Mario Day Celebration: Mario’s Last 12 Months
Happy Mario Day! On March 10th every year, the internet takes a brief moment to celebrate our favourite portly plumber/kart driver/fighter/jack of all trades. Mario makes so many appearances in a huge variety of games each year, and the character is so beloved because his appearance is almost always synonymous with a high standard of quality.
The last twelve months have been no exception.
So let’s take a look back at all of Mario’s escapades since last Mario Day to see the gaming goodness our red-capped everyman has brought to our screens.
After the bare bones effort that was Mario Tennis Ultra Smash for the Wii U, it was a delight to see Mario’s tennis game bounce back in full swing on the Switch with Mario Tennis Aces. Loaded with a fun story mode, full tournaments and online play, Aces featured a well-rounded feature set with plenty of replay value.
The new power shot and trick shot mechanics added a new layer of depth that almost gives it the feel of a fighting game, but the no-frills tennis and even motion controlled play are here for those not interested in technicalities of the new style of gameplay.
Nintendo has also done a great job of supporting the game post-launch with new playable characters, modes and balancing tweaks rolled out of the last nine months, and there’s still more on the way. If you overlooked this one at launch, it’s a fantastic multiplayer treat that’s worth adding to your library.
Super Mario Party saw a return to the traditional means of navigation across the board, leaving behind the car which carried everyone around together. It was a welcome return to a traditional Mario Party for most, and brought back a level of planning and strategizing for board movement that was missing from Mario Party 9 and 10.
Of course, all that strategizing is still at the mercy of random chance and some unusual post-game star awards, but that is all part of the chaos that is Mario Party. The selection of mini-games is actually the best in quite some time, and the ability to practice the game games on the instructions screen is a nice touch.
The only real disappointment here is the small handful of boards to choose from. The game has sold exceptionally well but has received nothing in the way of post-release support or updates. Heck, Captain Toad has even received more updates than this. A DLC pack offering even just a couple of extra boards would go a long way towards making this an essential purchase, but as it stands it’s still a solid entry in the series.
Whilst not technically a Mario game, we can’t skip over the latest and greatest game in the series that all began when Mario took a cheap shot kick to Yoshi’s shin all those years ago.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate more than lives up to the Ultimate moniker with an absurd character roster, stage count and feature list that would make most games blush. The fighting is fast, aggressive and the most refined in the series has seen to date. The addition of World of Light and the Spirit Board gives plenty of meaningful ways to play for those going solo, and the insane amount of multiplayer options means the game never grows stale.
With another huge patch and more DLC on the way, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will undoubtedly stay in your game night rotation for years to come.
The New Super Mario Bros games tend to not exactly light people’s worlds on fire, but they’re solid displays of masterfully crafted 2D platforming goodness that make for a familiar but comforting gaming session.
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe brings the 2012 Wii U launch title and the New Super Luigi U expansion to the Switch in one package, and it’s absolutely worth a look if you missed either game the first time around.
With over 160 stages, there’s plenty of fun to be had here that’s made all the better with a friend or two along for the ride. Just try to resist the urge to pick up your friends and throw them in the lava.
Despite my grievances with them skipping a remake of Partners in Time (my personal favourite Mario & Luigi game), Bowser’s Inside Story is another excellent entry in the RPG series that arrived on the 3DS with a few tweaks and additions over its original DS iteration.
The new Bowser Jr’s Journey side story doesn’t match the quality of the main game, but it’s still a nice bonus if you’re looking to double dip. Unfortunately, due to its release at the end of the 3DS’s lifespan, this re-release sold terribly, floating at the bottom of the Mario sales charts with Mario’s Virtual Boy outing.
If you’re after one final reason to dust off your 3DS before retiring it though, this is a great adventure that’s worth a look.