Top 10 Greatest Mario Bros. Spin-Off Games

Script written by Garrett Alden You wouldn’t know it, but being a plumber gives you skills in a lot of different fields. These are the best games that feature the portly plumber outside of his platforming adventures, whether it be in Go-Kart races, roleplaying romps or even jaunts on the soccer field. Welcome to http://WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Greatest Mario Bros. Spin-Off Games! Special thanks to our users “Erik blidner”, “Lamont Holt” & “Omar Asousy” for suggesting this topic using our interactive suggestion tool at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Mario Spinoff Games

This moustachioed plumber is a jack-of-all-trades. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our list of the Top 10 Mario Spinoff Games.
Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our list of the Top 10 Mario Spinoff Games.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the games in the “Mario” franchise outside of the primary 2D and 3D platform genre he’s best known for. We’ll also only be including one entry per sub-series; otherwise this list would be inundated with Mario Parties and Karts galore!

#10: “Dr. Mario” (1990)

Puzzle games blew up in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s and Mario was one of many to jump on the bandwagon. “Dr. Mario” distinguishes itself from the pack though, by featuring preset “blocks” in the form of viruses that the titular physician must destroy using pills of the corresponding colors. With its combination of challenging puzzle gameplay, the option to play against an opponent, and a feverishly addictive theme song, “Dr. Mario” is an early “Mario” spinoff that we’d prescribe to any video game fan in need of a medically fun time.

#9: “Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker” (2014)

Speaking of puzzle games, the Wii U saw an interesting take on the genre with this spinoff, starring an adventurous member of the Mushroom Kingdom, Captain Toad. Based on bonus levels from “Super Mario 3D World,” “Treasure Tracker” has the player control the little captain as he navigates 3D levels, solves puzzles, and recovers treasures in the form of stars. Unlike most “Mario” games, Captain Toad doesn’t do a lot of jumping and instead relies on throwing objects, like in “Mario 2.” All in all, this is a great expansion on a diverting part of the main “Mario” series that highlights the thoroughly underrated Toads in a colorful and charming package.

#8: “Mario Tennis” (2000)

Despite the fact that there was already a game of the same name for the Virtual Boy, the N64 version is what springs to mind for most gamers whenever “Mario Tennis” is mentioned. While there had been Mario sports games before, “Mario Tennis” distinguished itself with fun, pick-up-and-play controls, simple to learn but hard to master gameplay, and also by expanding the roster of supporting characters available, including the introduction of the bizarre cult favorite, Waluigi. Although later “Mario Tennis” games added and improved on the formula, ultimately we drew more enjoyment and appreciation from the one that laid the series’ foundations.

#7: “Super Mario Strikers” (2005)

Mario is quite the multi-sport athlete. “Super Mario Strikers,” known as “Mario Smash Football” outside of North America, features the plumber, along with his friends, and foes engaging in simplified football matches. Everything from the time limits, to the lack of fouls creates a very streamlined soccer experience. In addition, the inclusion of items and special finishing strikes unique to each character makes “Super Mario Strikers” a flashy and entertaining time. “Mario” sports games all add a Mushroom Kingdom flair to their respective sport and “Super Mario Strikers” does that better than most.

#6: “Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon” (2013)

Although the original “Luigi’s Mansion” was a stellar launch title for the GameCube full of spooky, fun gameplay, its sequel for the 3DS took everything great about its predecessor and improved upon it. Like the original, Mario’s cowardly brother is tasked with ghost busting a haunted mansion, but “Dark Moon” increased the variety of ghosts you encounter, added multiple mansions to explore, and fixed some issues with the interface, like adding the ability to jump while sucking up ghosts. We’re happy to let Mario hog the spotlight, so long as Luigi keeps getting games of this caliber to call his own.

#5: “Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door” (2004)

While we’re on the subject of excellent sequels, the second installment in the “Paper Mario” series is also a superb follow up and our favorite of the lot. “The Thousand-Year Door” got the typical upgrades you’d expect with the jump to a new system, like graphical quality, but where the game really shines is in the gameplay and story elements, with everything from the battle system to the story structure taking inspiration from a stage play. Add in plenty of new partner characters, the series’ signature humor, and more paper transformations, and the stage was set for one of the best “Mario” RPGs around.

#4: “Mario Party 2” (2000)

Let’s keep the sequel train running with this second outing from the long running Mario Party series. Later entries tend to get bogged down by clunky gimmicks, but “Mario Party 2” kept everything that was great about the original’s premise and rolled the dice on some new features, like item shops and themed boards. While the reliance on luck over skill to win remains a sticking point for some, it does make the game feel more like an actual board game. Just remember that the anger and frustration you feel because your friend just stole your only star is part of the fun. Deep breaths.

#3: “Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars” (1996)

Mario’s first RPG is still one of his best, in our opinions. The game did a lot for both the RPGs that followed it, such as its timed hit battle system, as well as the franchise as a whole, by expanding and fleshing out the characters’ personalities, particularly Peach and Bowser. Combine that with fantastic original characters that haven’t been seen since (get on that Nintendo!), great humor, a unique visual aesthetic, and one of the best soundtracks in any “Mario” game, and you’ve got one unforgettable adventure!

#2: “Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U” (2014)

Some might question whether a “Smash Bros” game qualifies as a “Mario” spinoff, but the fact that Nintendo’s main man is in the game makes it eligible in our eyes. The fourth entry in this fighting franchise stands out in a series known for its quality, with a bigger roster, more modes, customization features, tight controls, and increased online features, including downloadable content. “Smash 4”’s availability on both home and handheld consoles is also a major plus. Overall, it’s the best “Smash” title yet and nearly the best “Mario” spinoff out there.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

The “WarioWare” series (2003-13)

“Mario Paint” (1992)

“Mario Golf” (1999)

#1: “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” (2017)

The “Mario Kart” series has featured some truly stellar games, from its first 3D game on the N64, to the innovative DS title, to its gorgeous Wii U entry. However, ultimately, we had to go with the latest entry in the franchise, “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” for the Switch. Although the game has not been out long, it has distinguished itself by incorporating all of the elements that made prior titles great: Tight controls, increased customization, all the tracks of the Wii U version (including those originally locked behind DLC) as well as a completely revamped Battle Mode. “8 Deluxe” may be the best “Mario Kart” experience, and the best “Mario” spinoff game, yet.
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