Mario Side Characters
This month, we’re celebrating the release of the one-and-only Super Mario Bros movie (we don’t talk about the 1993 version). As part of that celebration, we’re taking a walk down memory lane (avoiding the entire year of 1993) to highlight some of Mario’s best side characters and companions. A note on methodology here: we’re sticking to the characters that act as an extension of Mario and grant him extra mobility or abilities, rather than the characters that can be played independently.
You’ll notice a few characters on this list that all come from the Paper Mario series of games—a natural fit, given the team RPG structure of those games. Thoreau is a hand-shaped Pixl, one of the fairy-like creatures that accompanies Mario on his quest. The name and overall personality is a reference to Henry David Thoreau, but his ability is all brute force, which is a funny contrast. Few things are more fun than suddenly getting the ability to grab an enemy from far away and fling them at will, which is Thoreau’s whole deal.
5. Admiral Bobbery
Admiral Bobbery can help Mario by blowing stuff up for him, which is great—we love to blow stuff up, obviously. But what earns him a place on this list is his surprisingly deep and tragic backstory: one particularly cold winter, his beloved fell ill and died back at home while he was out on a sailing gig. When the Admiral returned, he vowed to never sail again, drowning his grief by helping out Mario and drinking in a local bar. We’re crying, you’re crying, Admiral Bobbery is crying, and we just want nice things for him, okay?
Okay so Olivia doesn’t seem like much at first—she’s your standard “ask me anything” companion that we’re all accustomed to in the Paper Mario series. A Navi-esque character, nothing special. But then, as you progress through the game, there are these “Magic Circles” you can step on, which give her the ability to transform into these massive elemental creatures that change and restructure the world around you through sheer brute force. We’re just lucky that she’s on our side.
F.L.U.D.D., or Flash Liquidizer Ultra Dousing Device, is essentially a talking water jet pack that gives Mario a full suite of water-based mobility upgrades in the Super Mario Sunshine games. Some are more impactful than others, but all in all it’s a fun ride. Con: running out of water sucks. Pro: using the rocket feature to launch two stories into the air is downright addictive.
Okay, so we are bending our rule here. We know, we know, Yoshi is an independent character with their own stories, games, etc. However, for the purpose of this list, we’re focusing on a foundational role of Yoshi’s, which is to serve as a rideable character for Mario. Riding a Yoshi gives Mario access to some significant upgrades—most notably, better jumping and the ability to eat nearly everything that moves, bypassing most enemies’ defenses.
By nearly every measure, Cappy is Mario’s strongest and most versatile companion. Not only does Cappy give Mario a massive upgrade to his jumping and airborne movement as a whole, he also allows Mario to seize control of an enemy’s body and control it from the inside. It’s terrifying, satisfying, and frankly, a little overpowered.