It’s time to grab your brother and head out on an adventure of epic proportions – as we check out the best Mario and Luigi games of all time!
Starting with Super Mario RPG and branching out in a more action-oriented direction in the Paper Mario series, the Mario brothers have a rich history when it comes to role playing adventures.
Their handheld Mario & Luigi games gave players a charming, wittily-scripted series of RPGs that hold up really well to this day – with a style and tone that feels different to either the original Super Mario RPG or the Paper Mario games.
Which are the best ones though? Let’s take a look as we check out the best Mario and Luigi games of all time!
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5. Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam (3DS, 2016)
The final fully original Mario & Luigi game, Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam (known as Paper Jam Bros in certain territories) was full of the charming style and content that could be found in the rest of the series.
This time, however, there’s a twist: it’s a crossover with the Paper Mario universe!
In Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, Luigi accidentally releases the contents of a book which contains the entire Paper Mario universe – leading the brothers to team up with Paper Mario.
Their mission? to save both versions of Peach from Bowser and his Paper version!
Though an interesting concept, not quite enough is made of the Paper Mario crossover – and the real time, button pressing requirements in combat were sometimes a bit too challenging.
That said, Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam is still an excellent game and it’s a shame that the series hasn’t been revived at this stage.
Fingers crossed that we do see more games in the Mario & Luigi universe though – it’d be fantastic to see the series make a comeback on Switch, for example!
4. Mario & Luigi: Dream Team (3DS, 2013)
Though Mario is – as you’d probably expect – the more famous and popular of the Mario brothers, there’s been plenty of times where Luigi has stepped up and taken centre stage.
In Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, the quest to save the inhabitants of Pi’illo Island sees Mario entering Luigi’s dreams, with assistance coming from Luigi’s subconscious – in the form of ‘Dreamy Luigi’.
Published during Nintendo’s Year of Luigi – which would explain the bigger focus on Mario’s younger, taller brother – Mario & Luigi: Dream Team is another fun entry in the series, though hampered a bit by an excessively long tutorial which makes the game take a little while to get going.
It’s packed full of neat graphical touches that make good use of the stereoscopic visuals of the 3DS, as well as the trademark humour and excellent gameplay that the series is known for. It also appears on our best Nintendo 3DS games list!
3. Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time (DS, 2005)
It’s difficult to believe just how old Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time actually is, because it’s aged so well.
Though released on the original DS, its stylised visual aesthetic has ensured it has a timelessly gorgeous pixel art style – it is still a genuinely beautiful game to this day.
Not only that, but the charming, time travel-based story – which sees Mario and Luigi teaming up with their Baby selves to save the Mushroom Kingdom from aliens named Shroobs, as well as Bowser and Baby Bowser – is brilliant throughout.
The turn-based combat – with real time elements – is done well and the DS touchscreen features don’t feel as if they’re present just for the sake of it.
Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time is a wonderful game with all of the lovely touches you’d expect from Nintendo and the developers of the series, AlphaDream.
It makes it onto our best Mario games on Nintendo DS too – so it’s more than deserving of its place in the top three best Mario and Luigi games!
2. Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions (3DS, 2017)
The Mario & Luigi series began with Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga way back in 2003 on the Game Boy Advance.
This 3DS version is a remake of that game; though the original Superstar Saga still looked pretty good from a visual point of view, some gameplay elements had dated.
This 3DS remake brings a good amount of quality of life improvements to the game – including the ability to save anywhere and also to fast forward cutscenes – making it the definitive, essential version in our opinion.
Even better, a second campaign – in which players take control of Captain Goomba (and featuring a new, RTS-style combat system) – is also included.
This second campaign – called Minion Quest: The Search for Bowser – is brilliant fun, making this version of the game a clear choice for number two on the best Mario and Luigi games list!
1. Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr’s Journey (3DS, 2019)
The top of the best Mario and Luigi games list is a bittersweet entry: less than a year after it was published, developer AlphaDream – who created all of the titles in the series – closed down.
There hasn’t been a Mario and Luigi game since.
Which is a shame, because this second series remake – with a further bonus campaign – is absolutely brilliant.
The strengths of the series are all on display here and arguably never better, with a wonderful visual style, brilliant gameplay and a superb, very funny script.
A remake of 2008 DS title Bowser’s Inside Story (which features on our best DS RPGs list), the adventure sees Mario and Luigi inhaled into the body of their nemesis, Bowser. Teaming up with their long-term enemy, the gameplay focuses on all three characters teaming up to defeat a mutual antagonist – Fawful – who has taken over the Mushroom Kingdom.
The remade version also features bonus adventure Bowser Jr’s Journey, which has a similar wave-based, RTS-esque combat system to the one seen in Minion Quest.
Both the original Bowser’s Inside Story and this remake are rightly hailed as the peak of the Mario and Luigi games – but with the bonus adventure and other enhancements, this is the definitive version of the game.
Hence its placing at the very top of the list of the best Mario and Luigi games – a phenomenal series that we hopefully haven’t seen the last of!
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Jason – who lives in the UK – has had a lifelong interest in video games, which all started when he discovered Space Invaders in the early 80s. The first game he ever completed was Wonder Boy in Monster Land on the Sega Master System – which remains one of his proudest gaming achievements. Jason is a passionate writer – and has been writing about gaming since the late 90s. He currently runs pop culture blog midlifegamergeek.com, which he updates on a daily basis (and has written more than 700 articles on the blog alone!).
Outside of video games, Jason is a keen tabletop gamer, film buff and comic book fan.