Nintendo seems to be pretty good at what it does. It’s created countless world-renowned game series, from The Legend of Zelda and Fire Emblem to Animal Crossing and Metroid. These are iconic names in the games space, and none is more iconic than Mario.
The moustachioed mascot for Nintendo isn’t just a charming and clever bit of branding. Pretty much every game that has Mario’s name associated with it is at least pretty good. But the best Mario games are some of the best games ever made. And lucky for any Nintendo Switch owner, there are more than enough available on the hybrid system.
So, we’ve put them all in a handy list. If you’re as much of a Mario fan as we are, then check out our Super Mario Odyssey 2 release date guide to stay up to date with everything we know about the plumber’s next 3D outing. Or, if you’d rather, we’ve got a list of the best Switch games to make sure you’re never disappointed with a purchase.
The best Mario games on Switch
Super Mario Odyssey
The one that capped off the Nintendo Switch’s now-legendary launch year, Super Mario Odyssey is 3D Mario at its finest. With Mario’s new magical buddy Cappy, you go on an adventure inhabiting the beings of various creatures and machines on a planet-hopping… Odyssey. And it’s a damn good one. If you’re just getting started we’ve got a Mario Odyssey amiibo guide to give you a hand.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Few games are so strong that they can live on multiple consoles successfully, let alone continue selling for eight years. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is just that. The culmination of many years of tweaking, this could fairly be considered the perfect Mario Kart game. Audiences think so too, with more than fifty million copies sold – that makes it the seventh best-selling game of all time. Wowza.
Super Mario 3D All-Stars
Ignoring all the weird limited sales window nonsense that went on, Super Mario 3D All-Stars is an absolute dream. Two of the best platformers ever made and Mario Sunshine are all available on the go or on the big screen. Dreamy stuff, as you can see in our Super Mario 3D All-Stars review.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
‘What, Mario has a gun?’ That’s what you probably said when you saw Mario with a gun. In a weird turn of events, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle started as a dream of Davide Soliani’s, one that eventually became a reality and brought him to tears at E3. It’s a heartwarming story, worth looking up for all the lovely details. The result is Mario crossed with XCOM with some Rabbids in it. And it’s very, very good, unlike most XCOM copycats.
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury
Another ace mainline Mario game, Super Mario 3D World is a bit of a black sheep in the family. Somewhere in between 2D Mario and full-fat, camera controlling 3D Mario, it’s hard to categorise it. It isn’t hard to enjoy though, as it features some of the best platforming available. The addition of Bowser’s Fury with the Switch rerelease is another amazing surprise, showing what wonderful ideas may be in future Mario titles.
Paper Mario: The Origami King
This one always confuses me. Paper Mario: The Origami King came out to reviews that were . . . just fine. But as far as I’m concerned, it’s one of the best Mario games out there (and almost definitely the best Paper Mario game). It features hilarious writing, great and simple RPG mechanics, an inventive battle system, and a gorgeous art style – there’s very little to dislike in this game.
Super Mario Maker 2
Probably the best 2D Mario game ever (as a technicality), Super Mario Maker realised many people’s dreams. It gives you the keys to Nintendo’s oldest but most expensive car, letting you create your own 2D Mario levels. Super Mario Maker 2 perfected it, if only slightly, and the audience that built around it has since created some of the most exciting and ridiculous 2D Mario levels ever.
Super Mario All-Stars
The actual best 2D Mario game is Super Mario Bros. 3, so putting this in here is a bit of a cop-out. Super Mario All-Stars bundles together Super Mario Bros. 1, 2, and 3, as well The Lost Levels. All in all, it has such a large amount of Mario’s foundational elements that it is a must-play for any fan. It’s also really fun, which helps.
I could keep going, I’m sure. But I won’t. Instead, let someone else, with our list of Pokémon Legends: Arceus’ best Pokémon, or our list of the Pokémon Legends: Arceus legendaries. I mean, if you love Nintendo, you’re probably playing Pokémon, right?