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Each 2D Super Mario game ranked



Best 2D Mario Games

With the imminent release of Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury on Switch, and the Super Mario 35th anniversary is coming to an end in a few weeks, we thought it was time we tried to put everything Mario’s original 2D platform adventure in a kind of order. We’ve watched every single major 3D game in the Super Mario series before, but now’s your chance to rank all of the plumber’s 2D adventures of the last three and a half decades.

So here we present every 2D Mario game ranked from ̵

6;worst’ (rarely has a term been used in a more relative sense) to best. We’ve left out certain handheld ports and new releases to streamline things, so you’ll find the most significant release if there’s more than one version of the game (and there can be plenty to choose from these days!). We have also excluded thirty-five players’ match king Super Mario Bros. 35 from running, unfortunately there will not be a continuous concern in the Mario cannon last March 31, 2021.

This ranking comes from Nintendo Life readers’ user ratings for the games in our database and is subject to real-time fluctuations even after publication. Yes, that means it’s entirely possible to influence the rankings below if you’ve not yet ranked your favorites. To do so, simply click on the game you want to rank and assign a score on the game page.

Many thanks to everyone who rated their favorites. Without further ado, let’s dive into the rankings of every 2D Mario game …

Super Mario Run (mobile)Super Mario Run (mobile)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo

Release Date: December 15, 2016 (USA) / December 15, 2016 (United Kingdom / EU)

On their own terms, Super Mario Run is a great translation of 2D Plumbers oeuvre into the smartphone area. The fact that it looks so much like an entry in the ‘new’ branch of 2D Marios, perhaps set expectations higher than they could have been for the first Mario game to appear on non-Nintendo hardware in a very long time, but this entry is a stylish example of transferring a beloved character and series to a completely different platform and embracing the differences of that platform with a tailored experience; an authentic Mario game you can play with one hand.

The Remix x10 mode added after launch launches tiny nuggets of levels from the main game and provides longevity after you conquer all worlds, and it has a Nintendo level of polish – and no intrusive microtransactions or annoying currencies or chilling hours . Super Mario Run was never going to replace Mario World in the plumber’s pantheon of 2D platformers, but it never should be; it provides short breakouts perfect for situations where it is not possible to turn on your switch. Super Mario Run does what it set out to do, and well – because we admire it.

Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels (NES)Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels (NES)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo EAD

Release Date: October 1, 2007 (USA) / September 14, 2007 (United Kingdom / EU)

Also known as Super Mario Bros. 2 in Japan, this was once the ‘grail’ for players in the West who knew the first game backwards and wanted more challenge. The Lost Levels certainly gives it, and for that reason it is best enjoyed by Super Mario Bros. veterans – players who are new to the Mario world will probably find it confusing, fun tough.

New Super Mario Bros.  2 (3DS)New Super Mario Bros.  2 (3DS)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo EAD

Release Date: August 19, 2012 (USA) / August 17, 2012 (United Kingdom / EU)

A rarely numbered Mario sequel, this is one from a series that continues to divide players to this day. New Super Mario Bros. 2 doubled down on – of all things – coin collection to create a strangely compulsive platformer in the familiar form. While not nearly as revolutionary, the autostereoscopic 3D was a nice touch, and if you can embrace the banality of the gold rush, it’s a very solid, very nice 2D Mario.

Super Mario Land (GB)Super Mario Land (GB)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo R & D1

Release Date: July 31, 1989 (USA) / September 28, 1990 (United Kingdom / EU)

Super Mario Land was impressive when it was first released for Game Boy. The sequel may have made this original seem inadequate for comparison, but it’s still a very fun Super Mario experience, albeit short. About the time things get really good, the credits go, but if you’ve not played Super Mario Land before, you owe it to yourself to try – it’s still worth playing through at least once, just to see where Mario’s portable adventure began. Cracking music too.

New Super Mario Bros.U Deluxe (Switch)New Super Mario Bros.U Deluxe (Switch)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo

Release Date: January 11, 2019 (USA) / January 11, 2019 (United Kingdom / EU)

New Super Mario Bros.U Deluxe is an impressive package that offers the best of modern 2D Mario, madcap multiplayer and glimpses of the outrageous invention that was to come in Super Mario Odyssey. It’s a Mario game in the top drawer and without a doubt the best of the ‘new’ branch, whether you’re playing on the Wii U or Switch, despite the aging images and the annoyance of being kicked back to the world map after each death stands out as things that could have been refined in this Deluxe version. Still, with New Super Luigi U included, this is a very nice 2D Mario (and Luigi) package.

Super Mario Bros.  2 (NES)Super Mario Bros.  2 (NES)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo EAD

Release Date: July 2, 2007 (USA) / May 25, 2007 (United Kingdom / EU)

As you know, this follow-up made a new game together with Mario and co. for release in the West (where Nintendo of America feared players would not be able to punish The Lost Levels). Despite being something of a black sheep in his home country, Super Mario Bros. 2 had a huge influence on the iconography of the series. The game is definitely worth a look (Nintendo Switch Online is the easiest place to find it these days), if not just to remind yourself how different it is from what came before and after. With four playable (and very different) characters to choose from, we strongly recommend a through game.

New Super Mario Bros.  (DS)New Super Mario Bros.  (DS)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo EAD

Release Date: May 15, 2006 (USA) / June 30, 2006 (United Kingdom / EU)

Rejected by someone who only overshadows the original games, the popularity of the new series can not be denied. The original New Super Mario Bros. may emit a “been there, done it” mood these days, but it opened up 2D Mario for a whole new generation. We dinosaurs can look for pixels and the ‘classic’ games, but there is still a remarkably solid Mario platformer here. No, it’s not the highlight of the series, nor is it absolutely important in the big scheme, but there is still a lot to like.




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