15 Most Underrated Mario Games

One of the most well-known gaming franchises in history is undoubtedly Super Mario.

Super Mario Galaxy or Super Mario Maker will have a large and loyal fan base that will defend it with every piece of writing they know.

But even though some Mario games that have won awards and accolades are beloved by players and critics, other, arguably just as good, games are completely overshadowed by these well-liked ones.

In anticipation of Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, we thought we’d take a look at five of the most overlooked Mario titles that didn’t receive the praise they deserved.

15. Paper Mario: The Origami King

Underrated Mario Games

The most recent Paper Mario game, Paper Mario: The Origami King, will be released for the Nintendo Switch in 2020 and will play similarly to its predecessors.

We must cooperate with Olivia to fight the evil army of Folded Soldiers with an origami theme, led by the despotic King Olly, who has seized control of the Mushroom Kingdom.

The majority of the game’s focus is on origami and its arts and crafts, which are expertly rendered in the boss designs and animations.

The game’s turn-based ring-level battle system also makes for some very distinctive combat.

14. SUPER MARIO LAND

Super Mario Land is a gem from the Game Boy era that uses side-scrolling levels, opponents, and coin gathering in a gameplay style that is very comparable to the first Super Mario Bros.

The primary distinction between the two was that Gradius, a previous arcade game, was referenced in some shooter levels. But the parallels ended there.

When Super Mario Land was released in 1989, it was a very ambitious game. To update the Mario formula, Nintendo used more intricate backgrounds and enemies that were different from the ones that were already well-known.

Additionally, they included vehicles, a feature uncommon in the Mario game series.

One of the few games not set in the mushroom kingdom, this one introduced Princess Daisy and her lesser-known realm, Sarasaland.

Although Super Mario Land was successful at the time and spawned two successors, other, more widely played games ultimately overshadowed it.

13. SUPER MARIO RPG: LEGEND OF THE SEVEN STARS

Super Mario RPG, one of my personal favorites, has excellent gameplay, a well-written story, and endearing characters.

Due to the launch of the Nintendo 64 and Super Mario 64 four months later, it was only moderately successful.

The video game Super Mario RPG is excellent. It features puzzles, references to other Nintendo series like Metroid, The Legend of Zelda, and F-Zero, bosses, abilities, hidden weapons, and even a particularly challenging hidden boss with an enemy design reminiscent of the enemies from the 2D Final Fantasy games.

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The makers of the Super Mario RPG and the Final Fantasy series, Squaresoft, now known as Square Enix, created this last foe.

Super Mario RPG is a fantastic game because it isn’t too challenging. Even better, unlike in contemporary RPGs, progress doesn’t require hours of grinding and farming.

This retro RPG is unquestionably a must-play if you’re looking for one.

12. Super Paper Mario

Long-time fans of the series were turned off by the new action-platformer gameplay when Super Paper Mario was first released on the Wii.

Due to this, Super Paper Mario acquired a bit of a bad reputation, and it took the game some time to gain the respect it enjoys today.

Super Paper Mario had to emerge from the shadow of its forerunners eventually, though.

SPM is a not-so-underrated-anymore classic that you should watch because it has a concentrated cast of all-star characters and some of the best dialogue in the series.

11. Super Mario Bros. 2 (US)

One of the most polarising games in the franchise is Super Mario Bros. 2.

On the one hand, it isn’t a “real” Mario game in the strictest sense. Instead, it’s a remake of Yume Koujou: Doki Doki Panic, a 1987 Famicom platformer that was never released in the US.

Nintendo did a great job integrating the game into the Mario universe, on the other hand. Although the gameplay may feel a little different, Mario would approve of the setting and the level of detail.

Many of the franchise’s enduring characters, such as Bob-Ombs, Shy Guys, and Birdo (referred to by very young children as “Yoshi’s GF”), have their roots in SMB2.

Don’t overlook this game—there’s a reason it’s received such high praise from critics!

10. SUPER MARIO SUNSHINE

The Nintendo GameCube‘s “black horse” received a lot of criticism for making Mario “rely” on a device, and many players thought the water-squirting accessory F.L.U.D.D. made the game too simple. I must disagree.

Players had more freedom in F.L.U.D.D. than they had ever experienced in a Mario game. By using it, you could attack, jump higher, and eventually find new accessories to use with the F.L.U.D.D.

Although the plot of Super Mario Sunshine wasn’t perfect, the game was still very enjoyable.

You had the option of finishing the main plot in a few hours or spending days of your life attempting to collect all the blue coins and finishing every act (Special mention goes to the one hidden on an island that required you to travel there with Yoshi using canoes and it was very, very hard) to amass the 120 sprites.

Every level in the game fit the tropical theme, and there was plenty of freedom to explore and act as you pleased in each of its enormous worlds. The game also had a great soundtrack.

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9. Super Mario Strikers

When FIFA Street and Mario Kart are combined, the result is Super Mario Strikers.

That doesn’t seem so horrible today, but when I was a teenager, it was a formula for disaster.

My disinterest in team sports like soccer was the main factor in my decision to become a gamer. I wouldn’t be playing GameCube at home if I wanted to chase a ball outside.

But I was mistaken, as were a lot of other sports-hating kids.

A cast of Marioverse characters with distinctive skills compete for control of the black-and-white orb in Super Mario Strikers.

This game is as comparable to actual soccer as Dragon Ball is to martial arts thanks to these talents, along with items and power-ups.

8. MARIO STRIKERS CHARGED

This one is unquestionably for you if you enjoy playing sports video games. Similar to Mario Party, Mario Strikers Charged is a cooperative video game.

While there is a solo mode, using your captaincy to put the ball in your friend’s net is much more fun.

In comparison to other Mario sports-themed games, Mario Strikers Charged featured fewer authentic football physics, rules, and plays.

Instead, you compete on a dangerous field where each player possesses a unique skill. Sometimes it becomes so violent that you might mistake it for a Super Smash game!

The party game Mario Strikers Charged is fantastic. It’s entertaining, quick, violent, and a great reason to press buttons while playing a sporting event.

If you’re brave enough, I challenge you to defeat me while I use Waluigi as Captain while customizing your team to suit your strategies.

7. Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games (NDS)

Everyone who has played Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games on the Nintendo Wii agrees that it is the best game in the series.

The NDS version, then?

That is a unique situation.

Many individuals view this as a forced handheld port that defies logic given how heavily the Wii version emphasizes motion controls.

It is after all supposed to be a sporting event.

Nobody who owns an NDS is surprised to learn how great the touch screen is for creating fun mini-games.

It’s one of the top party games available for the Nintendo DS.

6. Super Mario 3D World

It is a direct sequel to Super Mario 3D Land on the 3DS and was first released for the Wii U back in 2013 before being re-released on the Switch in 2021.

The goal of the game is to get through the levels and beat Bowser, the main villain of the series, just like in the main games of the franchise.

The game is a blast to play alone or with friends thanks to its superb controls, incredible soundtrack, and fun co-op mode.

5. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle

It was unexpected to see a Mario and Sonic and Mario + Rabbids crossover game.

Nobody could have possibly predicted that, in my opinion!

However, don’t disregard it merely because the ingredients are unusual. It’s a feature, not a bug, in the words of American computer scientist Grace Hopper.

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The plot of the game is based on the idea that these two games would hardly ever overlap in a typical situation.

The unexpected turn-based tactical combat is meant to add to the chaos.

I guarantee you’ll have a tonne of fun if you can be open to a new experience.

4. Super Mario Sunshine

In comparison to the earlier games, Super Mario Sunshine made a lot of changes.

We can clean up the gunk strewn about town by running and jumping, as well as by using a water jetpack, or F.L.U.D.D.

The game introduced a new level of freedom not found in earlier games and included several water-specific powerups.

The game is still a joy to play through and still looks quite amazing despite the admittedly awkward controls.

To create a memorable experience, it is also accompanied by a catchy soundtrack.

3. Mario Party DS

When you don’t have access to the “real deal,” most people consider beloved franchise handheld games like Mario Party to be the “second best” you can play.

This has prevented many fans from playing Mario Party DS, which is a masterpiece.

The touch screen on the Nintendo DS is a priceless tool for designing fun little games, and it’s included for free with regular gamepad minigames.

Everything you’d expect from this venerable series is in Mario Party DS, including entertaining mini-games, branching maps, and Power Stars that can be purchased with coins rather than some odd gimmick.

Additionally, Download Play offers one-cartridge multiplayer.

Why not love it?

2. Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins

Because the Game Boy games are in black and white, modern fans wishing to check out the classics frequently neglect them, but this is a mistake.

The best Game Boy Mario game, as well as one of the top 2D Mario games overall, is SML2: 6 Golden Coins.

The game’s sprites and backgrounds are remarkably evocative for a B&W game, and the makers were able to maintain a high level of level design excellence. Another outstanding feature is the soundtrack.

In terms of lore, this is also one of the strangest Mario games. It made Wario’s debut and established the reality of “Mario Land,” the plumber’s exile island.

1. Mario Teaches Typing

People needed instruction to learn how to type on a computer keyboard back when children weren’t given tablets at age five so their parents could have some alone time.

Although there are books and computer programs made specifically for this purpose, learning to type on a keyboard isn’t as enjoyable as it may seem.

Typing games like Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing (1987) and its much more commercially successful cousin, Mario Teaches Typing, offered a fun alternative.

The gameplay is straightforward but powerful. Mario does an action, such as stepping on a Goomba or jumping over a pothole in the road, for each key you press correctly.

Typing of the Dead is family-friendly.