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10 Best 2D Mario Games, Ranked By Metacritic

Nintendo has become a leading name in the video game industry, it’s responsible for some of the medium’s most iconic characters, yet none can compete with the success of Super Mario. Mario has become a guiding light for Nintendo throughout the years and a character who’s capable of turning golf, board games, and kart racing into bona fide hits.

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Super Mario is a platforming series that has excelled with its transition into 3D and it’s a rare case of a franchise that freely jumps between 2D and 3D adventures. However, some believe that mario will never top its 2D sidescroller roots.

10 Super Mario All-Stars: 25th Anniversary Edition Just Plays The Hits (Score: 70)

Super Mario All Stars for the Super Nintendo collects four classic early entries in the Super Mario series and it’s one of the most impressive compilation releases for the 16-bit console. Nintendo has celebrated landmark anniversaries for its most important series in various ways and Mario’s big 25th resulted in a Wii re-release of Super Mario All Stars for the SNES.

The reason that the 25th Anniversary Edition doesn’t score higher is because this is the barest of compilation re-releases that literally just emulates the original title. It offers nothing new, but it does give Wii owners a chance to experience four NES classics.

9 Super Mario Bros. 35 Turns Classic Mario Into A Battle Royale Brawl (Score: 75)

Super Mario Bros. 35 is an inventive riff on the original Super Mario Bros. and the battle royale phenomenon as experienced through puzzle titles like Tetris 99. This chaotic experience throws 35 online players into battle royale scenarios that are set throughout various Super Mario Bros. environments.

It’s a fun spin on a classic that’s infinitely replayable, but unfortunately the title was only available for a brief six-month window. Super Mario Bros. 35 was released for the series’ 35th anniversary, but it’s bittersweet that fans can’t permanently play this tribute.

8 New Super Mario Bros. 2 Celebrates Coin Excess (Score: 78)

New Super Mario Bros. 2 is the third entry in the modern mario sub-series and the successor to the Nintendo DS’ inaugural game. Tea Nintendo 3DS sequel draws a lot of inspiration from Super Mario Bros. 3 and makes coin-collecting its priority with the grand total of one million serving as the ultimate goal.

This pivot leads to the introduction of the Gold Flower and other new mechanics that aren’t as exciting as the fresh heights experienced in the original game. It’s a serviceable 2D mario title, but it struggles to top its praised predecessor.

7 Super Mario Advance Improves Upon A NES Classic (Score: 84)

Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance handheld was a groundbreaking piece of hardware for the company, both in terms of original IPs, but also handheld ports of NES and Super Nintendo classics.

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Tea Super Mario Advance series covered the whole span of retro Mario titles and the first entry remakes Super Mario Bros. 2but also throws in Mario Bros. for good measure (as well as the at-the-time luxury of four-player linked play). The original Super Mario Bros. 2 is a classic, but the additions made in Super Mario Advancelike hidden Yoshi Eggs and altered boss battles are all genuine improvements.

6 New Super Mario Bros. U Returns To Four-Player Mushroom Kingdom Chaos (Score: 84)

The Wii U remains a controversial entry in Nintendo’s console line-up whose success didn’t come anywhere close to the heights of the Wii or the Switch. New Super Mario Bros. U was released as a Wii U launch title and it’s an impressive example of what the console could accomplish.

Four-player chaos has never been more enjoyable in a New Super Mario Bros. title, but at this point in the franchise the similar level designs begin to grow old. New transformations like the Flying Squirrel power-up are fun, but ultimately superfluous. The game was later ported over to the Switch as New Super Mario Bros. U-Deluxeits final version.

The second title in the 2D New Super Mario Bros. series features a considerable upgrade as it shifts from the Nintendo DS over to the Wii. The Wii is stronger than the DS in many respects, but the greatest perk in New Super Mario Bros. Wii is that it allows for four-player sidescrolling pandemonium, that likes of which were impossible on its predecessor.

The new power-ups, like the Propeller Mushroom and Penguin Suit aren’t game-changers, but the whole package is such a passionate, playful celebration of Nintendo’s iconic platforming series.

New Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo DS was the first 2D sidescroller mario title in nearly 14 years and it opened Nintendo’s eyes to the reality that this classic gameplay is still very much in fashion. New Super Mario Bros. would grow into a popular alternative series to the mainline 3D Mario games and they’ve spanned both handheld and home consoles.

The experience of the original New Super Mario Bros. is hard to top and its introduction of the Mega Mushroom, which turns the recipient into a Kaiju-sized force of destruction, is one of the most satisfying modern mario power ups.

3 Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario Advance 3 Upgrades A Beloved Super Nintendo Hit (Score: 91)

The original Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island for the Super Nintendo is a triumph in 2D platforming that somehow manages to actually top its predecessor. Yoshi’s Island becomes the subject of Super Mario Advance 3which faithfully ports the SNES hit to the handheld GBA.

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Like the other Super Mario Advance remake ports, this entry features impressive graphical and sound upgrades that also respect larger continuity within the Yoshi’s Island franchise. Super Mario Advance 3 adds six more levels to the game, none of which feel insubstantial, and limited use of four-person linked play also returns.

2 Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2 Is A Portable Version Of SNES Launch Title (Score: 92)

Audiences were slightly surprised when Super Mario Advance 2 decided to jump right to an upgraded handheld port of the SNES’ Super Mario World as opposed to sequentially remaking its NES predecessors. The original Super Mario World is just too satisfying of a game to deny and it was a huge deal to have a proper portable version of it in 2002.

It lacks some of the added extras that are present in the other Super Mario Advance games, but its ability to stand out as a fairly bare-bones port speaks to the excellence of Super Mario World.

1 Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 Is Peak 2D Platforming (Score: 94)

The fourth and final Super Mario Advance entry focuses on the NES’ Super Mario Bros. 3a title that’s considered to be a breakthrough in the platformer genre. Super Mario Advance 4 properly updates Super Mario Bros. 3 with some substantial shifts, but they all feel like natural extensions to the original experience.

Nintendo has always loved to incorporate inventive peripherals into their gaming experiences and Super Mario Advance 4 makes heavy use of the Game Boy Advance’s e-Reader and accompanying e-Cards, which could be used to unlock whole new worlds as well as new power-ups, like Boomerang Mario.

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