Nintendo’s surprise Direct for their iconic plumber, Mario’s 35th anniversary revealed a plethora of previous titles making its way to the Nintendo Switch, including an all-star package with Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy.
With these upcoming additions, including an updated port of the Wii U’s Super Mario 3D world, means that 13 mainline Mario platformers are going to be on the system by March 2021.
IGN Southeast Asia thinks that it is fit to rank these games by how fun they are and to gauge expectations for fans who are just enjoying these games for the first time. We are also only putting the mainline platformers, 2D and 3D, that are available on the Nintendo Switch system, and excluding any spin-offs, like Mario Kart and Mario Party.
We would also like to take this opportunity to lament the exclusions of the two Super Mario Land Gameboy games; New Super Mario Bros. 1, 2, and Wii; Super Mario 3D Land, the original Mario Maker, and most tragically, Super Mario Galaxy 2. Without further ado, letsa go:
13. Super Mario Bros. The Lost Levels
Quite possibly the worst way to experience a 2D Mario game, The Lost Levels is just brutal in its difficulty and is not a great time unless you know what you’re doing. To even play the game, you should at least be a master of the original Super Mario Bros first, then it might be that much more enjoyable. Best way to play this and the first three Mario games are with the Super Mario All-Stars collection through the SNES portion of Nintendo Switch Online.
12. Super Mario Bros. 2
It’s common knowledge that the Lost Levels was the original Super Mario Bros. 2 in Japan, but was so hard that Nintendo opted to reskin a Japanese game called Doki Doki Panic into what we now know as Super Mario Bros. 2. Overall, the game has its charms and fun to be had, but you’ll be confused the first time around as jumping on enemies doesn’t kill them, instead you have to pick them up and chuck them around to defeat them.
11. Super Mario Bros.
The original that started it all, the most iconic video game of all time, Super Mario Bros. saved the video game market as a whole upon its release with the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985. This game introduced the world to the timeless run and jump gameplay, warp pipes, Goombas, Koopa Troopas, and more. It may seem basic when compared to the rest of the series, but it certainly holds up in 2020.
10. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe
For a more modern palette, we have New Super Mario Bros. U and its expansion, Super Luigi U offers more than enough platforming challenges that anyone needs, with four-player multiplayer to boot. It’s a modern reinterpretation of the classic 2D platforming that the original Super Mario Bros. introduced, but with added moves and power-ups that make the package a lot more refined and varied. Super Luigi U also serves as a perfect, modern analog to The Lost Levels, with it being just as challenging.
9. Super Mario 64
Mario not only defined what it means to be a two-dimensional platformer but did it again with Super Mario 64 and what it means to be a three-dimensional platformer. Mario 64 became the poster child of the Nintendo 64 and spawned a whole bunch of imitators throughout the sixth and seventh generation of consoles. Playing it now can seem a little primitive in terms of level variety, but it definitely was ahead of its time when it comes to the range of actions Mario could do.
8. Super Mario Maker 2
Having fans make their own Mario levels was a dream come true, and the sequel added even more fun and functionality for players to make their best 2D Mario levels yet. Super Mario Maker 2 definitely has the most longevity out of any Mario game, since its user-generated content being almost infinite as long as the servers are online. Though results may vary when it comes to the quality of these levels, however, there is certainly no doubt in the tremendous things players have done with the game’s mechanics.
7. Super Mario 3D World
The Wii U’s flagship 3D Mario platformer also brought four-player co-op to the fray and the new cat power-up that changes the way you interact with levels. It’s definitely much more on the easier side of things, but the fun and chaos to be had with three other players. The newly announced rerelease of this game is adding some sort of expansion called Bowser’s Fury, which is sure to add even more fun to the game. Super Mario 3D World also gave birth to the Captain Toad Treasure Tracker game that was also ported to the Switch.
6. Super Mario Sunshine
The Gamecube’s take on a 3D Mario platformer had a lot to live up to, especially since its predecessor, Super Mario 64 was such a groundbreaking title. If anything, Sunshine is somewhat its own thing, totally different from Mario 64. The entire game takes place in the iconic Delfino Isle, instead of having Mario travel across the world in search of Stars. Mario’s platforming is also enhanced with the addition of F.L.U.D.D, a backpack/ water-gun combo that can help Mario hover in the air or shoot jets of water to solve puzzles and defeat enemies.
5. Super Mario World
Super Mario World brought the series into the 16-bit era and was a much more open 2D Mario experience like never before. For the first time, players can replay any level on the overworld once completed, and ride on Yoshi through the entire game (except for castles and ghost houses for some reason). The game is also one of the most balanced Mario games, perfectly toeing the line between accessible and challenging, though the fan-made Kaizo levels spawned from this definitely proved how challenging fans wanted Mario to really be.
4. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
While it is counted as the sequel to Super Mario World, the two games couldn’t be any different from each other. Yoshi’s Island, as the name suggests, has you using Yoshi traveling the titular island to reunite Baby Mario with a kidnapped Baby Luigi. It was a prequel and the first game to put Yoshi into a starring role. With Yoshi being able to flutter jump, throw eggs, and ground pound, this game offers a fun challenge rendered in a gorgeous crayon-like art style.
3. Super Mario Bros. 3
Quite possibly the tightest of the original Mario games, Super Mario Bros. 3 introduced a proper, linear overworld for Mario and Luigi to traverse, and also introduced a number of iconic mainstays of the series, like the Koopalings and the Tanooki suit. The game is evenly paced and filled to the brim with secrets, rewarding skillful and curious players from the get-go. It is the quintessential 2D Mario platformer and a fan-favourite for sure.
2. Super Mario Galaxy
The Wii’s Super Mario Galaxy was the first game to be a perfect coalescence between 2D and 3D Mario game styles. The introduction of spherical levels also brought a whole new dimension for Mario to explore, weaving through wonky gravitational conundrums, which are expertly packaged through super fun and creative levels that take place across the universe. The development team at Nintendo had so many ideas in Super Mario Galaxy that it necessitated a sequel in Super Mario Galaxy 2, which we still hope to make its way to the Switch somehow.
1. Super Mario Odyssey
Odyssey is definitely the perfect subtitle for this game, especially with how the game’s globe-trotting adventure and emphasis on open-world exploration being on the forefront the minute you boot up the game. It also truly feels like a celebration of everything that came before, making nods and references to every aspect of Mario’s history while also introducing all-new gameplay elements. Though it is the latest game in the series, if you had to play only one Mario game in your life, there’s none more fitting than Super Mario Odyssey.