Best Mario Games on the Nintendo Switch
Here we go!
One of the best reasons to own any Nintendo console is for good ol’ Mario Mario and Luigi Mario. Mario games are almost always a guaranteed good time, offering hours of coin collecting, world exploring, and a final battle that’s accompanied by a soundtrack that’s gotten more epic throughout the years. In honor of Mario just being, well, Mario, I’ve laid out his Nintendo Switch adventures in order of my least favorite to ones that have earned a significant amount of 1UPs in my house.
What’s great about this list is that all of the games are enjoyable, so there really are no wrong answers here. My only caveat with this list is that I’m not including any Mario spinoffs – like his sports adventures – or the party games, these are all main-series Mario titles. Ready? Let’s-a-go!
Super Mario 3D All-Stars (2020 – partially limited release)
To celebrate 35 years of Mario, Nintendo released a new variation of the classic Super Mario All-Stars that honored the hero’s 3D adventures. Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy were part of the new compilation – all great 3D Mario games, I must say (though I did miss Super Mario Galaxy 2). However, for it being the 35th anniversary of Mario, I thought there would be some kind of extra content with this trilogy that would encourage me to rebuy all of these games. Not only were there no extras, but the digital version of the game was only available for a limited time. You can still buy it physically, but the game was taken out of the Nintendo eShop on March 31, 2021.
Super Mario Bros. 35 (2020 – limited release)
Super Mario Bros. 35 took the 1985 classic and turned it into a battle royale to see who could survive a gauntlet of Mario levels. Up to, you guessed it, 35 people could play at a time, and players could send their opponents a wave of enemies to stop them from reaching the goal. This would create utter chaos as the type of stage didn’t limit the enemies you could get, so bloopers could appear outside the water, and Bowser could show up in tranquil stages like 1-1. You also couldn’t sit and wait it out as the time would, eventually, go faster. It’s a shame they took this game away on April 1, 2021 (not a joke, honest) as I’d hoped they’d do something like this with other Mario games (or add to this one).
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe (2019)
We will always remember New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe for it unintentionally creating the greatest Mario power-up of all time.
Of course, the game itself is a lot of fun because it’s a chance to revisit a charming 4-player Mario platformer on a new console, but let’s be honest, the introduction to the Super Crown is what this game will be remembered for. A power-up that turns new player, Toadette, into Princess Peach (which means you get to take advantage of all of Peach’s moves), this single tweet from artist Haniwa brought about Mario’s greatest bit of fan lore: Bowsette. Why Nintendo hasn’t officially done something with this yet is beyond comprehension.
Super Mario Maker 2 (2019)
Why leave creating Mario levels to Nintendo when the fans can come together and make the most rage-inducing levels ever? Okay, not everyone creates levels that make you toss the controller across the room, but those levels sure are fun to watch (and play, if you dare). Super Mario Maker 2 gave gamers the ability to make their own Mario levels across multiple games: Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, New Super Mario Bros. U, and Super Mario 3D World (retooled in 2.5D). Along with that came some fantastic updates that added new abilities (like digging up and throwing items in Super Mario Bros. 2), new power-ups (like Super Mario Bros. 3’s frog suit), and the ability to make an entire GAME like Super Mario World comprised of up to 8 worlds and 40 levels. Needless to say, the replayability of this game is off the charts.
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury (2021)
While I did appreciate the opportunity to replay Super Mario 3D World, it’s the Bowser’s Fury portion that really makes this game special. Honestly, I wish Nintendo would revisit this open-world platformer idea where the map expands the further you progress in the game. Having this sort of ticking time bomb of an angry Bowser waking up and wreaking havoc on everything made things exciting, and nothing says titanic showdown like “beefy Koopa King” and “golden fursuit Mario.” While I’d love a new 3D Mario the likes of Super Mario Odyssey (don’t worry, I’ll get to this game), I wouldn’t mind Mario’s next adventure being like Bowser’s Fury – but longer.
Super Mario Odyssey (2017)
The first new Mario game to be released on the Nintendo Switch is still, in my opinion, the best one we’ve gotten so far (though Bowser’s Fury would be an extremely close second if it were longer). Playing Super Mario Odyssey reminded me of playing Super Mario 64 for the first time. Everything felt wondrous and new, with creative locations, fun game mechanics, and an incredible amount of exploration. Along with Breath of the Wild, the game was an extremely strong contender in “reasons to own a Switch” during the console’s launch year. More Mario games like this, please, and thank you.
Honorable mention: Luigi’s Mansion 3 (2019)
While not technically a Mario release, Luigi deserves some love beyond the Luigi variant of New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe.
Honorable mention the second: Paper Mario: The Origami King (2020)
The Paper Mario series has always been a charming take on the franchise with its art style and gameplay. Honestly, it’s as close as I’ll get to another Super Mario RPG.
(Featured image: Nintendo)
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