Nintendo's Top Five Portable Mario Games
Plumber in your pocket.
Mario, the biggest video game mascot of all time, has starred in well over 100 titles across a variety of platforms. You might say he's a big deal.
Although we've enjoyed countless adventures and spin-offs on consoles, some of the plumber's best games can be found on Nintendo's portable systems. Suffice to say, if all you have is a DS or GBA, you're in excellent shape.
On that note, we dove into the archives and after much debate, created a list of the five greatest portable Mario games of all time.
Let us know if you agree with our picks.
5. Super Mario Land (Game Boy, 1989)
A new system is only as good as its launch lineup.
Exhibit A.- The original Game Boy, which debuted alongside Tetris (which needs no introduction) and Super Mario Land.
Mario's first GB adventure is also one of the strangest, largely because it abandons familiar concepts that have become a staple of the his career. Instead of kicking Koopa shells, they explode, while fireballs bounce off walls and ceilings (you can use them to collect gold coins).
Most importantly, Mario gets to ride a submarine and airplane, both of which fire projectiles. Can't say we ever saw that again.
All of this, combined with traditional Mario platforming, makes the game unique. We can't wait to play it again on 3DS via the upcoming eShop.
4. Mario Kart DS (DS, 2005)
As soon as Nintendo announced the DS, we had visions of speeding around Mushroom Kingdom inspired tracks and chucking banana peels at computer opponents. Mario Kart seemed like a perfect fit, but even we couldn't predict just how cool the DS version was going to be.
Mario Kart DS is portable racing at its finest. Nintendo upped the ante with superb (for 2005) 3D graphics, a nifty map on the bottom screen (makes surviving Blooper attacks a breeze), the ability to design decals for the karts, a wealth of characters (even R.O.B. makes an appearance) and the biggest feature of all, online play through Nintendo's Wi-Fi connection. It's a wonderful game from start to finish.
3. New Super Mario Bros. (DS, 2006)
After years of 3D video games, Nintendo finally returned Mario to his 2D roots in New Super Mario Bros., a side-scrolling platform adventure that once again pits the pint-sized Italian against his arch nemesis, Bowser.
We love this game for the fantastic blend of 2D and 3D visuals, the plethora of levels, classic Mario play, new power-ups (the Mega and Mini Mushrooms) and the option of collecting three gold coins per stage, a feature that bumped up the replay value considerably.
2. Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 (Game Boy Advance, 2003)
The Super Mario Advance series is, pound for pound, among the best you'll ever see on a handheld system, and while we have plenty of love for each game (Yoshi's Island is so good), Super Mario Bros. 3 wins hands down. This beloved NES title made a successful jump to SNES in Super Mario All-Stars, then to the GBA, along with the addition of voices for Mario and Luigi, the original Mario Bros. game (complete with multiplayer) and the ability to scan e-Cards to add content like new stages and power-ups. A definite must own for Nintendo fans.
1. Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga (Game Boy Advance, 2003)
By 2003, Nintendo had already used Mario to strike RPG gold with Paper Mario on N64. The GBA entry, Superstar Saga, easily trumped it, with hilarious dialogue, a wide array of kooky characters (Cackletta, Fawful, Prince Peasley), a user-friendly and timed battle system and the best part, a chance to see Mario and Luigi work together, instead of trading characters when the other dies (a staple of the Super Mario series).
The game was also a huge breath of fresh air from Final Fantasy and copycat RPGs. A superb effort.