The name “Mario” is practically universal at this point. As early as 2015, the franchise managed over 300 million sales across its numerous releases. Even today, Mario games for Switch make up nearly half of the top 10 best-selling titles for the console. With such success, it begs the question of where gaming fans should start - especially if the Switch is their first Nintendo console.
The Switch has quite a few Mario titles, especially when taking the console’s online subscription into account. For the purposes of this article, a Mario game will only refer to a game that lets you play as Mario; spinoffs like Captain Toad’s Treasure Tracker and Luigi’s Mansion 3 will be excluded. With that in mind, and by separating each game into specific categories, here are the best Mario games for Switch!
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Best Mainline Mario Switch Game - Super Mario Odyssey
Super Mario Odyssey is perhaps the best Mario game in general. Allowing players incredible freedom, creative puzzles, and exciting challenges, Odyssey revamped the image of Mario games for years to come. It has some of the best variety you’ll find in a single videogame and happens to be one of the most good-looking Switch titles out there. Even for anyone that isn’t usually a fan of platformers, every Switch owner should have Super Mario Odyssey in their library.
Honorable mentions go to Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury and Super Mario 3D All-Stars. 3D World is a great title on its own, if more simplistic, and Bowser’s Fury builds on some of the best aspects from Odyssey in a brand-new adventure. 3D All-Stars might not be an original title, but it’s a collection of some of Mario’s greatest hits. If you find yourself wanting more after completing Odyssey, give these two choices a try as well!
The best game to play with a party depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re after high-speed action and intensity, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a perfect choice. It has the most content of any Mario Kart title, with 48 available racetracks and a massive online community - even after nearly 5 years since its release. It’s an enhanced port of the original Mario Kart 8 for Wii U, but the Deluxe port really is just too good to pass up.
If racing isn’t quite your speed, Mario Party Superstars is a great alternative. With 100 minigames and 5 boards from older Mario Party titles, Superstars takes the best elements of the series and puts them all together. It’s also the first Mario Party to allow full online capability, letting players match up with random people to compete in any mode they like. Superstars prove that not every series needs to change their formula, simply adding more of what fans love works just as well.
A title that brings out both the best and worst in people, Super Mario Maker 2 offers most of its content in the way of fan-made levels. Players can create and upload their own Mario courses based on previous titles in the franchise. They aren’t always the best - not everyone uploading these courses is a certified game designer, after all - but the charm of Mario Maker is unrivaled. With the millions of levels uploaded by fans, you’re guaranteed to find something you’ll love.
An honorable mention goes to New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe. While it’s not filled with nearly as much content, it’s a perfectly serviceable title for those looking for a more official Mario experience. Its careful design and creative courses are sure to give platformer fans plenty of enjoyment.
The latest in Mario’s tennis and golf installments, Aces and Super Rush provide unique twists on the usual sports fans know. With unique mechanics such as the Trick Shots of Aces and the Speed Golf game mode of Super Rush, players get an experience delivered by a few other sports games, if any. Between Aces and Super Rush, the better game is up to preference; tennis and golf fans will have a blast either way.
This might seem like an odd choice. After all, Paper Mario: The Origami King is a newer title and not tied to the Switch Online subscription. So why is the N64 game taking its place?
While Origami King is a fun game in its own right, it takes away from the series' RPG elements; a trend that began with Paper Mario: Sticker Star. With Switch Online’s Expansion Pack gaining the original Paper Mario on its Nintendo 64 lineup, fans can experience a greater level of control and enjoy elements not present in Origami King.
This includes unique character designs, upgradable party members, and badges that allow for customization of Mario’s stats. It might not be the best RPG of all time, but the N64’s Paper Mario is certainly one of the best Mario RPGs players can enjoy today.
While this list accounts for most Mario games available on Switch right now, there’s still plenty more for fans to enjoy. The Switch Online subscription offers access to more classic titles such as Super Mario World and even Super Mario 64.
In addition, crossover titles such as Mario & Sonic and Mario + Rabbids allow players to experience the Mushroom Kingdom’s cast interacting with new and unique characters. There will almost certainly be more to come, so fans should watch for the latest Nintendo news; in time, an entirely new game could take the title of best Mario Switch game.
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