It’s been nearly 40 years since we were first introduced to Mario, saving Pauline from being kidnapped by Donkey Kong, making his way through an endless sea of barrels.
Originally known as Jumpman, Nintendo realised they were onto a hit, giving our soon-to-be-established Italian plumber his own identity in 1983’s Mario Bros. Coming to home consoles in 1985 with Super Mario Bros, he quickly became a gaming sensation and since then, we’ve seen more Mario games than anyone could’ve anticipated.
Starring in over 200 different titles, he’s gained quite the reputation for his busy social life, ranging from tennis professional to go-kart racer, even inviting Bowser along for the ride. It’s brought us a wide universe of colourful characters, many of which have since developed their own successful franchises.
You can’t escape the spinoffs and players looking to explore the wider Super Mario universe may quickly get lost on where to begin. So for players seeking a new adventure beyond platforming, here are some of Mario’s best spinoffs going.
10. Wario Land 4
For a character so prominently considered to be Mario’s arch-rival, its surprising how little he’s appeared within the main series. First appearing within 1992’s Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins on Game Boy, this new antagonist quickly developed his own antihero identity and Nintendo developed a spinoff series.
Motivated by greed and choosing garlic over mushrooms, Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 launched two year later, seeing Wario become its protagonist. It’s success brought us more sequels and not long after Game Boy Advance’s launch, Nintendo brought us his best adventure yet.
Releasing in 2001, Wario Land 4 saw him discover news of a mysterious pyramid. Ruled by Princess Shokora, its legend states she was cursed by the money-obsessed Golden Diva. Not wasting any time, Wario sets outs to discover its four treasures, releasing her curse in the process. It launched to critical acclaim, praised for excellent gameplay design and polished presentation.
Despite being one of GBA’s better releases, Wario Land has mostly been left in the dark ever since, receiving one further Wii sequel but was largely been overtaken by his microgame spinoff, WarioWare. It’s unclear if Land will ever return but right now, we can only hope.