Will it SNES? Testing the Switch’s SNES controller on other Switch games

Will it SNES

Recently, Nintendo launched the Super Nintendo Entertainment System service for Nintendo Switch Online subscribers. Along with this, subscribers were able to purchase an SNES controller especially for the Switch. While it only feels about 99% accurate to a genuine Super Nintendo controller, it does connect to the Switch without the need for a daisy chain of dongles.

Some of you may be wondering if you can use the controller for some of your favorite games. Fear not, dear reader! I am here to test some games from my collection, just for you! (And for me. Mostly for me.) We’ll be looking at whether or not the controller can be used on these games and, if so, if and how the SNES controller changes things.

So follow me on a journey that I like to call “Will it SNES?” No refunds.

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

Will it SNES?

Nope! Despite being based on a game that only needed a D-Pad and four face buttons, the remake of Link’s Awakening locks movement to the joystick. Furthermore, unlike most entries on this list, the game will not even allow you to do anything once you get past the start screen. Considering that Link can only move in eight directions anyway, it seems odd that there wouldn’t be at least the option to use a D-Pad.

Super Mario Maker 2

Will it SNES?

Mostly! When playing stages, you have a full range of Mario’s abilities. Playing 2D Mario hasn’t changed very much in the past 36 years.

What changes?

However! You won’t be able to build stages with just the D-Pad. If you want more Maker than Super Mario, then stick with the controller that has sticks. Or, better yet, go for the touch screen.

Untitled Goose Game

Will it SNES?

Nope! The game allows you to map movement to the left joystick or the right one, but not the D-Pad. However, you’ll have access to everything else, including ducking, flapping, and of course, honking. Looks like I’ll need to make my own custom goose controller.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Will it SNES?

Nope! You’ll be able to do everything but move your character once the fight starts. After that, all the D-Pad does is taunt. This is a little disappointing, as Brawl worked with a sideways Wii remote. Sure, it didn’t work well, but it still worked.


Will it SNES?

Yep! The game feels completely natural on the SNES controller. Fitting, because the games that defined its genre – Super Metroid and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night – could both be played on controllers with no joysticks. Looks like I’ll have to replay this one again soon.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Will it SNES?

Nope! Unfortunately, this game will need a joystick for movement. You can do anything else that would require the various buttons (and this game has a lot of commands), but walking definitely requires an analog input.

Sonic Mania

Will it SNES?

Yep! I’m old enough to remember the Great Console Wars. I still have scars. And I must say, there’s something not quite right about playing a 16-bit Sonic game on a Nintendo console with a SNES controller. Perhaps this strange feeling in my heart is… vindication. But yeah, it works just fine.

Final Fantasy VII

Will it SNES?

Yep! Final Fantasy VII is another game that was iconic on a Nintendo competitor’s console, so perhaps you’ll feel a little cognitive dissonance here. Maybe it’s just me. That being said, Final Fantasy VII did start its life as an SNES game, so this may be a glimpse into a world where PlayStation was a Nintendo brand.

What changes?

The Final Fantasy VII port on the Switch has some features to make the game a bit smoother. These are activated by clicking either or both of the joysticks on the Switch controller. You will lose this functionality on the SNES controller, but the Switch controller you have sitting nearby can activate them just fine.

Mega Man Legacy Collection / Mega Man X Legacy Collection

Will it SNES?

Yep! Mega Man 7 was the first game I tried here, but all the Classic Mega Man games work. In fact, the default shoot button is Y and jump is B, as has been the convention since Super Mario World, so the 8-bit-style games will feel comfortable. Mega Man X 1-6 and 8 also work just as you remembered. And while Mega Man X 7 feels a little weird without a joystick, it works just fine with the D-Pad.

Mega Man 11

Will it SNES?

Yep! It’s still good old Mega Man, same as before. It’s actually a little easier to work out how to change gears with the simpler controller.

What changes?

Mega Man 11 gets its own separate entry as it does have a unique use for the right joystick. Using the SNES controller will cost you access to the weapon wheel. Additionally, given the placement of the ZL and ZR buttons, changing weapons on the fly can get a little tricky.

Super Mario Odyssey

Will it SNES?

Nope! You’ll be able to start the game, but the lack of joysticks will prevent you from moving forward. The rest of the buttons work, however, so you can jump, crouch, and throw Cappy. It works best with two Joy-Cons anyway.


Will it SNES?

Yep! It works just as well with a D-Pad as it does with a joystick, so get on down to the Underground and make a bunch of friends! Or kill everyone! Your choice.

Collection of Mana

Will it SNES?

Yep! I haven’t tried Secret of Mana yet, as it’s one of my favorite games and I want to give the beginning the proper respect, but it works great with Trials of Mana. This fulfills the dreams of many Western SquareSoft fans, who were never able to play this one on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.

For those of you who want to try this as home, please keep in mind that while the SNES controller has most of the buttons featured on standard Switch controllers (with added ZL and ZR buttons), it does lack joysticks, a home button, and a camera button. You’ll want to keep a spare Switch controller around to turn the game off.

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System controller for the Switch is only available from the official Nintendo online shop, and it is limited to four per Nintendo Switch Online account. Unfortunately, they were sold out at the time of writing this article, but the store should have them back in stock very soon.

Are there any games that weren’t covered here that you’d like to test out? Let us know!

Dominick Ashtear