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Top 10 Worst Mario Spin Offs

VO: Dan Paradis
Script Written by Kurt Hvorup Nintendo's famed plumber has been tied to some of gaming's finest works... but not every Mario game has been a winner. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Worst Mario Spin-Offs We're taking a look at the Mario-centric side games that have proven less-than-endearing, from underwhelming platformers to poorly-designed educational titles. To be clear, some of the games on this list may not necessarily be bad in the broadest sense, but are most definitely low-quality entries in the “Mario” franchise. Special thanks to our user PlungedUncle for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script Written by Kurt Hvorup

Top 10 Worst Mario Spin-Offs


Nintendo's famed plumber has been tied to some of gaming's finest works... but not every Mario game has been a winner. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 Worst Mario Spin-Offs.

We're taking a look at the Mario-centric side games that have proven less-than-endearing, from underwhelming platformers to poorly-designed educational titles. To be clear, some of the games on this list may not necessarily be bad in the broadest sense, but are most definitely low-quality entries in the “Mario” franchise.

#10: “Wrecking Crew” (1985)


Simplicity has its merits, but sometimes it leaves players feeling underserved. Such is the case for “Wrecking Crew”, an action game for the Nintendo Entertainment System in which the player destroys objects on a construction site. Barring some variation on what can be destroyed with the game's hammers and the appearance of rival character spike, “Wrecking Crew” is surprisingly slight in terms of content and engagement. Its limited relation to the lively atmosphere of the core “Super Mario” titles only reinforces how little is on display here.

#9: “Mario Party 8” (2007)


Randomness, repetition and a lack of innovation – that sure sounds like a party to us. “Mario Party 8” acted as the first of two “Mario Party” games for the Wii, implementing the motion-based Wiimote in minigames and allowing people to play as their Mii characters. Unfortunately, the game's slim merits were drowned out by criticism of its dull single-player content, over-reliance on motion controls in minigames and overall lack of creative design. Sadly the series just kept going downhill after this title, with the *ahem” “Party Car” in Mario Party 9 & 10 being the most boring joyride ever.

#8: “Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics” (2013)


While the “Mario & Sonic” series has been far from perfect, it reached a definite low point in 2013. “Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics” opted not to stray far from convention with regards to its sports-inspired minigames, which didn't do it many favours. Additionally, the game's pleasant and vibrant locales couldn't distract gamers from hit-and-miss controls and somewhat shallow portrayals of various sports. Such a shame, given how the idea of a Mario and Sonic crossover was once considered fresh and innovative. At least the dream events are alright.

#7: “Mario's Game Gallery” (1995)


Ever wanted to play backgammon and checkers with your favourite fictional plumber? No? Well, for those who can endure drawn-out, tortuously overlong virtual card and board games, this is the experience for you. “Mario's Game Gallery” was spawned from developer Interplay Entertainment, who saw fit to create a game based around beating Mario at a handful of traditional games. While it's inoffensive in concept, the project's bizarre focus was matched only by the sheer lack of fun or engagement to be had. The most interesting thing about “Game Gallery” is that it marked the debut of Charles Martinet as Mario's voice actor... no, really.

#6: “Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash” (2015)


Some may claim “Mario's Tennis” for the Virtual Boy warrants attention, but the failings of “Ultra Smash” feel slightly more depressing. “Mario Tennis” creator Camelot Software Planning set out to translate their series' core gameplay onto the Wii U, with some streamlining and infusion of new mechanics to boot. Sadly this backfired to a certain extent – the new Mega Mushrooms were felt to negatively impact the balance in matches, and most bizarrely of all, the game lacks any sort of Tournament or Career mode. Seriously that’s like Sports Games Basics 101.

#5: “Mario Teaches Typing” (1991)


“Mario Teaches Typing” is at least theoretically intriguing: it ties on-screen typing lessons to control of Mario, Luigi or Princess Peach's traversal through a side-scrolling environment. However, the actual process of typing to give Mario and company commands is overly strenuous and repetitive to the point of being dull. Worse, though, is that the game has actually been found to be sub-par as a tool of educating people on typing. Something is very wrong when a game fails at what should be its primary goal. You had one job, Mario!

#4: “Mario Clash” (1995)


When history looks back on the Virtual Boy and its library, it finds only unrealized potential and good intentions. For instance, the 1995 game “Mario Clash” was meant to show off the peripheral's 3D visuals with a recreation of the “Mario Bros” arcade game. In practice the repetitive gameplay – focused on clearing out approaching Koopa Troopas – meshed poorly with the Virtual Boy's monochromatic colour palette and control issues. This wasn't helped by the lack of reward for progressing through the game, which made completion utterly pointless.

#3: “Mario's Time Machine” (1993)


In similar style to “Mario is Missing”, this helps reinforce the worst feelings and ideas about educational gaming. There were actually 3 version of this game, and though each play somewhat differently, but their premise is still the same. “Mario's Time Machine” has the eponymous plumber chasing Bowser through time itself, stopping to return precious artifacts to their proper time periods. With such a great premise, one would think the game proper would compare nicely... and yet it was not to be. Gameplay focused primarily on parsing through historically-based dialogue and solving word puzzles. Far from being enthralling, the game was found to be both lackluster and likely confusing for the young audience at which it was aimed.

#2: “Mario's Early Years! Fun With Numbers” (1994)


Once more, a little bit does not go a long way. Amid the various “Mario” games in the 1990s, there was “Mario's Early Years! Fun With Numbers”, an educational title designed around use of the SNES Mouse. Focusing on Mario and friends travelling to an island to learn about numbers, the game is as rote and simplistic as the premise suggests. Aside from featuring hints of music from “Super Mario World”, this is an experience where reinforcing knowledge of numbers comes before any other concerns – including a sense of fun.

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

“Yoshi” (1992)

“Mario Party Advance” (2005)

“Mario Pinball Land” (2004)

#1: “Hotel Mario” (1994)


Nothing comes so close in terms of sheer potential for boredom or ability to befuddle. “Hotel Mario” may occasionally draw upon the core games' iconography, but it does so while also under-serving the franchise as a whole. It has Mario attempting to shut out Bowser's minions by way of traversing a series of hotel floors, closing doors, doors and more doors. If the prospect of one-note puzzle gameplay wasn't enough, “Hotel Mario” hammers home its inadequacy with its extremely awkward, cheaply-animated cutscenes. This was the horrible bastard child of a Nintendo and Phillips deal gone sour.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your least favorite Mario spin-off? For more diverse Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.

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