Put your confused faces on; it’s time to look at the best Super Mario World ROM hacks of all time!
Yes, it’s SMW, but not as we know it. The retro gaming community has stepped up to the plate once again and created thousands of alternative adventures paying homage to this classic title.
From replacing Mario to creating whole new levels and worlds, ROM hackers have allowed us to experience the Mushroom Kingdom in a whole new light.
What would we do without them eh?
We’ve managed to whittle down this mammoth list to 10 of the very best unorthodox outings for our pasta-loving plumber (and I can say that because I’m Italian).
So, without further ado, let’s step into a parallel kingdom and check out 10 of the best Super Mario World ROM hacks.
Table of Contents
10. New Super Mario World: The Twelve Magic Orbs
Let’s kick things off with New Super Mario World: The Twelve Magic Orbs, shall we?
Now, connoisseurs of the best Super Mario World ROM hacks may well be expecting to see another entry in the New Super Mario World series further down this list. Still, the first ROM offering is such a legendary title that I couldn’t think of a better way to start this article
And you know what; this game totally feels like it could be a proper Nintendo Super Mario title that never released due to some crazy accident.
The game itself looks and plays just like DLC content for the original title… if that we’re even possible back in the day, that is.
With super sleek levels and boss fights that make you want to smack your lips like an Italian chef, this hack is one for the fans that live and breathe Mazza’s early adventures
9. Super Mario World Odyssey
I had to include this ROM hack for it’s sheer cheek and sheer ambition. Putting Mario with Cappy in a SNES ROM hack; it’s genius!
This game looks and feels like a SMW game but with the epic cappy abilities from the Nintendo Switch title.
Yep; Mario can use it as a weapon and even take over other enemies just like in Super Mario Odyssey!
As you can imagine, Nintendo weren’t too happy about this blatant copying of their newest adventure. They shut the ROM down a while back now, but as always, the internet has ways of both hiding and distributing copies still to this day.
If you’re looking for a ROM hack with a cool gimmick that oozes Nintendo charm, then this is it!
8. JUMP – Janked Up Mario Party
JUMP – Janked Up Mario Party takes the 8th spot in this list of the best Super Mario World ROM hacks of the year!
Even though it’s sitting in 8th place, it still wins the prize for the best game case out of the whole list!
As Kaizo hacks go, this one is pretty good for anyone wanting to dip their toe into the world of rock hard games. Rather than being impossible from the get-go, the difficulty ramps up over time, giving gamers a bit of more gentle experience… for a little while at any rate.
Full of zany gimmicks and cool features, JUMP has stood the test of time as being a solid ROM hack. If you’re looking to get better at games that are tough as nails, then give this a try.
7. The 3 Little Princesses
What happens when Mario and Luigi get kidnapped? The Toads couldn’t organise a knees up in a brewery, so who will save the day?
I’ll tell you who; The Three Little Princesses! And while I take umbrage at the fact that they’ve been referred to as little, the hack is a cracking title that sees the normally captured characters taking the stage.
Rosalina has had home captured by enemies. Never one to leave a woman behind, Daisy and Peach team up with her to take back her homeland (quoted straight from Gandalf).
With 11 custom levels and new bosses to encounter, this SMW hack is great for someone looking for an alternative adventure that feels fresh but nostalgic in equal measure.
6. Mario and Friends in: The Ghost’s Gallery
I might have peaked a little too early when I said that JUMP had the best cover out of all of our best Super Mario World ROM hacks. Just take a look at that artwork!
I mean, I know these cases aren’t real, but that Mushroom Kingdom representation looks amazing.
In a way, this hack has a very similar feel to Luigi’s Mansion 3. Mario and the gang have been imprisoned in paintings, and Toad, of all people, has to save them.
I guess I need to take back that comment about him being useless above now too, eh?
Once you complete a character’s level, that character becomes available to play with. So don’t worry, you don’t have to mess around with Toad for long.
Unlock all the characters and get a secret surprise!
5. Mario is Missing!: Done Right
If you’re going to do something do it properly. That’s the main message in our list of the best Super Mario World ROM hacks.
Back in 1992, there was an educational game called Mario is Missing! that saw Luigi taking the lead role. But it wasn’t exactly a masterpiece… until now.
Now, the game looks and feels way more like an SMW game. Ok, so it’s not a complete copy and some of the features have been omitted entirely, but Luigi looks great moving around similar themed levels.
And you know what, it makes for a really individual game that doesn’t just feel like a direct clone. Its almost like a Mario chickened out of the original SMW last minute and Luigi stepped in…
… not that’s a universe I would like to live in.
4. The Second Reality Project: Zycloboo’s Challenge
Next up in our best Super Mario World ROM hacks list is a game that sees a killer cyclops boo causing havoc.
Meet the Zycloboo, the latest monster to try and take over the Mushroom Kingdom. Not only that, but he has the power to send Mario to another dimension, and that’s exactly what he’s done!
A one-eyed Big Boo going by Zycloboo is intent on conquering the Mushroom Kingdom.
In terms of size, this is one of the biggest SMW hacks on the scene. It’s basically an entirely new game complete with original music and some of the longest levels in any side-scrolling game I’ve played.
Seriously, between here and the top spot it was all very, very close as to which would come first. As this game is bloody difficult, I’ve put it fourth… mainly because I reckon it’s a contributing factor as to why I turned bald.
3. Super Mario World: The Secret Of The 7 Golden Statues
The bronze SMW Hack medal goes to Super Mario World: The Secret Of The 7 Golden Statues.
Listen, if you put this and the original SMW game side by side, you still wouldn’t be able to tell that one was a ROM hack. The original probably looks like a hack of the hack… which is some weird kind of inception…
This is a game that’s just challenging enough without feeling like you’re continually running at a brick wall. Fight flying wigglers contend with secrets hidden in warp pipes.
The bosses are a force to be reckoned with too. All in all, a bona fide non-sequel sequel that could well have dropped on the console back in the day.
2. Yoshi’s Strange Quest
You should all know that I was going to bring a Yoshi game into this list at some point. I love the little guy, and it’s party why Yoshi’s Adventure 64 is one of the best Super Mario 64 ROM hacks!
If, like me, you still can’t get enough of Yoshi’s Island and Yoshi’s Wooly World, then this side-scrolling Goliath will make you feel like it’s Christmas come early.
Plus, there’s no having to babysit Baby Mario or ferrying Mario around on your back. It’s a proper Yoshi Adventure and one that proves that Mario isn’t the only guy keeping Nintendo fans occupied and happy.
Experience funny dialogue that would never make it into a Nintendo game in a million years and embark on a quest to retrieve your stolen eggs.
1. New Super Mario World 2: Around The World
New Super Mario World 2: Around The World is the best Mario ROM hack of all time.
I couldn’t resist bookmarking this list with both NSMW games. While the original is superb, the sequel is simply perfection.
In many ways, it’s pure chaos captured in a ROM hack. With a brand new adventure that feels like riding a lit rocket into space, this should definitely give Mazza fanatics something to sink their teeth into.
Speaking of space, that’s exactly where Bowser has taken Peach this time. Yes, he’s still up to his old tricks, but now he’s captured the Princess and taken her to a space station.
I wonder if she met Leia up there too?
With 119 exits, this is a pretty lengthy hack that will keep you occupied for months and months to come. It deservedly tops the best Super Mario World ROM hacks, and long may it reign supreme!
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Seb Santabarbara has bought every Nintendo console that has ever been released in his 33 years on Planet Earth. His favourite game franchise is Zelda, and he’s patiently waiting for Banjo-Kazooie to come back to the fold. When he’s not playing games, he’s travelling the world in his self-converted camper van.