-by Dylan DiBona
With E3 coming and the thoughts of a new Super Mario Odyssey trailer being released, my excitement for the plumbers series has skyrocketed once again. Like many people, Mario has brought me endless hours of clean fun and even though I wrote about him yesterday, I decided to honor the series once more with my definitive list of the “best” Mario games. One quick rule:
- No spin-offs. Mario is a platforming icon first and foremost, so only platformers allowed. (No Yoshi’s Island either, I love that game though.)
5. Super Mario Bros. 3
It may seem like pure blasphemy, but I’ve never been quite as fond for Super Mario Bros. 3 as most other people. It’s an objectively good 2D platformer with tons of secrets, power-ups and fun to be had, but I always found the game to be just a tad too hard. Certain elements of level design and enemy placement/behavior make Super Mario Bros. 3 a bit of a retro headache every time I go back. It may not be number one but I can’t deny how much fun this game will always be.
4. Super Mario 3D World
Two criminally overlooked Mario games are Super Mario 3D Land and its sequel on the Wii U. 3D World mixes elements of 2D and 3D Mario, and for the first time ever in a 3D entry of the series, the main focus is multiplayer. Taking cues from Super Mario Bros. 2, players can control Mario, Luigi, Peach, Toad or Rosalina who all have unique abilities.
I’ll never forget certain levels or the silly yet simply brilliant Cat Suit. But most importantly, I’ll never forget the countless hours my good buddy and I sunk into getting 100% completion. Doing this without a guide gave us a chance to dig as deep as possible into every level and realize just how smart the design of the game is. Truly one of Wii U’s best.
3. Super Mario 64
It’s a true challenge to transform the magic of Super Mario 64 into words. We’ve gotten the 3D Mario sequels, Banjo-Kazooie, Ratchet & Clank, and Yooka-Laylee- but none of them match of the feeling of Super Mario 64. You never really knew what was coming up on your journey, just that you needed to keep collecting stars.
This mysterious air of Super Mario 64 keeps players in love with it even until today; the popular rumor that Luigi is in the game sparked fan determination to find him. We’re still discovering new things like hard to reach coins in certain levels. It’s a game that feels like it’ll live on forever, and for that it doesn’t really feel retro to me, it feels immortal.
2. Super Mario Sunshine
Okay honestly, I understand any flak I may get for this decision; but Super Mario Sunshine is a gem of a video game. I really cherish originality and this entry of the series really capitalized on that; the story doesn’t revolve around Peach, you’re not in the Mushroom Kingdom, there are no themes for the world except for tropical and you get a water powered jet-pack.
The people who hate this game don’t even give it credit for what it did for future games of the series. It started the whole “episodic” nature of stars, it introduced a playable 3D Yoshi and the Shadow Mario stages look strikingly similar to all of Super Mario Galaxy.
It may not be perfect with its dumb blue coins, glitchy pachinko level, terrible voice acting (which I love), but Sunshine is one of those games with visible flaws that I still really enjoyed. There’s nothing quite like it, and I have a feeling there never will be again.
1. Super Mario World
It should be a genuine question to all who’ve played Super Mario World if video games get any better; it embodies the medium absolutely perfectly. The game can be beaten in an afternoon, but with a keen eye you can spend days trying to find every secret in Dinosaur Land. Your basic abilities are simple: run, jump and spin jump, but when you find that Wing Cape, Fire Flower or Yoshi you’ll try your hardest to hang onto them for as long as possible. Unlike Super Mario Bros. 3, you won’t get caught by absurdly tricky enemies, the difficulty is just right.
Unlike Sunshine I don’t see any flaws within World. I’ve beaten the game three times but explored its levels over and over, I know the tunes, I know the colors, I know the secrets; there may be no game I know better than Super Mario World. It’s an absolute classic and if you enjoy video games but never played Super Mario World, change that right now because it is video gaming at its peak.
So there’s the five best Mario games in my eyes! Do you guys agree or disagree? Give me your top five down below and I’ll try my best to reply! As always, thanks for reading!