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(Pocket-lint) - Mario is one of gaming's true greats, an iconic mascot who's starred in more masterpieces than we care to count down the years, each of them doing something radical to take platforming games forward.

There are so many games in his history, though, that it can feel a little overwhelming trying to pick one - so if you fancy some Mario goodness, which should you play right now? We've picked the very best that are easily accessible so that you don't have to go digging through stuff to try to get an old console working. 

Our guide to the best Mario games to play today

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Super Mario Odyssey

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Odyssey is a once-in-a-generation game, an absolute stone-cold classic that has oodles of content, gorgeously designed worlds and graphics that are the best Mario's ever enjoyed.

It's one of the very finest games for the Nintendo Switch, and is a brilliant play whether it's your first Mario game or the latest in a long line. If you can only play one right now, we'd go for this. 

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Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury

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A re-released game from the Wii U days with a major new expansion added on, this is a great package that brings all of what makes Mario great together.

You get fun power-ups, amazing levels, and Bowser's Fury feels like a glimpse at what the plumber's future could hold, with an open world to explore and a heck of a lot of freedom to enjoy. It all looks gorgeous, too!

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New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe

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If you want something more traditional, Nintendo still makes occasional side-scrolling Mario games, and they're still just as brilliant. The latest is this huge package, remastered for the Switch after an initial release on the Wii U.

It's a brilliant game that's really challenging in places, and sure to get you back in the old-school zone in no time. 

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Super Mario Bros. 2

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Of course, there might be nothing quite like the original games to please you, in which case our top pick is the second, Super Mario Bros. 2, which iterated on the first game's superb foundation.

It might just be the best 2D platformer ever made, and you can still play it really easily on the recent NES Mini, making it simple to get it working on a modern TV. It's a nostalgia trip, but also a gaming great.

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Super Mario World

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If you want something classic but a bit more recent, there's the option of picking up the SNES Mini instead, and getting access to both Super Mario World games (the second being Yoshi's Island, a masterpiece that we're calling a Yoshi game). 

The first is a stone-cold classic, once more, with amazing new powers to discover but the same insanely tight controls and beautifully-designed worlds to master. 

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Super Mario 3D All-Stars

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It isn't the most detailed restoration ever, but this superb package brings three classic 3D Mario adventures to your Switch - Super Mario 64, Sunshine and Galaxy.

Those are three of the best 3D platformers ever made, so as a package it's a brilliant way to get your fix of Mario's jumping fun, and saves you the hassle of trying to hook up an old Nintendo 64, GameCube or Wii. 

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Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

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Of course, Mario doesn't just star in platformers - he's also the big name in one of the best racers ever. If you've got a Switch, Mario Kart 8 is an absolute must-have for couch racing and online fun.

Its physics are perfectly weighted for enjoyable challenge, its tracks are beautiful, and there's nothing else that can really hold a candle to it. 

Writing by Max Freeman-Mills. Originally published on 26 January 2021.