Happy Mar10 Day to Nintendo fans everywhere! Today (Mar. 10), fans celebrate the portly plumber in all his mustachioed glory. Super Mario has been a fixture of console gaming since 1983, and he's unlikely to go anywhere soon. Over the years, Mario has done it all, from rescuing princesses and ousting interdimensional invaders, to playing golf and racing go-karts.
You can't play every single Super Mario game on the Switch, but Nintendo's handheld hybrid does host a respectable number of games from the series. The Tom's Guide staff chose our favorite Switch-friendly Mario adventures, so you, too, can celebrate Mar10 day, wherever you choose to go. Just be aware that you'll have to buy some of these à la carte, while others require a subscription to Nintendo Switch Online.
Super Mario Bros.
The legendary game that kickstarted the whole Mario franchise is available to play on Nintendo Switch Online. If you’re reading this piece, there’s a good chance you’ve played Super Mario Bros. before — perhaps even many times, on many different systems. But it’s difficult to overstate just how revolutionary the game was when it came out. It launched a mascot who became more popular than Mickey Mouse, and arguably saved console gaming from an ignominious fate. On the off chance you’ve never played it, Super Mario Bros. is a simple side-scroller, where Mario must traverse eight worlds to find Princess Toadstool, who is almost always in another castle. It’s an oldie but goodie, and it’s still pretty tough to master. — Marshall Honorof
Super Mario Bros. 3
Gamers and critics alike considered Super Mario Bros. 3 to be the apotheosis of the Mario series when it debuted — and some of them still feel the same way today. Unlike the first two (or three, if we’re counting Lost Levels) Mario games, SMB3 let Mario navigate a diverse overworld, choosing his path between levels and even visiting optional stages. This was also the first Mario game to introduce some fan-favorite power-ups, including the Tanooki Suit, which transformed Mario into a flying Japanese raccoon dog. The game is still pretty difficult, even by modern standards, but the Switch Online service lets you use save states, which make the experience much more approachable. — Marshall Honorof
Super Mario All-Stars
Super Mario All-Stars may seem like an odd inclusion here, considering that it’s a collection of four Mario games that you can already play via Switch Online’s NES service. However, Super Mario All-Stars gives those old NES classics a welcome SNES-style face lift, with more detailed graphics and more accessible gameplay. (You can save your progress and retry levels much more easily, for example.) If you’ve never played the SNES Mario canon before, I’d argue that All-Stars might actually be the best way to do it — and if you have, it’s fascinating to see all the little tweaks and changes. — Marshall Honorof
Super Mario World
We've seen a lot of Mario games over the decades, but Super Mario World is the one that I think truly defines the series. Not only is it an exceptional Mario title that improved on its predecessors, but it’s also one of the few games I consider perfect. There’s a reason that Super Mario World is still as great in 2022 as it was when it first launched in 1990. It’s an absolute classic.
This game is special to me, since it’s the first game I played on my Super Nintendo back in 1991. I stayed up late into the night, amazed at how much of an improvement it was over my beloved Super Mario Bros 3. The game's expertly designed levels, absorbing graphics, whimsical enemies and awesome power-ups made it (and make it) a joy to play. As far as I’m concerned, Super Mario World is Nintendo’s finest game ever. — Tony Polanco
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
On its surface, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe felt a bit like a slap in the face. It was a port of the Wii U version, and it felt a bit phoned in. But as one of the Switch's few combo co-op games, it’s got a special place in my heart. With just two copies between the four of us, my wife and I can race and battle with two of our friends back in Colorado. It’s hours of fun and chaos.
That said, Nintendo has made subtle changes to Mario Kart 8 recently. I swear the game has gotten slightly more challenging. On top of that, there’s the new suite of DLC tracks that will come out over the next two years. You can bet that my Mario Kart group is excited for those.
As one of Nintendo’s longest-standing Mario spin-offs, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a great game to play with friends and family. There are a lot of karts, tires and parachutes to collect, which lead to a lot of build diversity. (I’m a motorcycle enthusiast with either Shy Guy or Koopa Troopa.) This is my top Mario game, having not enjoyed a Mario-focused game since the original Paper Mario on the N64. — Jordan Palmer
Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
A deviation from the standard Mario affair, Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle brings turn-based strategy to the Mario world — and throws Ubisoft’s deranged rabbit-like mascots into the mix. Mario and his friends have to team up with Rabbid versions of themselves (yes, really) in order to save the Mushroom Kingdom from a series of evil Rabbids that are causing chaos.
The fact that the game is so different is what makes Mario + Rabbids appealing. You’re not Mario (or Luigi) running around the world, jumping on bad guys to save the day. Instead you have to manage your team of characters, each with their own unique upgradable weapons and abilities, to succeed.
Despite its cartoonish exterior, which is clearly aimed at the younger audiences, Mario + Rabbids is still quite a challenging game. There’s a reason the game lets you toggle Easy Mode for individual battles. Plus, with a sequel on the way later this year, now’s as good a time as any to pick up a copy for yourself. — Tom Pritchard
Super Mario Odyssey
Super Mario Odyssey was everything I wanted from a 3D Mario adventure. Taking clear inspiration from Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine, Odyssey offers intricately detailed, open-ended environments to explore, rather than traditional linear levels.
While the overabundance of Power Moons to collect could turn some players off, I love that you’ll discover some form of secret around almost every corner. The game always rewards your curiosity with either a shiny collectible or a new object/enemy to capture via Mario’s new companion, Cappy.
The inclusion of Cappy adds an incredible new dimension to Mario’s platforming move set. He also gives Mario a surprisingly versatile capture ability. Mario's ability to essentially possess objects and enemies could have been little more than a gimmick, but Nintendo wove it seamlessly into Odyssey’s gameplay and level design. Plus, it's staggering how inventive some of the captures are. Mario as T-Rex still makes me giggle.
Mario Odyssey is also one of the most content-rich Nintendo Switch games out there. Completing the game basically unlocks a whole other game, as each level gets replenished with new collectibles. The two postgame levels are devilishly tricky, even for veteran Mario players. — Rory Mellon
Super Mario 3D All-Stars
In 2020, Nintendo celebrated Mario's 35th anniversary by collecting Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy into a single package for the Switch. This allowed gamers to play these classics for the first time on a modern console, along with enhancements, such as a 16:9 aspect ratio and a listening mode to enjoy all the catchy music away from the game.
The only snag is that this game is now hard-to-find, as Nintendo made the incomprehensible decision to stop selling the game online last year. Your only option now is to find a physical copy, although fortunately, there still seem to be plenty of those around.
It's a great value to have three full-sized games on a single game card. And even though the games have aged visually, they still feel great to play, even all these years later. I thoroughly recommend taking a trip to the origins of 3D gaming with this collection — if you can find a copy to buy. — Richard Priday
Paper Mario: The Origami King
The Paper Mario series has had its ups and downs over the years, but Paper Mario: The Origami King is a solid return to form. In this visually striking adventure, Mario explores the Origami Kingdom, where enemies, allies and environments all take inspiration from Japanese papercraft. In this lightly strategic RPG, Mario recruits a variety of allies and tackles a variety of foes. The battles require Mario to manipulate his environment and line multiple enemies up to strike them at the same time, leading to some interesting tactical choices as the game progresses. — Marshall Honorof
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury
Super Mario 3D World originally came out for the Wii U in 2013, and received a Nintendo Switch port last year. Almost a decade later, it remains a solid, if unspectacular, Mario experience. Its four player co-op functionality is arguably its biggest selling point, even if some levels descend into total chaos with the inclusion of extra players.
The real star of this package is Bowser’s Fury, which is exclusive to the Switch port. This entirely separate mode sees Mario team up with Bowser Jr. to collect Cat Shines across the vibrant location of Lake Lapcat. At first, the gameplay is your standard Mario affair. You’ll run, jump and stomp across a variety of colorful objects, as you’d expect.
The wrinkle comes when the slowly stirring Bowser in the center of the game’s map awakens and begins raining fire down on Mario. Trying to duck and dodge fireballs is exhilarating, and if you’ve collected enough shines, you can turn into a giant kaiju cat to battle against Mario’s Godzilla-sized foe. It's pretty bonkers, but you’ll have a smile on your face the whole time. - Rory Mellon