It's hard to think of a more classic game than the original Super Mario Bros. With its simple yet captivating side-scrolling gameplay, blending whimsy and action to perfection, this game stands out as an iconic gem. Even as it evolved into the 3D realm, the fun and exhilaration of the gameplay remained consistent throughout each level.

It's quite challenging to fully capture the allure of these early side-scrolling games. While not directly imitating Super Mario Bros., their impact on the gaming industry is undeniable. For enthusiasts of this beloved title, here's an extensive list of recommended games worth exploring.

10. Hue

Taking inspiration from Mario's pioneering platforming format, many games have adopted a similar structure, featuring players jumping through different areas, solving puzzles, and evading foes. However, some games, like Hue, decided to add a unique twist by focusing on a particular element. In Hue's case, the spotlight is on colors. Players must switch between different colors to navigate around obstacles and advance through the levels. This indie game offers both enjoyable gameplay and challenging experiences, enriched by its intriguing backstory.

Hue's art looks very striking and distinctive

9. Juju

While Juju may primarily appeal to a younger audience, it's worth noting that even Super Mario Bros was initially seen as a kids' game. Nevertheless, Juju maintains its fun and engaging gameplay, where players must traverse from one end of the level to the other, avoiding enemies and collecting items, much like the classic Mario experience. The game also features hidden bonus areas, adding a nostalgic touch. While not excessively difficult, Juju provides an opportunity to unwind and simply enjoy the gaming experience.

8. Donkey Kong Country

The relationship between Donkey Kong and Mario is rather unique, as evident in the Super Mario Bros movie. Initially depicted as foes in the game Donkey Kong, Mario later gained his own spotlight as the star of side-scrolling platformers.

Donkey Kong Country Rhino Diddy
Donkey Kong Country Rhino Diddy

Years later, Donkey Kong's character underwent a transformation, becoming the protagonist in his own series of games. Donkey Kong Country clearly reflects the heavy influence of Super Mario Bros on the platforming genre. With its remarkable art style and tone, the game follows the side-scrolling format and brings a refreshing evolution to the genre.

7. Ori And The Blind Forest

Ori and its sequel stand out as exceptional games due to their vast and expansive worlds, making it hard to draw an immediate connection to Super Mario Bros. However, one can easily envision a Super Mario Bros game adopting a similar approach. With the multitude of diverse lands and levels found throughout the Super Mario franchise, the idea of seamlessly integrating them into a unified world, as Ori does, seems awe-inspiring. The game's distinctive art style adds to its appeal and resonates well with dedicated gamers.

Ori And The Will Of The Wisps
Ori And The Blind Forest

6. Limbo

While Super Mario Bros undeniably pioneered the Golden Age of side-scrolling adventure platformers, some argue that Limbo ushered in a second Golden Age. This game demonstrated that in the modern era of extravagant 3D gaming, a simple side-scrolling platformer could still captivate players with its fun, engaging, and visually striking art design. Limbo returned to the roots of gaming by providing a challenging adventure style reminiscent of what made Super Mario Bros so extraordinary.

Limbo Gameplay
Limbo Gameplay

5. Braid

At its core, Braid shares similarities with straightforward platformers like Hue. However, Braid takes a different approach by utilizing time manipulation as its unique gameplay mechanic. Players have control over time in various ways to navigate levels and solve puzzles, resulting in a satisfying and fairly challenging experience.


Super Mario Bros laid the foundation for side-scrolling games like Braid to explore and expand upon the concept in innovative ways. Despite its inventive gameplay, Braid remains a fun and timely platformer that is sure to be appreciated by gamers.

4. Fez

Fez's simple graphics might mislead some gamers, as they evoke the nostalgic charm of early Super Mario Bros games, creating a classic atmosphere for this adventure platformer. However, the gameplay itself is far from traditional. It ingeniously takes the 2D side-scrolling format and twists it into a unique perspective-shifting experience, transporting players into a 3D world. While Super Mario Games took a groundbreaking step when transitioning to 3D, Fez accomplishes this in a distinct and innovative manner, making it an excellent platformer.

Fez Next To An Owl Statue Next To Him
Fez Next To An Owl Statue Next To Him

3. Super Meat Boy

Super Meat Boy's striking resemblance to Super Mario Bros suggests it might have been directly inspired by the iconic game. Nonetheless, Super Meat Boy distinguishes itself as an intensely challenging and adrenaline-pumping experience. With gameplay designed to test players' skills to the limit, the fast-paced rush of this game might prove frustrating for casual Mario fans. However, those who grew up conquering the early Mario games will find it an absolute blast.


2. Rayman

Although similar to Juju in concept, Rayman targets a more mature audience. With its fun and eccentric nature, the game remains enjoyable while still offering challenging segments. Rayman serves as an excellent example of a platformer that takes the foundational elements of Super Mario Bros and elevates them to new heights through its kooky art style. The game avoids overcomplicating the format with convoluted mechanics, presenting a delightful experience featuring great characters and well-designed levels. A reboot would be a welcome addition to the series.

Rayman Origins
Rayman Origins is fairly hard 

1. Sonic The Hedgehog

While it may seem odd to recommend Sonic the Hedgehog to Mario fans, considering the historic rivalry between Nintendo and Sega, both games undeniably excel in their own right. These enduring characters have stood the test of time for good reason. Despite their differing styles, both titles were developed around the same period, leading to some similarities between them. Sonic and Mario both hold their own as excellent games in their respective ways.

Sonic 2020
Sonic The Hedgehog

>>> Read more: 5 Best Games Based On Greek Mythology (2023)