Best 2D Super Mario Games

Best 2D Super Mario Games
  • Super Mario Bros. set a precedent for good controls, level design, and music that is still followed today.
  • Super Mario Land may be different from the mainline franchise, but it has a loyal fan base.
  • Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World are considered some of the greatest video games of all time.

There is no getting around the sheer level of quality that the Super Mario Bros.franchise brings to the table. More or less modern gaming’s grandfather, the original Super Mario Bros. set a precedent for good controls, good level design, and good music that is still being adhered to today.

Related
The 10 Best Mario Sports Games
When not saving Princess Peach, Nintendo's Mario passes his time playing sports. Which are the iconic mascot's best and worst sports games?

While many may argue that the franchise’s heights belong to the 3D side of things, 2D Mario has maintained a consistent level of quality over the decades. Which are the greatest 2D SuperMario games of all time? Which ones have aged beautifully?

Updated January 31, 2024, by Blaise Santi: Super Mario Bros. Wonder debuted in Fall 2023 as the latest installment in the 2D Mario dynasty, but it won't be the last in the near future. March 2024 will produce Princess Peach: Showtime, which is set to be the first 2D Mario title since Super Princess Peach to star the franchise's iconic damsel-in-distress. In February 2024, Mario vs Donkey Kong will also be debuting, which is a remake of the first entry in that spin-off series. Those games are not particularly similar to the mainline franchise, but the upcoming project is nevertheless worth a look by Switch owners. With Nintendo's upcoming video game lineup looking bright for fans of Mario, it's worthwhile to take a look at some of the best 2D Mario games the company has ever released.

Super Mario Land

Mario's First Handheld Adventure Was Primitive

Super Mario Land
Platform(s)Game Boy
Released1989-07-31
Developer(s)Nintendo R&D1

There aren't a lot of fans that hold Super Mario Land in high regard, likely because it felt like a much different adventure in comparison to the NES titles. Super Mario Land, the first Mario game on Nintendo's Game Boy, separates itself from the mainline franchise thanks to its weird enemies, somewhat janky playstyle, and overarching story.

Related
All Of The Mario Games On The Nintendo Wii, Ranked From Worst To Best
The Nintendo Wii naturally had a ton of Mario games, but which were the best and the worst titles starring the iconic mascot released on the console?

In this release, Mario tracks down Princess Daisy and can use Super Balls, a special powerup that allows him to launch projectiles. Throw in some strange vehicle-based levels, and it's easy to see why this particular title stands out like a sore thumb. That said, there are still quite a few fans who look back on this color-devoid Game Boy release fondly.

Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels

A Mario Game Designed For Experts

Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels
Platform(s)Nintendo Entertainment System, Wii, SNES
Released1993-08-02
Developer(s)Nintendo EAD

The original Super Mario Bros. 2, The Lost Levelsis something of a mixed bag for most fans. A brutally difficult re-imagining of the first game originally released as a Japan-exclusive, it reused several assets to churn out something that would nowadays be considered a challenge mode, including Poison Mushrooms and harder controls.

It’s by no means badly designed (for the most part), but it is an overwhelming game. That said, it’s indicative of an era of game design where there were no hard and fast rules on how to develop a video game sequel. The Lost Levelsplays things safe in terms of visuals, but shoots for the moon in terms of level design, for better and for worse.

Super Mario Run

Mario Has Never Been More Mobile

Super Mario Run
Platform(s)iOS, Android
Released2016-12-15
Developer(s)Nintendo EPD

Super Mario Run is among Nintendo's better attempts to adapt one of its flagship properties to mobile devices, and it is considerably better than Dr. Mario World or Mario Kart Tour. Blending endless runners with the franchise's traditional gameplay, Super Mario Run finds a nice middle-ground that allows both sides of the equation to shine.

Unlike a console entry in the series, in Super Mario Run, the iconic mascot runs forward and performs some minor jumps automatically. While this creates a somewhat hand-off experience, the game asks players to focus almost exclusively on executing jumps using touch controls. The input's length determines the height of Mario's jump. It is a simple concept that works well, and the game is also fairly attractive for a mobile release.

New Super Mario Bros.

Mario's Triumphant Return To 2D

New Super Mario Bros.
Platform(s)Nintendo DS
Released2006-05-15
Developer(s)Nintendo EAD

The first big 2D Mario release to come out after the series transitioned into 3D, the New Super Mario Bros.moniker hasn’t exactly been seen as a seal of quality. They all sound the same, they all look the same, and they all play the same. Considering how innovative 2D Mariowas, it’s disappointing, but the first title for DS was a stand-out on the handheld.

Related
8 Nintendo Games That Defined Genres
Some Nintendo games ended up ushering a new age and set examples for others to follow and these are the very best of them.

The New Super Mario Bros.games tend to feature pretty great level design, something the original DS release is no stranger to either. It’s a bit on the short side and aesthetically bland, but the actual moment-to-moment gameplay is fantastic. If only Nintendo didn’t play its style so safe with this run of games.

Super Mario Bros. 2 (USA)

Mario's Dreamiest Adventure

Super Mario Bros. 2
Platform(s)Nintendo Entertainment System, SNES
Released1988-09-01
Developer(s)Nintendo EAD

After The Lost Levelsproved to be too difficult for most audiences in Japan, Nintendo saw fit to develop an alternate version of Super Mario Bros. 2for Western audiences. Using Doki Doki Panicas its graphical and technical basis, Super Mario Bros. 2emphasized verticality over the horizontal planes of movement of its predecessor.

In many respects, Doki Doki Panicwas the natural evolution of Super Mario Bros.’ style of movement, so Super Mario Bros. 2’s USA release feels totally at home with the rest of the series. Most notably, Super Mario Bros. 2introduced Toad and Peach as playable characters, several new enemies that became staples, and was Miyamoto’s favorite Mariogame for quite a while.

New Super Mario Bros. 2

It's All About The Money, Money, Money

New Super Mario Bros. 2
Platform(s)Nintendo 3DS
Released2012-08-19
Developer(s)Nintendo EAD

By the time New Super Mario Bros. 2 was released on Nintendo 3DS, the original game for DS had already seen a follow-up on the Nintendo Wii. While this handheld sequel didn't do much to innovate on the 2D platforming series, it placed a huge emphasis on the collection of coins, something that's arguably pointless in other 2D Mario games.

Compared to its predecessor, New Super Mario Bros. 2 is much more expansive in terms of its number of levels, alternate flagpoles, and even some brand-new power-ups. Overall, the game was a strong follow-up to Nintendo's successful 2D Mario titles on the Nintendo DS, though the 3DS could've done with a title that was a bit more original.

Yoshi's Island

Mario's Prehistoric Origin Story

Yoshi's Island
Platform(s)Game Boy Advance, SNES
Released1995-10-04
Developer(s)Nintendo EAD

Although Yoshi is usually Mario's trusty steed and sidekick, the character has seen a few of his own spin-off titles. The most notable, perhaps, is Yoshi's Island, a SNES release that saw Yoshi take center stage as a hero trying to protect a baby version of Mario from harm. Painted to look like a storybook, the visuals were pretty breathtaking for the time, featuring the same colorful design that fans had come to expect fromSuper Mario Bros.

The only downside is that Yoshi's Island was panned by many for being exceedingly easy. Unfortunately, the lack of difficulty does take away from its overall package. Lack of challenge aside, Yoshi's Island stands the test of time as one of the best 2D Mario games out there, and certainly has one of the best soundtracks, too.

Super Mario Bros.

It's Iconic For A Reason

Super Mario Bros.
Platform(s)Nintendo Entertainment System
Released1985-11-17
Developer(s)Nintendo R&D4

The game that started it all, Super Mario Bros.may not be as visually or musically impressive as it was back in its day, but its level design is second to none. This is a game that’s so well-designed, it could be released today as is and still garner rave reviews. Nintendo understood exactly what they were doing with the platforming genre.

Related
10 Retro Mario Memes That Are Too Hilarious For Words
Sometimes the classics yield the most meme-worthy material, as showcased by these hilarious memes generated around Mario's retro roots.

It can get a bit cryptic near the end, and it forgoes high points in favor of a more consistent degree of quality, but those are hardly bad things when the game as a whole is so cohesive. Later entries in the series greatly improved on the Famicom original, but it remains a classic for a reason.

New Super Mario Bros. Wii

The Lost Levels To The Breezy DS Title

New Super Mario Bros. Wii
Platform(s)Wii
Released2009-11-15
Developer(s)Nintendo EAD

The second entry in the New Super Mario Bros.franchise was a massiveimprovement over the original. Unfortunately, it had one glaring issue: its overwhelming difficulty. For whatever reason, Nintendo really prioritized challenge with its first multiplayer 2D Mariogame. This led to a level of chaos that would only be replicated in Super Mario 3D World.

Other than that, though, New Super Mario Bros. Wiifeatures great level design, fun power-ups, and amazing co-op. It’s not a game that’ll be particularly enjoyable for very casual Mariofans, but veterans of the franchise will find a lotto appreciate even while tearing their hair out in Level 9-3.

New Super Mario Bros. U

It's Better Than You Remember

New Super Mario Bros. U
Platform(s)Wii U, Switch
Released2012-11-18
Developer(s)Nintendo EAD

Being the fourth New Super Mario Bros.game in a rather short amount of time, fans were not particularly thrilled with New Super Mario Bros. U’s release despite its glowing reviews. Fans immediately rejected it (and the Wii U, for what it's worth), leaving the follow-up forgotten to the wayside, which is a shame as it’s incredibly good for a 2D Mario game.

New Super Mario Bros. Ulegitimately features some of the best level design in the series, if not the overall best. This is a game Nintendo clearly put a considerable amount of work into, even going so far as to better balance the multiplayer. It suffers from the New Super Mario Bros.aesthetic, but it’s an impressive game that deserves more love.

Super Mario Maker

The Mario Game For Aspiring Developers

Super Mario Maker
Platform(s)Wii U, 3DS
Released2015-09-11
Developer(s)Nintendo EAD

In 2015, Mario fans from all over the globe received one of the greatest gifts that the franchise has ever given in Super Mario Maker. It wasn't just a Super Mario Bros. game; it was also a fully-developed level creator, giving fans of the franchise a chance to craft their own stages. The fanbase ran with it, producing a massive array of awesome user-crafted levels that incorporated some truly imaginative ideas.

Fast-forward and fans now have Super Mario Maker 2 to keep them occupied, with even more level creation tools, updates, and even a "world" creator that lets them string together levels into a Super Mario-sized adventure.

Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins

An Early Example Of Freedom In A Mario Game

Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins
Platform(s)Game Boy
Released1992-11-02
Developer(s)Nintendo R&D1

Going from Super Mario Landto Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coinsis genuinely shocking. The former is one of the Game Boy’s launch titles, and it shows. Nintendo played it very safe with SML, whereas the latter is a bona fide Mariogame on the Game Boy that lifts heavily from Super Mario Worldwithout being derivative.

Related
Nintendo: 7 Mario Games With The Best Stories
The following Mario games have some of the best stories for Nintendo fans to experience.

With stages that can be tackled in any order, there’s a level of freedom in 6 Golden Coinsthat other Mariogames lack. This is to say nothing of the great level design (that can admittedly be blasted through thanks to the bunny ears) and the music. Super Mario Land 2isn’t perfect, but what game is?

Super Mario Bros. Wonder

Mario Embraces Weirdness On Nintendo Switch

Super Mario Bros. Wonder
Platform(s)Switch
Released2023-10-20
Developer(s)Nintendo EPD

The latest installment in the 2D Mario series was a breath of fresh air for many fans. With several playable characters, including Mario, Luigi, Peach, Toad, Yoshi, and Nabbit, the game emphasizes unique level design at every turn. Things get even crazier when players nab the Wonder Flower, allowing them to turn every level upside-down.

While the game's story is nothing new for the franchise, the sheer originality and art design were enough to thrill fans who had gotten sick of the New Super Mario Bros. repetitiveness. Still, it's quite short for a mainline Mario game, and it can be completed in a manner of hours, especially if players are well acquainted with the series' previous entries.

Super Mario Bros. 3

Mario Reached New Heights

Super Mario Bros. 3
Platform(s)Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy Advance
Released1989-07-15
Developer(s)Nintendo R&D4

One of the greatest video games of all time and arguably the best game on the NES, Super Mario Bros. 3is one of the most “complete” Super Mario Bros.games. Well-paced with great boss fights and even better level design, Super Mario Bros. 3emphasizes sheer scope above all else.

It’s bigger and better, going so far as to feature non-linear stages and an overworld map. It’s a more controlled version of Super Mario Land 2, giving it an excellent difficulty curve that no other game in the series really has. When it comes down to it, there’s only one game that rivals it.

Super Mario World

Mario And Yoshi Make An SNES Dream Team

Super Mario World
Platform(s)Game Boy Advance, SNES
Released1991-08-23
Developer(s)Nintendo EAD

The Super Nintendo game,Super Mario Worldblows every other 2D Mariogame out of the water (and almost every 3D Mario game). What it lacks in difficulty (outside its Special World), it makes up for with amazing levels, plenty of secrets to find, fun boss fights, an amazing world map, and tons of power-ups to use.

At its core, Super Mario Worldis the ultimate Super Mario Bros.game, doing anything and everything possible to create the best experience possible. There’s a reason Super Mario Worldhas maintained its amazing reputation so far removed from its original release, and it took all the elements that were perfected by Super Mario Bros. 3 and expanded on them, providing a proper next-generation experience on the SNES that has aged magically. Most of the best Mario games can be revisited and enjoyed without much issue, but World takes things to the next level by being truly timeless.

More
8 Games To Play If You Like Super Mario Bros. Wonder
Fans of Super Mario Bros. Wonder should check out these other great games that are all available on Nintendo Switch.
  • https://www.msn.com/en-ph/news/technology/best-2d-super-mario-games/ar-AA19xgnc?ocid=00000000

Related

You're Reheating Steak Wrong. Here's How to Do It so It Doesn't Dry Out

You're Reheating Steak Wrong. Here's How to Do It so It Doesn't Dry Out

News
Minecraft Player Discovers Unusual Village While Exploring

Minecraft Player Discovers Unusual Village While Exploring

News
Afghans spend Eid in poverty after fleeing Pakistan

Afghans spend Eid in poverty after fleeing Pakistan

News
I'm a military spouse and childcare drained my savings. My husband and I lived paycheck to paycheck for a year.

I'm a military spouse and childcare drained my savings. My husband and I lived paycheck to paycheck for a year.

News
Elite Universities Have Not Sacrificed Excellence for Diversity

Elite Universities Have Not Sacrificed Excellence for Diversity

News
Which Aircraft Carrier Was Used In Top Gun: Maverick?

Which Aircraft Carrier Was Used In Top Gun: Maverick?

News
Republicans Can't Save Donald Trump: Attorney

Republicans Can't Save Donald Trump: Attorney

News
US Ally Captures Chinese and Russian Ship Positions

US Ally Captures Chinese and Russian Ship Positions

News