I was originally going to put this in the video games topic but ended up writing a larger amount than expected so I decided to put it here instead.
During lockdown, alongside doing a few trombone videos on Facebook, since I am a huge fan of Mario platformers, I decided to reflect on the ones I have played and form a top 10 of my favourite ones. By the way I haven't played Super Mario Sunshine yet so you will not see that on this list, I hope to play that when/if they release the supposed remastered version on the Switch.
10. Super Mario 3D Land
I remember being extremely hyped for this game as an 11 year old, expecting it to be the next Super Mario Galaxy. However, the game ended up being a bit of a disappointment, it literally felt like a 2D Mario game ported into 3D (which is what I think they were going for). It was a step back from all the previous 3D Mario games with the levels not being very memorable and unique. Ignoring that fact, it's still a solid title and definitely worth playing if you have a 3DS.
9. New Super Mario Bros. U
By this point in the series the formula became very predictable, fight the Koopalings, same music, big bowser. Now this game did a few things differently like having a single connected world map and by changing the style of the worlds a little. The multiplayer also works well in this game and the New Super Luigi U add on is a nice bonus but so much more should’ve been done to innovate 2D Mario for example they could’ve at least made the art style less bland. I really don’t want the next 2D Mario game to be another one of these.
8. Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins
I got this game on the 3DS Virtual Console and wow! This game is just fantastic! The worlds or "zones" are completely different to the generic desert, snow, mountain, etc. In this game some of the zones include a space zone (with varying gravity!), a giant tree, a model of Mario, etc. This is what 2D Mario games should be like and I this is the direction I want the next 2D Mario game to take. The only reason it isn't any higher on the list is because it is a pretty short game, which I have absolutely no problem with considering it was made for a Game Boy. I think for what Nintendo had to work with they couldn't have made a better game.
7. Super Mario 3D World
This game is what Super Mario 3D Land should've been! The levels are definitely much more vibrant and enjoyable, the character selection really adds to it and the multiplier whilst not the practical thing in the world is alright if you’re playing with people who can actually play the game. However, much like 3D Land, this didn’t feel like a true 3D Mario Game. Whilst the levels were more memorable compared to 3D Land, they don’t really compare to those of the other 3D Mario games. At one point I genuinely thought they were going to make a true 3D Mario game for the Wii U and so did many other fans since we all thought of 3D Land and World being their own style of Mario games. Though it is still one of the best games the Wii U has to offer and just pure fun to play through.
6. New Super Mario Bros. Wii
This game takes the core gameplay of the DS version and adds plenty of new features to differentiate the game from it. The multiplayer is so much fun and the levels really make the most of the new features. This was the first time I ever battled the Koopalings in a Mario game so I had no problem with them being the only bosses (unlike many other Nintendo fans) and I liked how they all had unique obstacles in their battles. However, I do wish that the worlds were different to that of the DS kinda like what they did is Super Mario Land 2, it did make the game feel a tad predictable.
5. Super Mario 64 DS
I played this game fairly late in its life (around 2010) and by this time I’d already played a fair share of Mario platformers. This was my first experience of Super Mario 64 in general. I didn’t even know what a Nintendo 64 was at this time, even after fully completed the game I still thought this was original to the DS. All this aside, I had a blast with this game! The levels were extraordinary, and the hub world is probably the best out of any Mario game I’ve played. I also like the way that many stars require different characters which really adds to the gameplay. The fact you have the control it with a D-pad is a bit annoying, but I got used it pretty quickly and eventually ignored it.
4. New Super Mario Bros.
This was the second Mario game I ever played after Mario Kart DS and the first platformer I ever played so much of my opinion is down to nostalgia. I fully obsessed over this game when I was 6 which caused many kids to either hate me or just straight up make fun of me, it was all I would ever talk about at school and for good reason! Mario controlled flawlessly, discovering all the new worlds was fascinating since I wasn’t familiar with the themes at this point (unlike in later games) and the levels are probably the most memorable of any 2D Mario game in my opinion. I also found some of the music in the game bizarrely calming. Having worlds 4 and 7 as “side” worlds in a way really added to the game and made me very excited to play them when someone eventually told me how to unlock them. Also, I think the art style works very well with the graphical nature of the DS, personally something I don’t think works too well in the Wii and Wii U versions.
3. Super Mario Galaxy 2
When this game was announced I don’t think I’d ever been so excited in my life, that reveal trailer was possibly the best trailer I’ve ever seen! With this game Nintendo fixed quite a few of the issues with the first game for example, the difficulty was increased, not having to complete the game twice to properly complete it, there were more galaxies, there was more post game content. This game was amazing to play through and it’s great that Nintendo broke the tradition of only having one 3D Mario per console. However, the game just didn’t quite live up to the first one for me. The story was now much less serious (which sort of made the first the game) and the levels weren’t quite as memorable and felt a bit short in some areas, but this was a solid second place game for a while.
2. Super Mario Odyssey
I was so Happy that the Sandbox style was brought back to this game, much like how everyone else describes the game it feels like a true sequel to Super Mario 64. The levels are all very memorable, Mario controls so amazingly well, the exploration aspect is amazing and that’s just a few of the amazing features of the game. Now as I was playing through this game it was on its way to being number 1 however there’s just one reason why it didn’t make it there… the story was too short. However, there a huge amount of post game content which kept me busy for hours but playing through the story was by far the most enjoyable part which I could’ve done with more of. Despite that, it is still a fantastic game and probably the most polished game of the bunch.
1. Super Mario Galaxy
This was the first 3D Mario game I played which I got for Christmas in 2007 when I was 7 years old, I essentially grew up playing the game which probably has a huge effect on my opinion. I’ve played through the entire game multiple times and it’s the most fun I’ve ever had in a video game! The level design is so unique and cleverly done, the soundtrack is some of my favourite music I’ve ever listened to (and I’ve listened to lots of classical music), the way power ups work in this game is perfect I.e. they’ll be required to pass a level rather than just assisting you slightly so you have to use the power up to its full capability. Also, I love how the story is more serious in this game. Yes, it is the usual Peach getting kidnapped, but the depth and execution of it is very well done and it adds so much to progressing through the game. Whilst it isn’t as exploration heavy as Super Mario 64, it uses just the perfect combination of linearity and sandbox style. If you own a Wii there is no excuse to not having this game, it is just the best game ever! In my opinion of course.
Super Mario 64
Don’t get me wrong, this game is responsible for many of the games on this list. It not only had a huge impact on 3D Mario but also 3D gaming as a whole. This game transitioned Mario into 3D perfectly, they could’ve easily have done a 3D Land style transition and basically remade Super Mario Bros with a few extra blocks but instead they changed the formula completely and made the game what it is. Now I understand fully why many people consider it their favourite game ever, the only reasons preventing me from putting it on the list are the camera and the controls… they ruined the game for me. I respect that this game was the first of its kind and the time was ground-breaking but the amount of times I would lose a life due to not being able to actually see Mario or where he was going was countless and by the time I fully completed the game (which I spent about 2 weeks doing fairly recently) I had enough of it and didn’t want to go back to it ever again (I’m sure I will at some point). I’m so glad they perfected this in later games and the changes they made in Super Mario 64 DS meant I could enjoy the game for what it was.
New Super Mario Bros. 2
Not much to say here, the game was fine and I definitely enjoyed playing through it. But it felt rushed and in effect felt like New Super Mario Bros. Wii simplified for the 3DS. And honestly it didn’t feel much like a sequel to the original and instead felt like a bland remake of it. At least the art style complements the game pretty well.
Super Mario World
Much like Super Mario 64 the level design is amazing and the world map is pretty cool but Mario controls like garbage, he just slides all over the place which made the game a pain to play through.