It’s amazing how far players will go to show their love for a particular game. They will stay on top of gaming news, create YouTube playback videos, and record entertaining game podcasts.
However, there is a set of players who are more committed to their hobby than any of them. And these are the people who make fan games.
A lot of franchises have passionate followers, but Super Mario fans are a breed of their own. They also seem particularly adept at coding.
This means that there are some great fan-made Super Mario games to play online. And here are the best free fan games starring your favorite plumber and his friends.
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1. Super Mario Bros. X
Super Mario Bros. X (called SMBX) is arguably the most popular Mario fan game ever. It’s a tribute that emphasizes the core elements of the franchise: platform gameplay, exciting bonuses, and fun level design.
SMBX has five playable characters in Mario, Luigi, Peach, Toad, and Link. His power-ups include classics (such as Yoshi) as well as new ones (such as the Hammer Suit). And it even has a local multiplayer mode! Play with a friend in co-op mode with a camera that seamlessly switches to split screen or battle mode.
But the best part about SMBX is its super advanced level editor. You can pretty much create any type of level your heart desires. Not only that, but the editor lets you change levels in real time as you play them.
Download: Super Mario Bros. X (Windows)
Mari0 (it’s a zero) is an exact replica of the original Super Mario Bros. except with one major change: the portals! Yes, the same gameplay in both Portal and Portal 2: you manipulate enemies and navigate through levels using orange and blue portals.
This fan-made game is a perfect example of how two completely different genres can come together and become something bigger than their individual parts. Not only is it fun, but now you can exercise even more creativity on how you win. And as a bonus, it supports four-player co-op and has a built-in level editor.
Download: Husband0 (Windows, Mac, Linux)
3. Dimensions of Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario Bros. Dimensions is another remake-type fan game that takes the original Super Mario Bros. and expands it with a new gameplay mechanic – in this case, the dimension shift.
With the push of a button, you can switch between the “real” world and the “alternate” world. It has a similar layout but different elements. There are also new power-ups for you to try (eg Laser Flower), secret levels to explore, and collectibles.
A lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into this game, and it shows. The quality is so good that you might even mistake it for a real Nintendo game!
Download: Super Mario Bros. Dimensions (Windows)
4. New Super Mario Kart
The new Super Mario Kart features an updated take on the original SNES Mario Kart fan game. There are three cups available with the standard motor classes. There are also four courses in battle mode on different types of terrain: sidewalk, beach, snow and dirt.
As with any Mario Kart game, it’s all about power-ups. You will see favorites from the series such as Mega Mushroom, Mini Mushroom, Bomb, Red Shell, and Thunder. Additionally, you will see fun Easter Eggs such as the Yoshi Egg and the Bowser Ball.
Besides the new tracks, you’ll want to keep playing until you unlock all 12 secret characters.
Download: New Super Mario Kart (Windows)
Mariovania is exactly what the name suggests: a Mario-esque platformer mashup mixed with elements from the Castlevania series. Fans of both series will love this game.
Cool additions include experience and equipment systems, new abilities and upgrades, tons of classic and new enemies, plenty of secrets to explore, and a surprisingly tailored soundtrack.
The graphics leave something to be desired, but if you can ignore the fact that Mario functions like a puppet doll, you’ll find the game itself to be quite fun. Mariovania is still updated from time to time, but expect to encounter the occasional bug.
Download: Mariovania (Windows, Mac, Linux)
6. Toads vs. Koopas
And now for something a little different: a clone of the popular Plants vs. Zombies with a Mario theme. In this game, you place Toad Cannons on a field and push back the encroaching Koopas. And it’s pretty damn fun.
The only downside to Toads vs Koopas is that it only has one level. It’s tough and it’s fun, but don’t expect to spend more than an hour or two with this one.
Download: Toads vs. Koopas (Windows)
7. Mario Land: Minigame Mayhem
In this game you enter the Mario Land theme park where you can play dozens of fun mini games and win all kinds of achievements and prizes. Think of it like Mario Party for one: lots of little challenges that will test your skills.
In the park you can play arcade games, card games, jumping games, games of luck and much more. You start with 10 coins. Each game has an entry cost and a potential reward. Your goal is to collect as many coins as possible.
Once you have enough coins, you can purchase outfits and figures. You can also save high scores for most activities which means a lot of replayability when trying to push yourself in your favorite games.
Download: Mario Land: Minigame Mayhem (Windows)
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Try to make your own Mario fan game
The beauty of modern game development is that anyone can learn to code. With all of the great tools and tutorials available, fast learners are known to create their first game in just a few months. So why not you?