At 35-years-old last year, the moustachioed plumber Mario is perhaps gaming’s most iconic face. Having sold more than 600 million copies across his many adventures in those three-and-a-half decades, Nintendo’s mascot has a back catalogue to rival The Beatles. So it’s no surprise to see the red-capped icon make himself at home on the Switch.
With the recent re-release of Super Mario 3D World, the portable console has cemented its status as a menagerie of Mario magic both old and new. From platformers to Kart racers to build-your-own-fun creation kits, the big man’s résumé extends well beyond old fashioned Goomba-stomping these days. Wondering where to dive right in? We’ve ranked the Mario games for Switch from those deserving of a Luigi death stare to the Super Star classics.
In fairness to Princess Peach’s beau-in-chief, Super Mario Party is a respectable eleventh console entry in a series that’s taken the edge off family gatherings for over two decades now. As much as this mini-games bonanza still has its moments, we’d rather be annihilating our in-laws in Smash Bros. With just four boards to be getting on with, there’s not much in the way of replay value to be had here either. ￡36. amazon.co.uk
You have to go back all the way to the GameCube’s Thousand-Year Door to find a truly great Paper Mario title, but The Origami King at least ranks as a mini-revival for the series, one with some joyously terrible puns, a surprisingly affecting cast of oddball sidekicks and some dizzyingly creative boss fights. While its innovative puzzle-based Battle Ring System is an initially entertaining spin on RPG combat, its repetitious nature does ultimately prove a drag on this 30-hour adventure. ￡32.99. At amazon.co.uk
What happened to good tennis games? They literally don’t exist anymore. That’s save for Mario Tennis Aces, which is a colourful cartoon arcade twist on a precise, serious sport. It’s super balanced and fun to play, while offering a surprising level of difficulty when you notch up the challenge. And it’s worth a look-in purely for the novelty of a game that appreciates the thrill of being centre court. ￡49.95. amazon.co.uk
Formerly a Wii U launch game way back in 2012, New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe is very much a traditional 2-D side-scroller for better and worse. Your classic ice, desert and lava kingdoms are all present and correct alongside a whole host of vintage power-ups and (praise be) Yoshi. As an exercise in platforming precision there’s a lot to like here, but those hoping for a more expansive take on the Mario formula are best off looking elsewhere. ￡38.00. At amazon.co.uk
The Mario game that never ends, Super Mario Maker 2 offers not just a story mode for you to play, but an entire suite of creation tools that lets you create your own Mario stages and play those that other players have made by heading onto the online bubble. It’s a treasure trove of player’s own ideas and there’s something suitable for everyone too –?children and adults alike, novices and pros. ￡36. amazon.co.uk
A turn-based tactics game featuring Mario and some of Ubisoft’s most recognisable weirdos (the Rabbids) might have been met with skepticism when it was first announced, but the X-Com-lite foundations that Kingdom Battle is built upon are sturdy as any mainline Mario. This is a fun, tense adventure that ratchets up the challenge as you progress through, adding new mechanics while always delivering a healthy dose of humour. ￡29. amazon.co.uk
Last year’s Super Mario 3D All Stars collection was a relatively lacklustre trio of older Mario games that simply didn’t get as much love as they could’ve done. While Super Mario 64 and Sunshine are beginning to feel a little long in the tooth, Galaxy still holds up as the newest game in the collection. Chock full of colour and personality, it plays with gravity and space with a sense of wonder and scale that few Mario games have captured. The game was so good that it spurred Nintendo on to do something they rarely have in Mario’s history: create a sequel, Mario Galaxy 2. While that game doesn’t yet appear in the Switch’s line-up, the OG Galaxy still provides a healthy serving of Nintendo at its peak. ￡36.99. amazon.co.uk
Originally released in 2013 with zero fanfare on Nintendo’s titanic Wii U console, Super Mario 3D World has finally been given its time to shine on Switch. It’s a joyous toy box of design ideas that Nintendo doles out like a conveyer belt of creativity, often delivering entirely new mechanics for one-shot hits of joy, some of which were even expanded into their own titles à la the excellent Captain Toad Treasure Tracker. New to Switch this time around is the separate Bowser’s Fury curio, which is Mario at its most experimental and least refined. Taking cues from the open-ended nature of 2017’s Super Mario Odyssey, it places you in a big open level and lets you run wild, exploring at your whim and unlocking areas by completing platforming trials and puzzles. It’s not quite as accomplished as 3D World proper, but is a decent enough excuse for returning players to double dip. ￡49.99. amazon.co.uk
With Odyssey, Nintendo took the original vision of a more open and exploratory Super Mario and made it a modern reality. Odyssey is all about finding stuff by heading off the beaten track in any one of its many biomes. You can quickly smash through its relatively short main campaign, which takes you through its myriad gorgeous worlds, but then you’re set free and the game starts proper. With 900 hidden moons to discover, Odyssey is absolutely brimming with a whole variety of challenges and puzzles and secrets, from moons you spot on first run to cleverly disguised ones that you’ll be searching for for hours. ￡36.99. amazon.co.uk
It’s hard to imagine how Nintendo could better the Mario Kart formula after Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on Switch. Another Mario game that was initially released on the Wii U, this one back in 2014, MK8 Deluxe is an almost perfect refinement of the familiar Kart franchise. The courses are impeccable, the range of styles, settings, ideas and colours is enormous and there’s more than enough content and challenge to keep players busy for hours as they tackle each CC championship and try to unlock everything there is to offer. ￡36.99. amazon.co.uk
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