The 10 HARDEST Super Mario Games

The 10 HARDEST Super Mario Games
VOICE OVER: Aaron Kline WRITTEN BY: Aaron Kline
He may be Super, but Mario has gone on some pretty challenging adventures. For this list, we'll be looking at Mario games that push our platforming skills to the max. Our list includes “Super Mario Sunshine” (2002), “Super Mario World” (1990), “Super Mario Bros.” (1985), “Super Mario 64” (1996), and more!

Script written by Aaron Kline

Welcome to MojoPlays, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Hardest Super Mario Games. For this list, we’ll be looking at Mario games that push our platforming skills to the max. Mario games are usually geared toward a more family friendly audience, but at times some of these games break this mold and really challenge us. Two games that didn’t quite make the list but are worth mentioning are “Super Mario Marker 2”, which is only difficult when it comes to the user created levels, and “Super Mario Bros. 35”, since we can’t really play it anymore thanks to Nintendo. Do you agree with our list? What do you think is the hardest Mario game? Let us know in the comments.

“Super Mario Galaxy 2” (2010)

Gravity can be hard to adjust to, and that’s one of the things that make “Super Mario Galaxy 2” so difficult. Platforming on its own can be difficult, now try it while spinning around a sphere and dodging enemies. After a while the gravity mechanic will start to feel great and you’ll eventually master it. Once you master it, it’s time to test those skills with one of the hardest challenges in a Mario game, the Grandmaster Galaxy. This level throws everything at you - Yoshi sections, tile puzzles, 2D platforming, classic platforming, and those insanely difficult blue gravity stars. Oh, did I mention there is also a challenge for doing all this with one life? Yeah, it’s pretty hard.

“Super Mario Land” (1989)

This may be a bit of a weird pick, but “Super Mario Land” is tough. Not really in the traditional gameplay sense, but more due to the game being on the Game Boy. Platforming on that little green screen is the true challenge. “Super Mario Land” attempted to bring what made the original “Super Mario Bros.” so spectacularly to a handheld. The only problem was… it just didn’t. The Game Boy screen was pretty small and “Super Mario Land” played somewhat slower than its home console counterpart. And why do the fireballs bounce?

“Super Mario World” (1990)

“Super Mario World” is one of the best examples of an excellent difficulty ramp. The first world will show you the ropes and some new additions to the game. Each level will slightly ramp up in difficulty by adding new items, enemies, and mechanics. With each new world you’ll be learning more and more, and just like most Mario games the final world will test your skills and knowledge. Super Mario World also has a bunch of secrets, and messing around and finding them will truly test you, mainly in exploring what seem like linear levels.

“Super Mario 64” (1996)

Was “Super Mario 64” always difficult? Hard to say. It was the first entry in the Mario series in full 3D which threw people off as it was a bit of a learning curve. Today however, “Super Mario 64” is starting to feel somewhat archaic. As game design evolves, some of the choices made in 64 start to seem a bit obtuse, especially if you plan on going for all 120 Stars. Now don’t get me wrong, “Super Mario 64” is a great game, but we have to be honest with ourselves and admit, it’s hard mostly because it hasn’t aged all that well.

“Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island” (1995)

With “Super Mario World” showing what 16-bit platformers should play like, let's take the sequel and switch up the gameplay. Yoshi’s Island ditches Mario as the main protagonist so we lose the tight platforming and instead are equipped with a more floaty jump or flutter. Mario is still here and that’s what makes it difficult. Keeping Mario on your back and not in a floating bubble can prove to be a challenge at times. Just like keeping that little baby quiet, completing the game is tough. Each level is full of collectables and secrets for you to find, basically making it a 2D collectathon. Will someone please shut that baby up!

“Super Mario Bros. 3” (1988)

The first three Mario games were some of the hardest Mario games to date. “Super Mario Bros. 3” is probably the easiest of the trilogy, however that doesn’t mean it’s a cake walk. For starters, the game continued the tradition of slowly ramping up the difficulty as you progress through it. Each world changes massively not only with the theme, but adding new items and secrets for players to find. So what actually makes it easier compared to the first two? The world map allows players to skip a few levels if they choose, and with the addition of the inventory, players can start levels with items they were granted from mini games.

“Super Mario Sunshine” (2002)

The most unique Mario game in terms of gameplay, “Super Mario Sunshine” is quite hard. Sure this is a “traditional” 3D platformer, but there’s a twist - the addition of FLUDD, your water jet pack thingy or Flash Liquidizer Ultra Dousing Device. This small addition adds so much more to the simple platforming we expected after “Super Mario 64”. If you’re looking for more traditional platforming levels, no need to worry, Sunshine has levels that are just that, difficult yet excellent platforming stages. Now if you’re a completionist, you’ll have a harder time. Some of the collectables are very hard - I’m looking at you, blue coins! This can easily be fixed by using a guide, but if you use one, I'll be judging you!

“New Super Luigi U” (2013)

It’s hard to believe that one of the “New Super Mario Bros.” games is hard. Well, I suppose it isn’t technically a “New Super Mario Bros.” title, but “New Super Luigi U” is indeed tough. The “New Super Mario Bros.” series brought back classic 2D platforming and aimed it at a broader audience, easy enough for the kids, but traditional enough for fans of the classics. With “New Super Luigi U”, this changed. While it shares the same basic aesthetic, Luigi plays completely differently than Mario, with a bit of a float to his jumps, and some slip to his running. On top of this drastic change in controls, the levels are quite hard. This is the perfect example of quality not quantity, “New Super Luigi U” has a smaller set of levels that are some of the best from the “New Super Mario Bros.“ series. Now let's stop platforming with Luigi and go hunt ghosts.

“Super Mario Bros.” (1985)

Usually the first game in a series isn’t the best, but the first “Super Mario Bros.” could easily be called the greatest game in the long running series. “Super Mario Bros.” started the long going tradition of Mario games' difficulty ramping up perfectly. The first Goomba showed players that these guys are bad, and that we can jump over them or on them. With “Super Mario Bros.” being the first game in the series and a classic NES game, of course it’s hard. No continues, once you lose all your lives you’re back at the beginning. Each level gets harder and harder with World 8 testing all your skills. You've spent the last 2 months of your summer vacation just to beat this game... What a great summer vacation!

“Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels” (1986)

It’s pretty well known, the “Super Mario Bros. 2” we got in North America isn’t the real “Super Mario Bros. 2”. The true “Super Mario Bros. 2” was deemed too hard for North American players. Instead, we got our “Super Mario Bros. 2” which was a re-skin of a Famicom game called “ Doki Doki Panic”. We did eventually get the true “Super Mario Bros. 2” in the amazing compilation “Super Mario All-Stars” as “Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels”. Lost Levels took everything we learned in the original “Super Mario Bros.” and cranked it to ten. Jumps were wider, platforms were smaller, and they added wind. Hands down, Lost Levels is the hardest Super Mario game due to these changes. Sadly, I couldn’t beat this one during my summer vacation.