There is no doubt that Super Mario is one of the most popular video games of all time. Even for those who don’t like games in general, they’ve surely played Super Mario at least once in their lives, or are at least familiar with the Italian brothers Mario and Luigi Mario (yes, that’s their nickname). In addition to game titles from Nintendo, there are many Super Mario games created on the Internet.
It’s amazing how far players can go to show their love for a particular game. Each one of them will stay up-to-date with gaming news, create gaming videos on YouTube, and record entertaining podcasts about gaming.
However, there is a group of gamers more committed to their hobby than any other. And they are the people who create the games.
Lots of premium game titles have loyal followings, but Super Mario fans will find them from a separate lineage. And somehow they seem to be particularly good at coding and programming.
This means that there are some great Super Mario fan-made games available to play online. Here are the best free games.
1. Super Mario Bros. X
It can be said that Super Mario Bros. X (which is referred to as SMBX) is the most popular Mario game of all time. It’s a tribute to the essential elements of the franchise: platform gameplay, exciting power-ups, and a fun level design.
SMBX has five playable characters which are Mario, Luigi, Peach, Toad, and Link. It includes classic boosts (like Yoshi) as well as new ones (like Hammer Suit). It even has a local multiplayer mode! So you can play with a friend in co-op mode with a camera that seamlessly switches to split screen or battle mode.
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But the best part of SMBX is the highly advanced level editor. You can create any level you wish and preference. Not only that, but the editor allows you to change levels in real time as you play it.
Download: Super Mario Bros. X (Windows)
Mari0 (that’s zero) is a replica of Super Mario Bros. Except for one major change: the portals! Yes, the gameplay is the same for both Portal and Portal 2 – you can manipulate enemies and move between levels using the orange and blue portals.
This fan-made game is a perfect example of how two completely different genres can come together and become something more exciting than the individual parts. Not only is it fun, but you can now exercise more creativity in how you win. As a bonus, it supports four-player co-op mode and has a level editor built right in.
The best part? Mari0 is 100% open source. And it was created using the LÖVE framework for developing games based on Lua, you can check the source code here.
If you are interested in trying more, try playing the best open source video games.
Download: Mari0 (Windows, Mac, Linux)
3. Super Mario Bros. Dimensions
Super Mario Bros. Dimensions is another new game of the remastered genre that takes the original Super Mario Bros. and expands it with a new gameplay – in this case, dimension switching.
With the push of a button, you can switch back and forth between the “real” world and the “alternate” world. This world has a similar layout but with different elements. There are also new boosts to try out (like the laser flower), secret levels to explore, and unique collectibles.
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A lot of blood, sweat and tears have been added to this game, and it shows. The quality is so good that you might mistake it as a game created by Nintendo!
Download: Super Mario Bros. Dimensions (Windows)
4. New Super Mario Kart
New Super Mario Kart brings a new update to the popular SNES Mario Kart game. Three cups are available with the standard engine grades. There are also four courses in Battle Mode across different terrain types: pavement, beach, snow, and dirt.
As with any Mario Kart game, it’s all about powering up. You will see favorite chains such as Big Mushroom, Small Mushroom, Bomb, Red Crust and Thunder. In addition, you will see some eggs for fun such as Yoshi’s egg and Bowser’s ball.
In addition to the new tracks, your desire to play will continue until you unlock the 12 secret characters.
Download: New Super Mario Kart (Windows)
Mariovania is exactly what the name suggests: a mixture of Mario-esque platformer gameplay mixed with elements from the Castlevania series. Fans of both series will love this game. If you find this game making you nostalgic for classic Nintendo games, we’ve already covered some of the best free Pokémon games created by fans.
Interesting additions include experience and equipment systems, new abilities and power-ups, plenty of classic and new enemies, lots of secrets to explore, and an amazing soundtrack.
The graphics miss something to be desired, but if you can ignore the fact that Mario works like a marionette, you’ll find that the game itself is a lot of fun. Mariovania still receives updates every now and then, but expect to encounter some occasional bugs.
Download: Mariovania (Windows, Mac, Linux)
6. Toads vs. Koopas
And now for something a little different: a clone of the popular game Plants vs. Zombies with the addition of a Mario look. In this game, you place Toad’s cannons on the field in order to fend off Koopa’s encroachment. It is a very fun game.
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The only downside to Toads vs. Koopas is that they only have one level. It’s challenging and fun, but don’t expect to spend more than an hour or two on this game.
Download: Toads vs. Koopas (Windows)
7. Mario Land: Minigame Mayhem
In this game, you enter the Mario Land Theme Park where you can play dozens of fun mini games and earn all kinds of achievements and prizes. Think of it like a Mario Party for one: lots of little challenges to test your skills.
Inside the park, you will be able to play card games, board games, jumping games, games of chance and much more. You start with 10 coins. Each game has an entry cost and a potential reward. Your goal is to collect as many coins as possible.
Once you have enough coins, you can buy clothes and figurines. You can also score high for most activities, which means a lot of replayability as you try to improve yourself in your favorite games.
Download: Mario Land: Minigame Mayhem (Windows)
Try to create your own Mario game
The beauty of game development today is that anyone can learn how to code. With all the excellent tools and tutorials, quick learners are known to create their first game in just a few months. So, why wouldn’t this be you?
For those who need some inspiration, try out the best video game soundtracks for study. And if you want to seriously pursue game development, we also recommend these free game development tools.