When I had written the article about the best Pokemon fan games, I had emphasized that there were a lot of them. The Pokemon universe is ever expanding, between the Game Freak releases and the tons of fan created content.
Well… we decided to take a look at what was out there for Mario fan games, and oh boy… it did not disappoint. I thought there was a lot of Pokemon fan games…
With nearly 1500 (known) Mario related fan games out there, there are a ton to sort through. But as we all know, more does not always mean better.
So we put in the work to find the absolute best Mario games, so you could save yourself from the sometimes exhausting amount of not so good ones.
This was one of my favorite articles to write, as I had no idea of the epic level of quality these games would be. I am very very happy to share with you my list of the top 5 Best Mario Fan Games of the year.
Table of Contents
5. No Mario’s Sky
The first iteration of the game known as No Mario’s Sky was born out of a three-day game jam.
Australian developer ASMB Games aimed to create a Super Mario Bros. and No Man’s Sky mashup, resulting in an entirely unique aesthetic.
Like a platforming game that takes place on a disc like planet, where Mario can spawn a space craft to fly to other randomly generated worlds to explore. A seemingly endless experience, as each world can be entirely unique.
But about one week after its release on itch.io, Nintendo sent a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notice, demanding the game be removed from the site.
Shortly after the notice, the team decided to release an updated “DMCA’s Sky”, and obvious flout directed at Nintendo.
The team, however, had made it known that there were many ideas left out of their three day game jam submission, and eventually continued work on the project, which resulted in a more featured release titled “Deep Sky”.
So the spirit of the fan game lives on, and fans have an entirely new game to enjoy!
4. Paper Mario 3d Land
Developer DJ Coco says that Paper Mario 3d Land “combines the gameplay mechanics of Super Mario 3D Land with the charming visuals of the Paper Mario series”.
Everything from the graphics, music, sound fx, level design, build quality, and game play… it looks and feels like it could have very easily been an official Nintendo release!
With sixteen full levels to enjoy, original mechanics and power-ups, and boss fights… the only downside to this release is that there is not more of it to play!
Definitely worth checking out.
3. Psycho Waluigi
Waluigi is a character just begging for a solo outing. To me, he as always been an intriguing character, but I can’t remember a single use of him that felt sufficient.
So fans took the matter into their own hands, and not only created a very well polished fan game for the character, but also introduced a pretty amazing game play mechanic that would be tough to imagine Nintendo giving us.
Welcome to the world of Psycho Waluigi!
Charged with the ability of mind control, Waluigi can control objects and characters in the game’s environment resulting in some pretty unique experiences.
With distinct level design and game play mechanics introduced in every stage, the game truly exceeds all expectations of a fan game… and it feels more feature packed than many official Nintendo releases.
This one is a super unique game play experience, and an easy entry on our list of best Mario fan games.
Check out Nathaniel Bandy’s hilarious review here:
2. Super Mario Power Star Frenzy
Super Mario Power Star Frenzy is one of the most unique, action packed Mario fan games ever developed. And all by one person who started the development at the age of FOURTEEN.
Based on the Super Mario World aesthetic, but with an immense amount of unique atmosphere and a huge amount of detail.
This game feels dense in content, and offers a new way to explore a Mario world.
Game play is more free form, the maps are open, and everywhere you go there is something new and interesting. A more non-linear experience, often playing with verticality.
And it even features local co-op game play to allow both Mario and Luigi to explore together.
Sadly, after four years of solo development, the game’s creator, Random.Nick, stated that he “lost [his] passion for [the] fan game”.
If this one had continued development, it likely would have scored higher on our list, taking the number one spot!
We are sad that he lost his passion for the development, but we are happy that we at least got a taste of what it could have been. It truly could have been one of the best Mario games of all time. Quote me on that.
But not all is lost. About one year after the cancellation of “Power Star Frenzy”, Random.Nick re-emerged with a brand new game IP: Aurascope. A spiritual successor to all of the successes in his Mario fan game, and making it more his own.
So where fans may have missed out on one of the best Mario fan games, we now have an entirely original independent game to support in the near future!
Check out his new game, Aurascope, here:
1. Super Mario Bros. & The Midas Machine
In what is probably the most beautiful and well polished Mario fan game we have come across, Super Mario Bros. & The Midas Machine is truly truly next level.
Close your eyes and imagine this… okay, well.. you gotta keep your eyes open to read further. But imagine this…
Super Mario World. But, like, more detailed. 100% original artwork and animations that feel true to the franchise, while being entirely fresh and contemporary.
Five playable characters, each with their own unique abilities and play style.
A TON of cool mechanics, abilities, power-ups, environment details and overall game features.
The pain here is that there was only ever a demo put out in 2014. And then development seemed to disappear into obscurity.
The team’s website homepage currently reads “Another year passes and Midas Machine is still not released. We’re hard at work to get the game done, but were stuck in real-life nuisances like education and jobs most of this year, and with a project as big as this you never know when higher priorities strike.”
No date associated with the post.
We can only hope and pray that the project is still in development, as it is yet another insanely cool looking Mario fan game that has potential of being one of the best Mario games of all time.
A tough decision, because the top spot had some very stiff competition. But that is our picks for the best Mario fan games of the year.
How crazy is that? With all of the incredible Mario games in Nintendo’s history, teams of independent fans have taken the source material and created proofs-of-concept that could even rival official releases.
Nintendo… give these people some money, and let them go wild. You take some of these games and give them support… mind blowing results, I guarantee it.
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Anthony has been a video game lover ever since he can remember. He became a fulltime nomad in 2018, living throughout most of Asia. He focused his passion in retro gaming and began creating a game for the Game Boy Color while living in Nara, Japan during the 2020 pandemic. He is now in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where he spends most of his time gaming, going on long walks and meeting as many stray dogs as possible.