The best Mario games you can play today
To celebrate the launch of The Super Mario Bros. Movie, here are the best Mario games you can play today.
What is the best Mario game you can play right now? If you're not a big fan of the famous Italian plumber, you may not think there are all that many to choose from. But die-hard Mario lovers know that over the years there have been many adventures across many games and several different consoles.
Everyone is going Mario mad at the moment because the latest Mario movie, The Super Mario Bros. Movie, hits cinema screens this month.
To celebrate, we've selected our top ten Mario games we think fans both old and new will enjoy playing. It's worth mentioning we've only picked the ones you can still buy and play on newer consoles, although there are plenty of older Mario games worth an honourable mention, like Super Mario World for the SNES and Super Mario 64 for the N64.
Don't agree with how we've ranked the best Mario games? No problem. Upvote your favourites and downvote the ones you're not so keen on below. And if we've missed off a must-play Mario adventure, add it in the box.
The best Mario games
1. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Is there a game that's more fun, easy to play and guaranteed to bring people together than Mario Kart? Of course the correct answer is: no, there isn't. There have been many iterations of Mario Kart over the years, whether you're playing at an arcade or at home, but we've included Mario Kart 8 Deluxe in one of our top spots because it's the newest, most refined Mario Kart you can find. It's also incredibly fun to play on Switch and there are new courses and characters to choose from. We'd be happy for the Mario Kart games to go on and on and on.
2. Super Mario Odyssey
If you like sandbox-style, cartoony Mario games, this is one of the newest and, in our opinion, the best. Super Mario Odyssey is a great game to consider if you liked classic 3D Mario games, like Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine, but want a refreshed version for the Nintendo Switch. Expect similar gameplay as well as new levels, surprises and moves – like Cap Throw and Cap Jump. You're spending a lot of time throwing Mario's cap around, essentially.
3. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
This game might sound silly at first, even for a Mario game. That's because this is one of several 'rabbid'-themed games, which are little rabbit-like critters, made by Ubisoft. But it turns out Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is not only fun, it takes a fresh turn-based approach, allowing you to choose where you move your characters and how to attack before handing it over to the other team. It sounds complicated, but trust us, it's not. Expect the same wonderful colours and graphics you're used to from the Switch.
4. Luigi’s Mansion 3
Mario isn't the star of this Nintendo Switch game. Luigi is. This is a sequel to the original Luigi's Mansion, but the first available on the Switch. The story follows Luigi as he's invited to a fancy hotel, only to find out it's haunted. The aim of the game is to explore the hotel, solving puzzles and capturing ghosts along the way.
There's a mode called ScareScraper, where you team up in multiplayer mode as Luigi and a goo version of Luigi, Gooigi, to fight the spookies together. The environments and visuals look great and this is a fun game the whole family will enjoy, with some action and adventure as well as problem-solving.
5. Super Mario Maker 2
One of the things we love most about the whole library of Mario games – especially those available on the Switch – is that they might all be about the same characters and worlds, but they span a lot of different types of gameplay. Super Mario Maker 2 is one of the more creative games available for the Switch, allowing you to essentially create your own Mario game.
You pick from different kinds of terrain, power ups, enemies and much more. It's based on a simple grid system, so you pick the bits you want to add and build your perfect Mario level. If you prefer to just switch on a game and get on with it, look elsewhere. If you like the creative challenge, this is for you.
6. Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury
First released on the Wii U back in 2013, this enhanced version of Super Mario 3D World is now available on the Switch, too. You can choose to play as a range of Mario favourite characters on your own or up to four players can team up – either locally or online. A big part of the action here takes place at Lake Lapcat, which is a favourite with kids as everything is cat themed.
7. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe
If you're looking for a 2D Mario side scroller that works well on the Nintendo Switch, try New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe. You can play through 164 levels with up to four players at any time, but although the multiplayer functionality is a bit chaotic – if someone goes much further ahead from the rest, you can no longer see the rest of the team – it's still a fun family game and easy to pick up and play.
8. Super Mario 3D All-Stars
Do you enjoy retro Mario games? You can play Super Mario 3D All-Stars on the newest Nintendo Switch, but what you're getting here is a collection of three of the best classic Mario games, including Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy – a truly fantastic trio if you ask us. There are so many wonderful, colourful worlds to explore and adventures to set off on here, if you're new to Mario or revisiting favourite games from the past, this is a great place to start and the only Mario games most people need.
9. Mario Tennis Aces
If you want to play a Mario game but also a sports game, there's a combo here that's fun and looks great. With Mario Tennis Aces you can choose from 20 playable characters and choose singles or doubles tennis matches. Choose Story Mode, which includes mini games, and bosses to beat or Swing Mode, which is easier and works with motion controls, allowing you to move the controller while the game moves you around the court.
10. Mario + Rabbids Sparks Of Hope
Another game featuring all the Mario characters you know and love, as well as a bunch of little critters called rabbids for some reason. Don't expect great things from the story here, it's pretty simplistic. But overall this strategy game is a lot of fun, especially for younger kids or those who rally enjoyed the first Mario + Rabbids game.
- Which other games deserve a movie or TV show? Read our list of the video game adaptations we’d love to see get made.