Happy Mar10 Day! To celebrate our favorite plumber (or second favorite, if you favor Luigi), we’re ranking the Top 10 Super Mario games of all-time. Before we get started, keep in mind that we’re only counting the games focusing on platforming, so, my apologies to any Super Mario RPG fans out there.
This list was compiled with input from most of the Nintendo Wire team. Please, don’t get too angry if you believe your favorite Mario game got snubbed. This is purely our opinion, and we’d love to hear your opinions in a kind, respectful manner. Shall we get started?
10. Super Mario Bros.
I’m not one to believe that the first game in a franchise has to be on a top ten list purely based on principle, but Super Mario Bros. still holds up incredibly well, in addition to being one of the most influential video games of all-time. It’s still a blast to run through the first eight worlds Mario ever faced, and despite it not being as great as many of the titles that came after it, Super Mario Bros. still deserves a spot on this list.
9. Super Mario 3D World
Still trapped on the Wii U, Super Mario 3D World is an absolute joy from start to finish. It’s best when played with a friend or two in local co-op, as I’ll never forget running through the entire Sprixie Kingdom with my sister back when the game released. The level design in 3D World is impeccable, and I hope it comes to Switch so more players can experience this gem. Also, cat suits!
8. Super Mario Galaxy 2
Galaxy 2 expanded upon ideas presented in Mario’s original cosmic adventure, creating a sequel that proved to be just as memorable as its predecessor. Plus, the post game adventure that features 120 green stars to find solidifies Galaxy 2 as one of the best Mario games.
7. Super Mario Sunshine
Sunshine definitely comes with its share of problems, but there’s no question that it’s one of the most unique Mario titles. The addition of F.L.U.D.D. brought a whole new element to Mario platforming, and Isle Delfino’s influence can still be seen today via Mario Kart tracks and Smash Bros. stages.
6. Super Mario 64
Mario 64 is iconic. Whether it’s racing Koopa the Quick, spinning Bowser around by the tail, or flying high in the sky, Mario’s first 3D outing is packed with memorable moments. Even the hub world, Peach’s castle, remains one of my favorite hub worlds in all of gaming. The game is still a masterpiece today, 23 years after its release. Now that’s impressive.
5. Super Mario Galaxy
After taking a nice vacation at Isle Delfino, Mario travelled the galaxy in his first 3D title on the Wii. The gameplay, world design, and art direction are all some of the best on Wii, but my favorite part of Super Mario Galaxy will forever be its soundtrack. From chill, ambient space tunes to the masterpiece that is Gusty Garden Galaxy, the music from Galaxy ranks among the best in gaming.
4. Super Mario Bros. 3
Super Mario Bros. 3 is brimming with hidden paths, items, and other secrets to discover. I was replaying the game on Switch recently, and I discovered a completely different path I hadn’t seen in my countless previous playthroughs. This, along with some of the best art on the NES, locks in Mario 3 one of the best Super Mario games.
3. Super Mario Maker
Some of you may find it blasphemous that a level creator outranked Super Mario Bros. 3, but Super Mario Maker is something really special. After its launch on Wii U in 2015, it was a blast to check in each day to see what great, new levels were available to try out. Plus, I absolutely loved watching my friends and family tackle the crazy levels I invented myself. The game also took YouTube by storm, and I’m sure it will all happen again when Super Mario Maker 2 comes to Switch later this year. Nintendo took a huge risk by giving fans the keys to the Mushroom Kingdom with Super Mario Maker, but I’m so glad that they did.
2. Super Mario Odyssey
After beating Super Mario Odyssey the weekend that it came out, my face hurt from smiling so much. I can’t think of a more charming, entertaining, and joyous game than Odyssey. The levels are expansive, the soundtrack is incredible, and the platforming feels just right. I still haven’t reached 999 moons, so every so often I dive back in and remind myself of how special Super Mario Odyssey is. I sure hope we get a sequel on Switch, because I would love to see how Nintendo would improve on an already near-perfect video game.
1. Super Mario World
While Odyssey nailed the 3D Super Mario formula, Super Mario World is the pinnacle of 2D Mario. It introduced new mechanics that pushed the series forward, like the spin jump, the cape, and our good friend Yoshi. Super Mario World also has, in my opinion, the best feeling run-and-jump physics in all of video games. The sprite work and soundtrack are pristine, and the game holds up incredibly well to this day. If you could only pick one platformer to play for the rest of your life, Super Mario World would be a great pick. I think almost every Nintendo fan out there has some sort of connection to Super Mario World, and I think it deserves our pick for the best Mario game of all-time.
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