The one and only Mario first appeared in the 1981 arcade game Donkey Kong, and he hasn't gone anywhere since.
Nintendo's iconic plumber has appeared in games of all genres, from role-playing adventures to light-hearted party titles. Because of this, we're here to look at all of Mario's best titles by seeing which ones rank higher than the rest. Rather than stacking up the games ourselves, however, we'll be turning to Metacritic for answers.
The popular review aggregation website assigns video games a rating on a scale of 0 to 100 based on the assessments of select critics. These are the scores we'll be using in this ranking.
With that said, it's time to press play and jump into action; Here are the 10 best Mario games of all time, according to Metacritic.
10 Super Mario Sunshine (92)
Mario decided to take a vacation to the tropical Isle Delfino in this 2002 GameCube game. Unfortunately for him, he is falsely accused of a crime and summoned to clean up the graffiti that is polluting the place. Luckily, a friendly water cannon device named F.L.U.D.D. joins Mario on his quest to tidy up and track down the mysterious shadow figure who is wreaking all the havoc.
The game received great reviews thanks to its clever setting, beautiful graphics, interesting gameplay, and overall liveliness.
9 Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2 (92)
Next in line is the Super Mario World remake. Rather than appearing on the NES, this game headed straight for the Game Boy Advance in the early 2000s.
Super Mario Advance 2 had players controlling either Mario or his brother Luigi on an adventure through Dinosaur Land in order to rescue Peach and seven Yoshis. Updates to the title included freshened-up gameplay mechanics and leveled-up visuals.
The original fun and freshened features had gamers rushing out to get their hands on a copy of this one.
8 Super Mario 3D World (93)
Released for the Wii U in 2013, Super Mario 3D World has Mario and friends heading on a mission to rescue the fairy-like Sprixies from Bowser.
Like its predecessor, Super Mario 3D Land, this game combined free-roaming gameplay with 2D side-scrolling mechanics. Did we mention that the multiplayer feature allow four players to work through a level at the same time?
The visual design, energy, and challenge of the game had it raining in good reviews.
7 Mario Kart Super Circuit (93)
Though all the games in the Mario Kart series are worth talking about, this one has garnered more praise than all the rest.
Mario Kart: Super Circuit debuted on the Game Boy Advance in 2001 as the third installment in the Mario Kart series and the first to be made for a handheld device. Players could race as characters including Mario, Donkey Kong, and Toad on a series of 20 new tracks as well as 20 that returned from Super Mario Kart.
The replayability and expansiveness had this game deserving a gold trophy.
6 Paper Mario (93)
A retro version of Mario starred in his own RPG in the early 2000s: Paper Mario.
This N64 game, set in the Mushroom Kingdom, has Mario attempting to save Peach from Bowser by rescuing the seven Star Spirits from a variety of vibrant lands. Things that made this title unique include the various partners that join Mario for the journey, the turn-based battle system, and the endless puzzles scattered through the lands.
Though the game was simple, it was praised for its creative gameplay, beautiful design, and overall fun. It also received multiple sequels.
5 Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 (94)
This Mario platform game stole the show on Game Boy Advances everywhere in 2003.
As an enhanced remake of the NES's Super Mario Bros. 3, the title featured the classic gameplay and exciting worlds of the original. However, it also contained new e-Reader capabilities, updated voice acting, and a multiplayer mode.
The game's reviews were incredible, with critics applauding the high quality and nostalgia that had been blended together.
4 Super Mario 64 (94)
In 1996, Mario received a classic platformer on the N64.
Super Mario 64 had the titular plumber jumping into pictures located throughout Princess Peach's castle to rescue stars scattered throughout a variety of lands. With an open-world layout, intense missions, and a scattering of secrets, the game received a load of positive reviews.
Everything from the musical score to the easy navigation had gamers everywhere raving. The 3D design was also new and exciting at the time of its release.
3 Super Mario Odyssey (97)
The first of the three games to score itself a high 97 is the latest Mario adventure game: Super Mario Odyssey.
This 2017 Nintendo Switch title has Mario journeying across worlds alongside his hat, Cappy, in order to rescue Peach from Bowser before he is able to marry her. With open-ended gameplay, high-end graphics, and a load of content, this game received high scores from critics everywhere.
While the game felt distinctly Mario, it also felt as fresh as ever.
2 Super Mario Galaxy 2 (97)
Next in line is the expansive sequel to Super Mario Galaxy. Released for the Wii in 2010, this game had the titular character journeying around space via the Starship Mario in an attempt to track down Bowser and rescue the princess. Yes, Yoshi does tag along for the adventure this time around.
Critics loved the game for improving both technically and creatively. While all the charm of the original was there, the new levels and mechanics had it blasting off to new heights.
1 Super Mario Galaxy (97)
Topping off the list is the original Super Mario Galaxy, which released for the Wii in 2007. This 3D game sent Mario on a mission into space to collect 121 Power Stars and rescue Princess Peach and the rest of the universe from Bowser's latest schemes.
Levels took place on spherical planets, while the whimsical Comet Observatory spaceship served as the main hub.
With interesting gameplay, out-of-this-world visuals, and creative mechanics, Super Mario Galaxy remains one of the best Mario games to have been released so far.