Mario is a vital part of videogame history, but it’s unlikely that we’ll ever see the mustachioed icon make the jump to PC. Fortunately, plenty of games have been influenced by the humble plumber’s adventures - here’s our pick of the best of them!
Shovel-Knight is a must-play game for platforming lovers. It’s a classic adventure with art, audio, and game design inspired by the 8-bit videogame era.
A treasure trove of charm and wit, Shovel Knight has heart and humour to rival Mario’s best outings and captures that retro feel with game mechanics that are easy to learn but hard to master.
If you ever find yourself wishing that 2D Mario games were more difficult, then Celeste is the alternative for you. Help Madeline climb to the summit of Celeste Mountain in this precise, tough platformer.
Celeste’s perilous ascent is accompanied by a heartfelt story of self-discovery as she conquers her inner demons. And while the level design is brutal, Celeste’s accessibility features mean that anyone can experience its story and not fret about the challenge.
A Hat in Time
There are a handful of games that have been influenced by the 3D platforming mechanics of Mario 64, but A Hat in Time stands head and shoulders above the rest.
You play as a space-traveling girl with a magical top hat who can jump, climb, and swing through the game’s bold and busy worlds. By collecting items, Hat Girl can make new hats that give her special abilities, evoking our plumber friend’s iconic red cap.
Super Meat Boy
Team Meat has taken Nintendo’s formula and transposed it into a dark, gross universe. Here’s the premise: Super Meat Boy is about a cube of meat who is trying to save his girlfriend, made of bandages, from an evil fetus.
It’s a tale as old as, well, Super Meat Boy. You must guide the protein-laden hero through buzzsaw factories, seas of deadly salt, and dangerous industrial estates in this hardcore platformer that focuses on old-school difficulty.
Ori and the Blind Forest
A platformer with heart, Ori and the Blind Forest is a magical tale that blends 2D and 3D graphics to create a visually stunning world. It also sports a story that pulls at your heartstrings and doesn’t let go.
Ori and the Blind Forest’s rollercoaster of emotion is totally different than the happy-go-lucky vibe of a Mario game, but it’s fun platforming mechanics and story that tells the tale of an unlikely hero reminds us of Mario’s humble beginnings.
Bright 2D worlds, skill-based gameplay, and side-scrolling platforming - Sonic has long held a friendly rivalry with Nintendo’s portly plumber. Sonic Mania is a celebration of those roots as the blue blur goes back to basics.
Developed by fans for fans, Sonic Mania is a nostalgic love letter to anyone who still finds themselves involuntarily humming the Green Hill Zone theme music every now and again.
VVVVVV takes the satisfying simplicity of Mario’s famous jump and, with one small twist, creates an entirely fresh take on the genre: instead of jumping in this platformer, you traverse levels by reversing gravity.
Terry Cavanagh’s debut is a strikingly elegant game. There are no power-ups, no switches, and no collectibles, just an unrestrained test of skill for anyone who loves classic platforming. Good luck!