In Super Mario 64, you play as the famous little Italian plumber in hopes of saving Princess Peach from the clutches of Bowser. Unlike the games before it, however, you are in a fully fleshed-out, 3D world. You have a massive castle before you and it will be your job to explore all the worlds inside its corridors and secret passages, if you hope to rescue Princess Peach.
Super Mario 64. Is there really a game quite like it? Okay, so there are quite a few games like it. However, few games can claim to have had such an impact as Mario 64. Though it wasn’t the first 3D platformer (Jumping Flash), Super Mario 64 defined the genre with its multitude of worlds, emphasis on collection, and free camera. It also became the main style of gameplay for the core Mario games to be released in the future. Oh, and Mario became a flagship and a mascot for Nintendo thanks to this game. That’s a lot of accolades for a game that was released over two decades ago.
Three of the key factors that define this game can be seen above. 3D platformer, massive world, and franchise. The final factor is a sense of quirkiness. Even though Mario doesn’t speak, there was a certain humor to the game. Being able to pull his face around at the title screen is one example as is the monkey that can steal your hat. These all are aspects that the games below will share. Admittedly, the games below might meet one or two or even three of those conditions, but none hit all four. There is a reason why Super Mario 64 is considered one of the greatest games of all time.
Games like Super Mario 64
- System: PC
- Publisher: Majesco
- Developer: Double Fine Productions
- Release Dates: Apr. 19, 2005
Psychonauts follows the adventures of Raz after he runs away from home and tries to become an official psychonaut at summer training camp. Though he’s only begun to master some mental techniques, he’s going to have to put everything he knows on the line as someone begins to steal the brains of all the children at the camp.
Psychonauts is probably as close to Super Mario 64 as you can get while still being completely unique. The most obvious similarity is that both of these games are 3D platformers. They also have a unique game world that is filled with mini worlds of exploration. In Super Mario 64, you jump through portraits to find massive new worlds. In Psychonauts, you enter the brains of different characters and explore their psyche. The difference in gameplay is that Super Mario 64 is a bit more focused on exploration and psychonauts has a little more focus on action.
The main difference between the two, is that Psychonauts has a more direct narrative and an array of quirky characters. Each character becomes a vital element to the overall vibe and tone of the video game. This is the factor that helps makes Psychonauts a contender to almost any game.
2. Jax and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy
- System: PS2
- Publisher: SCEA
- Developer: Naughty Dog
- Release Dates: Dec. 3, 2001
Jax and Daxter follows the adventures of a unique duo, who are trying to stop the world from being flooded with Dark Eco. They roam across a fantasy world with some steampunk influences as they try to stop Gol and Maia, as well as attempt to revert Daxter back to human form.
There are quite a few reasons why Jax and Daxter is like Super Mario 64. It’s a 3D platform with a large world to explore. Another important factor is that Jax and Daxter was one of the earliest games released on the PS2, and (partially due to its success) it became one of the defining franchises for the PS2. In the beginning years, many people saw Jax and Daxter as the mascots for the system. Oh, and its gameplay and graphics had a massive amount of influence over hundreds of games just as Super Mario 64 did. The most notable difference between these two powerhouses is that Jax and Daxter had a more direct plot and actual dialogue.
3. Sonic Mania
- System: PS4, XONE, PC, NS
- Publisher: Sega
- Developer: Sega
- Release Dates: Aug. 15, 2017
Sonic Mania follows the trio of Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles as they attempt to foil the nefarious plot of Dr. Eggman. The video game commemorates the original Sonic games by having the team of heroes travel through many classic levels, as well as a host of new ones.
It was tempting to put down Sonic the Hedgehog 2 down as the video game like Super Mario 64. Those two games have quite a bit in common when it comes to setting up a franchise and installing a character as a video game icon. However, Sonic Mania did such a perfect job re-mastering the classic stages that it re-captured the essence of the original Sonic games. So why list a game that some people might find dated when there is a recent one that is a ton of fun to play? Overall, Sonic Mania brought life back to the franchise and reminded us why Sonic has always been seen as a contending figure in the video game industry.
Any Games Like Super Mario 64 ?
4. Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time
- System: PS3
- Publisher: SCEA
- Developer: Insomniac Games
- Release Dates: Oct. 27, 2009
In this installment of the beloved franchise, Ratchet and Clank have been separated and it is our duty as the player to go about the game trying to reunite them and save the universe from Dr. Nefarious.
Each and every Ratchet and Clank game is like Super Mario 64. Each game is a 3D platformer with a unique mix of action. Each game features a large universe that requires you to explore and discover certain secrets if you hope to get to the final boss. Both series helped define why a player could expect of the initial system they were on. The main difference between the gameplay of these two is that Ratchet and Clank has a lot more action, due to it being a third-person shooter. Oh, and even though Ratchet and Clank got its own movie, the series still doesn’t come close to the international renown of Mario’s series.
5. Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time
- System: PS3, Vita
- Publisher: SCEA
- Developer: Sanzaru Games
- Release Dates: Feb. 5, 2013
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time continues the saga of Sly and his friends in a direct sequel to Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves. The plot begins when Bentley discovers that pages from the treasured Thievius Racconus, the Cooper family’s ancient book of master thievery, are disappearing. Thus, the gang has to meet back up and travel through time in order to make sure that the art of thievery does not end up in the wrong hands.
Is anyone really wondering why Sly Cooper: Thieves in Times is like Super Mario 64? The games are both classics with platforming being a main part of the gameplay. Each of these games also force you to journey across a variety of worlds, with each area having an extremely distinct layout and vibe. In Super Mario 64, you can find yourself in an underwater world, in a desert, on lava, or in a snowy wonderland. In Sly Cooper: Thieves in Times you go from the Prehistoric Age to the Renaissance to the Wild West and so many more. Both games are truly massive in scope. The main difference is that the heart of Sly Cooper’s gameplay relies on being stealthy as you make your way across the levels.
6. Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
- System: PS4
- Publisher: Activision
- Developer: Vicarious Visions
- Release Dates: Jun. 30, 2017
This remastered version of the first three games in the Crash Bandicoot saga act as a reminder as to why the series was such a hit when it first came out. As you WUMP your way back through the first three games in order to save those closest to you as well as the world.
There are many similarities between Super Mario 64 and the original Crash Bandicoot games that have finally received a much-deserved makeover. The obvious factor is that both games were primarily about running and jumping. Yeah, you picked up an item every once in a while, but the heart of the game was in that run-and-jump action that makes platformers so addicting. Then there was the fact that the series revolved around a single villain who constantly set up traps and messed with your mind throughout the game.
It is hard for any game to compare to Super Mario 64. How many games can talk about becoming a flagship series for one of the largest companies? In some cases, if you really want a game like Super Mario 64, then it might be best to stick with Mario and play games like Super Mario Odyssey and Super Mario Galaxy. Nonetheless, if you want some new experiences, then the six games listed above will remind you of Super Mario 64 while still providing a completely unique gaming experience. If there are any games like Super Mario 64 that were left out, please leave a comment below!