The 15 Best Super Mario Power-Ups

October 13, 2023 by No Comments


There is no more recognizable video game character than everyone’s favorite mustachioed plumber, Mario. For nearly 40 years, the Super Mario Bros. series has established itself as one of the most memorable franchises in gaming history. Super Mario’s appeal lies in the game’s ample power-ups. Mario can choose items in the world that empower him with magical powers. That’s what makes him Super Mario. In this list, we’re highlighting the 15 best Super Mario power-ups. “Let’s-a-go!”

15. Super mushroom

We now get the Super Mushroom out of the gate. Now, that’s not to say that the Super Mushroom is crap or bad, just a power-up. Let’s just say this is the least of the best power-ups on this list. The Super Mushroom is the player’s lifeline in the most difficult Mario levels. The Super Mushroom gives Mario the ability to transform into “Super Mario”. Essentially, Mario’s stature is magnified and gives him an extra hit point. In 2D Mario games, the Super Mushroom allows Mario the ability to break brick blocks while floating in the air. The Super Mushroom is synonymous with the Super Mario series and appears in practically every game.

Metal Cap appeared in Mario’s first 3D adventure in Super Mario 64. Metal Cap temporarily transforms Mario into Metal Mario. This power-up is not active for long but gives Mario invincibility to enemies, fire and toxic fumes. By taking on the properties of metal, it makes Mario heavier and he can’t jump as high. Metal Mario can also overcome strong currents of water and is required to access the green cap switch hidden in the Hazy Maze Cave.

Top Super Mario Power-Ups

13. Starman

Starman is one of the top Super Mario power-ups in the entire series. It is very simple in practice. When Mario hits a Starman, he instantly grants invincibility from practically everything except the bottomless pit for a limited time. What sets Starman apart from other power-ups that grant temporary invincibility is that if the player manages to defeat a long line of enemies while the power is active, Mario gains extra lives for each consecutive enemy defeated after the first five or so. Also, we know the catchy Starman theme is playing in your head right now.

All Super Mario power-ups

12. Super acorn

The Super Acorn is from New Super Mario Bros. U and is similar to the Cape Feather from Super Mario World. The Super Acorn ranks at the bottom of the spectrum and lacks the offensive capabilities of other glide-based power-ups. Grabbing the Super Acorn transforms Mario and friends into their Flying Squirrel forms. This is still the top Super Mario power-up when it comes to level navigation. Aside from the glide feature, Mario’s flying squirrel form allows him to cling to walls for a short time and perform an additional climb mid-glide.

11. Carrot

Carrot power-up only appears in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins. Holding the carrot turns Mario into Bunny Mario. Like Super Acorn and the Flying Squirrel forms before it, Carrot and Bunny Mario have no offensive abilities. Really, it does the same thing and allows Mario to slowly move and land from high platforms. However, Mario’s bunny form has a longer travel distance giving it a slight edge over Super Acorn. If you jump right off the high platform, you can glide across entire levels. Not sure why you’d want to do this unless you’re speed running the game, but you can.

10. Propeller box

The Propeller Box power-up first appeared in Super Mario 3D Land and returned in Super Mario 3D World. If the player has Raccoon or Tanooki Mario while holding the propeller box, the power-up includes an additional tail swipe attack. In cat form, Box also allows a claw swipe attack. Otherwise, this power-up does not come with additional offensive capabilities. There is a similar item from New Super Mario Bros. Wii called the Propeller Mushroom. However, Propeller Box’s tail swipe attack gives a pass on the mushroom’s downward drill attack. The Propeller Box is a great item to use for finding secret areas in very vertical levels.

9. Fire flower

Finally, we’re getting some Super Mario power-ups that you can actually attack. Next up is the Fire Flower, and it’s easily one of the best Super Mario power-ups in the entire franchise. When Mario grabs one of these power-ups he transforms into Fire Mario. Players can throw a series of fireballs in succession that take out most enemies in their path. The fireballs from the Fire Flower power-up have the added benefit of melting ice blocks and act as a light source in dark background levels. In Mario RPG games such as Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, fire flowers can be used as an ingredient to create new items.

8. Ice flower

The Ice Flower is opposite its Fire Flower. Honestly, Ice Flower doesn’t get enough credit and ranks as one of the top Super Mario power-ups. Ice Mario is, as you might guess, the result of holding an Ice Flower. This power-up is similar to the previous one. Mario can throw snow balls in a row, knocking enemies into ice blocks. An added bonus is that Mario can use enemies as a platform when they’re covered in snow. Frozen enemies can additionally be picked up and thrown into oncoming hazards, much like a green shell.

7. Cape Feather

Cape Feather has to be a fan favorite and one of the top Super Mario power-ups on this list. Cape Feather is from Super Mario World and transforms Mario into Caped Mario. Aside from the spin attack, Mario will fly into the air when taking off from a full sprint. In mid-air, players can alternately press left and right on the directional pad to continue the slide. Skilled players can glide over certain levels in the game. While there are other power-ups that allow Mario to glide or fly, the Cape Feather has the added perk of allowing players to bomb enemies or cause a ground-shaking crash from above.

6. Boomerang Flower

Boomerang Flowers first appeared in Super Mario 3D Land and returned in Super Mario 3D World. The Boomerang Brothers can get them by defeating the enemy. As a projectile power-up, the Boomerang Flower is a generous reach. It’s a step up from Fire Flower and Ice Flower and can be spammed just as fast. The boomerang can also reach out and bring objects back to Mario. If enemies pepper the screen, and as long as the player’s aim is true, well-timed button presses can knock these enemies out in a single throw.

5. Rock mushroom

The Rock Mushroom only appears in Super Mario Galaxy 2. When collected, the Rock Mushroom will transform Mario into Rock Mario. If you don’t mind shaking the Wii Remote like a rattle, Rock Mario is a guilty pleasure and has generous controls. This power-up allows Mario to steamroll enemies in his path and smash boulders to uncover Star Bits. Super Mario Galaxy games are not the fastest Mario games but Rock Mushroom adds a speed component to the game. There’s literally nothing more satisfying than bowling over goombas or rolling a steady path of destruction over tiny planetoids.

Top Super Mario Power-Ups

4. Cannon box

The Cannon Box appears in Super Mario 3D World and Super Mario Maker 2, but it feels almost overpowered. When Mario wears a cannon box overhead, players can hold down the action button to charge a shot. As you might expect, when the button is released, a cannonball is launched. Cannonballs can be fired in small explosions or extra powerful charged shots that deal splash damage. Like the Boomerang Flower, the Cannon Box can claim unavailable items and coins. This power-up is the only way to destroy cracked walls to open secret passages hidden in game levels. It can also be stacked with power-ups like Super Bell, which means Mario can also attack in his cat form. The Cannon Box is easily one of the top Super Mario power-ups.

All Super Mario power-ups

3. Penguin suit

The penguin suit first appeared in New Super Mario Bros. Y, but also returned in New Super Mario Bros. U. The Penguin Suit works similarly to the Ice Flower but makes that power-up practically useless. Mario can chuck ice balls using the penguin suit, freeze enemies into ice blocks, use them as platforms, or throw them into other enemies. However, Mario also has more control when swimming in water. Additionally, Mario can slide across ice, snow, and water without worrying about drowning. What’s more, the Penguin suit also serves for better traction on ice and won’t skid as is typical without this power-up effect. With several perks packed into one, the Penguin Suit is one of the best Super Mario power-ups in the series.

Top Super Mario Power-Ups

2. Super bell

The Super Bell is a featured item from Super Mario 3D World and its add-on game, Bowser’s Fury. When Mario and friends grab a Super Bell they transform into their cat forms. Super Bell grants a claw attack with a large hit box and makes enemies jump off Midgar with a dive attack. In terms of platforming, Super Bell is one of the best items in the game. Players can easily scale walls and end-of-level flagpoles, as well as correct your footing from a well-timed jump. Its rare counterpart, the Lucky Bell, is only found in Bonus Worlds and has the added bonus of generating coins when dropped in Lucky Cat statue form.

All Super Mario power-ups

1. Tanooki Suit/Super Leaf

Finally, we come to the Tanooki suite. It’s a classic that goes back to Super Mario Bros. 3. Likewise, Super Leaf is New Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario 3D Land and Super Mario 3D World are back and let Mario and friends don their Tanuki forms. In the classic SMB3, the Tanooki suit grants all of Raccoon Mario’s powers, but with the added ability to transform into a statue. In this statue form, Mario is invulnerable and can stomp through more enemies than normal if he changes wind. Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. In World-E levels in 3, the statue form is one of the few power-ups that can reveal disappearing blocks and break solid gray blocks.

The Tanooki suit is very helpful when the difficulty rises in Super Mario Bros. 3. For that reason, it’s the best Super Mario power-up ever. It is remembered almost exclusively for the curiosity it arouses. For those who don’t know, the tanuki suit is based on a Japanese mythological creature called Baek-danuki, inspired by Japanese raccoon dogs or “tanuki”. They are said to change shape by using leaves, hence the further inspiration for the Super Leaf.

We can only imagine what new Super Mario power-ups will be found in future Mario games. What’s your favorite Super Mario power-up? Let us know in the comments below!

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