The 15 best Mario games of all time

10. Super Mario 3D Land (2011, Nintendo 3DS)

It was Nintendo's task to make the visual depth capabilities of the 3DS handheld seem like more than a mere gimmick, and the company nailed it brilliantly with Super Mario 3D Land.

Essentially a blend of the 2D and 3D branches of the franchise, the game nimbly bounces between free-roaming and fixed-camera segments while being a total blast throughout. And the 3D effect not only made the game look amazing, but also informed the gameplay too.

9. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (1995, Super Nintendo)

To some, Super Mario World 2 will always be the "whining baby" game – it's the one in which Mario is a little infant being shepherded around by Yoshi, and if he pops off your back, the sobbing and waterworks kick in immediately.

Yet there's a totally awesome platformer built around it: a smart, strategic spin on the classic 2D design that feels very different, yet is just as satisfying. And the hand-drawn look is still marvellous.

8. Super Mario 3D World (2013, Wii U)

True, 3D Land might have established the 2D-meets-3D Mario design, but Super Mario 3D World amplified the premise and delivered one of the Wii U's best games by far.

Now with four-player co-op support, 3D World's stages are varied and brilliantly layered, plus the game shows that even an old series can be expanded and tweaked after all this time. It's also absolutely gorgeous – easily the best-looking core game in the series before Odyssey came along.

7) Super Mario Odyssey (2017, Switch)

Given all the hype around Super Mario Odyssey, its 7th place finish here might seem disappointing. But just look at the legendary games that land before it – not to mention the brilliant ones it just topped!

Indeed, Super Mario Odyssey is another truly excellent 3D entry in the series, acting as a long-overdue successor of sorts to Super Mario 64 while bundling in an absolute wealth of new ideas. By and large, it sticks to Nintendo's 3D Mario template, but thanks to Mario's new companion Cappy, you can inhabit loads of different creatures in the world.

That makes it perhaps the most diverse 3D platformer in the franchise, and every intensely weird bit of it is pretty wonderful.

6. Super Mario Kart (1992, SNES)

We all have a favourite Mario Kart, whether it's Mario Kart 64 or Double Dash – but you can't argue with the sheer brilliance and incredible influence of the SNES original.

Super Mario Kart singlehandedly created the kart-racer genre, bringing together colorful, accessible racing action with fun weapons and a head-to-head battle mode. Nowadays, the original certainly lacks the polish and variety of the later entries, which gradually smoothed out all of the rough edges, but this is an absolute legend.