Mario!

9 best Mario spinoff games ever, ranked

Mario is a true Renaissance man.

Mario is best known for his turtle-stomping platforming games, but the plucky plumber has appeared in countless spinoffs spanning genres from sports to puzzles.

Here are the 9 best Mario spinoffs

9. Super Mario Strikers

Most of Mario’s sports spinoffs are subdued translations of real-world sports — if you ignore the ghosts and Chain Chomps. Mario’s soccer game, Super Mario Strikers, heads in a more NBA Jam direction with over-the-top, arcadey action. (GameCube)

8. Dr. Mario

Dr. Mario sometimes feels like a forgotten experiment, more notable for its novelty than anything else. Play a few rounds of this addictive twist on Tetris, however, and you’ll be thinking about its catchy music for a long time to come. (NES/GBA)

7. Mario Paint

Its connection to Mario is tenuous, but people still make original creations with Mario Paint’s rudimentary drawing software and its shockingly good music-making suite today. (SNES)

6. Mario Golf series

Mario Golf makes the most boring of real-world sports more enjoyable with fun multiplayer and story modes. It’s also the latest Mario spinoff to get an update, with Mario Golf: Super Rush due out on the Switch in June 2021.

5. Mario Tennis Aces

Mario Tennis was the Nintendo mascot’s first foray into the wide world of sports, and the series remains one of the best spinoffs. Mario Tennis Aces is the best iteration yet despite a disappointing story mode. (Switch)

4. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

From its wide selection of characters and karts to friendship-destroying blue shells, Mario Kart is one of the best party game franchises ever. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the series at its peak, perfecting everything that made previous entries great. (Switch)

3. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle

The shock of seeing Mario carrying a piece may never wear off, but that doesn’t detract from the surprisingly fun and varied tactical combat of this most incongruous spinoff. (Switch)

2. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Super Smash Bros. has grown so far beyond its original Nintendo free-for-all premise that it wouldn’t feel like a Mario spinoff anymore if it weren’t right in the name. Some fans may prefer earlier iterations, but Ultimate is the series at its biggest and best. (Switch)

1. Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga

Mario’s RPG spinoffs have hit a lot more often than they’ve missed, and Superstar Saga may be the best of the bunch. Its timing-based combat and off-the-wall dialogue make it a classic among RPGs and Mario games alike. (GBA)

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