Spinoff games can be interesting, whether they take popular characters out of their comfort zone, do something radically innovative or fail miserably. Plenty of spinoff games have become so popular that entire series have sprung from them. This is the list for those games.

RULES:

1. The list is an opinion, like all top 10s.

2. Series that started as spin-offs before becoming their own thing count.

3. No re-make series (Like super mario advance 1,2,3).

I adore this game. After the Super Mario Advance series had a couple installments, Nintendo gave another Mario RPG a go on the GBA, and it was wonderful for all the right reasons. An original story, a new world (the Beanbean Kingdom), lots of fun battles with action elements to fit in Mario’s comfort zone, and a sizeable role for Luigi at last. The special Bros. Actions and attacks were wacky and fun, the enemies were unique and interesting, the boss battles were exciting, and the story was hilarious. You got to see Mario in a towel, and there was even a level where you had to fix the plumbing. It wasn’t afraid to let loose and be silly, and it was just plain fun, pure and simple.

A sensational game for its time, embracing the potential to bring friends together and burn those friendships to ashes. The N64 needed more multiplayer games after the smash success of Mario Kart, and Mario Party (along with Goldeneye and Smash Bros.) was one of the best ways to spend time in front of a TV during the 64-bit era. While Mario Party 2 was a bit better (costumes, no stick-spinning, ect.), the original is the heart and soul of the entire series, and as long as you wear a glove, the main problem (the stick-spinning games) is gone. There were lots of fun and original mini game ideas, and the boards were good too. Even if coins themselves have much more worth in this game and you had to BUY mini games to play them when you wanted, this is still a great party game, and the series has had some ups and downs for generations. The latest (Super Mario Party) has some good return to form but sort of falls short of the greatness that was on earlier Mario Party games.

The popular world of strategy gaming was on the rise when Capcom tried its hand at a Mega Man game for the new era. However, there was no real template to follow for an action-oriented RPG that would make people realize that it’s still Mega Man. They wanted to capture the kind of collecting aspect you get in the Pokemon games, so they implemented battle chips, which MegaMan equipped to use special attacks. The isometric overworld and digital world were colorful and the digital world especially showcased some really awesome effects for the GBA, with animated, rotating background images and lots of nice touches in battle. Collecting new chips to build the perfect deck was fun, and added a nice touch to the usual formula, making Mega Man’s abilities evolve depending on your play style.

I know what you’re thinking. The Mana series isn’t a spinoff. Well, the series started life as a spin-off, so it’s totally eligible for this list.

As a GB RPG, it was really ambitious for the time, incorporating lots of adventuring, battling, and story along with unique uses for weapons outside of battle, like shredding thorny bushes with a sickle or chopping down trees with an axe. The character building was flexible and open-ended, allowing you to make whatever style hero you wanted and the weapon proficiency system was use-based like in Final Fantasy 2. I still am amazed at how much time I spent playing this game under the bright summer sun on the family farm (the GB wasn’t back-lit after all).
This game stretched GB cartridge size to the very limit, and it still remains a memorable adventure to experience again and again.

As a spinoff of the Shin Megami Tensei series, Persona wasn’t anticipated to ever become as popular as it has today. It was mainly supposed to promote more sales for SMT, which was underperforming at the time.
Nowadays, many people forget that Persona started life as a spinoff. It’s definitely its own distinct series and now has 5 main installments that have all done admirably. The characters from Persona 4 even made their way into fighting games, an anime, and several spin-offs and remakes. Persona 5 has been favorably recieved and reviewed by critics, sold well, and Joker is even coming to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate! With so much love for Persona, it’s almost hard to remember what made the SMT series special on its own...

This was supposed to originally be an upgraded version of Donkey Kong on gameboy (known as Donkey Kong +), but became its own thing halfway through development. The first one is a pure puzzle platformer, but since the second installment, the series has become a puzzle game focused on guiding wind-up mini mario toys through obstacles. The series may have gotten WAY off track, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun. Pauline made a long-awaited return, and Donkey Kong finally had a proper antagonistic role for the first time in years. The series continued adding new gimmicks and play styles, but there’s no telling if it will ever go back to it’s roots and give us another fun platformer. Probably not...

After Mega Man IV, V, and VI flopped on the NES, the Super Nintendo retired the NES forever and the future looked bad for Mega Man. Luckily, Capcom by then had a lot of experience making games for the SNES, and in true video game fashion, Mega Man got a new life to inject some much-needed freshness into the series. They used elements from the original games but added different graphics and new characters and moves to give players a brand-new experience. The Mega Man bosses were colorful, a little comical at times, whereas the X characters are hard and metallic, and some parts are brutally difficult. Upgrading Mega Man to become stronger, faster, and better was really engaging, the new moves were fun and changed up the gameplay in many good ways, and the X series now has 8 installments. Not all have been good (X7 was terrible), but the X series has mainly stayed strong, with X4 proving to be one of the best games in the franchise.

The first Rayman games were solid platformers, but then the Rabbids showed up and completely changed the entire face of the franchise into a mini game focused party series. To be honest, I didn't dislike the Rabbids at first, but by now, I absolutely loathe them, and if it weren’t for Rayman Origins and Legends, I’d be totally sick of Ubisoft running this stupid idea into the ground. Honestly, while the Rabbids are kind of funny, their wacky humor wears off pretty damn fast for real Rayman fans of yesteryear, and it makes you simply wish you were playing a real Rayman game instead of whatever the hell this was supposed to be. Thankfully, Rayman has gotten back to his 2D platforming roots, and the Rabbids haven’t shown their stupid faces since. Let’s hope it stays that way...

When this game was shown off, Square didn’t quite get the reaction they were hoping for. People were confused at the prospect of a FF game that wasn’t turn-based but instead realtime battling, especially since the trailer numbered it like it was a mainline entry. Luckily, they set the record straight pretty quickly, adapting it into a spin-off which gave the fans a better impression, and the series has stayed strong. Being able to play through the story with multiple different character types is nice, and teamwork is still as important as it is in the main games. Story wise, it’s pretty bland, but it serves as the framework for your adventure and does it’s job. Later installments have even supported console-to-handheld connectivity.

First off, this is bending the rules a little. These are Nintendo characters outside of their franchises, and that’s enough for me.

Anyways, when Sakurai needed to have a prototype of a new fighting game to show at a meeting, he put Nintendo characters in as placeholders for the fighters. The staff didn’t realize these were placeholders at first and showed such enthusiasm for the idea they told him to make it into a game. Luckily, he agreed. Rounding up a greatest-hits collection of Nintendo characters and having them fight was a novel idea, and later installments have gotten better and better (unless you’re one of those idiots who hates every single game for not being Melee). More and more obscure picks have gone into the roster, like Solid Snake, Lucas, Pit and even the Duck Hunt Duo. There’s been a steady stream of DLC announcements for characters like Banjo-Kazooie, the hero from Dragon Quest, and Joker from Persona 5, and the content is plentiful (although I REALLY miss collecting trophies in Ultimate).

I just wish the Melee folks would shut up. They are an annoying bunch...

I have others that I’d like to mention, but there's only Room for 10, so here are some honorable mentions:

1.Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon

2. Street Fighter Alpha

3. Paper Mario

4. The IDOLM@STER Shiny Festa


List by LostSoul (07/29/2019)

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