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Every Mario Game On Nintendo Switch Ranked Worst To Best

Mario stands at the top of video game mascots, boasting a solid track record and an endless number of excellent titles. The character's current library is primarily composed of timeless platformers and standout spinoff hits, with lackluster outings being a rarity. Unfortunately, an ongoing issue with long-term franchises like this one is the amount of hoops needed to jump through in order to access the entire collection. Rarely is an entire series' gaming catalogue found on a single system, so it's a pleasant surprise to find that the majority of Mario games can presently be played on the Nintendo Switch.

Nintendo has held Mario to a high standard over the years, which has helped the Italian plumber maintain an overwhelming positive reception to his games being put out annually. However, some releases are better than others, and so it's time to rank all of the Mario games offered on the Nintendo Switch. These include all mainline platforming titles, sports entries, and other spinoffs.

In order to appear here, the game must be available through the Nintendo Switch's online shop, official physical products, or the NES/SNES Nintendo Switch Online library. This means that the likes of "Super Mario Galaxy 2," and the bulk of the "Party" and "Kart" series are ineligible. Also not making the list are the Game Boy games, along with other handheld titles that have yet to be added to the Switch Online catalogue. Finally, the SNES compilation "Super Mario All-Stars" will not be featured, as the original games will be discussed separately. Without further ado, here are all of Mario's adventures on the Nintendo Switch, ranked worst to best.

36. Yoshi

The "Super Mario" series and its characters have had many attempts at the falling-block genre; even Yoshi got his very own chance at the trend. The worst puzzle game on this list, "Yoshi" is an uninteresting, uneventful slog unbecoming of the beloved dino.

Oddly enough, players take control of Mario in a game that's called "Yoshi." Mario is moved side to side holding platters to build towers of iconic Mario enemies and Yoshi eggs. The objective of the game is to construct enemy sandwiches between two pieces of a Yoshi egg to create more Yoshis. These enemies can disappear when atop one another in pairs of two, or else after being in-between the Yoshi egg pieces. When a Yoshi sandwich is made, the pieces merge and then crack open to reveal a baby Yoshi.

It's an interesting premise, to say the least, but gameplay is very one-note and the levels do little to differentiate from each other. Get an egg piece on the bottom, stack enemies, top it off with another egg piece, and repeat. Whereas other games like "Tetris" welcome different strategies, "Yoshi" suffers from a rinse and repeat gameplay loop that gets old fast. Mario does have a smooth spin move that lets him switch stacks, but this does little to improve one's time with the game.

IGN's retro review of the title probably said it best when declaring that players will see all there is to the game within the first few minutes of starting it up.

  • Release Date: Dec. 14, 1991
  • Available On: NES, Switch
  • Genre: Puzzle
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Local Multiplayer (Up to 2)

35. Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

Seemingly a pipe dream after previous console wars, a definitive crossover between the Italian plumber and iconic blue blur was a wish for many up until the unveiling of the first "Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games." Originally considered an April Fools' Day joke by websites like Press The Buttons back in 2007, the concept of the two most recognizable gaming mascots competing in an officially-branded Olympic Games setting is as wacky today as it was all those years ago.

"Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020" does little to justify a sixth installment for the series, as IGN claims that its mini-games can be "hit-and-miss," while other media outlets bemoan the lack of gameplay modes, which ultimately hinders replayability. A story mode was added to the latest installment, but GameSpot noted that this drags out playtime with overly-long text-only dialogue.

A highlight of the game, however, is the number of NES and Genesis-inspired mini-games that seek to mix things up. These retro mini-games have been deemed the most enjoyable aspects of the most recent "Mario & Sonic" entry by many critics, with Easy Allies stating that "the retro angle could have been the missing ingredient" to keep the series fresh. 

The "Mario & Sonic" series will always be one of gaming's oddest combinations, and while some joy can be found in its 2020 iteration, the flaws present keep players from having long-term fun with the game.

  • Release Date: Nov. 1, 2019
  • Available On: Switch
  • Genre: Sports, Party
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Local Multiplayer (Up to 8)
  • Metacritic Score: 69

34. Mario Bros.

Otherwise known as the first appearance of Luigi, 1983's "Mario Bros." offers an early look at the beloved brothers in an arcade co-op setting. Players navigate pipes as Mario or Luigi and clear waves of enemies, which in turn, grants entry into the next level. The game can be played with a single player, but having someone else join in elevates the fun and chaos. Praise also has to be given to the game on account of its simplicity; just about anyone can pick up and play, since only the D-pad and one other button are needed.

However, many features don't hold up so well. The Switch has the NES version of the game, which was made after its arcade counterpart and comes with limitations to the music and presentation. Nintendo Life criticizes these flaws, noting that "some graphical corners were still cut" and that the music is "still plenty recognizable but doesn't have quite the flair of the arcade version."

Like "Mario & Sonic," this title doesn't offer much to modern players past a few short rounds. Still, some respect is due to the landmark title, which officially served as the debut of the Mario Bros. together, shaping them into the iconic duo they are today. 

  • Release Date: April 4, 1983
  • Available On: Arcade, NES, Switch
  • Genre: Arcade, Platformer
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Local Multiplayer (Up to 2)

33. Wrecking Crew

"Wrecking Crew" is one of the earlier Mario outings that, instead of animal control and plumbing, sees the brothers working in construction. Making use of their hammers, the Mario Bros. must clear levels by destroying all objects in their path, all while avoiding fireballs and Foreman Spike.

Like "Donkey Kong" and "Mario Bros.," "Wrecking Crew" utilizes arcade mainstays like high scores and straightforward level progression. Differing greatly from the other two games is its choice to remove jumps from Mario's artillery. Instead, the construction bros rely on ladders to move around stages. This drastic change can be off-putting at first, but the fun of this title's plain and simple gameplay is hard to deny.

As referenced in ArcadeAttack's review, Mario's destruction-filled adventure is relatively easy at first, but progressively ramps up and offers enough challenges to keep things interesting. It's also super easy to pick up and play. All you need is the D-pad and one other button to unleash chaos, which somehow never gets old. Going off-stage and climbing ladders to avoid enemies can be extremely thrilling as well, whether it be on Level 1 or Level 100.

Although a blip on the Mario timeline and featuring very dated gameplay, "Wrecking Crew" has aged rather well, especially when compared to some of the stinkers on this list.

  • Release Date: June 18, 1985
  • Available On: NES, Switch
  • Genre: Puzzle, Arcade Platformer
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Local Multiplayer (Up to 2)

32. Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels

Mario games of late have been considered too easy, what with "Odyssey" doing away with lives entirely (via Nintendo Insider), and the inclusion of the invincible Nabbit in "New Super Mario Bros. U." Such accessibility options are not present in "Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels" — released in Japan as "Super Mario Bros. 2" — which was specifically designed to be difficult. 

In interviews, Mario creator Shigeru Miyamaoto has stated that the game was for masters of the original and he "thought it would be hard for first time players, so [Nintendo] put a sticker on the package that said 'For Super Players.'"

A Mario title centered around insane challenge is a tantalizing prospect, but at the end of the day, its execution didn't go over well with players, especially when considering Mario still controls the same as he does in the first game. YouTuber SomecallmeJohnny remarked that the game's level design "does not work with how Mario controls at all, which leads to a lot of frustrating deaths."

Some design choices, like being given a poison mushroom before a regular one in World 1-1, almost seem more like trolling rather than clever level design. Other annoyances include random invisible block placements, the need for frame-perfect jumps, and extreme wind conditions, all of which plague a well-intentioned sequel. "The Lost Levels" has a fun hook in being a direct follow-up — which is best consumed after playing through the original first — but the final product has not aged well.

  • Release Date: June 3, 1986
  • Available On: NES, Switch
  • Genre: Platformer
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Local Multiplayer (Up to 2)

31. NES Open Tournament Golf

Ignore the basic title, because this is actually a Mario sports game! Mario and Luigi serve as playable golfers, with Peach and Daisy also being present as their respective caddies. Rounding out the cast is Donkey Kong as an accountant (of course). Every Nintendo fan's dream, right? "NES Open Tournament Golf" is an entertaining (albeit limited) golf game that is hindered by the limitations of the NES' early days.

Gameplay is based around a power meter, which requires the right timing if you want to get as close to the hole possible. Furthermore, Backspin and Topspin can be selected to further increase accuracy. These features are fairly intuitive for the NES, but the praise ends there. As noted by Nintendo Life, there just isn't much going for the dated NES golf simulator. Mario golf games have simply improved over the years. Super Rush, the most recent golf title, has a plethora of modes, mechanics, and features that make the NES release more than obsolete.

"NES Open Tournament Golf" is worth a few rounds on the Switch, but not much else. Similarly with other older spinoffs in the Mario franchise, newer iterations have proven to be bigger and better games over the years.

  • Release Date: June 14, 1987
  • Available On: NES, Switch
  • Genre: Sports
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Multiplayer (Up to 2)

30. Donkey Kong Jr.

Now in the villain seat, Mario has captured Donkey Kong, leaving Donkey Kong Jr. to help save his father. Little Donkey Kong Jr. begins at the bottom of a level and must climb the top, dodging all kinds of obstacles. "Donkey Kong Jr." has four levels to tackle, all packed with various items and enemies filling up the screens. Though the short playtime can be a bummer, "Donkey Kong Jr." is as replayable as the original.

Where the game really gets fun is in trying to beat your high scores. As noted by CGRundertow, this game found ways to evolve the first installment's simple run-and-jump formula, Donkey Kong Jr. is able to climb and hop between ropes and chains, giving the player more ways to overcome obstacles. CGRUndertow also argues that the NES version does not compromise the original arcade release's vision. As the NES port is the one available on the Switch's online service, players will not have to worry about a drop in overall quality or nostalgia.

The game isn't revolutionary by any means, but "Donkey Kong Jr." for the NES does enough to prove itself as a worthy sequel to the original "Donkey Kong." Plus taking Mario down is worth the experience alone.

  • Release Date: June 30, 1982
  • Available On: Arcade, NES, Switch
  • Genre: Arcade Platformer
  • Game Modes: Single-player

29. Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit

The weirdest entry on the list is part toy and part game, making it a fantastic item for friends and family. "Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit" is something of a continuation of the "toys to life" genre that was previously popular with fans of properties like "Skylanders," "Disney Infinity," and "Lego Dimensions."

Buyers are able to set up a toy Mario R/C Kart and checkpoint gates that will analyze the course as it's mapped out, transforming any mundane environment (like your very own living room) into a full-on "Mario Kart" course. The real life toy is connected to the Switch, which creates a new game to play with each course built. Outlets such as Eurogamer have claimed the experience to be more chaotic than the actual Mario Kart games themselves!

Such chaos can be a detractor, though, as Eurogamer points to the obvious limitations that can occur in smaller spaces with poor wifi. Also concerning is the fact that multiplayer modes are locked behind separate karts and characters, like Luigi. As noted by Tech Radar, the standard Mario set isn't very economical on his own, so playing with others becomes more of a challenge.

Even with those issues "Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit" is a creative way to bring Mario Kart to life. Assembly and price may scare away potential buyers, but it is a fun time for Switch owners who want a more tangible "Kart" experience.

  • Release Date: Oct. 16, 2020
  • Available On: Switch
  • Genre: Augmented Reality, Kart Racer, Toys to Life
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Local Multiplayer (Up to 4)
  • Metacritic Score: 75

28. Super Mario Bros. 35

Although the majority of the games on this list can currently be played on the Switch right at this moment, one game has to break this pattern, and that game is "Super Mario Bros. 35." Created to initially coincide with Mario's 35th anniversary, "Super Mario Bros. 35" follows the battle royale trend by having players compete until there's only one plumber left standing atop the other 34 players.

"Super Mario Bros. 35" can be viewed as something of a sequel to the Switch's "Tetris 99" (which is thankfully still playable), as they share one core mechanic: performing well will send obstacles to your opponents and vice-versa. The game tests the adaptability of those who aim for the top, and proves to be a thrilling marathon for hardcore fans of the original "Super Mario Bros."

There are quite a number of drawbacks to game, however. Because this is a battle royale game, matches can go on for way too long as players get better and better (via Destructoid). This can dull the enjoyment of an otherwise well-designed free game. Another (and greater) downside is the game's exclusivity window has rendered the game unplayable. An anniversary celebration can only go on for so long, and Nintendo thought it best to leave the game in limbo after Mario's 35th had passed. As the game's final days approached, the internet literally braced for the death of Mario.

Even though "Super Mario Bros. 35" is a strong entry, its current unavailable status knocks it down significantly.

  • Release Date: Oct. 1, 2020
  • Previously Available On: Switch
  • Genre: Platformer, Battle Royale
  • Game Modes: Online Multiplayer (35 required)
  • Metacritic Score: 75

27. Wario's Woods

Back in the early NES and SNES days, before "Wario Land" and "Wario World," the lovable yello-hatted antihero dabbled in the puzzle genre. Hopping on the "Tetris" bandwagon, "Wario's Woods" sought to establish a Mario spinoff that would become the next big puzzle game. Spoiler alert: it didn't. When this title is mentioned, it's typically stuck in an "underrated games" list (such as this one from Den of Geek). It may forever fly under the radar, but "Wario's Woods" is a hidden gem that deserves attention.

The premise of "Wario's Woods" mirrors that of "Dr. Mario," with the protagonist needing to destroy monsters using falling objects. Instead of pills, however, Wario opts for bombs to get the job done. One other difference is being able to control a moving Toad rather than the objects themselves; its unique choice helps distance itself from similar titles. Toad can be maneuvered to hold and drop bombs on monsters in a variety of patterns that clear the board.

Unfortunately, this decision comes with some baggage, as the controls for Toad can feel "clunky" at times, which HonestGamers points out isn't very compatible with high-pressure moments in the game. Toad has awesome movement like running on walls, but he gets in his own way, since positioning bombs and enemies requires perfect placement. This criticism brings to light the bittersweet nature of the game: It's full of great ideas with lackluster execution.

Once you get past the odd learning curve and controls, "Wario's Woods" becomes a fun arcade puzzle game that probably should've gotten a bigger spotlight in 1994.

  • Release Date: Feb. 19, 1994
  • Available On: NES, SNES, Switch
  • Genre: Puzzle
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Local Multiplayer (Up to 2)

26. Super Mario Party

Dropping the number from its title and adding the word "Super" at the front essentially makes "Super Mario Party" a much-needed soft reboot for the longstanding series. As critics noted, "Super Mario Party" is definitely a step in the right direction, thanks to its engaging mini-games and detailed boards.

Nintendo made sure to differentiate this title's mini-games from what came before. Players will use their Joy-Cons to grill meat, maneuver tanks, and even ride tricycles. Unfortunately, these mini-games come with some problems; Kotaku's review stated that some of the mini-games reach their highest potential when incorporating the Switch's full capabilities, including motion controls and button-mashing — but many simply do not.

Another bittersweet feature of the game is its unique boards, such as the tropical Megafruit Paradise. Sadly, there are only four boards total, which has caused some backlash from outlets such as Nintendo Enthusiast, which put a spotlight on the sheer lack of content in Nintendo's recent products.

Even with some missteps, "Super Mario Party" finds the series at its peak in regards to some of the elements that have defined previous games. Unfortunately, as reported by Screen Rant, fans aren't going to get more boards via DLC. Instead, 2021's "Mario Party Superstars" remakes older boards that look like they could have just been added to "Super Mario Party" to flesh it out.

  • Release Date: Oct. 5, 2018
  • Available On: Switch
  • Genre: Party
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Local and Online Multiplayer (Up to 4)
  • Metacritic Score: 76

25. Mario's Super Picross

"Mario's Super Picross" was a Japan-only release until it was finally included in the Switch Online library for the U.S. in 2020. Certainly branching off the typical "Tetris"-like puzzle games, "Mario's Super Picross" is a challenging yet gratifying title that has gone unnoticed until recently.

The game of Picross can be difficult to wrap one's head around, but Nintendo has luckily provided a tutorial for new players. The objective is centered around breaking blocks to reveal a hidden image by using the numbers on top and to the left as guiding hints. Advancing through games is usually dependent on the execution of difficulty; "Mario's Super Picross" excels when it comes to the difficulty curve, since levels gradually become more demanding (via Nintendo Life). This approach to challenge makes "Mario's Super Picross" feel fair, rather than cheap.

If the Mario franchise's attempts at tile-matching are becoming too tiresome, then it's time to try out "Mario's Super Picross." After years of absence in North America, it has never been a better time to play through one of the series' best puzzle games.

  • Release Date: Sept. 14, 1995
  • Available On: Switch
  • Genre: Puzzle
  • Game Modes: Single-player

24. Mario Golf: Super Rush

"Mario Golf: Super Rush" is a prime example of developer Camelot throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks. A new story mode led by the player's Mii, a slew of new gameplay techniques, and optional motion controls all combine to make a surprisingly in-depth sports spinoff. 

As the name suggests, "Super Rush" mode is the main draw to the game. This mode puts a fresh "Mario Kart"-esque spin on things, allowing for players to run on foot to their next shot while throwing and dodging attacks. IGN's review commended the main mode for playing up the many "unique character abilities," which help make the golfing more interesting.

Other modes can be disappointing, however, as Battle Golf seeks to keep players entertained — but only for a short while. The hectic fun of "Super Rush" is continued, but Battle Golf requires players to finish three holes first in arena-style matches. The primary issue is that this mode only has two dedicated arenas, and Nintendo Life found that Battle Golf simply didn't "hold attention for long". 

A highpoint of the game is that all playable characters feel and look distinct from each other, from their golfing wardrobe to their varied special shots. The courses themselves are all different and exciting, with Bowser Highlands and New Donk City being highlights. With new content being rolled out by Nintendo, "Super Rush" is the gift that keeps on giving, but mostly in short bursts.

  • Release Date: June 25, 2021
  • Available On: Switch
  • Genre: Sports
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Local and Online Multiplayer (Up to 4)
  • Metacritic Score: 70

23. Mario Tennis Aces

Like its golfing buddy, "Mario Tennis Aces" brings wacky Nintendo charm to the tennis courts. "Aces" makes gameplay more arcade-like with the inclusion of zone shots, trick shots, and breakable rackets. These mechanics help the game to avoid bland rallies that could potentially lose the interest of players.

"Mario Tennis Aces" is pretty easy to pick up and play, whether one has experience with past tennis installments or not. Fast flat shots, curved slices, tall lobs, and tricky drop shots all round out the variations of shots in the player's arsenal, which keeps matches fresh and distinct (via USgamer). Zone shots are unique to "Aces" as they are placed with gyro controls and have the possibility of breaking the opponent's racket, resulting in a disqualification.

The game's special shots require the use of a meter that is built over the course of the game and can directly determine the outcome of a match. These shots feel essential to the game, with GameSpot even stating that the new mechanics "force you to make pivotal risk-reward decisions". 

"Mario Tennis Open," and "Mario Power Tennis" will always be certified classics, but they can't hold a candle to how intricate "Aces" is. According to GameSpot, the biggest downside is that the online matchmaking system did not receive the same love that was given to the competitive gameplay.

  • Release Date: June 22, 2018
  • Available On: Switch
  • Genre: Sports
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Local and Online Multiplayer (Up to 4)
  • Metacritic Score: 75

22. Yoshi's Crafted World

"Kirby's Epic Yarn" depicted Kirby in a different light by placing him in an arts and crafts world filled with yarn, beads, and pipe cleaners. The new vibe was certainly a welcome one among dedicated Nintendo fans. Following Kirby's lead, "Yoshi's Crafted World" is the sequel to "Yoshi's Woolly World," which brought the beloved dinosaur to a craft-heavy world to run and jump around in.

And that art style is the biggest strength in "Yoshi's Crafted World." The Verge's review focused much of its praise to the game's overall kid-friendly presentation, as Yoshi's newest entry has environments that make it seem as though they were conceived by children. Levels range from large cardboard structures to complex origami arrangements. Design wise, "Crafted World" lives up to its title, and each level looks vastly different than the previous one.

Another exciting aspect of "Yoshi's Crafted World" is its number of unlockable outfits. Mario isn't featured directly in the game, but there is a nod to the lovable plumber and his family in the form of Mario and Luigi outfits for Yoshi.

Where Yoshi stumbles is in its difficulty level and lack of true innovation. There is a severe lack of challenge, which makes the game slowly grow into a dull experience (via VentureBeat). "Yoshi's Crafted World" has plenty of neat ideas, but they aren't fully realized. Even so, it's eye-catching setting and design makes it a constant visual treat.

  • Release Date: March 29, 2019
  • Available On: Switch
  • Genre: Platformer
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Local Multiplayer (Up to 2)
  • Metacritic Score: 79

21. Donkey Kong

An instant classic, "Donkey Kong" is the very first appearance of Mario as Jumpman who must stop the giant ape and rescue Pauline (now mayor of New Donk City). With only four screen stages, Donkey Kong definitely does not overstay its welcome.

"Donkey Kong" finds a good balance between simplicity and depth as barrels are easily leaped over but can stump players when climbing ladders. If barrels give too much trouble, the hammer item can be used to break barrels even netting the player more points to their total. Patterns of enemies and objects also shift as levels are completed and recycled making previous challenges even tougher.

Unlike its NES sequel, "Donkey Kong" for the NES is a port that suffers immensely from the original arcade game. Addressed by GameSpot's review, the NES iteration has a variation of only 3 screens instead of the 4 total found on the arcade version. This is a large chunk taken out and can make players feel left wanting the cut content. Thankfully there is an alternative way to play the game, which is acquired by purchasing "Arcade Archives Donkey Kong." The Arcade Archives version, found on the Nintendo eShop, retains the full arcade experience of the game not seen in the NES port.

As a whole, "Donkey Kong" is a remarkable part of video game history with its influence on the platformer genre and the introduction of Mario as a mascot.

  • Release Date: July 8, 1981
  • Available On: NES, Switch
  • Genre: Arcade Platformer
  • Game Modes: Single-player

20. Dr. Mario

At first glance, "Dr. Mario" looks like a poor attempt at recreating the success that "Tetris" saw, but it has produced a creative and thoughtful puzzle system that feels new today. Rocking his coat, head mirror, and a PhD (somehow), Mario throws capsules at viruses to clear stages. The addicting game loop gets more complex as color placements and combos are key to clearing later levels.  

Rather than being given blank grids to build unique creations as in "Tetris," "Dr. Mario" instead yields preset viruses to destroy. Although this rule seems like a restriction forcing players to limit their play, the unpredictable grids allow gamers to improvise and achieve success in limitless ways. 

Fans like Classic Game Room's Derek have commented on just how addicting the resulting gameplay loop can be in "Dr. Mario." An underrated aspect of Mario's foray into the puzzle genre is the music, as both the "Fever" and "Chill" themes are hypnotic tracks that increase the addictive nature of the game while also embracing a medicinal motif in their titles.

As noted by Game Revolution, future sequels such as "Dr. Luigi" have a bit more to offer players, including a new L-shaped capsule and a variety of modes that heighten replayability, but the original simplicity of "Dr. Mario has aged gracefully on the Switch.

  • Release Date: July 27, 1990
  • Available On: NES, Switch
  • Genre: Puzzle
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Local Multiplayer (Up to 2)

19. Super Mario Bros. 2

The only Mario game on this list that wasn't originally a Mario game, "Super Mario Bros. 2," has possibly the oddest origins in all of gaming. After releasing the insanely difficult "Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels" in Japan, Nintendo saw fit to repackage the game "Doki Doki Panic" as "Super Mario Bros. 2" in the U.S. Wired elaborates on the significance of the event by noting that the U.S. version of the game was received so favorably that Nintendo repackaged it again for Japan.

With that being said, "Super Mario Bros. 2" is a vastly different game from the original "Super Mario Bros." Peach and Toad were added to the playable roster, and each character can be identified by their unique abilities: Mario is a jack of all trades in terms of speed and jumping power, Luigi is able to jump higher, Peach is given a floating ability, and Toad is unmatched with his speed. These character traits were so enjoyable that they have since been kept intact for other Mario titles, like "Super Mario 3D World."

Furthermore, "Super Mario Bros. 2" is inhabited by iconic enemies and items that are still significant to this day. The NES sequel acts as the first appearances of Birdo and Shy Guy, who must be taken down with the game's quirky ability to throw turnips and other items. "Super Mario Bros. 2" is a sequel that branched off in a new direction, letting it become its own entity and impacting the development of future Mario outings. While GameSpot has noted that it can feel too out of place at times, this follow-up remains culturally relevant.

  • Release Date: Oct. 9, 1988
  • Available On: NES, Switch
  • Genre: Platformer
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Local Multiplayer (Up to 2)

18. Paper Mario: The Origami King

After the lukewarm releases of "Sticker Star" and "Color Splash," the "Paper Mario" series seemed cursed to never again recapture the impact that "The Thousand Year Door" had on critics and fans. Although "Paper Mario: The Origami King" does not reach the high bar set by its GameCube predecessor, it's a step in the right direction. Since straying from the path did not win Nintendo any favors with the two former games, "Origami King" is the result of trying to recapture the spirit of the original N64 and GameCube titles.

Combat-wise, "Origami King" shakes things up by offering a turntable arena that must be utilized to best overcome bosses and standard enemies. The flooring is able to be shifted so that the player can piece together how to efficiently make their move, allowing battles to feel more like a puzzle. 

These enemy encounters are a lot of fun, but the lack of a traditional experience point system remains a point of contention. Nintendo Life reports that the there is a mention of a standard "EXP" system in the game's code. Obviously the end product scrapped the idea, leaving many fans confused and disappointed by its absence.

An element of the game that cannot be denied, however, is the charm and whimsy of the story, which makes it really feel like a true sequel to the original two games. VentureBeat's Jeff Grubb specifically commented on the strong writing and characters in his review, saying, "I have an especially soft spot for Bobby (Bob-omb). He's going to live in my heart forever."

  • Release Date: July 17, 2020
  • Available On: Switch
  • Genre: Adventure, RPG
  • Game Modes: Single-player

17. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

"Mario & Sonic" represents a long awaited crossover that produced an underwhelming, borderline throwaway series. On the other side of the spectrum is "Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle," a mashup that was wanted by no one — yet achieved the impossible by creating one solid Switch game.

Taking inspiration from other real-time strategy pioneers like "XCOM," "Kingdom Battle" has the Rabbids and Mario navigating through turn-based battles with ranged attacks and tactical cover. The Nintendo and Ubisoft crossover is a joy to handle; each cast member has their own skill tree to toy with, and journeying through the mishmash of colliding worlds is always exciting.

"Mario + Rabbids" is solid when it comes to battle, but the overworld has significant issues that could use some ironing out. Specifically, navigating the world can be a bit of a chore, since the player does not control Mario or the Rabbids, but rather a companion robot named Beep-0. The choice to give Beep-0 this role is novel, but it's also a bit of a nuisance. Regarding Beep-0, IGN's review argued that "as a party leader he's terrible," and that Mario should have been more of a focus.

Overall, though, marriage of IPs produced nothing short of a miracle, as "Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle" allows Switch players to experience something that cannot be found in the rest of its catalogue. Nitpicks aside, it is a fantastic innovation that "sparks" high expectations for its 2022 sequel.

  • Release Date: August 29, 2017
  • Available On: Switch
  • Genre: Strategy
  • Game Modes: Single-player

16. Super Mario Kart

Creating the modern gaming kart genre almost singlehandedly, "Super Mario Kart" is the father of one of the most iconic spinoff series in the Mario franchise, and its first appearance is a memorable one. Many of the modes and features of newer entries seem like they were more recent additions, but "Super Mario Kart" actually came out of the gate with much of that content in tow. Time trials, battle mode, and co-op Cup-based racing were all a part of the SNES hit and set the precedent for its successors. Even Lakitu's ability to bring racers back from a fall sprang from this original SNES title.

Much of the content in "Super Mario Kart" is timeless, to the point where many of the courses featured have since been remade in "Mario Kart 8" (via Wired), including Donut Plains 3 and the original Rainbow Road. Consequently, there is not much to criticize the game for when pitting it against the other Mario games on Switch.

"Super Mario Kart" lags slightly behind other iterations, simply due to it's age; its dated racing and drift mechanics are not as in-depth as later sequels. Even so, this genre pioneer is a game that warrants return visits; it might be one of the best examples of how strong a first game in a long-lasting franchise can be.

  • Release Date: Aug. 27, 1992
  • Available On: SNES, Switch
  • Genre: Kart racer
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Local and Online Multiplayer (Up to 4)

15. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

Mario and jumping are two essential elements a platformer in this franchise needs. "Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker" contains neither — and still manages to be one of the best spinoffs in recent memory.

Based on the side missions in "Super Mario 3D World," the original Wii U release places Captain Toad and Toadette in bite-sized levels searching for stars, and diamonds. The in-game camera is key; a level can look drastically different from a different perspective, leading to satisfying secrets being uncovered. IGN elaborates on these courses by praising the game's ability to twist and shift them; just about every level is a playable optical illusion.

As mentioned before, jumping is a no-go. This feels like it would be a limitation, and yet it's the game's biggest strength. The inability to jump makes for creative moments as Captain Toad and company utilize a pickaxe to open new pathways or climb ladders to gain some verticality. In this way, "Captain Toad" makes platforming more of a complex puzzle.

The Switch port contains 5 brand new levels on top of 18 remixed courses to complete. On top of these additions, the Switch version allows for 2-player co-op to complete levels; progression becomes either a joy or frustration depending on who you're exploring with. VentureBeat called the Switch release "a peak Nintendo puzzler," and "Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker" is essential for any Switch owner.

  • Release Date: Nov. 13, 2014
  • Available On: Wii U, 3DS, Switch
  • Genre: Puzzle, Platformer
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Local Multiplayer (Up to 2)

14. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe

Each mainline 2D Mario title has been known to innovate and differentiate themself from the other... up until the "New Super Mario Bros." series, which has 4 mainline entries under its belt. The latest, "New Super Mario Bros. U," was ported to the Switch in 2019, and became one of the most inclusive Mario games.

"New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe" delivers on the tried and true formula of the "New" series, offering old school mechanics mixed with exciting new power-ups. Platforming remains tight with the help of the super acorn item, which lets characters freely glide. For casual players, Nabbit, and Toadette have been added to decrease the challenge. Nabbit is invulnerable to hits and Toadette can transform into Peachette, whose floating and double jump powers led to Syfy labeling her as an "easy to use" character. For fans that find the main game too easy, "New Super Luigi U" is a very notable pack-in that offers masters of the base game some insane challenges they can only find in Luigi's solo outing (via Eurogamer).

Unfortunately, the "New Super Mario Bros." series' formula has begun to grow tired. The Gamer noted in 2018 that the games seem to be running out of ideas, and has even resorted to repeating environments. Nevertheless, "New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe" is still a lot of fun, particularly thanks to the added features and bonus challenges.

  • Release Date: Jan. 11, 2019
  • Available On: Wii U, Switch
  • Genre: Platformer
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Local Multiplayer (Up to 4)
  • Metacritic Score: 80

13. WarioWare: Get It Together!

The Nintendo Switch finally got a "WarioWare" game, and "Get it Together!" did not disappoint critics. Returning to dominate the video game industry with his endless micro-games, "WarioWare: Get It Together!" sees Wario and friends getting sucked into the television. The whacky premise shakes up the series' gameplay, forcing players to try to get various members of the cast through a series of bizarre challenges.

Replayability has always been the muscle of the "WarioWare" experience, and it is more important here than ever before. "WarioWare: Get It Together!" contains a cast of 20 characters, all with different attributes and controls (via Nintendo Life). This makes for endless fun, since playing just one mini-game with different characters (and solving them in different ways) never gets boring. As noted by Game Informer, some of these micro-games can be real bests, featuring basic goals that become harder to accomplish in the short time frame being given.

A whole new playable cast of characters is amazing on its own, but when multiplayer is thrown into the mix, "Get It Together!" becomes an almost entirely different game. Co-op can either help or worsen performance, making for a completely hectic (but fun) time. In fact, outlets like Polygon have argued that the game is more fun the more chaotic it gets. If there was only one multiplayer party game to buy on the Switch then it would be difficult to not go with "Get It Together."

  • Release Date: Sept. 10, 2021
  • Available On: Switch
  • Genre: Party
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Local Multiplayer (Up to 4)
  • Metacritic Score: 76

12. Super Mario Maker 2

Creating personalized Mario levels was just a dream before "Super Mario Maker" came out for the Wii U, and it remains a hard-to-believe reality with "Super Mario Maker 2" on Switch. Transferring over what worked with the original while including a new "3D World" theme and cooperative levels, "Super Mario Maker 2" is a seriously solid sequel.

Differing from the first game is how there are no barriers to entry, thanks to the inclusion of a story mode that serves as an incredible tutorial. Although teaching the mechanics of level-building is its primary function, the story mode also offers ideas that can be incorporated into the player's original levels. Outlets such as Mashable have applauded the story mode levels for essentially showing the developers having the same kind of fun that players had when firing up the original "Super Mario Maker."

Issues with online play have unfortunately added a sad blemish on "Super Mario Maker 2" that would otherwise be a perfect game. Twinfinite noted that lag can impede progression in multiplayer levels, and navigating the online search engine for community levels is a drag. Even with its online flaws, "Super Mario Maker 2" is a fantastic use of past Mario assets, one that is sure to produce millions more levels than it already has.

  • Release Date: June 28, 2019
  • Available On: Switch
  • Genre: Platformer
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Local and Online Multiplayer (Up to 4)
  • Metacritic Score: 88

11. Super Mario Bros.

1985's "Super Mario Bros." was an instant classic; words can't describe how important it still is to the gaming industry. The brothers' first iteration of platforming involved navigating sprawling environments that progressively ramped up in difficulty. It also featured plenty of hidden secrets, including some moments that will live with players forever.

Like "Super Mario Kart", the first 2D Mario game surprises with the sheer amount of ideas packed into a first installment. For example, as noted by Game Revolution, enemies and gaps are cleverly placed in World 1-1 to emulate a tutorial while still progressing gameplay. This kind of direction makes the game the perfect entry point for anyone just beginning their video game journey, especially today. 

The game has also given rise to a healthy speedrunning community, which is still going strong today. This modern day relevance is a testament to the game's enduring level of quality. Speedruns of the game have strong reliance on the Warp Zones that transport players across worlds in the blink of an eye. Early critics were floored by these kinds of shortcuts, with some praising them as one of the best parts of the game (via Nintendo Times). These shortcuts allow people play how they want, picking between a short and sweet playthrough or a more completionist's run.

Even though it's nearly four decades old at this point, "Super Mario Bros." still holds up as one of the best games that Mario has appeared in. 

  • Release Date: Sept. 13, 1985
  • Available On: NES, Switch
  • Genre: Platformer
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Local Multiplayer (Up to 2)

10. Luigi's Mansion 3

Luigi has been hopping around consoles as a ghostbuster since 2001, creeping his way from the Gamecube all the way to the 3DS. "Luigi's Mansion 3" is the latest in this line of "horror" games and has staked its claim as one of the best-looking Switch games to date.

As usual, Mario and friends are captured and Luigi must overcome his fears to save the day. Luigi is not alone, though, as the slimy clone known as Gooigi has joined the fray, aiding Luigi during puzzles and combat in a truly inspired addition to the series. (via The Guardian).

One of the highlights of this haunting title is its expansive level design. Luigi and Gooigi travel between disco dance floors, movie sets, and museums, all demonstrating how diverse the game is and keeping the players' attention at all times. Of course, these differing areas offer a variety of objectives. Luigi must defeat a disco-enthusiast boss, navigate a winding magic maze, joust a ghoulish knight, help a filmmaker finish his cinematic masterpiece, and more.

Even with its Gooigi-centric co-op, it's worth noting that "Luigi's Mansion 3" is a good time no matter how many players are involved. A great campaign, fantastic graphics, and even some optional multiplayer modes help make this game a Switch essential.

  • Release Date: Oct. 31, 2019
  • Available On: Switch
  • Genre: Action-Adventure
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Local and Online Multiplayer (Up to 8)
  • Metacritic Score: 86

9. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

"Pikmin 3," "New Super Mario Bros. U," "Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze," and "Bayonetta 2" are just a few examples of the endless Wii U titles that eventually made the jump to Switch, but none of them have remained as popular as this particular Mario game. "Mario Kart 8 Deluxe" is how a Switch port should really be done; it added more characters, included all previous DLC, and made the necessary gameplay changes to make for an essential Mario experience on Nintendo's portable console.

Rectifying all the issues from the original release, "Deluxe" stands at the top of video game comebacks. As noted by Kotaku, the biggest point of contention — the stripped-down battle mode in the Wii U version— has been completely overhauled. This means more selectable tracks and brand new modes to play with friends and family. Not only that, but the actual gameplay was changed for the better as well — now racers have been given the benefit of holding two items, increasing the chaotic fun.

"Mario Kart 8 Deluxe" is the definitive kart racing experience. "Super Mario Kart" may be a well-regarded classic but "8 Deluxe" has the content, replayability, and gameplay that has helped it endure in popularity as the only new "Mario Kart" game in nearly a decade.

  • Release Date: May 29, 2014
  • Available On: Switch
  • Genre: Kart racer
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Local and Online Multiplayer (Up to 12)
  • Metacritic Score: 92

8. Super Mario Sunshine

One of the 3 games comprising the "Super Mario 3D All Stars" compilation, "Super Mario Sunshine" is one of the weirdest sequels on the plumber's timeline. Sequels today usually just give fans more of the same, and with how revolutionary "Super Mario 64" was, doing so would have been the safe move. Nintendo thought otherwise and gave Mario a water-blasting jetpack, dropped him into a tropical island, and tasked him with cleaning up Isle Delfino's graffiti.

"Sunshine" follows parts of the "Super Mario 64" formula while putting its own weird spin on things. Rather than letting players pick and choose which Stars to go after like in "64," "Sunshine" forces gamers to suck it up and find at least the first seven hidden Shine Sprites of each level to unlock the final act of the game. This is easier said than done, as Screen Rant has pointed out that some of the levels in "Sunshine" are punishingly difficult.

Regardless, the challenge does not distract from the game's charms. F.L.U.D.D., Mario's water jetpack, is incorporated in almost every second of the adventure, giving Mario extra height and mobility (via TechRaptor). Not aging as well, however, are the severe camera issues that plague Mario's vacation, with GameSpot pointing to "The Runaway Ferris Wheel" level as the worst offender in this regard.

The sheer style of "Sunshine" is the highpoint of the game, which looks even better on Switch, thanks to 1080p resolution and a widescreen display

  • Release Date: July 19, 2002
  • Available On: GameCube, Switch
  • Genre: Platformer
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic Score: 92

7. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island

Literally taking the backseat in his own sequel, Mario goes from mushroom-eating man to Yoshi-riding baby. In that sense, "Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island" is a spinoff disguised as a sequel — with Yoshi as the star. With its innovative game design and unique gameplay mechanics, "Yoshi's Island" is stellar in almost every way.

Yoshi was already extremely mobile in the original "Super Mario World," and his moveset has only grown. With his newfound height and projectiles, Yoshi is a joy to control. Both the flutter jump and egg toss moves originated in the SNES sequel, but now Yoshi can aim his eggs with accuracy. These moves are so influential that they have since been seen in other games, including his appearances in the "Super Smash Bros." series.

The story of Yoshi's Island revolves around Yoshi needing to take care of Baby Mario on his journey to reunite him with Baby Luigi. Baby Mario rides on Yoshi's back the whole way and acts as his own sort of obstacle in the game; as soon as Yoshi's hit, Baby Mario is thrown off and must be rescued. It's a neat gimmick, but the endless shrieks of Baby Mario can become unbearable over time. Some critics have described the mechanic as being effective, since "You want to get him back if only for the sake of shutting him up."

"Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island" is very different from its predecessor, but risky changes and vibrant art style make the game timeless.

  • Release Date: August 5, 1995
  • Available On: SNES, Switch
  • Genre: Platformer
  • Game Modes: Single-player

6. Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury

If "Mario Kart 8 Deluxe" is how a solid Switch port is done, then the critically acclaimed "Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury" is what happens when developers go even further beyond that standard. "3D World," like "Mario Kart 8 Deluxe," has the balance changes and additions that justify its move to the Switch, but it's the inclusion of "Bowser's Fury" that solidifies its placement as one of the best Mario releases to date.

"3D World" makes longtime fan requests a reality by including adjustments to running speed, which helps make an already great multiplayer game even more hectic and fun. A new air dive move makes platforming a dream, improving upon near-perfection. 

"Bowser's Fury" is the cherry on top, and what a cherry it is. After constant pleas from fans for expanded "Odyssey" content, Nintendo finally delivered by essentially making it in the form of a new adventure bundled in with "3D World." Lake Lapcat is a wide open kingdom that marries the exploration and freedom of "Odyssey" with the tight level design and challenge of "3D World." The result is a glorious experiment in 3D platforming that makes those who complete it want more.

"Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury" is one of the Switch's best deals; buyers aren't just receiving a remastered version of a beloved Wii U game, but also a fantastic standalone adventure as a bonus.

  • Release Date: Feb. 12, 2021
  • Available On: Switch
  • Genre: Platformer
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Local and Online Multiplayer (Up to 4)
  • Metacritic Score: 89

5. Super Mario Bros. 3

"Super Mario Bros." may have created the formula for a perfect Mario game, but "Super Mario Bros. 3" turned said formula on its head, improving upon the original in every regard — despite how its creator might feel about it. While the first entru was built off of running and jumping through a level, "Super Mario Bros. 3" has Mario literally flying up and down to reach his goal. The Super Leaf power-up basically changed the course of the franchise all on its own. 

The third game in the series also added Toad houses, which critics love for providing much-needed reprieves, power-ups, mini-games, and extra lives — all of which were necessary for Mario to save Peach from Bowser once again. These Toad houses perfectly encapsulate the best part about the third game in the series: its ability to balance fun and difficulty. They worked so well, in fact, that they were later implemented in the "New Super Mario Bros." and "Super Mario 3D World" games.

Another huge talking point for the game is the number of suits that grant Mario abilities that help levels become more enjoyable, like bouncing in a black boot, swimming while donning the Frog suit, and copying the Hammer Brothers ability with the Hammer suit. Fans have also noted that these suits can sometimes open up even more secrets in the game, making the original two "Super Mario" platformers look almost obsolete.

  • Release Date: Oct. 23, 1988
  • Available On: NES, Switch
  • Genre: Platformer
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Local Multiplayer (Up to 2)

4. Super Mario World

Picking between "Super Mario Bros. 3" and "Super Mario World" is an almost impossible task, but "World" just nearly edges out "3" for one sole reason: Yoshi the Dinosaur. Yoshi represents how just one variable in a game can mean so much.

"Super Mario Bros. 3" might have introduced some of the best power-ups in any game, but Yoshi can hold his own as a power-up and a mode of transportation. Yoshi can eat shells and spit them back out as fire balls. Yoshi gives Mario higher jumps to help assist within even the hardest levels of the game. Yoshi takes a hit for Mario and runs off allowing players to hop back on and continue as normal. There is no "Super Mario World" without Yoshi, and this green dinosaur is the reason why pouring hours on end into the best 2D Mario game is so easy to do.

Even without Yoshi's presence, "Super Mario World" brings so much to the table. Outlets like Den of Geek have commented on the game's use of the SNES' "graphical power," that helps make everything feel more vivid and energetic than Mario's NES exploits. Also changing up the formula are checkpoints that help make up for the longer levels, further distancing the game from the already-excellent design of "Super Mario Bros. 3" (via USgamer).

When checking out Mario's classic adventures on the Switch, do not skip the game that introduced some of the franchise's best aspects.

3. Super Mario 64

Switching from 2D to 3D is a tough transition for most franchises, but somehow "Super Mario 64" outdoes all the 2D outings Mario has under his belt. "Super Mario 64" gives the player the ultimate freedom of choice; gamers can complete and skip levels at their leisure (with the necessary amount of Stars to unlock certain doors, of course). Some regard this choice as integral, since it never feels annoying to collect stars.

However, a warning of sorts is needed for this game. As noted by Inverse, the "3D All Stars" version — the only playable version on Switch — is the alternate "Shindou edition," which unfortunately is inferior to the original in some ways. For instance, infamous glitches that make speedrunning and enjoying the game altogether have been removed from this port. Even worse is the low effort work put into the Switch version. As noted by Digital Foundry, the newest remaster is still in a 4:3 aspect ratio. As a result, the latest release feels like it has barely seen any changes, unlike the versions of "Galaxy" and "Sunshine" on the cartridge.

With that being said, "Super Mario 64" on Switch is still an amazing game that lets owners experience the 3D classic on the go. The list of issues with the "3D All Stars" version is extensive, but for any nostalgic gamers who aren't into speedrunning the game, the changes don't even come close to destroying the value of the base game. 

  • Release Date: June 23, 1996
  • Available On: N64, Switch
  • Genre: Platformer
  • Game Modes: Single-player

2. Super Mario Galaxy

3D platformers have had a rocky existence in the last decade, especially with the future extinction of the genre always being alluded to by journalists. Since no game was able to fully recapture the magic that "Super Mario 64," and "Sunshine" brought to the genre, Nintendo took it upon itself to send Mario to space — making history yet again.

The secret-filled "Super Mario Galaxy" was released to near-perfect reviews and has been pointed to by fans as quite possibly the best game ever made, since it actually turned the conventions of 3D platforming upside down at a time when it needed it most. Sure, previous platforming games like "Sonic Adventure 2" and the "Ratchet & Clank" series had toyed with concepts of gravity and space exploration, but "Super Mario Galaxy" infused those mechanics into the series' core gameplay almost seamlessly. Aside from the game's exceptional puzzles, running around an open area just to discover the goodies on the other side of the planet is an experience like no other.

An already faultless game is improved with its "3D All Stars" version, which is presented in 1080p resolution and allows "Super Mario Galaxy" to break free from the chains placed upon it by the Wii's graphical limitations. The motion controls haven't had quite as good a transition (per The Washington Post), which can lead to a good amount of Joy-Con recalibration, but if that's what it takes to relive the unforgettable space adventure on the Switch then so be it.

  • Release Date: Nov. 1, 2007
  • Available On: Wii, Switch
  • Genre: Platformer
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic Score: 97

1. Super Mario Odyssey

It's difficult to find a game on the Switch that brings out a fraction of the amount of happiness and sheer joy that the beloved "Super Mario Odyssey" does. "Galaxy" might have a bit of an edge in the innovation department, but "Odyssey" pushes the platforming genre just a bit further, becoming Mario's greatest adventure yet.

The game is a series of sandboxes that allows the player complete freedom in tackling objectives. Requirements to progress the story come down to getting whatever Power Moons the player wants to acquire. Like the Stars and Shines in previous games, these moons can be acquired through a huge number of fun and offbeat challenges, including tracing circles with Koopas, riding scooters from dinosaurs, answering riddles, racing RC cars, and spelling "Mario."

It would be a drag if Mario's controls weren't up to standards during this particular odyssey, so it's good to know that his newest 3D game has the best controls of potentially any video game ever created. Mario has an entire arsenal of moves at his disposal, making motion controls completely optional. Acrobatics like the triple jump are present, but rounding out Mario's abilities are the countless enemies able to be possessed and controlled, each with their own unique characteristics. This last aspect has been described by Polygon as a "historic" moment for the "Super Mario" franchise.

"Super Mario Odyssey" is the ultimate Mario game in many ways, and a great showcase for the Nintendo Switch, allowing for endless variations of play.

  • Release Date: Oct. 27, 2017
  • Available On: Switch
  • Genre: Platformer
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Local Multiplayer (Up to 2)
  • Metacritic Score: 97