By Percy Mohn
Elm Staff Writer
With its 35th anniversary in September and the rerelease of some classic games, the “Super Mario Bros.” series has once again seen a surge in popularity from its fans. There are plenty of “Mario” games to choose from, but some resonate with fans more than others.
Here is a breakdown of what Mario games you should try out to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the series.
“Super Mario Odyssey” (2017)
Released in 2017, “Super Mario Odyssey” was the first Mario game released on the Nintendo Switch in its debut year.
In it, Mario partners with Cappy, a sentient hat, who allows him to possess and control the various enemies populating the many different planets the evil Bowser is terrorizing.
From the smallest Goomba to a literal T-Rex, the enemies Mario can control are endless, making for unique puzzles and fun platforming levels.
Gavin Lane from Nintendo Life ranks “Super Mario Odyssey” as the best core series Mario game in his feature “Best Super Mario Games of All Time.”
“There’s a joyful abandon to the game which carries through every kingdom you visit, with so many distractions and things to discover, yet it’s never overwhelming — it’s simply fun,” he said. “Whether you’re hunting Moons or trying on outfits, it all combines to create the best Super Mario game yet.”
In addition, “Super Mario Odyssey” was one of the games nominated for Nintendo’s Game of the Year in 2017, losing to “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.”
If you want a truly different and fun Mario game that goes beyond stomping on Goombas, consider “Super Mario Odyssey.”
“Super Mario Maker 2” (2019)
If you are the creative type, or if you enjoy a good challenge, “Super Mario Maker 2” is the game for you. Instead of playing through levels made by Nintendo, you can now create your own unique levels or play the levels other players make.
When “Super Mario Maker 2” was released, it created a large phenomenon of famous videogame YouTubers and Twitch Streamers playing bizarre and extremely challenging levels made by random gamers online. Clips from these creators gained immense popularity, even from people who did not play Mario competitively.
According to Polygon’s Patricia Hernandez, “the key to Mario Maker’s sudden prevalence can also be boiled down to one simple truth: Everyone understands Mario.”
“Super Mario Maker 2” boils down the Mario franchise to the bare essentials that even non-gamers can understand, while showcasing the near diabolical creativity of Mario fans who create nearly impossible levels.
“Paper Mario: The Origami King” (2020)
“Paper Mario: The Origami King” is not your traditional Mario game. While the characters of “Paper Mario: The Origami King” may be made out of simple pieces of paper, the world is a rich storybook full of charming dialogue, fantastic music, and moments that actually made me cry.
The game follows Mario and his origami friend, Olivia, as they try to stop the evil Origami King from folding the world’s inhabitants into mindless origami soldiers. Its aesthetic is incredibly unique as well, relying heavily on the fact that the entire world is made from paper. Everything is a craft material, where characters range from being stickers, to origami crafts, to even papier-mâché worlds.
“Only a Paper Mario game can build a set of bosses around anthropomorphized papercraft tools like scissors and rubber bands,” IGN’s Cam Shea said in his review praising the creativity of the characters.
People who complain that Mario games are too simple and have no story should definitely check out “Paper Mario: The Origami King” in addition to the other games in the series.
These are just three of the newest Mario games that are available to play on the Nintendo Switch, but there are plenty of other games on other platforms as well.
The beauty of the Mario series is that you can jump in with any of the games at any time and still understand what is going on.
Featured Photo caption: With its 35th anniversary this month, here is a recommended list of Super Mario Bros. games to play in honor of the franchise. Photo Courtesy of Mika Baumeister.