What are the Top 5 2D Super Mario Bros. titles?

Everyone loves lists. Here is another one relating to the storied Super Mario Bros. franchise.

While Nintendo gears up to release Super Mario Odyssey on the Switch later this year, it might be fun to rank the 2D franchise entries. Back in the NES/SNES eras, it just seemed like each new installment had fresh ideas and a revamped art style. With that in mind, the list will definitely favor 2D Mario titles from the older era.

1. Super Mario World (SNES, 1991)

Super Mario World

Without a doubt, Super Mario World withstood the test of time. The legendary platformer features colorful graphics that do not look outdated compared to 2D platformers today. In addition, a huge world map and several hidden secrets to explore give the game an almost endless feel. The game designers also fine-tuned the flying mechanic first seen in Super Mario Bros. 3. Plus, Super Mario World introduced Yoshi, the adorable dinosaur with a never-ending appetite. It stands as a perfect game.

2. Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES, 1990)

Super Mario Bros. 3

This one comes close. Certainly from a gameplay perspective, there is nothing wrong with the third installment. It introduces the flying mechanic with the racoon tail. Also, each world offers a healthy number of varied levels to explore. For a lot of people, World 4 where everything turns gigantic is their favorite. Once players reach the higher levels though, the game becomes very difficult. But the game remains fair too. Unfortunately, the 1990 NES visuals aged poorly. If possible, play the Super Mario All-Stars version on the SNES.

3. Super Mario Bros. (NES, 1985)

If the visuals from Super Mario Bros. 3 aged, then the original Super Mario Bros. looks like a dinosaur. This game almost single-handedly revived the video game industry though. It had perfect, although simplistic gameplay. Yes, the original game lacks any flying ability for Mario, or a Yoshi to ride. It does feature catchy music, solid controls and an appropriate difficulty progression. Again, go with the Super Mario All-Stars version if you’re wishing for more colorful graphics.

4. Super Mario Bros. 2 (NES, 1988)

No one denies Super Mario Bros. 2 is the odd duckling out of the family. It does offer the player options though. Mario remains the main character, but Luigi, Princess Toadstool and Toad could also be chosen. Each of them has their own special ability too. For example, Luigi jumps higher and the Princess floats for a short period of time. Also, at least the game offers players a new art style compared to the original. A worthy entry.

5. New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii, 2009)

No, the New Super Mario Bros. series is not disqualified from this list. However, the newer 2D titles (Super Mario Maker will not count because it is more of a “tool”) simply lack something the older ones possess. For instance, the level designs just seem less imaginative. But, the Wii entry of the newer 2D Mario titles importantly brings true multiplayer for the first time. Four players could go through the Mushroom Kingdom together. It is the kind of game that brought families together.

Lists are never perfect because people’s tastes are different. When it comes to debates like this Super Mario Bros. one, the arguments for each game could go on forever and forever.

Comment below. What are the Top 5 2D Super Mario Bros. titles?

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