Everybody has experienced Mario in some way or another. It’s among the most well-known and popular video game franchises that have ever been created.
Each time a Mario game is released, there’s a good chance it’ll change the landscape of gaming forever.
Although Nintendo has mostly kept to the formula developed by Mario’s first release using the NES for hand-held games, there have been times that handheld games use new concepts and transform them into blockbusters, or revisit the old Mario gameplay concepts in a fresh method.
As you might imagine making a best 15 top list of Mario games isn’t easy and isn’t made any more difficult by simply taking a look at the games on his handheld.
However, we’ve attempted to make a diverse list that covers every high point of Mario’s time playing Nintendo’s portable consoles by highlighting titles that stood the tests of time.
Let’s check out the ones that authentic Mario fans should not miss.
- 15. Mario's Cement Factory (1983)
- 14. Mario vs. Donkey Kong (2004)
- 13. Yoshi's Island DS (2006)
- 12. Super Mario Land (1989)
- 11. Super Princess Peach (2006)
- 10. Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem (2010)
- 9. Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time (2005)
- 8. Super Mario 64 DS (2004)
- 7. New Super Mario Bros. (2006)
- 6. Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story + Bowser Jr.'s Journey (2019)
- 5. Super Mario 3D Land (2011)
- 4. Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (1992)
- 3. Mario & Luigi: Dream Team (2013)
- 2. Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions (2017)
- 1. Mario Kart 7 (2011)
15. Mario’s Cement Factory (1983)
What?! You’ve not heard of Mario’s Cement Factory?
Be assured that you’re not alone.
The game was part of the Game & Watch series and only a handful of copies were made available.
The player assists Mario guide cement through the pipes as effectively as possible and with the greatest care to not cause injury to his coworkers.
The development team was headed by Gunpei Yokoi – who was the genius who created his creation of the Game Boy and the WonderSwan – and it’s among the few occasions that you actually witness Mario performing something that is connected to plumbing.
14. Mario vs. Donkey Kong (2004)
Mario as well as Donkey Kong are banging heads since the days of arcades.
If you enjoyed the likes of puzzles, climbing up ramparts in order to get to the wild primates in Donkey Kong (1981), you’ll be thrilled to watch them clash with the GBA successor.
It follows Mario as Mario leads a team made up of Mini-Mario toys through 96 difficult puzzle levels that are reminiscent of Lemmings.
13. Yoshi’s Island DS (2006)
I’m aware that this game does not contain Mario’s name on the title.
However, considering the fact that Yoshi’s Island DS is a sequel to Super Mario World 2 that was released way back around 1995 for the SNES, I would say that it is definitely counted.
In this amazing title, the characters from Yoshi have put their life at risk to save a group of babies from the villainous Magikoopa Kamek.
This includes Baby Peach, Baby DK as well as Baby Wario.
The game has a wide variety of gameplay that makes the most of the dual-screen feature of the system and is simple to learn for those who aren’t yet platforming experienced.
It can also be used using an emulator when you’re willing to master the commands.
True to the SNES game, down to the feeling of the gameplay and the graphic style, Yoshi’s Island DS takes advantage of the unique dual-screen format of the console while also bringing back the nostalgic vibes that were once a part of our culture.
It all comes together to create an amazing experience that explores new ideas without displacing those who love the original.
12. Super Mario Land (1989)
How can you introduce Mario to the handheld space, especially, in a situation where your device doesn’t possess the same capabilities of the iconic NES or colour, to begin with?
You try your best and then make your creation the best it can be. We can imagine the thought process to create Super Mario Land, Nintendo’s first portable Mario platformer.
The game does not attempt to be anything more than simply a Mario game, within the guidelines set in the NES game.
However, it is limited by the tiny screen and graphics capabilities of Nintendo’s latest handheld.
The result isn’t just an excellent game that is firmly on its own but does it well to meet the high expectations of anyone who loves Mario’s games.
11. Super Princess Peach (2006)
Okay, this one’s quite a bit more difficult than Yoshi’s Island DS – but it’s an iconic game that deserves to be included.
In the end, it was for the first time that Princess Peach had to prove that she was capable of taking care of herself, without her moustache protector.
The game is extremely accessible for those who are new to it, which is an advantage. It also has amazingly colourful and vibrant graphics that provide enjoyable visuals.
Peach’s emotional powers create unique gameplay mechanics but I believe they convey a wrong, possibly sexist, message about women and mood shifts.
10. Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem (2010)
Mario vs. Donkey Kong has had numerous sequels from the time of its GBA debut.
My absolute favourite game is certainly Mini-Land Mayhem, which is available on Nintendo DS.
This is the fourth game of the series and this game has refined the strategy.
You can also make your own levels even though online sharing services have been shut down (which is not a bad thing).
What I love about this game’s storyline is how trivial the conflict can be.
The only thing that can cause Donkey Kong to explode into a fury and kidnap Pauline is failing to obtain a special version Mini-Pauline blow-up toys. No joke.
9. Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time (2005)
Super Mario RPG proved beyond any possibility the fact that Mario, as well as role-playing games, can be an ideal match.
The Mario & Luigi series has been able to continue its legacy of handheld consoles.
The Mario brothers bring a whole new meaning to “I’m baby” by travelling back to the past while meeting their younger counterparts In M&L: Partners in Time.
Developer AlphaDream has created a set of puzzles with a unique design that requires the team to divide and work independently towards an end goal.
8. Super Mario 64 DS (2004)
Super Mario 64 was the first game I ever dug my baby teeth in. The game’s remake on Nintendo DS was a great opportunity to revisit the excitement of exploring Peach’s Castle.
Apart from the new graphics, the handheld version also came with it lots of new features that are worth buying, even if you are familiar with the first inside-out.
In addition, the game is also what makes Yoshi the primary playable character. You’ll also gain access to Mario, Luigi, and Wario as you advance in the course of the game.
There are also 30 brand new Power Stars to collect, making the total 150. There are plenty of things to keep you entertained.
7. New Super Mario Bros. (2006)
If you’re looking for the classic Mario platforms, it’s difficult to come much more authentic than New Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo DS.
Instead of trying to fix something that was not broken, the Big N decided to give the series a makeover and released the new classic that fans had been waiting for.
The game is a mix of brand new features.
I am particularly impressed by the Mega Mushroom which makes Mario attack Titan and take down everything in his path to his goal, including the goal post!
6. Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr.’s Journey (2019)
“Bowser’s” Inside Story is a perfect illustration of how Bowser’s Inside Story is a perfect illustration of why Mario, as well as Luigi games, are distinct.
To provide you with an idea of how far out the games are, the characters must alternate between a top-down, overworld as well as a side-scrolling 3D world inside Bowser’s body.
And, of course, Bowser can be played as a character in the game.
After gaining the same power as Kirby. Bowser is taken to his castle to inhale his enemies which include Peach, Mario, and Luigi.
If that’s not enough to show the extent to which “out there” these games could be, nothing else can.
When you add Nintendo’s love of releasing classic games, everything is a magical combination that is perfect for handhelds.
Interesting fact: Do you remember when I claimed that it was originally the top-selling title in the series? The remake is quite the opposite. It did poorly. Horribly. And may have forced the developer Alpha Dream out of business.
5. Super Mario 3D Land (2011)
The very first Mario game to be released for the 3DS is also an extremely imaginative title available for the handheld.
Similar to how the 3DS enhanced its graphics, the new game gives an entirely new dimension to Super Mario’s iconic gameplay. Literally!
It is a blend of the best elements from 2D, in 2D and 3D by presenting you Mario’s classic platforms in a fresh way, and also allowing you to go back and forth not just left and right.
Naturally, there are also new mechanics such as challenges and power-ups which are a part of these new features.
It’s a bizarre and imaginative method of bridging gaps between 2D as well as 3D and only Nintendo could have done it in such away.
4. Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (1992)
I love the minimalist design and innovative gameplay elements inside Super Mario Land.
However, its sequel completely blew it out of the water by introducing a full-fledged Mario adventure that has nothing to rival its full-colour predecessors.
It can do nearly all the things more effectively than the previous.
The graphics are much more detailed and the animations are extremely fluid and despite being longer, it’s far less monotonous.
The game also plays host to some bizarre enemies that never appeared for the rest of the game, including gigantic ants, armoured beetles and even sharks wearing boxing mitts because the teeth were not enough.
3. Mario & Luigi: Dream Team (2013)
These Mario and Luigi games offer players a different view of the world and the lore that is Super Mario Bros.
In ways that classic platforming games can’t or won’t. From the writing process to the presentation to the overall gameplay, they distinguish themselves from the crowd of Mario games as they provide players something fresh out of familiar things.
Mario fans who want to experience something new without getting caught up in something new are the ideal players for this game.
However, like everything else Nintendo, its universal appeal cannot be denied.
2. Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions (2017)
Superstar Saga is spiritually linked to the collaborative effort that was made between Square and Mario which produced Super Mario RPG for the SNES way back in the past.
However, Superstar Saga does things differently and mixes up the RPG gameplay you’d think of in a game with elements of platforming that are reminiscent of Mario’s platforming roots.
They are known for their quirky tales and unique interpretations of Mario games and lore and the Mario and Luigi series is an essential part of Nintendo handhelds and is a consistently enjoyable experience.
There’s always the possibility of improvement.
The remake of 2017 provides the iconic GBA title with an upgrade with new graphics and a completely new adventure that includes Minion Quest: The Search for Bowser as a story-telling.
In contrast to the other titles from the franchise, there are no illusions of time travel in Superstar Saga.
You’re the only one and you and the Mario Bros, and an excellent RPG that rewards skills and shrewdness. (unclear)
1. Mario Kart 7 (2011)
What’s the “best of” Mario portable games list without any (or the entire collection) or all of the Mario Kart games?
Mario Kart 7 is an incredible experience when you look at the place where portable gaming first began and where it’s now.
It captures everything you’d like to know about Mario in an action video game and then puts it all in one game that will take endless hours of your life away.
Additionally, Mario Kart 7 elevates the gameplay experience of the series with the portable console. The game has improved many aspects within the gameplay of the previous series.
Its AI (artificial intelligence) is greatly improved to provide the most enjoyable experience. Players can use weapons to slash at their rivals and win the race at the end of an event.
Overall, Nintendo has created many fantastic games that feature everyone’s favourite plumber.
I’m looking forward to more Super Mario games on handheld consoles. Nintendo is sure to release many more amazing titles in the near future.
Share your favourite games on your handheld Super Mario games in the comments! I’m looking forward to seeing your thought shortly