Top Rated

Best Nintendo 64 Games – Nintendo Life

Image: Nintendo Life

As with all our Top 50 library lists, this ranking is is based on User Ratings in the Nintendo Life games database and is subject to fluctuation, even after publication.

So, if you haven’t rated your favourite N64 games, feel free to exert your influence and potentially switch up the order of the games below. You can also check out our reader-ranked list of all the N64 games available on Nintendo Switch Online, too. Enjoy!

The Nintendo 64 is a console which tends to divide gamers. Launching back in 1996 (or 1997 in PAL regions) as the gaming industry’s bread-and-butter switched from sprites to polygons, the console represents — from a certain perspective — the first time Nintendo really dropped the ball. Tired of the platform holder’s licencing terms, many developers jumped ship to Sony’s PlayStation, attracted by fairer deals and cheaper disc-based media. In the meantime, Nintendo doubled down on an esoteric piece of hardware with confusing, kiddy-coloured controllers that were arguably out of step with gaming’s maturing audience.

On the other hand, for many gamers the N64 evokes some of our very warmest, strongest gaming memories. It was while brandishing this console’s three-pronged pad that many of us took our first steps into a three-dimensional Mushroom Kingdom or Hyrule, and the unrivalled excitement of 4-player split-screen Mario Kart or GoldenEye sticks in our mind like few other multiplayer experiences.

Thanks to the User Ratings submitted by readers, we present to you the top 50 N64 games ever. There’s no doubt that we’ve got a fine selection of 64-bit lovelies below, but remember, this list is not set in stone. The ranking will continue to evolve automatically according to user scores submitted to the Nintendo Life game database, so don’t worry if you missed out on ‘voting’ — you can still do so by simply scrolling down and rating them now!

And should the fancy take you, you can do the same for each of Nintendo’s consoles with our top 50 best games lists, including NES, SNES, Game Boy, GBC, GBA, Nintendo DS, 3DS, GameCube, Wii, Wii U and more.

If there’s a game bubbling under the top 50 that you’d like to rate, feel free to find it using the search tool below and give it a score out of 10. Otherwise, plug in your Rumble / Controller / Transfer / Expansion Paks and get ready for the best N64 games of all time…

Note. In order for games to become eligible, they need a minimum of 50 User Ratings in total.

Snowboard Kids 2 (N64)Snowboard Kids 2 (N64)

Publisher: Atlus / Developer: Racdym

Release Date: 2nd Mar 1999 (USA)

A follow-up to Racdym’s cult classic, Snowboard Kids 2 predictably picks up where the previous Mario-Kart-esque downhill cartoon racer left off. With loveable characters, plenty of colour and the kind of multiplayer fun that struck a chord with those who played it, this really should have got more mainstream attention.

Not that fans in the EU had much choice — Australia was the only PAL region where the sequel saw a release. Consequently, SBK 2 is one of the most expensive PAL N64 games on the retro market these days.

Quake II (N64)Quake II (N64)

Publisher: Activision / Developer: Raster Productions

Release Date: 31st May 1999 (USA) / 7th Feb 1999 (UK/EU)
ISS 98 (N64)ISS 98 (N64)

Publisher: Konami / Developer: Konami

Release Date: 1st Sep 1998 (UK/EU)

Konami’s Major A studio took the solid foundation of ISS 64 and built upon it with some wonderful additions including an optional top-to-bottom view and the appearance of the referee on the pitch. That might sound like a tiny and almost insignificant detail, but having the ref onscreen blew our minds back in 1998. A beautiful game, indeed.

Ridge Racer 64 (N64)Ridge Racer 64 (N64)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo Software Technology

Release Date: 14th Feb 2000 (USA) / 4th Jul 2000 (UK/EU)

As a quintessential PlayStation franchise, seeing Ridge Racer on N64 gave us a similar sensation as playing WipeOut on Nintendo’s console — it was very welcome, but it still felt weird. While Ridge Racer 64 features tracks from previous games in Namco’s racer series, it was actually developed by Nintendo Software Entertainment and later ported to DS as — wait for it — Ridge Racer DS. You’re better off sticking with the 64-bit original, though.

Blast Corps (N64)Blast Corps (N64)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Rare

Release Date: 28th Feb 1997 (USA) / 1st Sep 1997 (UK/EU)

Blast Corps involves clearing a path for a slow-moving truck carrying a malfunctioning nuclear missile to a safe detonation zone – a zone which is blocked by buildings and other structures ripe for destruction. As with many 64-bit titles, its early polygonal visuals are arguably looking a little dogged these days, but don’t let its looks put you off. This incredibly silly concept makes for one of most fun games on the N64.

Star Wars Episode I: Racer (N64)Star Wars Episode I: Racer (N64)

Publisher: LucasArts / Developer: LucasArts

Release Date: 18th May 1999 (USA) / 17th May 1999 (UK/EU)

Though this couldn’t rival F-Zero X in pure performance terms, it was still a very impressive racer which had a progression system with purchasable pod enhancements. Based on the best bit of The Phantom Menace (apart from the Darth Maul bits and all the soundtrack), it had a special two-pad mode similar to GoldenEye which enabled some twin-stick precision that more-closely mirrored the controls of the onscreen pods. Watto’s banter and post-race rendition of the Cantina theme is also excellent. It’s now available on Switch, too.

ISS 64 (N64)ISS 64 (N64)

Publisher: Konami / Developer: Konami

Release Date: 31st Jul 1997 (USA) / 1st Jun 1997 (UK/EU)

A brilliant rendition of the most popular team sport in the world, ISS 64 had depth, beauty, accessibility and gloriously entertaining commentary to boot. Not ‘good’ commentary, per se, but entertaining nonetheless. The FIFA games might be maintaining possession these days, but back in the ’90s it was Konami who was really on the ball.

Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards (N64)Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards (N64)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: HAL Laboratory

Release Date: 26th Jun 2000 (USA) / 22nd Jun 2001 (UK/EU)

In Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, HAL Laboratory managed to keep the core structure many knew and loved about the Kirby series while glossing it up with a shiny coat of polygonal paint for the new console generation.

Kirby’s 64-bit foray into the third dimension (well, kinda — it’s 2.5D, or on-rails 3D, if you prefer) stands out as one of the more unique entries in the series, feeling somewhat fresh in comparison to the many, many 2D Kirby platformers and still pleasurable to play to this day.

Beetle Adventure Racing! (N64)Beetle Adventure Racing! (N64)

Publisher: Electronic Arts / Developer: Paradigm Entertainment

Release Date: 24th Mar 1999 (USA) / 4th Sep 1999 (UK/EU)

Most people who played Beetle Adventure Racing! back in the day probably went in with low expectations, but coming from Paradigm Entertainment — a studio that worked with Nintendo on Pilotwings 64 and also made the excellent F-1 World Grand Prix games on the system — it’s a fun, beautifully constructed little racer that’s well worth revisiting.

Snowboard Kids (N64)Snowboard Kids (N64)

Publisher: Atlus / Developer: Racdym

Release Date: 3rd Mar 1998 (USA) / 23rd Apr 1998 (UK/EU)

An Atlus-published Mario Kart-alike which subs out karts for ‘boards, Racdym’s underappreciated Snowboard Kids is the secret best multiplayer racer on the system. It added goofier characters, extra tension and comedy to the familiar formula — the end of a run usually produces hilarious pile-ups as you scramble for the ski lift and the next ‘lap’. With subtle stick controls and great music, it’s a real gem and it gets extra respect points for not swapping out ‘Kids’ for ‘Kidz‘. Classy.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button