Top 5 Super Mario games

Following my post on my top 5 Zelda games, I thought it would be apt to post an equivalent for another of my favourite franchises – Super Mario.

Mario has been a huge part of my gaming experience growing up, and whilst I’ve thoroughly enjoyed many of his extra-curricular exploits (Tennis and Golf in particular), I’m sticking with the conventional ‘mainline’ Super Mario platformers for this Top 5.

Here they are:

5. Super Mario Bros



The game that started it all and one I’ve shamefully yet to complete. I first experienced it with the generous Mario All Stars for the SNES, and it was the one I kept coming back to. It’s Mario platforming at it’s purest and rawest, getting very tricky and unforgiving at times, but the quality of the jumping mechanics will always keep me returning.

Original cartridges are available  on Amazon here.


4. Super Mario Sunshine



What Mario Sunshine does really well is add an extra layer of depth to the 3D Mario formula via the FLUDD pack. As well as retaining the majority of Mario’s moves from ’64, the water-propelled system adds a multitude of new moves, twists and tweaks to the moveset, giving the player the most control over Mario there’s ever been. Even subsequent Mario games lack the depth of control featured here.

The only reason Sunshine isn’t higher up the list is the lack of variety in the levels, a real shame compounded by the fact that those that are in the game are superb. Yoshi’s inclusion also feels like a wasted opportunity.

As it’s never been released on Virtual Console, original copies go for a premium. They can be picked up used from Amazon here.


3. Super Mario Galaxy



The only game on the Wii that I truly loved, Galaxy felt like a much more truer sequel to ’64 than Sunshine. The best looking game on the Wii by some distance and the best looking Mario game to date, it’s a joy to play. Every level is a treat.

The excellent Galaxy 2 felt more like an expansion than a true sequel for me – the Lost Levels to Galaxy’s Mario Bros – and so it didn’t quite have the impact the first Galaxy had on me.

Galaxy can be picked up on Amazon.


2. Super Mario World



Super Mario World is one of those rare games that feels perfectly complete – like no addition could make it any better than it already is. The way the seven areas have their own flavour, with every enemy oozing charm and feeling unique make finding all 96 exits a pleasure that never diminishes with subsequent playthroughs. One of the most replayable and enjoyable games ever made. And the music is exceptional.

Super Mario World can be picked up for the 3DS from Amazon here.


1. Super Mario 64



Even if you take away the incredible influence this game had on the videogame landscape when it released, SM64 remains the benchmark against which all other 3D platformers are judged. Running around with Mario in the courtyard still feels fun, racing a penguin down an ice slide still feels fun, and swinging Bowser around and around into a huge mine still feels fun. 

I’m not sure I’ll ever have the same feeling I had when first playing this game – perhaps the imminent dawn of VR or augmented reality in our living rooms will provide that spark again – but even if I don’t I can just keep collecting 120 stars and know it will still be fun.

Original copies of Mario 64 can be picked up from Amazon, but your best bet is the Virtual Console.



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