlevania IV and Bloodlines games. This is THE BEST 16-bit Castlevania ever made and in many circles (including my own) the best of the entire series. It’s that GOOD!
Once again, the music is AMAZING and the best OST of the series (yes even better than Symphony of the Night) with remixes of all the classic tunes.
Fast and responsive gameplay, branching paths like Dracula’s Curse, tons of hidden secrets, and a beautiful graphics package. If you even remotely like Castlevania this is a MUST PLAY! Not just one of the best games on the TurboGrafx 16 mini. One of the best games ever made, period.
Daimakamura aka. Ghouls n’ Ghosts
That’s right! The TurboGrafx 16 Mini even includes SuperGrafx games! Yeah I know you played this on the Sega Genesis and it was a phenomenal port. But this is the Arcade Original!
First, this game brings back the difficulty. If you thought the Genesis version was too casual, this game is for you! Second, both the levels and design stay more true to the Arcade. The extra memory of the SuperGrafx was leveraged to not only improve the animation in the game, but the slowdown or flicker you may recall from the Genesis port is gone.
This series needs no introduction, so if you are craving to try out the more Arcade accurate version, this one is for you!
Y’s Book I & II
If you love Action Adventure similar to Zelda, you will have a blast with this game. I may sound like a broken record, but once again the music in this series is untouchable. I still get goosebumps watching the intro. Falcom made sure to take full advantage of the CD format and the results are stunning. You will be humming the many tunes after playing for days.
Another stand out are the intros and cut scenes with beautiful art and full voice acting.
While the overworld graphics won’t blow you away, the gameplay is fast and fluid with tremendous boss battles the series is known for. If this series wasn’t so good it wouldn’t have spawned several sequels with more in the works. If you love RPGs or Action Adenture, this is one of the best games on the TurboGrafx 16 mini to look forward to.
The port of the classic Shoot Em Up that made everyone stand up and take notice of this little wonder console. The Almighty Dobkeratops was certainly pleased with the results. While not Arcade perfect, it was leaps and bounds beyond any other console port of the game and came darn close.
Superb graphics, classic music, and rock hard gameplay that will have you crying home to mommy. And most importantly, accurate gameplay with minimal slowdown that the console was so famous for. If you love R-Type there are not many better versions to own.
Gradius II Gofer
Another Shooter? Damn Straight! What you think this is Nintendo? The PC Engine was built on Shmups and this game is a shining example of it’s prowess.
Gradius is famous and the library is large. Part 2 is arguably THE pinnacle of the series in terms of gameplay for serious fans. Konami took everything from the original and amped it up. Improved graphics, Amazing CD music, creative levels, and the hard as nails gameplay you remember. Smooth and free of slowdown (unlike that Super Nintendo Gradius) this game is a Shmup fans dream!
We’re going DEEP with the Shooters now! Another absolutely awesome vertical Shmup and the final entry in the Soldier series. What makes this series unique is it’s constantly adjustable ship speed and super fast gameplay. If you want to zoom around the screen like a speed demon you can do it! Par for the course of any great shmup, the music is sensational as well. Hudson Soft made some of the best games on the console and this one is near the top of the list.
Another unique feature of this game is the incredibly fun Caravan Mode, which is basically a 2 minute or 5 minute Time Attack for Score. Try playing with a group of friends and see how addicting it can be competing for the high score. One of the absolute best shooting games on a console with over 100 Shooting games!
The one, the only, the original! Still the purest and coolest Splatterhouse of them all and only on TurboGrafx 16. Before games could be bloody or gory on home consoles, the TG16 took it there with a game that is still chilling to play. While tame in comparison to more modern gore games, the music and sound effects retain a certain creep factor that many since have not been able to duplicate.
If you like a quick side-scrolling romp filled with guts and severed membranes, you’ll love this one. It’s fun to play and one of the few ways to experience the original classic.
Ninja Spirit is one of the most graphically impressive platformers of it’s time and the TurboGrafx is still one of the only ways to play it. I like to call this game the platformer that thinks it’s a shooter because you spend more time flying through the air than on the ground. You don’t jump as much as glide… and most of that time is spent lobbing stars or grenades in every direction while fending off incoming projectiles. The ability to hot swap through all your weapons is a great mechanic that has you constantly changing up your strategy for various enemies and bosses.
To put it bluntly, this is one damn fine action game and a blast to play over and over. It’s initially hard as balls, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be putting Jordan to shame with that hang time while doling out punishment in a 360 degree sphere of destruction. One of the best games on TurboGrafx 16 Mini that is hard to find anywhere else.
Still the undisputed king of pinball games aside from it’s sequel Devil’s Crush. I never thought I’d play and enjoy a console pinball game until I played this… and now it’s one of the finest games to play on my portable TurboExpress.
The music is haunting, the various creature designs are excellent, and the gameplay and variety on display is something pinball games still aspire to. It’s just straight fun for a quick pick up and play. You may not like digital pinball… I’m certainly not an aficianado, but this one and it’s sequel are on regular rotation for a quick play to beat my high score.
One of the most expensive PC Engine games to buy today (over $1000), Sapphire is a technical demo and tour-de-force of graphical prowess that was previously thought impossible on the console. Requiring the Arcade Card to be inserted into the original console, this game will treat you to scrolling and rotation effects only thought possible on the Super Nintendo and it’s “Mode 7” You would swear you are looking at polygonal 3D graphics rotating on the screen when in reality it’s all sprite based.
As a Shmup, it’s solid and fun with a cool soundtrack. It’s a bit on the short side and not too difficult, but as a graphical powerhouse that showcases what the console is truly capable of… there is nothing else quite like it.
Take the Caveman Bonk, give him the Rockstar makeover, and let him loose into a Shooter and you get Air Zonk. One of the most creative, cute and entertaining shootemups on the TurboGrafx16. Huge colorful graphics, a rockin’ set of chip tunes, and a super fun and quirky humor is what this game is all about.
A love letter to TurboGrafx fans with many returning enemies and themes from the Bonk games… this is a shooter you will keep returning to for it’s sheer zaniness and entertainment value.
Blazing Lazers is the first TurboGrafx 16 Shmup ever released and was a pack in for European gamers. It had me from Hello. What would later become the formula for the Soldier series began here. Super fast gameplay with adjustable ship speed, futuristic design, cool music and big boss battles were the order of the day. Any veteran of the game knows there is only one true weapon and that is III… the mighty lightning with lazers a’ blazin’.
This game also eases you in with training wheels and the first handful of levels are not tough at all. But save up those extra lives because the final levels will take off those wheels and hand out pizza cutters instead to lay the smackdown. You gonna learn today!
What Parodius is to Gradius… Star Parodier is to Star Soldier. Take the entire Star Soldier series released on the PC Engine and create a humorous Parody Shooter. The catch is the game is also made by Hudson Soft, so it’s just as good as the games it parodies!
Bright and colorful graphics, super catchy tunes, and all kind of cute and ridiculous enemies and bosses accompany the traditional Soldier series gameplay that makes them so fun. If you love any of the originals, you will love this one. And for those familiar with the PC Engine consoles line-up the mother ship in the end cut scene is quite a hilarious surprise!
As is customary for the series, this game also incorporates a 2 and 5 minute Caravan Time Attack for High Scores and endless fun competing against friends.
Parasol Stars is not normally my type of game. So for it to make this list means something special. A continuation to the Bubble Bobble games, it follows in their footsteps with catchy music, super addicting gameplay, and a game that feels like more of a story and adventure than just a bunch of levels to clear. It is beyond cute and endlessly fun to play. I really loved Bubble Bobble as a kid and IMO this is the best of them all! Grab a friend for two player action that will keep you playing for hours. I read a good review once that said it best; “Nothing makes sense… yet the game is amazing.” Parasol Stars is magic, pure and simple.
There are many version of this game and the PC Engine version is arguably the best! If you love Puzzle Strategy this is one of the best games on the TurboGrafx 16 mini alongside Bomberman.
If you know and love Musha aka Super Aleste on the Sega Genesis, you will certainly take a liking to Spriggan. If it looks familiar it’s because Compile created this game as well. The similarities are evident, and while Musha is the better game, Spriggan is still exceptional and one of the coolest shmups on the PC Engine. The graphics are unique and varied, and the weapons systems are a stand out. My only two gripes for this one is the rather easier difficulty and the music not quite living up to the high standard set by Musha.
Phenomenal presentation mixed with rock solid gameplay and cool weaponry. This game also has a Caravan mode but I have not yet tried it out.
Super Star Soldier
As long as we are on Soldier series shooting games, here is another seminal release. Every one of them is good and this is no exception. The predecessor to Soldier Blade and also likely the most difficult in the series. Anything that was said about the other Soldier games applies here. Cool music and weapons, fast gameplay, and great big bosses. If you like your shooters on the hard side this is definitely one to try.
And as customary, a 2 and 5 minute Caravan mode for High Score Time Attack. This was how they did game competitions back in the day and I wish they still did!
The original Konami classic in an extremely faithful Arcade port. Not many loved the crushing difficulty of the Arcade games so a still difficult but more reasonable home port is just what the doctor ordered. All the classic Gradius staples and tunes you know and love. While not as amazing as the follow up Gradius II mentioned earlier… any fan of the series should play and enjoy this excellent game. It stands alongside R-Type as one of the greatest shoot em up series of all time.
You may think this is Shoot Em Up overload, but it barely scratches the surface of the massive library of the PC Engine. And Darius is a big time series that deserves a must play mention. Super Darius is a very faithful port of the Arcade original minus the giant triple screen setup. If you love the ambient soundtracks, branching levels, and massive sea themed boss battles of this series, this game won’t disappoint. There were 3 Darius games released for the PC Engine… along with a 4th special low volume boss rush edition called Darius Alpha (which sells for upwards of $2000!). This original is as good as any to get your feet wet… not that this game will give you much opportunity. It’s as brutal as ever which is exactly how Darius fans like it.
Another SuperGrafx game… this time another Shooter that takes advantage of the extra RAM. Unlike most TurboGrafx shooters, this game goes hog wild with the level of parallex scrolling… as in several levels deep in some cases. Not that you’ll be able to keep track when the bullets start flying, but it makes for an impressive backdrop to the action.
Everything about the game is well done, from the graphics and massive bosses, to the cool music, and a nice challenge without being nearly as difficult as games like Darius and R-Type. Absolutely a game worth playing on the upcoming TurboGrafx mini.
Hey! It’s Bomberman and one of the best ever versions. I’m personally not a huge player of this series but will admit it’s always fun when you can get a few people together for a battle royale. And with the multitap accessory and enough controllers you can do exactly that. One of the great party games that I know many people trying out the TurboGrafx Mini will enjoy so I had to include it.
Personally I enjoy Parasol Stars more, but this is one of the best versions of a classic series and belongs on this list.
This selection comes with a HUGE caveat. The PC Engine never had an English release of this game… and as such, this version is Japanese only. The game, the story, art design, the music… it is legendary. It’s worth playing for a while only to be tortured that you can’t enjoy it more due to the language barrier. But if you speak Japanese you are in for a treat! And who knows… maybe a hacked version with English text and subtitles will make it’s way over after the fact.
As it stands, this is a masterpiece of a game that is simple torture to not be able to play in English. One of the best games on the TurboGrafx 16 mini that you can’t actually play unless you speak Japanese.
It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t end these selections with another Shmup right? So here we have Salamander, another phenomenal shoot em up by Konami. If you are an NES kid you may know it as Life Force. This is the original Arcade version known as Salamander that combines side scrolling and vertical levels coupled with Gradius style gameplay and big nasty bosses. The art design favors the organic as if you are fighting through an alien organism and it’s very inspired.
I played a ton of Life Force on the NES as a kid, so I am partial to this game as it truly is excellent. Dare I say I like it more than the original Gradius! So if you are a fan of the Konami shooters this is yet another MUST PLAY GAME!
More Really Cool and Noteworthy games included that did not quite make the Top 25
Bonk’s Adventure – Cadash – Cho Aniki – Dragon Spirit – Dungeon Explorer – Fantasy Zone – Galaga 88′ – JJ & Jeff Military Madness – Neutopia – Neutopia 2 – New Adventure Island – Psychosis – Spriggan Mark II
*********** I am in no way affiliated with Konami and am simply a huge fan of the TurboGrafx 16 and PC Engine and want to spread the word. This is an amazing console and library of games and this new product is a great way for people who have never played these games to experience them. If you use the below link to purchase the product, I will receive a small commission from Amazon as an affiliate link. If you enjoyed this article and it’s the reason you will buy one I do appreciate it. ************************
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