Mario stands out as the de facto mascot of not only Nintendo but video games as a whole. The Italian plumber from New York City has hopped, skipped, and jumped through countless platforming levels since 1985. But what about when Mario doesn’t want to jump around?
These best Mario spin-off games of all time explore the times when the power-up plumber ventures into other genres. Mario has spent time in various other spin-off titles and types of games, ranging from RPGs to fighting games to even sports titles. Mario fans looking for something new and different should check out the best Mario spin-off games of all time below in no particular order.
1. Super Mario RPG
This SNES title showed Mario could star in more than platformer games and the occasional educational or puzzle title. This full-on turn-based RPG from Squaresoft felt like Final Fantasy in the Mushroom Kingdom but with a bit more of an active twist.
2. Mario Golf GBC
The first handheld Mario game with golf as the primary sport launched for the Gameboy and later Color. It had what many considered the better gameplay between this title and its Nintendo 64 counterpart. This came from the RPG-like mechanics of leveling up your golfer.
3. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
The quintessential Mario spin-off game exists with this racing title. The definitive version of the most excellent racing game with Mario features an incredible amount of content from the many tournaments, maps, and characters to select.
4. Paper Mario
The spiritual successor to what Squaresoft did with Mario back on the SNES featured some of the most unique graphics in the paper forms of popular characters. It features solid turn-based gameplay and a fun story, even if a later game beat it in terms of quality. Still, it ranks as one of the best Mario Spin-off games.
5. Dr. Mario
This puzzle game features a Tetris-like vibe with mixing and matching pills to connect with one another. Its emphasis on colors and the entire Mario aesthetic gives this game a nice vibe, and the original still remains the best iteration.
6. Mario+Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
This spin-off title from Ubisoft features Mario and friends crossing over with the Rabbids. This weird crossover may seem off-putting at first, but it features some of the strongest tactical turn-based action gameplay of all time.
7. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
This Gameboy Advance RPG takes Mario and his brother and brings back that classic turn-based, timing-centric gameplay. It features a wacky and wonderful storyline that goes in some fascinating directions with its colorful graphics.
8. Mario Tennis
The original tennis spin-off game on the Nintendo 64 features some of the most enjoyable tennis gameplay for Mario and his friends. The 3D polygonal graphics look a bit dated at this point, but the straightforward gameplay stands strong compared to some of the fluff in later Mario Spin-off games.
9. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Mario appeared in every iteration of this fighting game series, but the crown jewel of the bunch remains the Nintendo Switch version. It has all of the characters from all of the previous games, plus some new ones, and Mario still feels like one of the strongest fighters around.
10. Super Mario Maker 2
While this list focuses more on non-platforming games, this game still exists as a platformer. That said, it makes this list because its proper focus doesn’t lie with classic Nintendo platformer levels but in the community creating their own levels. Everyone should check this out and see the excellent creations other players made.
11. Super Mario Strikers
This soccer spin-off title stands out as the most robust sports game in Mario’s lengthy and varied career for many players. It has a strong aesthetic and art style to it, plus swift and exhilarating soccer gameplay worth checking out.
12. Mario Party 3
Many board game-themed spin-off titles exist, but one of the finest exists on the N64. The third iteration improved upon much of what the previous games did and introduced some of the critical mechanics fans know the spin-off series for.
13. Mario Kart Wii
The motion controls in this Mario-themed racing game excel over much of what the other games in the franchise did. If players get their hands on the racing wheels and put their Wiimotes in it, they’ll experience some of the sharpest racing gameplay around.
14. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
This Nintendo GameCube sequel to the original features one of the finest Mario RPG experiences ever made. Its art style looks so much better than other games created at the time, the gameplay still feels fantastic, and the bonkers story provides solid moments and laughs.
15. Mario Super Sluggers
This time around, Mario picked up the baseball bat and gave it a swing on the Nintendo Wii. As players might expect from the Wii, it features some great motion controls that feel realistic enough. It also has some of the better gameplay for a sports game featuring Mario.
16. Mario Power Tennis
The king of the Mario Tennis games finds itself with this exceptional version. It does enough to differentiate itself from the other games in the tennis genre but without overwhelming players too much. It also features an excellent selection of characters.
17. Mario’s Super Picross
Unfortunately, this game only came out in Japan. That said, players don’t need to know much Japanese to check out this incredible puzzle title. Players use the number hints to find the correct spots to fill in and create a beautiful image based on Mario and his friends. Fans of Mario spin-off games would love a US release!
18. Mario Kart Double Dash
The GameCube iteration of the Mario Kart series stands out as one of the fan favorites. Its gimmick needs to come back, as it features not one but two characters riding on vehicles together. This makes for double the fun and strategy as players battle against others.
19. Mario Party Superstars
The second Nintendo Switch iteration of the board game series features some of the most phenomenal gameplay in the series. Its multiplayer modes, excellent minigames, and a fine selection of characters make it the best in the Mario spin-off games series.
20. Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games
This crossover title sees Mario and his Sega mascot competitor, Sonic the Hedgehog, join forces to celebrate the Olympic Games. The first game feels like the best in the sub-series, as players engage in various Olympic sports, which feel pretty good for the most part.
21. Mario+Rabbids Sparks of Hope
The sequel turn-based strategy action game from Ubisoft upped the antics of the original. More characters, larger maps, more side content to complete, and general improvements to the gameplay make this one of the most underrated Mario spin-0ff games.
22. Mario Hoops 3-on-3
Mario spent a lot of time over the decades since his introduction playing various sports, but one of the largest gaps remains basketball. This Nintendo DS game showcases the one exception with its solid gameplay but dated visuals. It feels great, and players should check it out, but the community needs an actual Mario basketball game in the modern age.