Mario is one of the biggest video game characters of all time, spawning multiple games every year that people love. Whether it be the traditional Super Mario platforming games or the Mario Kart racing games, there is almost a genre for everyone featuring the famous plumber. However, despite how big the character is, that doesn’t mean that all of his games will be good. Take a look below for our list of 8 of the worst Mario games ever created.
1. Hotel Mario
Hotel Mario is a puzzle video game developed by Fantasy Factory and published by Philips Interactive Media for the Philips CD-i in 1994. Players control Mario, who must find Princess Toadstool by going through seven hotels in the Mushroom Kingdom; each hotel is divided into stages, and the objective is to close all doors on each stage. Each hotel ends in a boss fight with one of Bowser’s Koopalings, culminating in a battle with Bowser.
Hotel Mario was one of four games featuring Nintendo characters published for the CD-i; the others were three Legend of Zelda games. Another Mario game, Super Mario’s Wacky Worlds, was never released. Nintendo licensed the characters after reneging on a deal for Philips to create the Super Nintendo Entertainment System CD-ROM, an add-on for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES).
Hotel Mario initially received mixed reviews; critics felt it was fun but had no lasting appeal. It has since been described as one of the worst video games, receiving criticism for its door-closing game mechanic, unresponsive controls, voice acting, and full motion video cutscenes.
2. Mario’s Time Machine
Mario’s Time Machine is an educational video game originally released for MS-DOS and then for the Nintendo Entertainment System and Super NESconsoles. The Software Toolworks both developed and published the MS-DOS and Super NES versions in 1993, while the NES version was developed by Radical Entertainment and published by The Software Toolworks in 1994. The MS-DOS version was re-released as Mario’s Time Machine Deluxe in 1996.
Mario’s Time Machine is one of several educational Mario video games that were released during the early 1990s; the game focuses on teaching human history. While the gameplay and engine varies between the three different versions, the story is roughly the same: the player assumes the role of Mario, who uses a time machine to return various artifacts, which had been stolen by Bowser, to their correct points in time.
Mario’s Time Machine received mixed to negative reviews since its release, holding an aggregate score of 60.25% on GameRankings based on two reviews. Its use as an educational title has been mixed, and the game has been compared to another educational history game, Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego?
3. Mario Is Missing!
Mario Is Missing! is a 1993 educational video game developed and published by The Software Toolworks for MS-DOS, the Nintendo Entertainment System(NES), and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). A Macintosh version was released in 1994. The player controls Luigi, who must travel around the world to find and return stolen treasures as part of a quest to find his brother, Mario, who has been captured by Bowser. Mario Is Missing!, part of a series of educational Mario games, marked Luigi’s first starring role in a video game, which would not occur again until 2001, when Luigi’s Mansion was released on the Nintendo GameCube.
Due to the educational, rather than action-adventure content gamers of the time were used to, reception of the title was initially mixed. However, sales of the NES and SNES versions exceeded $7 million in profit for Software Toolworks during the second quarter of 1993.
Nintendo Magazine System UK reviewed the SNES version and wrote that it succeeded as both an educational and entertaining game, but noted that it would only be suitable for people of a certain age. SNES Force criticized the graphics and the restricted gameplay, and noted that it was too easy for older players and too difficult for younger players. Total! wrote that the NES version was not as good as the SNES version, stating that it was missing “a bit of the graphical humor – but it packs in almost as much game-play and educational value.”
4. Mario’s Early Years Pre-School Fun
Mario’s Early Years! Preschool Fun, released in Europe as Mario’s Playschool, is an educational Mario game released in North America in 1994 for the PC and SNES developed for children under six years of age. The game is set around a group of islands, where each island teaches a different subject to the players.
This was the last of three educational games to be released in the Mario’s Early Years! series, the others being Mario’s Early Years! Fun with Letters and Mario’s Early Years! Fun with Numbers.
Mario’s Early Years Pre-School Fun came out to negative reviews and is still seen as one of the worst Mario games ever created.
5. Mario Teaches Typing
The popularity of the Super Mario series led to the release of several spin-off Mario educational games from 1988 to 1996. Nintendo had little involvement in the development of these games; they were created by various other developers, including The Software Toolworks and Interplay Entertainment. Some of the titles were released exclusively for either the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), the Super NES (SNES), or for personal computers, while others were released on two or more of those platforms.
The Mario educational games were generally designed for use by children in preschool or kindergarten and focused on developing skills ranging from language and typing to geography and history. The educational games were not well-received, with many critics and gamers labeling them as some of the worst Mario games ever made. Many of them have spawned Internet memes.
Mario Teaches Typing was released on personal computers and was designed to teach typing skills to children. The game was developed and published by Interplay Productions. It was first released for MS-DOS in 1992 and then for Microsoft Windows and Macintosh in 1995. Mario is voiced by Ronald B. Ruben in the floppy disk version and by Charles Martinet in the CD-ROM version. A sequel, Mario Teaches Typing 2, was developed by Interplay and published by Nintendo in 1997. Mario is voiced only by Martinet in the sequel.
6. New Super Mario Bros. 2
New Super Mario Bros. 2 is a 2D side-scrolling platform video game in the New Super Mario Bros. series developed by Nintendo for their Nintendo 3DS handheld video game console. While being the third game in the series, it is a direct sequel to the 2006 Nintendo DS game New Super Mario Bros. and is the first Nintendo-published game to be released simultaneously in both digital and physical forms.
The game’s plot is similar to its predecessors, focusing on Mario and Luigi’s efforts to rescue Princess Peach from Bowser and the Koopalings. New Super Mario Bros. 2 has a heavier emphasis on coin-collecting than other Super Mario games, with multiple unique items dedicated to producing large numbers of coins.
The game features a specialized mode called “Coin Rush” that focuses exclusively on quickly completing a series of stages while collecting as many coins as possible. Additional Coin Rush stages were made available for purchase as downloadable content shortly after the game’s release.
New Super Mario Bros. 2 spans 9 worlds consisting of 6 main worlds and 3 special worlds. Those worlds total 85 complete levels, many of which have multiple exits to unlock more areas of the game to play and explore.
New Super Mario Bros. 2 received generally positive reviews; critics generally praised the game’s level design, but criticized the game for being too similar to earlier New Super Mario Bros. games. New Super Mario Bros. 2 is the fifth best-selling game for the Nintendo 3DS, selling 13.16 million copies worldwide as of March 31, 2019. With a Metascore of 78% it is the worst rated main Mario-game.
7. Mario Party Advance
Mario Party Advance is a party video game developed by Hudson Soft and published by Nintendo for the Game Boy Advance. Released in 2005, it is the first handheld game in the Mario Party series, and differs from other titles in that the game is mostly single-player. Mario Party Advance was followed by Mario Party DS for the Nintendo DS in 2007, and was re-released on the Wii U Virtual Console in 2014.
Mario Party Advance received “mixed” reviews according to the review aggregation website Metacritic. In Japan, Famitsu gave it a score of three sevens and one six for a total of 27 out of 40.
Kristan Reed of Eurogamer wrote that it was “practically the dictionary definition of awful”, noting that “most – if not all – of its hundred odd mini games are among some of the most insultingly undemanding and badly-designed efforts you’ll ever see associated with the beloved franchise”. Reed said “a typical game within Mario Party Advance is often tedious, badly designed and completely lacking in any endearing qualities at all. […] Animation is virtually non existent, the tedious chatty exchanges that take place between characters lacks any imagination at all and the whole project just smells like something thrown together to meet a contractual obligation”.
8. Paper Mario: Sticker Star
Paper Mario: Sticker Star is a 2012 role-playing video game developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 3DS console. It is the fourth installment of the Paper Mario series and is the first game in the series playable on a handheld console. The game was released in North America on November 11, 2012 and in December 2012 in Japan, Europe, and Australia.
Unlike the previous Paper Mario games, Sticker Star uses a papercraft visual style, which is heavily incorporated into its gameplay mechanics. Sticker Star introduces the use of stickers, which are littered throughout the game world and are used as items or power-ups, aiding the player in turn-based battles against enemies or in solving puzzles. The plot follows Mario’s quest to gather the six Royal Stickers that were scattered by Bowser.
Sticker Star received mixed to positive reviews, gaining aggregate scores of 75.97% and 75% from GameRankings and Metacritic, respectively.
Ben Lee of Digital Spy gave the game 3 out of 5 stars, praising the visuals, but commented on the game’s difficulty and backtracking. “Writing is sharp and legitimately funny at times. [The game] has a lot of charm and personality [but] stalls horribly as you backtrack and replay level after level, trying to figure out what you’re missing. It’s often unclear where Mario needs to go to progress, and these moments end up being frustrating and ruin the flow of the story.”