Mario Tennis Aces will release this week, allowing us to finally get our hands on Mazza’s next spinoff game. Now that we’ve gotten a taste of the magic thanks to the online demo, we’re Chain-Chomping at the bit for the full game to drop. Nintendo clearly has another hit, and their Super Mario stable is growing by the year. What better time to look back on the other great spinoffs that the franchise has gifted us?
5. The Paper Mario series
Paper Mario has been around a long time, and it’s the closest the franchise has got currently to an RPG-flavoured adventure. Having taken cues from Super Mario RPG, it elevated that formula to an adorable new level. The mixed 2D and 3D elements were refreshing at the time, and they’ve aged surprisingly well. The titles are literal page-turners – the narratives are structured like novels, complete with chapters – and they’re incredibly endearing. On top of that, the series has experienced a lot of growth over the years. Action-platforming? Check. RPG tropes? Check. Bowser being comedically incompetent? Check. Mario getting his ass kicked before kicking ass? Check. There’s a hell of a lot to love about what Paper Mario has brought to the table, and that’s what makes it so beloved by many franchise fans.
4. Luigi’s Mansion
While Mario usually gets all the lovin’ from the ladies, Luigi’s Mansion is definitely a fan favourite. An esoteric spinoff in the vein of Mario Tennis Aces and how its removed from the core of Super Mario, it’s more than just Luigi’s pretty face. It’s nice having a change of leading man, and even better having a change of scenery. Think of a souped up version of the vaccuum cleaner from the Teletubbies, but in the hands of a hapless plumber. The combination is objectively hilarious, and definitely entertaining. Everyone’s probably had a crack at this haunted whale of a tale, and the memory of skulking around corners and jumping at Boos is going to stay with us forever.
3. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
People have always been a little quick to judge the rabbids and their particularly rabid sense of humour. When we heard about the crossover with the Super Mario franchise, we were definitely a little sceptical. However, Mario + Rabbids quickly smashed any pre-conceived notions that we may have had about the kind of game that it’d be. The XCOM comparisons came hard and fast, and they were well-deserved. Mario + Rabbids is a decidedly tactical approach on the usual formula, forgoing platforming and Bowser’s shenanigans for a more sinister enemy in the form of modern technology.
Just like Mario Tennis Aces, it relies on a slightly larger roster of the franchise’s characters. You get to take the reins as Peach, Luigi, and their parallel universe rabbid counterparts. Depending on the map, you’re blessed with variety of wacky characters ranging from ducks in bondage gear to goombas perched suspiciously on jets of water. It’s the wild west cousin of the recent Mario titles, and we love it.
2. Mario Kart series
Mario Kart is probably the most iconic franchise spinoff. It’s drawn in famous Nintendo figures like Animal Crossing‘s sweet Isabelle over time, but its roots have always been plumber-shaped. The series has gone through an overhaul in its many years, and we’ve had enjoyed a real buffet of turbocharged hijinks. From motorbikes to anti-grav racing and even custom decals, Mario Kart has become Nintendo’s definitive racing experience. Its latest iteration has a thriving multiplayer scene, so its legacy is looking as strong as ever.
1. The Sonic and Mario series
Ever heard of a more iconic crossover? Fucking unlikely. Sonic is as much Sega’s mascot as Mario is Nintendo’s, so this is a marriage made in meme heaven. Sega’s answer to The Flash has long been a sportsball icon, so it’s no surprise that their crossover games are distinctly jock-flavoured. The dynamic duo bust up various Olympic events like swimming and sprinting, and look great while doing it. Sure, we were probably cursing the unintuitive controls of the Wii entries and knocking out our siblings. But there’s no denying that they were brilliant party games.
If you’ve tried your hand at Mario Tennis Aces and you’re tired of the Wimbledon eleganza extravaganza, it’s probably time to revisit the classics listed above. However, they’re only the tip of the Mario iceberg. Nintendo has done a great job with everyone’s favourite plumber, so we know there are some fan favourites that we’ve missed. Let us know what your favourite Super Mario spinoff games are in the comments below!