1. Super Mario Bros. 3, 2. Super Mario World, 3. Super Mario 64, 4. Super Mario Galaxy 2, 5. Super Mario Odyssey, 6. Super Mario Galaxy, 7. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, 8. Super Mario Maker 2, 9. Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury, 10. New Super Mario Bros. Wii. The Super Mario series is 35 years old and reported rumors strongly suggest that Nintendo will be remastering the franchise’s greatest 3D outings for the Nintendo Switch. With 19 different titles across the “main” series of Super Mario games, each title hits different for different people. In fact, every Mario game is at least very good, even the worst Mario game is usually just fine. Let's find out the Best Super Mario Games of All Time below!
- Super Mario Bros. 3
- Super Mario World
- Super Mario 64
- Super Mario Galaxy 2
- Super Mario Odyssey
- Super Mario Galaxy
- Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
- Super Mario Maker 2
- Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury
- New Super Mario Bros. Wii
Super Mario Bros. 3
Every now and then, a video game that is nearly perfect is released, and Super Mario Bros. 3 fits that bill. It was released as the NES’s swan song, but it also established the framework for Mario games to follow today: multiple worlds, crazy suits with special powers, and overworld maps. The entire world is a stage, and Super Mario Bros. 3 is set up similarly. Bowser and the Koopalings have taken over Mushroom World, transforming the seven kingdoms’ leaders into animals. Players can retrieve stolen magic wands from the Koopalings and use them to restore the rulers to their former selves as they defeat their enemies through 2D platforming.
Whether you’re talking about the overworld or each level, this game is the pinnacle of platforming. Even for NES graphics, the levels are unique, challenging, and vibrant. The stage framing device works flawlessly, as evidenced by the stage decorations bolted to the ground and Mario walking off stage at the end of each level. It’s difficult to notice these details while trying to stay alive, but luckily, the difficulty of this game is balanced, beginning with easier levels and gradually increasing in difficulty. Each world has its own set of challenges, such as an angry sun attacking you in the desert or avoiding falling out of the sky in the cloud world.
Number of Players: Single Player
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Super Mario World
Super Mario World is an epic experience for Mario fans, and to this day, it remains one of the best games to pick up and play on a Nintendo console. This direct sequel to Super Mario Bros. 3 has the Mario Brothers visiting Dinosaur Land for some well-deserved R&R. Of course, Bowser can’t let that happen, and the brothers have to save Princess Peach, their new friend Yoshi, and all of his dino siblings.
Super Mario World is the best-selling game on the SNES, and for good reason. This is the first game to include the fan-favorite character Yoshi, as well as the newest power-up: the cape. It, too, featured an expansive overworld map, and players would enter different levels, attempting to overcome all obstacles in order to reach the goal at the end. The design is what makes this game one of the best of all time. It has hidden areas and levels to explore, multiple ways to complete levels, and requires some strategy to beat. The color palette and music are a perfect combination, and you are drawn into this amazing new world, even as you curse at it after dying a thousand times.
View Details: nintendolife.com/games/snes/super_mario_world
Super Mario 64
Super Mario 64 was also revolutionary in that it was Mario’s first foray into a 3D world. What made it truly great, however, was how the game utilized that space better than many of its contemporaries. Nintendo got creative with their courses, which included underwater pirate ships, deserts, and even a wacky clock course that experimented with mechanics in novel ways. This innovation paved the way for many subsequent discoveries by other developers.
View Details: nintendolife.com/games/n64/super_mario_64
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Super Mario Galaxy 2
Super Mario Galaxy 2 is a 2010 platform video game developed and published by Nintendo for the Wii. It was first announced at E3 2009 and is the sequel to 2007’s Super Mario Galaxy. It was released worldwide in 2010. The story follows Mario as he pursues the Koopa King, Bowser, into outer space, where he has imprisoned Princess Peach and taken control of the universe using Power Stars and Grand Stars. Mario must travel across various galaxies to recover the Power Stars in order to travel to the center of the universe and rescue Princess Peach.
The idea of exploring space and jumping from one planet to the next in Super Mario Galaxy 2 had been a fascinating new approach for Mario. This made it so players could immediately jump from course to course rather than getting hung up on cutscenes. However, it did provide less of a plot-related reason to continue. In the end, this game is simply enjoyable to play. It was a lot of fun running around celestial globes, making tricky moves while Mario was upside down, and using Yoshi power-ups to play in new ways. This level of innovation has come to be expected from Mario games and has been maintained in subsequent titles.
Number of Players: 2 Players
View Details: nintendolife.com/games/wii/super_mario_galaxy_2
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Super Mario Odyssey
Super Mario Odyssey begins with a cinematic battle between Bowser and Mario. Mario is about to embark on a journey that combines the best elements of every Mario game to date, thanks to clever and innovative level design and Cappy’s possession mechanic. Mario can literally possess various creatures in order to gain the skills he requires to solve puzzles, overcome obstacles, and defeat enemies. You might think you’d miss the power-ups from older Mario games, but this spin replaces them entirely with something more exciting. That demonstrates how great this game is: you can remove one of the most iconic features and fans will still love it.
Each world is expertly crafted and one-of-a-kind, with endearing NPCs and vibrant graphics, and it is massive. There are Power Moons hidden throughout the map, as well as secret areas, levels within levels, and special 2D platforming areas. In addition, mini-games, special collectibles such as costumes and stickers, and snapshots in the game’s photo mode are available. Nintendo even included a “Luigi’s Balloon World” hide-and-seek mini-game so players could compete online.
Genre: Adventure, Platformer
View Details: nintendolife.com/games/nintendo-switch/super_mario_odyssey
Super Mario Galaxy
Super Mario Galaxy polished and spiced up everything great about Mario 64. Bowser takes you outside the Mushroom Kingdom once more, this time escaping to outer space with Princess Peach and her castle. Mario must reclaim the Power Stars stolen by Bowser, restore Rosalina’s observatory, and save the Princess once more with the help of Rosalina, the enchantress, and her Lumas.
While the story is standard Mario fare, the gameplay is out of this world. As they explore individual planets, players collect Stars, complete missions, and defeat bosses. To explore, fight enemies, and navigate the game, gravity and the Star Pointer are used. And each of these worlds is unique and beautiful. You can also play as a bee.
View Details: nintendolife.com/games/wii/super_mario_galaxy
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Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
Unlike typical Mario games, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is a 2D RPG game that features a few non-traditional RPG elements. Mario, along with his arsenal of unique partners, is on a journey to Rogue Town to find and, eventually, save Princess Peach. However, just like Rogue Town itself, not everything is as it seems.
This game is the perfect combination of RPG wonder and platforming, as well as a unique story and amazing gameplay mechanics. It also takes advantage of fourth wall breaks by utilizing Mario’s “paper-ness” and providing players with new and unique ways to explore, solve puzzles, and fight enemies. You are introduced to an unforgettable cast of characters with special abilities who help Mario solve the mystery of the Thousand-Year Door, paired with a “chapter book meets play” style of telling the story.
View Details: nintendolife.com/games/gamecube/paper_mario_the_thousand-year_door
Super Mario Maker 2
Super Mario Maker was one of the best games to release on the Wii U, and while it was groundbreaking, several limitations held the game back. So when Super Mario Maker 2 was released on the Switch with hundreds more items and options at players’ disposal, it filled in all of the holes from the original game, which allowed players to get even more creative with their malicious death traps.
The entire online community (accessible via Nintendo Switch Online) allows you to upload your crazy courses for others to play as well as browse imaginative fan-made levels that you’d never see in an actual Mario game. Another feature that distinguishes Super Mario Maker 2 is the inclusion of a story mode. Because the game included 100 courses, players didn’t have to rely on creating their own courses or jumping into other people’s courses for entertainment.
Genre: Action, Creative, Platformer
View Details: nintendolife.com/games/nintendo-switch/super_mario_maker_2
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Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury is a fun romp through Mario courses with up to four players, but it’s also challenging. Despite being a small standalone game, Mario explores a truly open-world map rather than using a hub to access the various courses. It’s similar to Super Mario 64 in gameplay, but the controls are much smoother, and you get to face off against a Godzilla-style fiery Bowser while playing as Super Saiyan Mario. It feels epic and bodes well for where the next Mario games will go.
Super Mario 3D World appears to be a free-roaming game, similar to Super Mario Galaxy and Odyssey, but it is actually a linear platformer, similar to the 2D Super Mario Bros. series. While you can run in any direction and some stages have open areas, each stage has a clear path from the start to the flagpole at the end. The layout is similar to that of 2D games; you have a world map that allows you to travel between levels, and each level has a set of collectibles (in this case three green stars and a stamp) to encourage you to explore their nooks and crannies in order to ‘complete’ them completely.
Genre: Action, Platformer
View Details: nintendolife.com/games/nintendo-switch/super_mario_3d_world_plus_bowsers_fury
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New Super Mario Bros. Wii
New Super Mario Bros. Wii is a fantastic Mario multiplayer game that has sold over 30.32 million copies on the Wii. The game wasn’t particularly innovative, but it did bring retro sidescroller gaming into the modern era with 3D graphics while also paying homage to Mario’s previous titles. Not to mention how much fun it was to play with family and friends of all ages.
The gameplay is still playable today. It perfectly balances difficulty levels with increasingly difficult courses. The success of this game revitalized Nintendo’s sidescrolling Mario games, leading to the release of New Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario 3D World, and New Super Mario Bros. U. The story mode in the game is executed very similarly to that of the portable release. The world map is very similar, albeit slightly more animated and intricate in design, and you’ll be navigating around it in no time. In single-player mode, you’ll control Mario with the Wii Remote held sideways or the Wii Remote/Nunchuk combination. While the analog stick works fine, using the Wii Remote on its side for some of the game’s more difficult platforming sections will be much more reliable. Mario’s trademark moves, such as fireballs, the ground pound, and the spin jump, remain, but there are a few new twists.
View Details: nintendolife.com/games/wii/new_super_mario_bros_wii