Nintendo's consoles can be hit-or-miss, and the Wii U was one of its greatest misses. Selling a mere 13 million units over its lifetime, the maligned console has been dwarfed by its successor, the Nintendo Switch. The hybrid has sold nearly 85 million units over its four years on the market, due to a combination of its signature portable status and a strong collection of first-party titles. At the forefront of the library is Nintendo's favorite red-and-blue plumber, Mario. There are over a dozen Super Mario titles released for the Switch. But how many of those games are actually good?
Even Nintendo's newest console isn't immune to bad games, regardless of whether or not they're associated with the company's flagship mascot. Let's go through all the Mario games on the Switch and see what the critical response to each one was, using an average of aggregate scores from Metacritic and the Internet Games Database. Only games with Mario in the title are being considered here, so crossovers like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate where he simply appears as a playable character don't count.
15. Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games 2020 (66/100)
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games 2020 is the sixth entry in its series, but is the first to release without real-world Olympics. The series previously skipped 2018 but returned for the phantom 2020 Olympics, offering a wide variety of events and minigames for players to participate in. But that wide selection is hampered in part by an obnoxious single-player mode, bogged down by a story that's neither expected or needed. That would be fine if the multiplayer was beyond reproach, but Mario & Sonic 2020 suffers there too due to Nintendo's predictably-poor online infrastructure. The game is a worthwhile continuation of the formula put forth by previous games, but fails to innovate or evolve.
14: Mario Golf: Super Rush (70/100)
Mario's sports antics have dated back to Golf on the NES, but Mario Golf: Super Rush may be the best one to date. The game already boasts a large selection of playable characters to hit the course with in local and online multiplayer, allowing for a raucous, exciting golf match with friends. Add to that a fully fleshed-out story mode and the addition of new courses and characters via DLC, and you've got a surefire hit on your hands. Mario Golf: Super Rush hit at just the right time, giving players something casual to play while they waited for Mario Party Superstars and the final Super Smash Bros Ultimate character to drop, and that timing paid off with a ton of positive word of mouth.
13. Super Mario Bros. 35 (73/100)
Super Mario Bros. 35 was a short-lived experiment only available during Mario's 35th anniversary event. Like Tetris 99, the game was given to Nintendo Switch Online subscribers for free, but only during the anniversary event's runtime. The actual gameplay involved 35 players in a shared lobby, each running through their own version of levels from the original Super Mario Bros. Despite its weird twist on traditional Mario gameplay, Super Mario Bros. 35 didn't fully land with fans, since its pseudo-random level order can sometimes end up with the prioritization of early, less interesting levels. This resulted in players losing interest in an otherwise well-designed concept.
12. Super Mario Party (75/100)
Super Mario Party is the latest entry in its long-running series. It features fairly standard gameplay for a Mario Party title, with up to four players take turns rolling dice and moving around a board game-style overworld map, collecting coins and trying to acquire stars. The end of each round triggers a minigame, played in a 1v3, 2v2 or free-for-all format. Critics generally praised the game's return to form, since the previous entries in the series had abandoned the traditional format. But, they also frowned on its low stage count and lackluster attempt at alternate game modes. Super Mario Party is a good effort, but mainly has fans clamoring for a sequel.
11. Mario Tennis Aces (76/100)
Mario Tennis Aces puts forth a hearty effort as the seventh entry in the overall Mario Tennis series. Its big innovation in terms of gameplay is the addition of an energy gauge, which can be filled up through successful rallies and well-timed shots. Once it's full enough, the player can initiate a Special Shot, or deplete it only partially to perform a Zone Shot. Both Zone Shots and Special Shots will damage an opponent's racket if not blocked correctly, resulting in an added level of strategy. But despite that innovation the game also has its flaws, stemming primarily from its barebones offering in terms of both single-player and character customization.
10. Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit (78/100)
Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit is the biggest departure in terms of entries on this list. It's a combination of digital game and RC car, giving players a physical replica of a Mario Kart-style racecar in addition to several gates. These gates can be placed in the real world in any number of configurations to form a racetrack. The camera on the racecar and software of the game combine to generate standard Mario Kart gameplay, but with the car racing through a real-world track. Players need a fairly open space to set up anything beyond a basic course, and need to go through the work of redrawing the map anytime they want to change things up. Home Circuit is a great idea, but has serious challenges in its execution.
9. Mario Party Superstars (79/100)
Where Super Mario Party flopped, Mario Party Superstars made the save. Boasting a selection of the best Mario Party boards over the series long lifespan, Mario Party Superstars isn't so much a new entry as it is a love letter to all that came before it. It also brought back some of the franchise's best mini-games, and did so with local and online multiplayer enabled from the start. It remains to be seen how much post-launch support Superstars will get from Nintendo, but the early days of the game are a promising sign of a landmark entry in the franchise.
8. Paper Mario: The Origami King0 (80/100)
Paper Mario games are yet another departure from what constitutes a normal Mario game, raising the question of how unified the series even is. Regardless, the Paper Mario series focuses on light, turn-based RPG gameplay with a standout graphical style and charming wit. The Origami King both conforms to and defies that standard, still letting players move around an overworld but changing battles to focus more on 3D puzzles. It also incorporates a bold new graphical style, as Mario goes up against the paper inhabitants of the kingdom who've been "folded" into uncanny 3D representations. Many critics enjoyed the game's bold foot forward and appealing visual style, but also pointed out that it abandons the RPG gameplay that fans previously enjoyed.
7. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe (81/100)
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is one of many games ported to the Switch after the lackluster performance of the Wii U. The game is a fairly straightforward 2D platformer in the style of previous New Super Mario Bros. games, but combines New Super Mario Bros. U with its successor, New Super Luigi U, a Lost Levels-style redux with more difficult stages. It also adds Toadette as a playable character to try and earn its Deluxe status. The game is a great port, but is also a testament to a specific era of Mario design. That can be a double-edged sword for those who didn't enjoy it the first time around, and results in a more polarizing experience, especially when compared to more universally-beloved titles like Super Mario Odyssey.
6. Super Mario 3D All-Stars (83/100)
Super Mario 3D All-Stars bundles together three different 3D platforming titles: Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy. There's no new content in the collection, so the experience has to try and stand entirely on the strength of its ported games. All three are fun to play, but the package as a whole still reeks of Nintendo's awful habit: overcharging. The game was $60 while it was available on the Nintendo eShop, and even that was only during Mario's 35th anniversary. Players trying to find it now will have to track down one of the few physical copies released during the brief seven-month period, which can cost even more.
5. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle (84/100)
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is one of the oddest crossovers Mario's had in quite a while. Mario + Rabbids teams the titular plumber up with Ubisoft's stooge-like rabbits, but doesn't result in a game typical to either franchise. Mario is well known for platformers, RPGs and even sports games, while the Rabbids are famous for appearing as platforming antagonists and as stars of a party minigame anthology. Kingdom Battle is instead a turn-based tactical RPG in the style of XCOM, but adapted to be more accessible to a wider audience. The game was well received, with critics complimenting its ability to make a complex genre easy to understand. The Rabbids add little to the game, but can be a headache for players trying to focus more on the tactical experience and less on the silly colors and set dressing.
4. Super Mario Maker 2 (88/100)
Super Mario Maker 2 is a direct sequel to the original Super Mario Maker, which was released on the Wii U. Despite the original game's poor choice of platform, it was a huge hit among fans, who delighted in the ability to create any number of their own levels for other players to enjoy. That's the best reception that a creator game like Super Mario Maker can hope for, and the sequel transfers all the success of its original with practiced ease. The game also adds some new tools to its to dull the loss of the Wii U's GamePad, with a new visual template to represent Super Mario 3D World and better support for vertical levels. Super Mario Maker 2 only adds to the great game that came before it, changing just enough while leaving everything else the same.
3. Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury (91/100)
Super Mario 3D World is yet another port from the Wii U, this time with the addition of Bowser's Fury as separate game mode. 3D World builds on the previous success of Super Mario 3D Land for the 3DS, with a hybrid approach to platforming. The game operates in three dimensions like any of the 3D All-Stars games, but uses the level-based structure of a more traditional 2D Mario game. There's also the addition of Bowser's Fury, which seems to take its cues from Super Mario Odyssey, with an open-world environment that the player explores to collect Cat Shines. The overall goal is to defeat and purify Bowser, who's been corrupted by a strange black substance polluting the shores of Lake Lapcat. Super Mario 3D World is a great game to start, and Bowser's Fury just sweetens the deal.
2. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (92/100)
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is once again a port from the Wii U, which many players didn't get the chance to try in the first place. Deluxe doesn't make many new additions to the game, but does consolidate all of its previously-released DLC and add a handful of new characters. That's not much to justify a whole separate title for racing fans, but the port does include a much more robust Battle Mode which is great for a subsection of Kart players. While the community is focused on a hypothetical sequel, 8 Deluxe is an excellent game to play in the meantime.
1. Super Mario Odyssey (97/100)
Super Mario Odyssey is the highest entry on this list, but that's no surprise. The game is smart, savvy and above all respectful of its players' time, packing each and every moment with joy. Its premise is similar to previous 3D entries like 64 or Sunshine, but takes players on a whirlwind tour of various kingdoms, each with their own breathtaking design and callbacks to previous games. It also features the addition of Cappy, an animated form of Mario's signature hat he can use to possess various creatures throughout the world. Odyssey is simultaneously a love letter to everything Mario has been and its best entry yet — so it makes perfect sense for it top a list exploring so much of the platforming plumber's past.
KEEP READING: The Best Nintendo Switch Black Friday Deals
You May Like Also