If there is one character that is synonymous with the company Nintendo, it has to be Mario. Mario made his debut way back in the 1981 arcade game Donkey Kong (although he was called Jumpman at that point), and the success of the game propelled him into the spotlight. However, it was really 1985ís Super Mario Bros. that cemented his role as Nintendoís flagship mascot, a position that he has held without serious challenge ever since. With Marioís next big platformer (Super Mario 3D World for the Wii U) just around the corner, I felt like it might be a good time to stop and take a look back at the games that have led us to where we are.
So it came as quite a surprising revelation to me when I realized that we have never done a top 10 list for Mario platformers. We have done top ten lists for our favorite Zelda, Kirby, and even Castlevania games, but Mario platformers have fell by the wayside. I believe that it is time to rectify that omission.
Before I begin, let me clarify something here. This is not a list of my personal favorites, or a list that a small amount of Negative World editors have put together. Instead, this is a list based on the average scores of the Mario platformer games as rated by Negative World members in our game database, or in other words, this list is about as close to a consensus from the entire body of users of Negative World as we can possibly get. This isnít just my list, this is our list. Because that is how we roll here.
You will see a few numbers in the header for each game in the last. The first is the average score (out of 10) for that game calculated from all member ratings, and the number in parenthesis is the amount of members who have scored this game (IE the amount of ratings that went into the calculation.) Sweet.
To be honest, I had little experience with video game sequels way back when Super Mario Bros. 2 was released on the NES, so I didnít realize how entirely strange of a sequel that it was. Nor, at the time, did it ever cross my mind to suspect that the reason it was such an oddball sequel was that it was not the ďtrueĒ (Japan-only until released with Super Mario All-Stars) Super Mario Bros. 2, but rather a game called Doki Doki Panic given a Mario skin swap in the West. So where did this Doki Doki Panic game come from? Well, it was originally started as a Super Mario Bros. sequel as well, but then got scrapped and later revived as Doki Doki Panic. Confused yet?
Anyway, dubious origins or not, Super Mario Bros. 2 is still an excellent game that deserves a spot in our top 10. I would have put it up a bit higher myself though.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii) - 9.14 / 10 (90)
When New Super Mario Bros. was released on the DS it was an interesting concept (taking Mario back to his 2D roots) that resulted in a relatively well received game. However, most of us at Negative World seem to agree that the Wii game took things to a whole new level, introducing 4-player co-op and battle modes, as well as polishing and tightening the core New Super Mario Bros. gameplay to create a superior sequel. Cue Grantís objections in 3Ö 2Ö 1...
And I still maintain that New Super Mario Bros. Wiiís Coin Battle mode is one of the best multiplayer modes on a Wii game, but I guess others donít feel quite as enthusiastic about it since no one ever wants to play it with me.
Super Mario 3D Land (3DS) - 9.23 / 10 (39)
I wasnít totally sure what to expect leading up to the release of Super Mario 3D Land, which was, as far as I can tell, Nintendoís first serious attempt to take 3D Mario and make him appeal to the (much larger) 2D Mario fanbase. Super Mario 3D Land was clearly going to be, in many ways, a more straight-forward and linear game than the 3D Mario outings leading up to it (the Super Mario Galaxy games), and I was worried that the result might feel like a shell of a Mario game.
However, I was wrong. Nintendoís gamble paid off, and Super Mario 3D Land ended up not just a highly rated Mario game, but a best selling Mario game as well. More importantly, we love it here at Negative World, which is all that really matters in the end.
Super Mario Bros. (NES) - 9.36 / 10 (72)
Oh man, this is the game that started it all! Iím not just talking about Mario here, Iím talking about video gaming as we know it. Alright fine, technically there were some good video games before Super Mario Bros. came along, but I honestly believe that Super Mario Bros. was the first mind-blowingly excellent video game ever made, and it became a blueprint for a lot of what was to come in the industry. If you werenít around and paying attention when it released, you will probably never understand how quickly the entire landscape of video games changed with the release of a single game.
However, some could argue, and perhaps rightfully so, that it has not passed the test of time as well as some of the other Mario games. This could very well explain why such a monumental game is only in our 7th spot.
Yoshiís Island: Super Mario World 2 (SNES) - 9.46 / 10 (64)
Iím not sure if Yoshiís Island should technically count as a Mario platformer when a very strong case could be made for calling it the first Yoshi platformer. Strictly speaking, Mario is not doing any platforming himself, but is relegated to the role of a baby who doesnít do much of anything but ride on Yoshi and whine in a really annoying way every time that he gets knocked off. Yoshi is the true star of the show. Still, Nintendo put ďSuper Mario World 2Ē in the title in the West, so if weíre counting Super Mario Bros. 2 (NA) as a Mario platformer when it originally released as a non-Mario game, why not count Yoshiís Island as well?
And what an excellent game Yoshiís Island was. Yoshiís Island had a nice mix of Mario staples and brand new concepts like Yoshi transformations, riding on balloons, and touching fuzzies then getting dizzy, combined with exploration-focused gameplay and a load of collectibles (that were actually fun to collect.) Hard to top that.
Super Mario 64 (N64) - 9.50 / 10 (108)
Super Mario 64 is yet another Mario game that was incredibly groundbreaking when it released. Various developers had made attempts at 3D platformers before, but Miyamoto and Nintendo stepped up and said hey, look, this is how you do it! In fact, Super Mario 64ís influence spread beyond platformers into 3D video game development as a whole. The camera work alone was much studied and emulated in years to come. The tight controls and variety of environments to explore didnít hurt either.
Itís also another Mario game, however, that some believe has not quite passed the test of time as well as some of the others. And, as you will see soon enough, we at Negative World generally consider it to have since been surpassed by other 3D Mario gamesÖ
Super Mario World (SNES) - 9.52 / 10 (106)
I have to admit, my own personal rankings would not put Super Mario World up quite this high, although that probably has a lot to do with the disjointed way that I originally played through it due to not owning my own Super Nintendo when it released. But itís clearly a very well loved Mario game here at Negative World, and hey, I can totally understand why. It was a pretty spectacular way to kick off the 16-bit era for Nintendo, and it made me jealous of everyone who did have a Super Nintendo at the time.
Also it was the game that introduced Yoshi. Who doesnít love Yoshi? And the Cape Feather. Who doesnít love the Cape Feather? And Ghost Houses. Who doesnít loÖ hmm. Iíll have to think about that one.
Super Mario Galaxy (Wii) - 9.59 / 10 (145)
In the midst of the epic console wars during the Wii / PS3 / 360 era, many of us Wii owners wanted that one killer game we could point to and say this is one of the best games of the generation and you simply canít find it anywhere else. Well, and also we wanted that killer game because we actually like playing games, sometimes. Super Mario Galaxy provided all of that and more, instantly becoming one of the most highly rated and beloved games not just of its generation, but of all-time.
How did it do that? Stunning visuals and an epic soundtrack helped, for sure, but at its heart was a wealth of creative ideas and the execution to back those ideas up. And whether you feel like the planetoids and gravity mechanics resulted in ďSuper Mario 64 in spaceĒ, or that Super Mario Galaxy created a brand new way to play Mario platformers (as I do), itís tough to deny both the polish and fun factor of this game.
Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES) - 9.60 / 10 (101)
I donít even know where to start with my praise for Super Mario Bros. 3. I recently wrote a top ten list where I named it the best same-platform sequel in video games, and I will stand by that. Yep, as revolutionary as Super Mario Bros. was at the time, Super Mario Bros. 3 came along and blew it out of the water, raising the stakes to even greater heights. Hosting excellent visuals, a stellar soundtrack, tight controls, a variety of environments, a non-linear overworld map, tons of secrets areas, and a bunch of power-ups and suits that were just plain fun to use, Super Mario Bros. 3 was not only one of the best games of the NES era, but is one of the best 2D games ever made, period.
Also, it basically had an entire feature film created to market it to us unsuspecting children in The Wizard. A movie without which we would have never had this gem of a quote. ThatísÖ something. I guess.
Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii) - 9.63 / 10 (100)
How do you top something as amazing as Super Mario Galaxy? By doing the same thing again, but better. Super Mario Galaxy 2 will never be called a groundbreaking game, as it stuck closely to the formula of the first Super Mario Galaxy, but it exudes pure creativity on every level, managing to be one of those rare sequels that feels familiar yet fresh at the same time. Thatís not to say that it didnít introduce anything new, it as it had a variety of its own unique power-ups, including the first playable Yoshi that doesnít suck in a 3D Mario game sorry Super Mario Sunshine.
Whether you prefer the original or the sequel, it is tough to deny the impact that the Super Mario Galaxy games have had on the Mario platformer. Nintendo seems to be moving Mario in another direction with the upcoming Super Mario 3D World, and it looks pretty spectacular, but I just canít help but hope to see a Super Mario Galaxy 3 someday.
So there you have it, the top 10 Super Mario platformers based on member ratings here at Negative World. If you agree, disagree, or have anything else to add, why not do so in the comments below? And donít forget to rate some games! If youíre not a member yet, you can sign up quick and be posting and rating games within minutes. Why be a passive observer when you can change the course of history?
Now letís all get pumped for Super Mario 3D World together!
@Zero But not everything. Presentation wise it was much worse. And let's not kid ourselves, that stuff is important. It's one of the reasons why we love SMG in the first place over NSMB. The polish permeated all throughout.
One felt much less like corners were cut to make a game.
I'm not sure if I really agree. I actually preferred SMG2's much quicker opening to SMG's longer intro and "find the bunnies" sequence before you really got to planet-hop. And SMG2 managed to look even better than SMG (I especially liked its embrace of the starry daytime skies as part of its "look"). That said, I did miss Rosalina and her side-story; SMG2 could've used an optional thing like that to add a little more heart to the proceedings.
Upon replaying, SMG does have a pretty long beginning. I tried to get Amanda into it and it took her forever just to get to the actual game. She was pretty turned off by it.
And to be fair, I think both games have beginnings that are way too long. I personally enjoyed the sequence in front of Peach's castle - I'd like more of that kind of stuff. But as far as talking to the little rabbits and getting all these tutorials? No thanks. Especially when some of it has to do with the pointer feature, which IMO was incredibly unnecessary aside from Nintendo saying "Hey, we have to use this motion thing we created."
As for the list, I'd put 3D Land farther down the totem pole. It's a fun little game, but the camera angles IMO were awful, and the game just felt too slow. The game still managed to somehow reuse a few tracks from Galaxy (what is it with Nintendo lately with this??), and the game felt too short. People say it's a long game, but to me it just felt like the same length as any Mario, only they had you "beat" it halfway through to make you think it was twice as long.
I'd probably go:
1.) Super Mario Bros. 3 2.) Super Mario Galaxy 2 3.) Super Mario World 4.) Super Mario Galaxy 5.) Super Mario 64 6.) Super Mario Bros. 7.) Super Mario Bros. 2 8.) Super Mario 3D Land 9.) Super Mario Sunshine 10.) Some combination of the NSMB games (including Wii and U)
@carlosrox I don't think it was "much worse", the graphics and soundtrack were still both amazing. Really the only place I think it suffered heavily was the story / characters. And I wouldn't be kidding myself to say that I don't actually care much about that in Mario, when it is done well (like the story book stuff in Galaxy 1... kind of) it's a nice cherry on top, but the lack of it didn't really bother me in Galaxy 2.
What I did feel the lack of was an interesting overworld. Not that Galaxy 1's was that great, but it was better than running around on the boring Mario head. But Mario 64 and even Sunshine had more interesting overworlds than either Galaxy game. I think Nintendo is purposely moving away from "exploration" like that though, trying to appeal more to the 2D Mario fans.
Not a bad list, and I don't have too much to complain about here. The lack of Super Mario Sunshine makes me happy. That's easily the worst Super Mario game, IMO. Even worse than NEW Super Mario Bros. Wii, which I felt was derivative and a bit of a misfire.
On my own list, I'd probably replace NSMBW with either the endlessly re-playable Super Mario Land, or the original NEW Super Mario Bros. on DS.
Still, not a bad list. Mario games are good, and I'm happy that the original NES trilogy is in full attendance!
I can kind of understand the direction with NSMBWii. I think Nintendo were probably unsure about how successful the game was going to be, so they were very conservative with the game just in case it didn't sell well. I know, it's crazy to think that this game was a questionable seller, but back in 2008/9, there wasn't really anything to gauge how well it was going to perform. Nintendo hadn't released a console 2D Mario game in 17 years, unless you count Yoshi's Island, which is debatable, and 2D gaming had kind of dwindled since then. In fact, the last 2D platformer Nintendo released before NSMBWii, Wario Land Shake It!, sold below expectations and didn't even reach one million units.
NSMB2 and NSMBU being so similar and derivative even after Nintendo knew they'd be huge hits is far more inexcusable, in my view.
I think you might just be the only person in the world that likes Sunshine the most. Haha.
There's a lot that I love about the game, but I still feel after all these years that it was rushed out the door before it was ready... that another 6-12 months in development would have made it an undisputed Mario 64 killer. I'd actually still like to see them make a more complete version of the game with additional levels and objectives thrown in. I'd buy it for sure.
Yeah, I dig the setting and all of the tropical music... I also really do love the FLUDD and appreciate how it changed up the gameplay and made Sunshine a completely unique entry in the series. That was bold.
Super Mario Sunshine also has the best controls out of any 3D game I've ever played. It feels so good...it's so fun just to move Mario around. Galaxy was a downgrade.
I'd eat it up, but I don't know... it's a black sheep in the series for sure. People complain about many aspects of the game. In fact, I'm still convinced that the bitching that reviewers and some gamers did over the difficulty of Sunshine is the reason why all subsequent Mario titles have been toned down...