Mario was already an icon before Super Mario 64 came out, but that game more than earned his status as a legend. For his 35th anniversary, Nintendo announced in a surprise Nintendo Direct that they’re releasing Super Mario 3D All-Stars on Friday, and will be out until March 2021. It’ll feature some of the 3D Mario games in one collection. We’ll rank all of the 3D Mario games from Super Mario 64 to Super Mario Odyssey to celebrate the bundle coming out.
7. Super Mario 3D Land
It says a lot about 3D Mario games that Super Mario 3D Land is at the bottom of this list. It’s such a fun game and one of the best that the Nintendo 3DS has to offer. The 3D elements don’t become gimmicky and instead enhances the gameplay. This game even brings back the Tanooki suit from Super Mario Bros. 3, which is always a treat. The only gripe I have with this game is that it feels pretty easy most of the time. Mario games aren’t hard, but they do have a fair amount of challenge. This one just feels like a breeze, which can make it a little forgettable sometimes.
6. Super Mario 3D World
Gamers often go back and forth on Super Mario 3D World. Some feel it’s overhyped while others think this game is underrated. I fall towards the underrated side as 3D World does a lot to stand out. It takes a lot of inspiration from Super Mario Bros. 2 as you don’t just take control of Mario, but also Luigi, Peach, and Toad. Each character has a distinct ability like Luigi to jump higher, or Toad being the fastest one.
This game also has the best powerup, the Super Bell, which allows any character to turned into a cat. The only downside is towards the end; the game becomes repetitive when trying to get to the final stage. You’ll need to collect every green star, stamp, and get the gold flag for every single world. It brings the game down and makes it slow to get to the final level. Even with that, Super Mario 3D World is a good game that rightfully deserves a remaster on the Switch.
5. Super Mario Sunshine
It feels like the one huge thing that gamers don’t give Super Mario Sunshine enough credit for is the number of risks this game took. There’s no Mushroom Kingdom, traditional enemies like Goombas are nowhere to be found, and besides 1-Up mushrooms, there are no powers up like the Fire Flower. Some risks don’t work like the voice acting (Bowser should never talk) or Yoshi’s usage, but you have to admire the developers for giving us something entirely new.
We got a tropical adventure that has Mario getting framed by a mysterious figure after Isle Delfino is vandalized by graffiti. You’re partnered up with F.L.U.D.D, the main gimmick in this game. It’s a ton of fun to use as you get upgrades that make platforming a lot of fun. The graphics still hold up today, especially the water. You could just swim around in the ocean with Mario, and it’s pretty satisfying. While some risks don’t pay off, you have to give Super Mario Sunshine credit for being outside the box.
4. Super Mario Galaxy
It’s funny that for all the adventures that Mario has been on, the one place that wasn’t explored was space. That changed big time with Super Mario Galaxy. The gravity mechanics work perfectly with the wonderful creative galaxies that the developers made. It’s also the only Mario game that feels cinematic. The epic orchestral music featured is spectacular, especially when you’re fighting against Bowser. Galaxy also brings in Rosalina, a character with a surprisingly tragic backstory that you would find in a Studio Ghibli movie. Super Mario Galaxy successfully aims for the stars and doesn’t look back.
3. Super Mario 64
The crown jewel of all 3D platformers, it’s Super Mario 64. Even after 24 years since its initial release, this game still holds up. It’s a testament that gamers still seek the “true sequel” to Super Mario 64. Exploring different worlds and collecting stars through missions have been become the bread and butter of 3D Mario games. There are so many locations that have become iconic like Bob-omb Battlefield, Jolly Roger Bay, and Big Boo’s Haunt. Who doesn’t get nostalgic thinking about Jolly Roger Bay’s music or the jump scare piano in Big Boo’s Haunt. People might be turn off due to the graphics, but think of it as a relic. When it came out, the game was hailed as revolutionary, and that opinion still holds up today.
2. Super Mario Galaxy 2
Making a sequel is an incredibly hard job. Not only do you have to make it stand out from the original, but it needs to be better. Nintendo knocked it out of the park with Super Mario Galaxy 2. They took an already incredible game and still found ways to evolve it. The galaxies are more creative. The new powerup, the Cloud Flower, takes platforming to the next level.. It also features the hardest level ever in a Mario game with the Grandmaster Galaxy. You’ll have to go through all these hard obstacles with no checkpoints and only one life. It’s puzzling why Nintendo doesn’t have Galaxy 2 in the 3D All-Stars collection considering how fantastic this game is. Super Mario Galaxy 2 is the rare example in gaming of a sequel topping its precedent.
1. Super Mario Odyssey
Super Mario Odyssey manages to homage all of his Mario’s history while bringing its own flavor to make the best 3D Mario game. The main gimmick, Cappy, is such a brilliant addition. Cappy replaces traditional power-ups by having Mario possess different creatures and use their abilities. There are over 50 different things you can take control of in this game. You can even take control of a T-Rex, which that alone makes this a great game.
The game also does an amazing job of paying homage to all of Mario’s history. There are obvious references to 64, Sunshine, and Galaxy, but the ridiculous amount of Easter eggs is a sight to behold. These Easter eggs can be so obscure that you’ll wonder if they really did put all of Mario’s history in this game. Combine with the big sequences like the New Donk City festival and your final fight with Bowser are some of the best that this series has to offer. It’s a love letter to all Mario fans that will stick with you long after playing.
What does your 3D Mario ranking look like? Let us know down below in the comments. Super Mario 3D All-Stars is available only on the Switch.