Which Mario toys are best?

Mario is the true face of video games. Ever since his debut on the digital screen in 1981, he’s been a beloved cultural figure around the world. Mario is a small Italian plumber who has been featured in over 200 video games. His mustachioed face, red overalls and pudgy appearance have also been transformed into several toys over the years, from plush dolls to LEGO building blocks and playsets pulled straight from his video games.

The best Mario toy is the Super Mario Underground Playset, which features an ice lair where Mario can complete an obstacle course with interactive pieces. 

What to know before you buy a Mario toy

Mario’s story

Mario’s backstory is pretty simple. The creators wanted him to be relatable and fit in the framework of the construction site in “Donkey Kong,” which was the original video game he was designed for. When the creator wanted Mario for his own game, they decided he looked more like a plumber and put him in the underground sewers of New York City. His Italian heritage comes from the influx of Italians in NYC around this time, as well as his dark colored mustache. From there, Mario would venture through sewers and end up in all sorts of fantastical places throughout the Mushroom Kingdom. 

Other characters

Mario’s main objective in the original iterations of “Super Mario Bros.” was to save Princess Peach from the clutches of the evil ruler Bowser. He would do this with the help of his brother and fellow plumber Luigi. While Mario wore red overalls and a red hat, Luigi is known for green overalls and a green hat. Yoshi is another popular figure in the franchise. This lovable green dinosaur helps Mario traverse the Mushroom Kingdom by carrying him on its back and hopping through dangerous terrain. 

“Super Mario Bros.” landmarks

The Mushroom Kingdom is the most prominent landmark in the “Super Mario Bros.” game. This is where Mario must save Princess Peach from Bowser. Throughout the Kingdom, you’ll find places like Bowser’s Castle which is a dark and mysterious place filled with danger. Mario also spends a lot of time underground. After all, he is a plumber. Below the surface of Mushroom Kingdom Mario comes across freezing ice dungeons filled with deadly Thwomps and fiery caves with Lava Bubbles. Above the surface he may come across Fire Piranha Plants that come out of the sewers and bricks packed with power ups and gold coins.

What to look for in a quality Mario toy

1-Up Mushroom

Mario toys will feature accessories that help bring the playsets to life. 1-Up Mushrooms are common in Mario toy sets, although rare in the game itself. These magical items are green with white dots and give Mario an extra life. They usually pop out of the brick boxes that contain surprise items.  


Goombas are a part of the Koopa Troop, Bowser’s deadly army whose goal is to destroy Mario and keep the Princess for themselves. They look like little brown mushrooms with legs and they hold a mean look on their face. These are usually the first enemy you meet in-game because they’re relatively easy to take down. All Mario needs to do is jump on their heads and off they go. Goombas often come with Mario toys in order to add an element of urgency and adventure to your playset. You’ll need to make sure you get through the Goombas before facing Bowser.


Playsets are the most common way that Mario toys are presented. Instead of purchasing a single figure and imagining your own world, playsets offer a full scene from the game which can be built upon. The best quality Mario playsets will include a landmark, one to three characters and several accessories. The best part is, one playset can be set alongside a separate set to create a full level for Mario to complete. Playsets will also include moveable pieces like bridges, doors and platforms that Mario can traverse. 

How much you can expect to spend on Mario toys

Mario toys cost between $23-$40.

Mario toys FAQ

Can Mario playsets be attached together?

A. Most Mario playsets cannot be physically attached together. However, they are designed in a similar way which makes it easy to set them side by side and create your own level from the  Mario. games. 

Does LEGO make Mario toys?

A. Yes, LEGO has several Mario toys, including Bowser’s Castle and Airship, Mario’s House with Yoshi, Whomp’s Lava set and more. You can also purchase builder’s sets, which include generic pieces that can be used to create your own playset.

What are the best Mario toys to buy?

Top Mario toy

Super Mario Underground Playset

Super Mario Underground Playset

What you need to know: Take Mario to the eerie underground layer of Ice World to explore in this interactive playset.  

What you’ll love: The Mario figure stands over 2 inches tall and is fully posable. The set is interactive by way of a shifting ice platform and a brick block with a pop out 1-Up mushroom for an extra life. There are five interactive pieces in total in this 14-inch long set.

What you should consider: The toy is rather small and would be best suited along with other Mario playsets. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top Mario toy for the money

Super Mario Dungeon Deluxe Playset

Super Mario Dungeon Deluxe Playset

What you need to know: In this playset, Mario ventures into a dark dungeon to smash bricks and collect gold coins. 

What you’ll love: The movable platforms give this dungeon playset a highly interactive feel. The seven interactive pieces include the deadly cinder block named Thwomp, a spinning fire stick and a hidden gold coin. Mario is wearing his alternative outfit with red overalls, white undershirt and white hat.

What you should consider: The small pieces may cause a choking hazard to children under the age of three.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Super Mario Deluxe Mushroom Kingdom Playset

Super Mario Deluxe Mushroom Kingdom Playset

What you need to know: This Super Mario playset features the Mushroom Kingdom along with several main characters from the game. 

What you’ll love: The castle from the Mushroom Kingdom is around 10-inches tall and comes with four main characters: Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and Bowser. There are also four accessories which include a star, two gold coins and a gold brick box. A flag pole can be posted outside the castle, which symbolizes the end of a level. 

What you should consider: This set is slightly more expensive than other varieties but it does include more pieces and characters. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Jordan Beliles writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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