The Best Mario Games, According To You

Nintendo / LongplayArchive

“Definitely Mario Galaxy, and not just because it’s the picture. It felt like such a huge improvement over Sunshine (which I liked well enough when it came out but really does not hold up). The orchestral music, new characters, motion controls, a genuine story, and levels that all felt very different. (64 and Sunshine involve repeating levels over and over and over again to get all the stars/shines; Galaxy gives you a different path almost every time through the world.)” – sxp151

Galaxy 1 just hit a sweet spot for me. Like all the things you listed – the music is phenomenal (one of my favorite video game soundtracks), some of the best use of Wii motion controls, the gravity physics were mindblowing, it had an incredible reward/progression system, and overall it was just fun and addictive in a way few others have matched for me (even other Marios). One of the only games that I’ve gone out of my way to do everything, pitting myself up against its toughest challenges.

Plus, the story is surprisingly melancholy, which just gives a great mood to the whole experience. One of my all-time favorites.” – AmaltheaElanor

Galaxy 2. Some might argue that it ‘doesn’t have enough moves,’ as if a deep moveset is what put Mario on the map. Some might argue it’s ‘too slow’ as if going speed is the ultimate benchmark of quality by which games are to be judged.

No, what made Mario Mario is neither of those things. What made him is straightforward, crisp movement in impeccably designed levels. Sure, he can’t do a divekick or midair kick or whatever it might be, but crispness of movement is about elegance and the balance between freedom & commitment, not just filling space with new ways to change trajectory for no reason than to fill space. What’s more, he’s doing all of this elegant movement in the hands-down best level design the medium of video games has ever seen. Developed enough to build upon ideas, yet still with enough awareness to know when to move on, these spaces are creativity incarnate. They stretch the bounds of what is possible, take only the best ideas from that thinking, and pares it down to platformer par excellence. It’s hard to not keep comparing it more favorably to other games in the series, so “best level design in the business” will have to do the heavy lifting for now. And with the best level design, you have the best Mario game. Full stop.” – Jakisthe

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