Feature

Here Are Our Review Scores For (Almost) All Of Mario's Core Releases

by Kyle Hilliard on Sep 12, 2015 at 01:30 PM

Sunday, September 13 marks the 30th anniversary of Super Mario, and in celebration we're looking back on all the scores we've awarded the core Mario games.

This list is limited to the main platforming experiences, so you won't the Mario Parties, RPGs, or other offshoots from the series. We don't have review scores for everything, nor do we text excerpts, but considering Game Informer magazine is only a few years younger than the iconic plumber, you will find a fairly thorough list below.

Console Releases

Super Mario Bros. (1985)
Game Informer magazine was established in 1991, so unsurprisingly, we don’t have a review of Super Mario Bros. for the NES. The closest thing we have is our review of the 2004 Game Boy Advance re-release, which we gave a 9.

Super Mario Bros. 2: Lost Levels (1986, JPN)
Considering this never even saw official release in North America until it was included on Super Mario All-Stars in 1993, we don’t have a review on this formerly Japan-exclusive game.

Super Mario Bros. 2 (1988, US)
Again, considering the game came out before Game Informer magazine was a thing, we don’t have a review. We did, however, review the 2001 Game Boy Advance re-release scoring it an 8.5.

Super Mario Bros. 3 (1990)
Same story as Super Mario Bros. 2 – we don’t have a review of the NES game, but we did review the 2003 Game Boy Advance re-release scoring it a 9.5.

Super Mario World (1991) – 10
Additionally, we scored the 2001 Game Boy Advance re-release a 9.5.

Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island (1995) 9.5
Additionally, we scored the 2002 Game Boy Advance re-release a 8.75.

Super Mario 64 (1996) – 9.75
Additionally, we scored the 2005 DS re-release an 8.5.

Super Mario Sunshine (2002) – 9.75


Super Mario Galaxy (2007) – 9.25
"This is, in my opinion, the best Mario game since the NES classic, Super Mario Bros. It innovates in a genre that we had thought we had seen everything from, and in doing so delivers some of the most entertaining gameplay to date." – Andrew Reiner

New Super Mario Bros. Wii (2009) – 9
“It doesn’t matter if your first gaming system was the NES or DS; New Super Mario Bros. Wii proves that 2D platformers are still a blast. Longtime gamers will love the countless throwbacks to previous titles, and the multiplayer gameplay is fantastic (albeit hectic) fun for everyone.” – Dan Ryckert

Super Mario Galaxy 2 (2010) – 9.25
“Most games today are willing to hang their hat on a small handful of new gameplay or level-design ideas. Super Mario Galaxy 2 throws something new at you nearly every single level – and with over 240 stars to collect, that’s no small feat. Sure, it’s not the total reinvention of the genre we’ve come to expect from a new Mario title, but as a platformer fan I’m happy to get more Mario to tide me over. This game is a testament to the enduring appeal of the genre, as well as Nintendo’s ability to create fresh new gameplay out of a decades-old formula.” – Matt Helgeson

New Super Mario Bros. U (2012) – 9.25
“After playing through New Super Mario Bros. 2 on 3DS a few months ago, I was concerned that the “New” series had run its course. The levels didn’t feel as fresh and the coin collection gimmick didn’t make much of an impact. I feared this dip in quality signaled stormy skies for New Super Mario Bros. U on Nintendo’s next home console, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.” – Bryan Vore

Super Mario 3D World (2013) – 9.25
“I loved Bowser’s egocentric concept for the final world in the main campaign, and the last boss battle is plenty entertaining. Any Mario game runs the risk of the final encounter being too traditional or featuring a frustrating gimmick, but this one brought a smile to everyone’s faces on my co-op team from beginning to end. While it’s not the most difficult challenge, it is suitably epic and entertaining – an exceptional finisher to an excellent entry in the series.” – Bryan Vore

For our reviews of Mario's core handheld releases, head to page two.

Handheld Releases


Super Mario Land (1989)
No review for the surprisingly bizarre original Mario Game Boy game, unfortunately.

Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (1992)
We may not have a review of the Mario Land sequel, but we did play it on an episode of Replay. Watch it here.

New Super Mario Bros. (2006) – 9.25
"Quite simply, the 2D platformer, when done right, might still be the best damn style of game ever created. And believe me, New Super Mario Bros. does it very right. Everything I loved about the originals is here: the brilliantly designed levels, the memorable cast of enemies, the expert pacing, and the host of odd secrets to discover. This feels just like those games that made you fall in love with this hobby, overhauled with a few new moves and dramatically improved visuals. One could complain that it doesn’t try to incorporate the touch screen to the degree that Super Princess Peach did, but I’m glad that Nintendo decided to remain true to the spirit of its greatest franchise. It might not be the huge revolution some hoped it would be, but this is a highly enjoyable and well-crafted trip down memory lane." – Matt Helgeson

New Super Mario Bros. 2 (2012) – 8.25
"A Mario expansion still beats out most other platformers out there in the control and polish department. I can’t deny that I still enjoyed kicking koopa shells, climbing fences in castles, and hopping on the flag at the end of a stage. On the other hand, players have grown to expect innovation out of Mario, and this game makes a strong case that perhaps it’s time for Nintendo to move on from the “new” formula." – Bryan Vore

Super Mario 3D Land (2011) – 9.5
“Super Mario 3D Land isn’t perfect, but the few complaints I have (like the lack of variety in boss fights and some re-hashed levels) can’t bring down this entertaining mix of nostalgia and innovation. It lives up to the level of quality set by previous entries and is easily the best reason to own a 3DS.” – Bryan Vore