Feature Article

Switch Is (Almost) The Perfect Mario System

Nearly every major game from the plumber’s history has made its way to Switch--with a few glaring exceptions.

Nintendo has never been shy about finding occasions to trot out its legacy games, but it leaned especially heavily on Mario's back catalog for its Super Mario 35th anniversary celebration. Back in September, the company collected the plumber's three earliest 3D adventures--Mario 64, Mario Sunshine, and Mario Galaxy--into one Switch compilation, while Wii U's Super Mario 3D World arrived on the system (bundled together with the wonderful new mini-adventure, Bowser's Fury) just last month. Between these two releases, almost all of Mario's 3D games are now available to play on the hybrid console, making it nearly the perfect system for Mario fans--were it not for a handful of glaring omissions.

While most of the plumber's 3D outings have made their way to Switch by this point, Super Mario 3D Land and Super Mario Galaxy 2 are still conspicuously missing from the system. The former's absence is somewhat understandable; although 3D Land remains a great game and was a true showpiece for the 3DS's stereoscopic 3D, its ideas and gameplay would be greatly expanded on and refined by 3D World. With that game now on Switch, 3D Land isn't as sorely missed (and, arguably, would not play as well if it were released on a system without stereoscopic 3D).

Super Mario Galaxy 2, however, remains a puzzling omission. Mario's second Wii adventure is one of the most highly regarded entries in the series. Not only is it one of the rare few titles to earn a 10/10 from GameSpot, but it was also the highest-scoring game of its year according to GameSpot sister site Metacritic. All of this acclaim is for good reason: Mario Galaxy 2 built on its (already delightful) predecessor in every way imaginable, throwing a head-spinning array of inventive ideas and mechanics at players. Later Mario games, especially 3D World and Super Mario Odyssey, would retain Galaxy 2's freewheeling inventiveness, but the Wii game remains the most finely tuned and polished game in the series.

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Which makes it even more disappointing that it hasn't made its way to Switch yet, especially when the original Mario Galaxy translated so well to the hybrid system. It's anyone's guess as to why Nintendo chose not to include it alongside its predecessor in Super Mario 3D All-Stars. Considering its reputation as one of the series' very best installments, perhaps Nintendo is saving Galaxy 2 for its own full-priced standalone release, similar to the way it's bringing The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword--another late-gen Wii title--to the system.

If Mario Galaxy 2 were on the Switch, the hybrid console would have a near-exhaustive catalog of Mario games. Practically every mainline title in the series is available in some form on the system. The original Super Mario Bros. trilogy, as well as the previously Japan-only Lost Levels, were some of the earliest additions to Switch Online's NES library, while Super Mario World and the original Super Mario All-Stars are featured in its SNES catalog. Even Mario's few arcade outings--Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., Mario Bros., and the rarely seen Vs. Super Mario Bros.--were brought to the system as part of Hamster's Arcade Archives line, encompassing nearly the full spectrum of the plumber's history. Just look at all the Mario games that are playable on Switch:

  • Donkey Kong (arcade and NES versions)
  • Donkey Kong Jr. (arcade and NES versions)
  • Mario Bros. (arcade and NES versions)
  • Super Mario Bros.
  • Vs. Super Mario Bros.
  • Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels
  • Super Mario Bros. 2
  • Super Mario Bros. 3
  • Super Mario World
  • Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
  • Super Mario 64
  • Super Mario Sunshine
  • Super Mario Galaxy
  • New Super Mario Bros. U
  • New Super Luigi U
  • Super Mario 3D World
  • Super Mario Odyssey
  • Super Mario Maker 2

Of course, there are still some Mario games we are hoping will come to the system. The plumber's Game Boy adventures, Super Mario Land and Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, are still absent, as are the first three New Super Mario Bros. games (although Switch did receive the best of the bunch in New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe back in 2019). Nintendo also still hasn't gotten around to bringing classic Mario spin-offs like the Mario & Luigi games and Super Mario RPG to the Switch yet. And the system's Mario collection won't be nearly as exhaustive when Nintendo pulls Super Mario 3D All-Stars from sale after March 31, a decision that remains baffling. It's a shame that the company is artificially limiting the compilation's availability, but here's hoping it'll be back again down the line--maybe this time with Super Mario Galaxy 2 in tow.


kevknez

Kevin Knezevic

Associate news editor, Star Fox Adventures apologist.

Super Mario 3D All-Stars

Super Mario 3D All-Stars

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