This past Friday marked the release of the amazing looking Super Mario Odyssey for the Nintendo Switch, which is now one of the highest rated games of all time, joining The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
To celebrate this exciting occasion, I am going to rank all of the mainline Super Mario games. There are far too many spin offs to include all of them. Unfortunately, this means RPG, the original Mario Bros, Mario Maker and Yoshi’s Island will not be included in this list, but oh well.
I will rank them from worst to best.
Game Boy, 1989
The very first handheld Mario game turned out to be a very short adventure, taking no longer than 20 minutes to beat. It is still a fun little game however.
Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels
Famicom, 1986 / SNES 1993
Originally called Super Mario Bros 2, it was somehow never released outside of Japan. Most people didn’t play it until it was called the “Lost Levels” which was added in Super Mario All-Stars several years later. It is very similar to it’s prequel and takes off right where it left off, making this game very infamous for it’s difficulty. I never put too much time into it to really say much about it, for it was so similar to the first game.
Times Beaten-2 or 3
This is probably the most famous game of all time, and forever will be so. To this day, it is a fun enough game, but I was never that huge a fan of it due to it’s stiff jumping mechanic and constantly having to replay through the same levels to get to the warp pipes so you can continue where you left off.
Game Boy, 1992
Times Beaten-2 or 3
This game is quite unique and still a lot of fun to play. The level designs and nifty power ups, not to mention the introduction of Wario, make this a game to be remembered.
This game really took the series in a whole new direction. Suddenly instead of jumping oneverything, you were throwing radishes at them. It’s a really bizarre game, but a lot of fun. The fact that there is 4 playable characters, all with unique traits, make this a very ambitious game for the time.
This was another twist for the beloved series, taking advantage of the 3D graphics to create a different adventure for Mario, combining elements from the side scrolling games with the 3D ones. While it is a fun game, I wished I was playing a regular 2D or 3D Mario most of the time.
A return to the side scrolling age after a decade of being in 3D was a most exciting concept. The only bad thing was that this meant it would be facing up against the last 2D Mario, Super Mario World. And it didn’t even come close, having focused more on keeping faithful to the original NES game, but with a ton of new features added to it.
This is also one of the most famous games ever made, responsible for ushering 3D games into the limelight in a good way. Though the game had a few flaws, it was still pretty amazing for the time. I never was too into it, however, for I felt it was far worse than some of the 2D games.
While this game was a huge improvement over the DS game, it still sorely fell behind some other 2D Marios, making me realize they weren’t even trying to create these side-scrollers like they used to. The “New” series seemed to be something completely different, and while not as good as some of the classics, they are still solid games.
This game is a lot of fun, especially compared to the previous two on this list. It was so satisfying to just run like crazy, collecting absurd amounts of coins, through some of the best platforming seen in years.
This is probably the most unique Mario game around. Cleaning graffiti with a water pack that has all sorts of different settings, while traversing through beautiful landscapes…just awesome. There was plenty of platforming challenges scattered throughout the game as well, making this a fantastic game all around.
Wii U, 2012
Now this is what I’ve been waiting for. Amazing platforming chock full of secrets and challenge, new power ups and other ideas, all scattered throughout a massive world. This was the game I have been waiting for ever since they announced the “new” line of platformers back on DS.
This game was more than anyone could ever have expected at the time of its release. It completely blew every other platformer out of the water, and still does to most even today. It was such a vast improvement over it’s prequels, it’s amazing to think they are in the same series. A huge world, tons of new content, and unique items will keep this one in the record books forever. It is funny I have only ever beat the game twice, for as a small child, I played this game constantly, just goofing around on the many great stages.
The only reason this places lower than the first game is because this was not really the true game. The only reason this game exists is because there was so much that couldn’t fit into the first game, that Nintendo decided to just make another game to put it all in, which is great news for fans! It’s almost like the best DLC ever. So the whole central idea was not fresh at this point, but there were a ton of new ideas and planets to explore and items to grab that made this game stand out by itself.
This game is a masterpiece. It is probably one of the very few games I can say I could literally not put down. I was so amazed by how good it was, that in only 3 days I got every star and unlocked Luigi, only to immediately beat the game with every star with him too. No other game has had me play so much at one time, and do it over again with no time in between. The game is so unique and incredible, that I long to play it again…(Curse you backlog!)
Times Beaten-At Least 20
This is probably the best platformer ever made, in my opinion. I spent my childhood uncovering every tiny little secret in this diverse, huge world. The game is so vast and just perfect. I absolutely love it and I can pick it up anytime and play through it, taking all the shortcuts to beat the game quickly, or slowly beat every level, and uncover all the secret paths and not stop until I beat Special Land and turn the world into that awesome weirdo place where the Koopas are Marios.
Wii U, 2013
Here it is, the best Mario game ever made. I was rather disappointed when they announced the next 3D Mario would be in the same 2D/3D combined style like Super Mario 3D Land, seeing that I wasn’t all that impressed with that game.
But the second I played it, I was proven wrong. The new items, particularly the cat, is amazing, the fact that you can play as a variety of characters, each with unique traits, is even more amazing, the humongous world to explore is creative and diverse, and the gameplay is just simply solid. This game delivered everything I could have wanted for this style of game, and I love it to death.
There is plenty to do in the game, giving it some nice replay value too. I had long given up hope that they would ever top Super Mario World, but it seems any game with “world” in the title is destined for greatness.
And there you have it. That is all the mainline games, ranked from worst to best. They are all very good, memorable games, and there are tons of spin off or other series with Mario that are just as good, if not better. It is safe to say that the gaming industry would not be the same without this little fella, so my hat’s off to him. I can’t wait to see where Odyssey fits in this list!