Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Top Ten Nintendo Switch Games Featuring Mario

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury, an enhanced port for the Nintendo Switch of the original Wii U 3D World, launches in exactly one month on February 12th. Ahead of the release, Nintendo published a new trailer for the game featuring its all-new Bowser's Fury mode--you can see it as published on SPC. With a new Mario launching in a month's time, it seems like a grand opportunity as any to look back at Mario's past Nintendo Switch exploits and see which games come in at the top with this countdown of the ten best Switch games featuring the Big N's mascot, the portly plumber Mario, in a playable capacity. After you've scoped out the top ten, which games would you put on your list of faves?

10) Mario Tennis Aces

We begin this countdown with a game that was much maligned in the SPC review. However, with various free updates, Mario Tennis Aces turned a match that it was down two sets by and managed to eke out a victory in the end. With a grand assortment of playable characters releasing each month up until about a year or so ago--making the count at a nice and even 30--and adding an abundance of new modes and content, Mario Tennis Aces became a vastly improved game than what was offered at launch. It made for a tennis game that was just as sound content-wise as it was mechanically and structurally, creating an overall thrilling game of tennis that allowed me to finally fully enjoy the game.

9) Super Mario Bros. 35

Available for a limited time (up until March 31st, 2021), Super Mario Bros. 35 is a battle royale-style romp that sees 35 players taking on one another simultaneously as they each play through one of 32 levels in the original Super Mario Bros. As enemies are defeated on your screen, they drop in on another player's screen. However, the exact opposite can and DOES happen quite a lot, resulting in some incredible insane and hectic moment-to-moment gameplay where a well-timed cash-in of coins for power-ups is the difference between victory and an early defeat. It's an absolute shame that Super Mario Bros. 35 is only going to be available for a short while longer, as it is one definitely clever and ultra-addicting take on an old classic.

8) Paper Mario: The Origami King

Listed on SPC's Games of 2020 list, Paper Mario: The Origami King surprised me with just how much I enjoyed it. While some might stick up their nose at the game not fully returning to the turn-based, experience point-earning battles of the original two Paper Mario games, Origami King managed to amaze regardless with a clever battle system that utilized a puzzle-based ring system to organize enemies into rows and batches to take them out. Boss battles involved further innovation, as well, delivering more puzzle-solving and the occasional trial and error to take down. Between the marvelous exploration, locales, characters, story, writing, humor, and music, Paper Mario: The Origami King is an absolute delight to play.

7) Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle

Ubisoft Milan's colorful Mushroom Kingdom take on the XCOM series, Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle brought with it much mockery and skepticism when it was originally leaked. However, once the game was revealed in an official capacity, a lot of crow was had--as the game looked positively remarkable, creative and fun. Fortunately, the end result for when the game finally launched was a successful one, being greeted with great reviews and high sales alike. The strategic grid-based battles in Mario + Rabbids were a mix of melee and ranged attacks, having Mario, Luigi, and the gang use gun-like weaponry of all things to battle Bowser's forces. It's a concept that under less cautious and more reckless hands would have been a disaster, but Ubisoft Milan certainly pulled it off.

6) New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe

Arguably--and I will argue this to the day I lose my last 1-Up--two of the greatest 2D Mario adventures, able to be compared favorably design-wise to greats like Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World, New Super Mario Bros. U and its much more difficult New Super Luigi U DLC were combined into one nice and tidy package on the Nintendo Switch. That package was none other than New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, offering more than 100 combined levels of 2D platforming greatness. Whether it's the more relaxed (though it does get quite hard in later worlds) pace of New Super Mario Bros. U, or the bite-sized, highly challenging levels of New Super Luigi U, this pair placed in this platforming package is more than worth playing, no matter if it's alone or locally with up to four friends. 

5) Super Mario 3D All-Stars

Speaking of platforming packages, we turn our attention to Super Mario 3D All-Stars, a collection of three 3D Mario games put in one collection. The games included go from good (Super Mario Sunshine) to masterful (Super Mario Galaxy), and players can revisit--or explore them for the very first time--the games that solidified Mario as a force to be reckoned with in not only the 2D space but also the 3D one. Starting with Super Mario 64, making the leap to Super Mario Sunshine, and then reaching for the stars with Super Mario Galaxy, these three remastered games never looked or played better. Yes, the collection itself is relatively bare-bones feature-wise, but overall, when you have games this good in one package, it's hard to resist recommending Super Mario 3D All-Stars regardless.

4) Super Mario Maker 2

Childhood me adored making maps and level designs on the back of blueprint paper that my mom brought home from her work. I'd doodle for hours on end, making levels and maps for games like Mega Man, The Legend of Zelda, and yes, even Mario. So, when Nintendo initially announced the original Super Mario Maker on the Wii U, you can bet I jumped at the chance to play the released game and make a metric ton of levels in it. With Super Mario Maker 2, not only did Nintendo listen to fans on adding new features and content, such as the often desired slopes, but eventually with the game's final update, a world maker was available. This mode allows creators to make their own games, essentially. Throw in highly accessible creation tools and controls, a helpful Story Mode that serves as a tutorial in creating competent levels in the Maker Mode, and online multiplayer that was beefed up since release to make for an overall better playing experience, and you have one of my favorite Mario games on the Nintendo Switch.

3) Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

The Nintendo Switch is of course no stranger to getting content from the much less successful Wii U. Essentially an entirely sizable new audience is getting a chance to play a smorgasbord of new software because Nintendo is porting much of its Wii U catalog to the Switch. The earliest game on the hardware that raced in from the Wii U was Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Not just a simple port, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe featured all of the DLC tracks from the original game--for an impressive 48 track total--as well new characters, an updated and enhanced Battle Mode that had more traditional arenas, and lots of quality of life additions. Speaking of the latter, racers could utilize steer assist to keep them on the track, and auto acceleration so one less button would need to be held down during races. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe remains one of the best multiplayer games on the Switch to date, and it continues to be one of the best kart racing games ever made. Some might even say it leaves the rest of the competition in the dust.

2) Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Though Mario may not act as the actual star of this penultimate game on this top ten countdown, he is a major part of the all-star ensemble of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. What a game Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is, with battles being fierce and frenetic, with the game possessing a bounty of content, characters, stages, and modes (many of which return from past Smash Bros. games), and so much TLC poured into the game by Masahiro Sakurai and his unwavering team. The game continues to see updates, as it's knee-deep in the second Fighters Pass, which just saw Sephiroth of Final Fantasy VII fame, of all characters, swoop onto the roster, and the support for the game keeps impressing! Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is truly a celebration of all things gaming, wrapped neatly together by expansive content and magnificent fighting mechanics. 

1) Super Mario Odyssey

It certainly isn't the first time this game has arrived at number one on a SuperPhillip Central countdown, and by golly, it probably won't be the last either. Super Mario Odyssey is just that good of a 3D platforming adventure, inviting Mario and players to explore its robust and wide open platforming playgrounds, hunting high and low for Power Moons. Each kingdom that players arrive in is brimming and utterly bursting with creativity and genius design, whether it's running and jumping through a realistic city or taking on a giant cockatiel bird in a blazing hot, gargantuan-sized roasting pot. Cappy adds to Mario's already impressive move set, offering more freedom in the portly plumber's platforming abilities than ever before. Furthermore, the ability to capture enemies and objects, temporarily possessing them opens up some insanely creative scenarios, interesting platforming and environmental challenges, and new ways to get around the expansive levels, as well. Super Mario Odyssey isn't a perfect Mario adventure, but I'd be absolutely lying if I said it wasn't close!

No comments: