Hey, Super Mario Maker is out this week! Looking some inspiration for your custom Italian-born platforming levels?
We take the Mushroom Kingdom for granted when it comes to the Mario series, but the fact is that it’s a sovereign nation with unique traits, people, and places. Still, it’s only one of many lands that Mario and company have visited over his 30-year career. The Mario & Luigi RPG, Mario Land, and Mario Party games feature worlds so different form the plumber’s hometown (which is not Brooklyn, Bob Hoskins lovers), but you may have never realized it.
So, just as Super Mario Maker is hitting stores, let’s explore the many worlds Mario has encountered, with the seven greatest outside lands gaming’s favorite pipe-hopper has visited.
7. Party World
Before the Mario Party games became stale, they were enjoyable, unique spin-offs full of creative minigames that let you weed out your true friends – you know who you are, star-stealers. Now, here’s where it gets interesting from a geographical standpoint; Mario Party Advance (admittedly not one of the better ones) is set in a place called Party World. If you’ve ever wondered how Bowser can be such a a-hole, yet still find the time for friendly tennis tournaments and kart races, Party World rationalizes everything.
Party World is a magical place where contests reigns supreme (especially board games). It answers questions about the Mario Party series too. Where does 1’s warp pipe lead? Where does 3’s toy box come from? This place has the answers. Party World isn’t just a setting to play Bumper Balls or Crane Game. It’s a locale where the Mushroom Kingdom cast can come together for a bit of friendly competition. Just don’t screw them over with a Boo Bell.
6. Pi’illo Island
Holidays never seem to go right in the Mario universe. When the gang visits this destination vacation in Dream Team, they end up having to save the island from the evil Antasma – and they’re saving quite an island. The boroughs are based on dreams, such as Somnom Woods and Dozing Sands. Everything about the Pi’illo Kingdom has an ethereal quality to it, which makes the whole game feel slightly “off,” in a good way.
But all of that is merely part of the waking world. The magic of the Pi’illo people allows Mario to enter Luigi’s dreams, and this is where things get trippier. While Mario performs basic platforming in his brother’s subconscious, dreamy clones of Luigi, known as the Luiginaries, can Voltron together to perform crazy tasks. Want to roll around atop a ball of hunched over Luigis? Want to ride a tornado of stacked, spinning bros? Pi’illo Island makes those weird ass dreams a reality.
5. Isle Delfino
Like I said, vacations never work out for Mario and company. This dolphin-shaped island (a reference to the GameCube’s codename) seems like the perfect vacation spot… until Bowser, Jr. paints the place like the mad child of Banksy and Jackson Pollack. What follows is your typical Mario collect-a-thon, but with a tropical twist.
Take your Mario course archetypes and add a splash of island flavor, and you get the gnarly districts of Delfino Island. Noki Bay is your looming mountain, now set along a shellfish-filled coast. Ricco Harbor is your typical docks level taken to the nth degree with scaffolding and sky-high platforms. The island itself became a staple in other franchises like Mario Kart tracks and a Super Smash Bros. stage. It’s also home to the Gooper Blooper, who apparently liked being beat up so much that he later shows up as a boss in Super Princess Peach and Paper Mario: Sticker Star.