Nintendo has created games since the 80’s for players of all ages, abilities, interests, and family situations. There are in-depth adventures, RPGs, life simulators, family party games, and more. They own popular series such as “The Legend of Zelda,” “Super Mario, Pokemon,” “Metroid” and “Kirby,” but they also have many other characters and franchises.
With all of these games, which ones are the best? Having played dozens of Nintendo games of different and similar genres, reviewed games individually in the past, and played a game on every type of Nintendo platform, I will now create a list of the top twenty Nintendo games of all time.
Disclaimer, this list is not completely comprehensive. I am only including games that I have actually played, so some of the best might not be on here.
Also note that in this list, all games must have been at least partially developed by Nintendo. Third-party games on Nintendo platforms are not included nor are remakes of original Nintendo titles, (such as the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D) which will be considered the same game as the original for the purpose of this list.
20. NES Remix NES Remix gives the best of the entire NES era in one game, (that is, if you buy the set with part one and two.) This game revolves around completing various mini challenges in 28 of the most popular NES games. While this game is on the Wii U, there’s also a version for the 3DS.
19. Super Mario World Super Mario World is easily Mario’s best 2D adventure. Being a launch title for the SNES, Nintendo made sure that this game was packed full of secrets, colorful and unique enemies, and over 70 cleverly designed courses.
18. Yoshi’s Island I know I said “Super Mario World” was Mario’s best 2D adventure, but this game is technically Yoshi’s adventure, not Mario’s. This was one of the last SNES games released by Nintendo, and the cartoony graphics are incredibly charming, and the levels are clever, funny, and addicting. It’s a must-play for anybody who likes retro games, platformers, or both.
17. Luigi’s Mansion 2 This game, released for the 3DS, is a sequel to “Luigi’s Mansion” for the Gamecube. While this game isn’t as spooky as the original, it brings the classic ghost-busting action you’ve been craving, presents incredibly fun puzzles in five different mansions, and really gets you into the mood for Halloween time.
16. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate “Super Smash Bros.” has been a popular series since the N64, with new characters and stages being added with every console, so it’s no surprise that the latest and greatest version for the Nintendo Switch is the best. Not only does this game include several brand-new fighters and stages, but every fighter to ever star in a smash game. It’s the best fighting game ever made, and will bring hours of multiplayer fun.
15. Splatoon 2 “Splatoon 2” for the Nintendo Switch is one of Nintendo’s only third-person shooters, and it’s easily the best one ever made. This game involves fighting as inklings, who fire ink from their guns and then swim in it as squids. With multiple stages, game modes, and hardcore competitive gameplay, this game makes “Fortnite” look like child’s play.
14: Yoshi’s Wooly World When I first bought this game for the Wii U, I had no idea what I was in for. I knew that a Yoshi game with a world made entirely of wool and fabric would be adorable, but I didn’t expect such an amazing and charming platformer. Not only does it live up to its grandpa “Yoshi’s Island,” but it easily surpasses it.
13. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze As you can tell by the rest of this list, I’m a huge fan of 2D platformers, but this has to be my favorite one by just a hair. Available on both the Wii U and Nintendo Switch, this game has incredibly dynamic levels, smooth gameplay, an amazing soundtrack, and levels full of destruction and moving objects to keep you on edge.
12. Luigi’s Mansion 3 I’ve played very few games with an atmosphere quite as charming and convincing as “Luigi’s Mansion 3.” Maybe it’s the incredible graphics on the Nintendo Switch. Maybe it’s how it utilizes all of the elements fans loved from the previous games in the series. Or maybe it’s just the music. Either way, this is an amazing game for people of all ages, and for all times of year.
11. Super Mario 3D World For years, 3D Mario games and 2D Mario games almost felt like completely different genres of games. 3D games had a more sandbox-like setup whereas 2D games were more linear. “Super Mario 3D Land” for the 3DS branched that gap however bringing linear level design and 3D platforming together. “Super Mario 3D World” then just took the idea and made it into an HD game with funner levels. This game is great for gamers of all skill levels, as it starts out easy and ends up incredibly hard.
10. The Legend of Zelda: The Windwaker Originally released for the Gamecube, this game proved that games don’t have to be realistic to be impactful and intense. With its cartoony world, Link must travel by boat across a flooded version of Hyrule, beating dungeons and exploring like never before. This game has a vast and exciting overworld comparable to “Breath of the Wild”.
9. Super Mario 64 Released originally for the N64, “Super Mario 64” is the most Nintendo-ish Nintendo game ever made. Mario must free Princess Peach, who is imprisoned in her own castle, by traveling between worlds inside of painting frames. With 120 power stars to find inside of the 15 unique worlds, this game is an instant classic.
8. Super Mario Sunshine You wouldn’t think that a game that’s literally about cleaning pollution off of a beach could ever be a blast, but nonetheless, “Super Mario Sunshine” for the Gamecube is such a fun game that I obtained a Gamecube just so I could play it. Picture “Super Mario 64” with more charming levels, a better story, and better graphics. That’s “Sunshine!” Be careful though! This is easily one of the hardest games I’ve ever played!
7. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past “A Link to the Past” is the game you can thank for all modern adventure games. This is my favorite retro game, as it has an intense storyline, incredibly gratifying puzzles, and a charming world that still holds up to today’s gaming standards.
6. Super Mario Odyssey This game, for the Nintendo Switch, is in one word, “weird.” It’s a good weird though. Inspired by “Super Mario 64” and “Super Mario Sunshine,” “Super Mario Odyssey” is the longest and most realistic Mario game, and it’s a blast and a half. I mean, the fact that you can transform Mario into a T-Rex or a tank alone should be enough to convince you to play this game.
5. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild If you own a Nintendo Switch or a Wii U and don’t own this game, then you might want to have a serious life-assessment. “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” is one of the most detailed, lengthy, and immersing Nintendo games of all time. Explore the vast world, survive the wilderness, and save Hyrule!
4. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask Never have I ever played a game that stirred up my emotions and haunted me quite as much as this one. Made for the N64 as a direct sequel to “Ocarina of Time,” in “Majora’s Mask,” Link must relive the same three days over and over again until he stops the angry moon from destroying the world of Termina. While conquering dungeons and enemies, you’ll explore the five stages of grief, broken family relationships, and forlorn cries of woe preceding the death of the lovable and naive characters.
3. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time This game was originally released for the N64 in 1998. While it’s now over 20 years old, it’s still one of the best games ever made. In “Ocarina of Time,” Link, a young Hylean boy raised by the Kokiris must go on a journey across the vast land of Hyrule, solving puzzles, and defeating enemies, in hopes to defeat Ganondorf, the most evil man in existence. Link, failing to match Ganondorf’s strength as a child must time travel into his adulthood, where Ganondorf has destroyed the world. He then must awaken the six sages and face him off in the most awe-inspiring final boss in gaming history.
2. Super Mario Galaxy While many game critics consider “Ocarina of Time,” to be the best game of all time, my nostalgia forced me to put this game at the top of the list. In “Super Mario Galaxy” for the Wii, Mario must journey across the cosmos to save his precious Princess Peach. As if jumping between galaxies, soaring between planets, and fighting dozens of bosses wasn’t enough, Koji Kondo decided to put forth his best work and create the most amazing soundtrack of all time to accompany the journey. This game is one that needs to be played at least once before you die.
1. Super Mario Galaxy 2 “Super Mario Galaxy” and “Super Mario Galaxy 2” feel as if they’re the same game, just with different levels. This is why when ranking my favorite games, I usually pair them together as one. However part 2 pulled ahead of part 1 because of its longer, more satisfying levels, its greater variety of galaxies, and improved graphics. “Super Mario Galaxy 2” is the best video game of all time.