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Ranking 3D Mario Adventure Games

Over the past few weeks, our staff have had the opportunity to play through and review Super Mario 3D All Stars on the Nintendo Switch, and one of the best aspects of having so many different opinions was seeing how diverse everyone’s tastes were. The guy who grew up playing Super Mario 64 thought it was the best, while the youngest on staff thought Super Mario Galaxy was the best. Well, we’ve decided to rank them for you, and since I’ve got the pen and paper, I guess it’s my list that we will publish! Let’s rank all the 3D Mario Adventure Games from worst to best!

Super Mario 3D Land

When it was launched, I was really excited to play Super Mario 3D Land on my Nintendo 3DS, but I quickly realized that Nintendo’s 3D Mario adventures look and play best on the big screen. 3D Land was a great experience, and one I’m happy I played, but when you compare it to it’s ‘bigger brother’ in Super Mario 3D World, there really is no comparison.

Super Mario Sunshine

While a fantastic experience that took us out of the Mushroom Kingdom altogether, and away to a tropical island oasis, Super Mario Sunshine is unfortunately the worst of all the 3D Mario adventures. Is it bad? No, but it doesn’t quite have the charm and accessibility as all the other titles do. Super Mario Sunshine is a frustratingly difficult Mario experience, which many people are realizing for hte first time with this second go-around. While removing some of Mario’s jump abilities from Super Mario 64 and replacing them with the fun, albeit annoying F.LU.D.D., there wasn’t enough here to drive Super Mario Sunshine higher on this list.


Super Mario 64

If you asked me a few months ago which Super Mario adventure game was the best, I probably would have ranked Super Mario 64 pretty highly. Listen, this game was revolutionary at it’s time, and was a big influence in 3D platforming titles for decades after it’s launch. If we were ranking these games by their influence on the industry, you’d likely see this one near the top. Unfortunately, after replaying this one via the Super Mario 3D All Stars collection, I quickly realized it doesn’t quite hold up all these years later. It’s mostly the very wonky, out-dated control scheme that dethroned this experience. Great game? Yes, but not the top of the heap for me.


Super Mario 3D World

This could be a controversial pick, but I do believe that Super Mario 3D World is ultimately a better game than Super Mario 64, and easily slides into my top 4 Super Mario adventures. Super Mario 3D World brought in  so many amazing new mechanics to the franchise, most notably the cat suit, which gave Mario characteristics we hadn’t seen prior. After Tanooki Mario, I’m fairly certain Cat Mario is my next favourite. It’s awesome that Nintendo is bringing this title back to the Nintendo Switch in 2021, since so few were able to play on the Nintendo Wii U! Despite being a 2D-3D hybrid game, it ranks high in my books (and is actually my wife’s #1)!


Super Mario Galaxy 2

I’d argue you could take both Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2 and make them one entry into this list. Swap them, for all I care, as Super Mario Galaxy will be coming up next. That being said, Super Mario Galaxy once again introduced new gameplay mechanics to keep the Mario game evolving and unique. The bite sized planet levels, coupled with some fantastic vertical platforming, made each and every level unique. Why does Galaxy 2 rank worse than Galaxy 1? It wasn’t the first to do all the things I just mentioned above.

Super Mario Galaxy

Read everything I posted above, and add that (obviously) Super Mario Galaxy came before Super Mario Galaxy 2!

Super Mario Odyssey

It’s not hard to put Super Mario Odyssey at number one, and frankly I’d argue that this title is in a league of it’s own. From sprawling, unique worlds to the excellent use of Mario’s newest adventuring pal, Cappy, there isn’t much to nitpick about when playing through Nintendo’s largest, Super Mario adventure. Super Mario Odyssey comes as close to perfect as can possibly be, and it will be interesting to see how Nintendo plans to top this adventure the next time they roll Mario out.



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blank Adam Roffel has only been writing about video games for a short time, but has honed his skills completing a Master's Degree. He loves Nintendo, and almost anything they have released...even Tomodachi Life.

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Twitter: @AdamRoffel