There’s barely a gamer alive who hasn’t played at least one Mario game. The plumber from Nintendo has already entertained generations and looks set to continue to do so for years to come. As you might expect this often leads to debates on one very important question, which is the best Mario game?
But before you start beating up beloved family members because they like Super Mario Maker better than Super Mario Odyssey, take a look at our list of Mario Games rated from the best to the worst. Not all of them of course, we’d be here all day – just our favourite ten.
1. Super Mario 64
While some of the classics bring out heart-warming memories, the importance of Super Mario 64 in the franchise’s history is what secures it the top spot for us. The first 3D entry of the series in 1996, it set the tone for a lot of other games at the time too.
A fantastic adventure to rescue Peach, coupled with revolutionary graphics and brilliant gameplay made sure this game would be popular with generations to come. We loved playing on the Nintendo 64 and this Mario game was an integral part of our collection.
2. Super Mario World
It was not easy to pick between our top spot and this gem. Super Mario World takes the second spot only because it hadn’t branched out into the realm of 3D yet. In every other aspect, this 1990 release was perfect as a 2D platformer.
Vibrant graphics created highly entertaining levels for players to jump and dash through, with a great soundtrack to keep them engaged too. Super Mario World was some of the most fun we’ve ever had on the Super Nintendo and truly deserves a close second spot in the ranks.
3. Super Mario Bros 3
Boasting inventive maps, new worlds and creative power ups, Super Mario Bros 3 helped to propel the series forwards. First published in 1988, Nintendo had another hit on their hands when this reached NES consoles around the world.
Hours of fun has been packed into this classic and gamers felt the difficulty slowly raise as they progressed through the game to rescue Princess Toadstool. Yes there have been many Mario games since, but Super Mario Bros 3 is strong enough to beat a lot of them for third place, in our opinion.
4. Super Mario Odyssey
The latest Super Mario of the series was brought to the Nintendo Switch just last year. As you can tell from our rank, it proves that Nintendo still know how to make fantastic adventures for our adventurous plumber and his friends.
Fans finally had a sequel for Super Mario 64, and we all loved it. While movies and even games can get worse with new instalments, the same cannot be said for Odyssey. It puts players back into the nostalgic world of Mario while bringing the latest graphics, great controls and lessons learned from past games together into a brilliant gaming experience. Mario may be getting older, but our love for the series has only grown stronger with this entry.
5. Super Mario Galaxy 2
Originally intended as an expansion for Super Mario Galaxy, Miyamoto instead felt the teams work actually warranted an entirely separate game. So in 2010 Galaxy 2 was launched on the Wii and Wii U consoles.
They were an instant hit, polishing some of the more fiddly bits and pieces fans had found with Mario’s previous adventure into space. With a spaceship shaped like the star himself, and Yoshi his faithful steed at the ready, Mario wowed fans once again in this adventure packed title. Because of the improvements this title made to the series, we couldn’t help but give it a strong place in the ranks.
6. Super Mario Bros.
An oldie, but a goodie. Mario and Luigi stepped into this sequel to Mario Bros in 1985. It garnered fame in Japan and North America, and was released on the NES two years later in Europe and Australia. Many players got into the franchise with this title, and the key theme here was to create a game that was engaging, fun and easy to get into.
Given the series’ success, it’s safe to say Nintendo hit the nail on the head. This classic 2D platformer is now available on multiple modern platforms, so fans of all ages can still enjoy it. If you haven’t tried it yet, we highly recommend you do.
7. Super Mario Galaxy
Mario meets the galaxy in Nintendo’s third 3D instalment to the series. It was not the first game to use space as inspiration in 2007, but it was certainly a first for Mario. It took the series to new heights (no pun intended), and gave fans a new backdrop onto which our favourite character was dropped and his lovable tale continued.
At just over a decade old, this title made a strong showing on the Wii and Wii U. It even incorporated a pretty strong narrative, unusual for Nintendo until then. Due to it’s fresh setting, fun levels and great world design, it ranks pretty highly for us.
8. Super Mario Sunshine
Sweeping in to take eighth place on our prestigious list comes Super Mario Sunshine. This time Mario was on a mission to clean up Isle Delfino and make it a better place for everyone. This 2002 release found its home on the Gamecube, and despite having big shoes to fill after earlier titles, it did pretty well.
This instalment may not be as iconic as others, but it did introduce a new mechanic (FLUDD), deliver bright graphics, and bonus stages that would set the scene for later games such as Super Mario Galaxy. Plus we got to see Mario in an exotic destination, what’s not to love?
9. Super Mario 3D World
The Wii U saw our ninth entry added to its line-up in 2013 and while it is a solid entry in the Mario series, the same cannot unfortunately be said for the console it was released on. Still though, Mario and friends made it their mission to free the Sprixies from Bowser and we enjoyed being right there with them.
You could also transform into a cat thanks to the Super Bell, adding a nice new twist on existing power-ups and really letting players dig their claws into the franchise (too cliché? Ah well, we’re sticking with it).
10. Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins
To wrap up our list we wanted to include another Mario classic, this time with Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins. It first launched on the Gameboy in 1992 and has several re-makes onto modern consoles since then, proving that it’s a title worth talking about.
It built upon the original Mario Land and like some of the other titles here, polished the first iteration of new mechanics and platforms attempted by Nintendo. Wario had taken over Mario’s castle and this much longer, more involved adventure had fans battling to get it back. Because of it’s polish and depth for the time, we felt this list wouldn’t be complete without our number ten pick.