As Nintendo’s mascot, Mario always gets the lion’s share when it comes to first-party console releases. Whether it’s kart racing, a minigame collection or platformer, there are plenty of Switch games that feature Mario’s moustachioed face. But which are the best?
These are our picks for the must-play Mario games for the Nintendo Switch.
The best Mario games for the Nintendo Switch
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
On paper, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle sounds like something that shouldn’t work. A tactical RPG that mashes up the world of Super Mario with Rabbids? That sounds a bit much. But, as the old saying goes, you should never judge a game by its cover – because, as it turns out, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is not only an absolute joy to play, it’s one of the best Mario titles for the Switch.
Kingdom Battle is a solid strategy title that’s a lot more challenging than its bright and poppy visuals would make you think. The Rabbids aren’t as annoying as you’d expect, and, as a whole, Kingdom Battle really speaks to the versatility of Mario as a whole. It even has a fun soundtrack scored by Grant Kirkhope, the composer behind Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong 64.
A sequel, Mario + Rabbids Sparks Of Hope, has been announced, and while we’re excited to play it, an official release date hasn’t been made yet. Although, it could be here sooner rather than later.
Mario Party Superstars
Nobody parties harder than Mario. That’s a stone-cold fact. If you’ve never played a Mario Party game before, they’re pretty simple. You and a group of players move around a game board while trying to collect as many stars as possible. The person with the most stars when the round counter hits zero wins. As you make your way around the board, you’ll need to compete in a series of random minigames.
Released on the Switch last year, Superstars is the latest instalment in the long-running Mario Party series and acts as somewhat of a “Greatest Hits” title. It features 100 playable minigames from Mario Party’s long history, along with five remade boards from the Nintendo 64 era of the series.
Superstars supports online play for all of its game modes, but nothing can top getting a few mates together for some couch co-op. Mario Party Superstars is an all-around fun Switch game, even if some minigames might make you want to pull out your hair.
Mario Golf Super Rush
Name a sport and there’s a pretty good chance there’s a Mario game for it. While weighing up which of these sports titles we like the most, ultimately, Mario Golf Super Rush won out (although Mario Tennis Aces isn’t that far behind). While Super Rush uses a traditional game of golf as its basis, it mixes things up by adding fun Mario-themed obstacles that change depending on where in the Mushroom Kingdom your course is located.
Super Rush also includes a chaotic “Speed Mode”, where the aim of the game is to race through a course as quickly as possible – your stroke count be damned.
Like most other Mario sports games, Super Rush is at its best when playing multiplayer, but you’ll still get a real kick out of it when playing solo. Nintendo’s ability to take one of the most boring sports ever (sorry, golf fans) and turn it into something exciting is a testament to how fun Mario Golf Super Rush can be.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that the best-selling Nintendo Switch game of all time makes an appearance on our list. With over 45 million copies sold, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the gold standard of kart racing games and leaves competitors in its dust. That’s especially impressive when you consider that the Switch edition of Mario Kart 8 is a Wii U port. With a wide selection of maps, racers and vehicles, Mario Kart 8 is the kind of Switch game you play over and over while never getting board – whether it’s against friends or just sneaking in a few races after dinner.
There’s nothing that beats the thrilling feeling of scoring a string of items and boosts to blast yourself from 6th to 1st. Although getting hit with a blue shell and being knocked from 1st place to 6th is a different story. While Nintendo has announced that Mario Kart 9 is in development, it has some big shoes to fill if it wants to live up to the standard set by Mario Kart 8.
Super Mario Odyssey
Despite all of the different spin-offs, Mario games have always been at their best as classic platformers. Super Mario Odyssey is not only the best Mario game for the Switch, but it’s also one of the best Nintendo Switch games, period.
In terms of setup, Odyssey doesn’t invent the wheel – Bowser has kidnapped Peach, again, so now you need to make your way through a series of vibrant worlds while acquiring certain collectables that’ll unlock the next stage. Odyssey introduces a new mechanic where you can toss your hat, Cappy, onto unsuspecting creatures, which allows you to possess them and access their abilities. It’s an incredibly fun skill and since each stage is full of different types of enemies and challenges, it forces you to reconsider your playstyle each time.
You know a game is great when you fire it up for your fifth, tenth or twentieth playthrough and still feel as excited as you did the first time.