Best Games Like Super Mario

Do you like Super Mario? We've done a lot of research and found the best games like Super Mario for you to enjoy.

From kart racing to stomping on bad guys’ heads, Mario has had led an exciting life since retiring from the plumbing business.

Jokes aside, the Super Mario games have played a pivotal role in shaping modern platformers and are revered for their superb level design and rewarding gameplay.

In this list, we’ll highlight the best games like Super Mario to play in 2021, including 2D platformers like Super Mario Bros. and 3D platformers like Super Mario Odyssey.

We’ll be updating this list in the future with new titles, so make sure to check back and let us know if we missed any games!

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Along with Super Mario, Donkey Kong Country games are some of the best platformers Nintendo’s ever put out, and the latest entry is very much a return to form for the series.

Tropical Freeze sees the banana-loving, tie-wearing ape battling a band of arctic-inspired villains that plan to turn his tropical paradise into an icy tundra.

The Switch version includes some neat bonuses to an already satisfying game, such as extra collectibles for dedicated players to track down and an optional Funky Mode which lowers the stakes considerably.

Crash Bandicoot was PlayStation’s answer to Mario and Sonic during the 1990s when every big video game company had to have an edgy mascot.

The original trilogy of games was made by Naughty Dog, and their 3D platforming gameplay still holds up to this day, as evident by the N. Sane Trilogy remake collection.

Although the Crash games are much more linear in design than 3D Super Mario, they offer the same level of polish and are typically packed to the brim with hidden collectibles and secrets.

Another game collection that may appeal to fans of Mario’s 3D adventures is Spyro Reignited Trilogy, which includes remakes of the first three Spyro games.

Like Crash, Spyro served as a colorful mascot for the PlayStation brand and actually became quite popular, though nowhere on the same level as Mario or Sonic.

Related:Best Video Game Remakes and Remasters 2021

Each entry sees the wisecracking purple dragon traveling to magical worlds to rescue fellow dragons in 3D levels filled with collectible goodies. 

New Super Lucky’s Tale is Xbox’s take on old-school 3D platformers centered on a cute animal mascot, in this case, an upbeat and cheery fox.

Levels revolve around momentum and jumps, with Lucky using his unique abilities to get around, such as slides and burrowing underground.

The game has a very family-friendly vibe that mirrors Super Mario, making it perfect for casual play and younger audiences.

Call it nostalgia or simply inspiration, but there’s definitely a rise in indie developers crafting their own 3D platformers modeled after classics like Super Mario 64, including this next game, Mail Mole.

You play as the world’s fasted delivery mole on a quest to save his home, Carrotland, from falling to ruin while still hitting his quota for letters delivered.

The fact that you’re playing as a mole that can dig underground, climb walls, and even soar through the air lends itself to engaging level design on par with Super Mario.

A Hat in Time is a 3D platformer inspired by Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie and shares a similar cartoonish art style and collect-a-thon level designs.

It follows Hat Kid, a young girl whose return trip home is interrupted when her spaceship takes damage, causing the magical hourglasses that power her craft to scatter and fall on various planets.

Related:Best Indie Nintendo Switch Games 2021

Similar to Super Mario Odyssey, Hat Kid can gain new abilities by donning different hats (though Mario’s cap technically possesses other living beings).

Another game that draws influence from Super Mario and Banjo Kazooie is Yooka-Laylee, which includes cartoony graphics and double the animal mascots.

Yooka is a green chameleon who can walk around, breathe fire, and curl into a ball, while Laylee is a small purple bat that can help Yooka fly and solve various puzzles.

Puzzles make excellent use of both characters’ abilities and the game manages to strike the right balance between retro charm and modern controls. 

Shovel Knight has a vibrant 8-bit pixel art aesthetic that’s further complemented by a slew of memorable heroes and villains and a deep combat system that revolves around using different gadgets.

The base game includes the Shovel of Hope original story and has you controlling Shovel Knight as he sets out to defeat the Order of No Quarter, using a shovel blade as his main method of attack.

We recommend fans of old-school Super Mario Bros. pick up the updated Treasure Trove edition, which includes four additional campaigns and a new game mode.

If you enjoy speed-running your way past traps and enemies in any Super Mario games, you should feel right at home in Super Meat Boy.

In it, you control the titular Meat Boy as he tries to rescue his girlfriend from the evil clutches of Dr. Fetus, which is very reminiscent of the plot in most Mario games.

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The game does a great job at keeping you on your toes all throughout; once you’ve mastered a particular hazard, it starts to throw out new ones ranging from deadly spikes to spinning buzz saws.

Rayman Legends is heralded as one of the best 2D platformers of the last decade and the best entry in the series to date, and for a good reason.

From the visuals and level design to the way characters control and the sheer amount of content included with the base game, there’s a lot to admire.

While the platforming can feel a bit too chaotic in multiplayer, this is something the Mario games have also struggled with throughout the years, so take that for what it’s worth.

Celeste’s vibrant pixel art aesthetic is meant to be a throwback to the classic NES/SNES era games, complete with the challenging difficulty found in early Super Mario Bros. titles.

In it, you play as a young woman named Madeline who decides to climb a mountain as an escape from the monotony of her humdrum life.

To reach its peak, you’ll have to traverse a series of hand-crafted platforming levels that emphasize precise jumps and dashes as well as solve various puzzles.

The best way to describe Splasher is if someone took Super Mario Sunshine and turned it into a 2D platformer.

You play as a paint cannon-wielding hero on a mission to save his fellow Splashers and take back the factory from the clutches of his evil boss.

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Each level features unique puzzles centered on spraying different kinds of paint to climb walls, bounce off platformers, and avoid obstacles.

Antonball Deluxe is a retro-inspired action arcade game whose chunky pixel art style mirrors that of classic Super Mario Bros.

While its brick-breaking gameplay is reminiscent of games like Breakout, Antonball changes things up by having your character physically hit the ball towards the bricks you’re trying to destroy.

The deluxe version includes two additional game modes: Punchball and VS Antonball, which sees you battling friends with 21 unlockable characters and over 60 levels pick from.

If you enjoy playing Mario platformers that include a co-op mode, then BattleBlock Theater is a great way to get into some trouble with friends.

Developed by the Behemoth, it sees you on a quest to rescue your allies from an army of evil technological felines across 450+ platforming levels jam-packed with enemies and other hazards.

Unlike many of the games we’ve covered, BattleBlock features a robust level editor similar to that of Super Mario Maker that lets you dream up challenging creations to share with others.

As much as we love Super Mario Bros. 35, it won’t be around forever, seeing as Nintendo plans on removing the game from Switch Online at the end of March.

Once that happens, your next best option for a battle royale platformer is Soviet Jump Game, which takes the retro sidescroller formula and blends it with intense online multiplayer.

Related:Best Battle Royale Games 2021

Matches start with up to 50 players, and the numbers continue to drop as you seek out power-ups, traverse tricky obstacles, and eliminate opponents by jumping on their heads. 

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Justin Fernandez
Justin Fernandez

As a fan of both indie and triple-A games, Justin finds joy in discovering and sharing hidden gems with other passionate gamers. In addition to reporting on the latest and greatest titles, he manages GamingScan’s social media channels.

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