Zelda vs Mario: Which Game Suits Adults Best?

Two names stand out when it comes to classic video games: Zelda and Mario.

Both series have been around for decades and attract gamers of all ages. Many people associate these games with childhood memories, but they continue to be popular among adults.

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the worlds of Zelda and Mario and compare their features, gameplay, and appeal to adult gamers. Fasten your seat belts as you embark on an epic journey to find the best games for experienced players.  

Zelda: A Heroic Odyssey 

The main character of Zelda.
The main character of Zelda

Developed by Nintendo, Zelda is a fantasy action-adventure series about the hero Link’s adventures to rescue Princess Zelda and save the Kingdom of Hyrule from the forces of evil.

Engaging storytelling, intricate puzzles, and immersive open-world exploration have earned Zelda his place as one of the most beloved series in gaming history. 

Zelda Games: 

  • Offer non-linear gameplay and open-world exploration for a deeper experience. 
  • Present intricate puzzles and challenging combat encounters that cater to adult gamers seeking complexity. 
  • Boast stunning and artistic visuals, creating visually immersive experiences. 
  • Provide emotionally resonant storytelling, evoking strong feelings and connections with characters. 

Addictive Gameplay of Zelda 

Zelda offers a unique combination of exploration, combat, and problem-solving. As adult gamers want more depth and complexity in their gaming experiences, Zelda hits all the right boxes with its non-linear gameplay and freedom to participate in various side quests.

The game’s rich story and character development add intrigue and emotion, making it a compelling option for adults.

Breath of the Wild

Breath of the Wild is a prime example of the evolution of a franchise. Released for Nintendo Switch, this title takes the open-world concept to a new level, offering players vast landscapes to explore and countless mysteries to unravel.

The game’s stunning graphics and immersive soundtrack create an unforgettable experience that will resonate with gamers of all ages. 

Mario: Iconic Plumber 

At the other end of the game is Shigeru Miyamoto’s legendary plumber, Mario.

The Mario series focuses primarily on his 2D platformer game, where the title character embarks on an adventure to rescue Princess Peach from the clutches of the villain Bowser. 

Mario Games Key Points:

  • Offer straightforward 2D platforming, making them accessible and enjoyable for players of all ages. 
  • Retain a timeless and iconic art style, evoking feelings of nostalgia and joy. 
  • Provide a mix of novelty and familiarity with each new iteration, appealing to both newcomers and long-time fans. 
  • Feature enjoyable multiplayer modes, allowing adult gamers to bond and create memories with friends and family. 

The Timeless Charm of Mario 

One of Mario’s greatest strengths lies in his friendliness and universal appeal. The simple mechanics and colorful world make it easy for players of all ages to learn and enjoy, including adults.

Additionally, the nostalgia associated with Mario games often attracts older players who want to relive the magic of their youth.

The two main characters of Mario.
The main characters of Mario

Innovation Through Iteration 

Mario’s core gameplay remains the same, but each iteration introduces new gameplay elements, power-ups, and creative-level design.

Games like Super Mario Odyssey for Nintendo Switch demonstrate the series’ ability to evolve while staying true to its roots. This combination of familiarity and innovation continues to attract adult gamers looking for a mix of nostalgia and freshness. 

A Comparison of Zelda and Mario for Adult Gamers 

Now that we’ve considered the strengths of both Zelda and Mario, it’s time to compare them head-on and decide which one is more to the taste of adult gamers: 

Aspect Zelda Mario 
Gameplay Non-linear, open-world exploration with intricate puzzles.Straightforward 2D platforming with creative-level designs. 
Appeal to Adults Captivating storytelling and character development. Accessible and nostalgic gameplay with universal appeal.
Visual and Artistic Style Stunning and artistic visuals immerse players. Timeless, colorful worlds, and whimsical characters.
Multiplayer Experience Primarily single-player adventure. Offers enjoyable multiplayer modes for social gaming.

1. Complexity and Depth 

Zelda’s non-linear gameplay and open-world exploration offer a deeper and more complex experience for adults looking for immersive storytelling and rich narratives.

In contrast, Mario’s serious platforming of his gameplay may be preferred by those looking for a looser, more lighthearted gaming experience. 

2. Storytelling and Emotional Impact 

Zelda’s epic tale of heroism, love, and sacrifice resonates with adult gamers, moves them, and leaves a lasting emotional impact. Mario’s story, on the other hand, is engaging and fun but may not have the emotional depth of Zelda’s.

3. Nostalgia vs. Novelty 

Both Zelda and Mario evoke a sense of nostalgia in gamers who grew up playing these series, but Mario’s games tend to maintain strong ties to classic iterations.

Zelda offers a blend of nostalgia and newness through its evolving gameplay and visual style, appealing to adults looking for new experiences in a familiar world. 

4. Difficulty 

For some adult gamers, the challenge is part of the appeal. Zelda’s complex puzzles and tougher combat are aimed at those looking for a more challenging and rewarding gaming experience.

Mario has its own set of challenges, but it’s generally perceived as friendlier and more forgiving, making it an attractive option for players who prefer a less intense experience. 

5. Long Life and Reproducibility 

Zelda’s expansive world and numerous side quests offer extended gameplay and high replay value, making it a great choice for adults looking to immerse themselves in the game for countless hours of exploration and fun.

Mario has slightly less replay value due to its brief and focused levels, but it’s great for adult gamers with short gameplay duration and limited time. 

An image of Zelda's breath of the wild.
An image of Zelda’s Breath of the Wild

6. Visual and Artistic Style 

A game’s visual and artistic style greatly influences its appeal to adult gamers. Let’s take a look at the difference in artistic direction between Zelda and Mario and how that affects the gaming experience.

The Beauty of Zelda 

Zelda games often feature stunning, artistic graphics that transport players into fascinating worlds full of picturesque landscapes and intricate detail.

From the Cel-shaded art style of The Wind Waker to the painterly aesthetic of Breath of the Wild, the series has consistently pushed the boundaries of visual storytelling. These visually immersive experiences resonate with adult gamers who appreciate the artistry of video game design. 

Mario’s Timeless Charm 

Mario games, by contrast, feature timeless and iconic art styles that have remained constant throughout the history of the franchise. The bright, colorful world and quirky characters create a sense of joy and playfulness, perfect for adults looking for a casual escape from the pressures of everyday life.

7. Multiplayer and Social Experience 

For many adult gamers, gaming is more than just an experience; it’s also the ability to connect and play with friends and family. Let’s see how Zelda and Mario embrace the social aspect of gaming. 

Zelda’s Solo Adventure 

Zelda games have traditionally focused on the single-player experience, taking the player on a solitary journey through epic quests. It offers a very personal and introspective experience, but it may not be the first choice for adult gamers looking for a social gaming session.

Mario’s Multiplayer Magic 

Mario games, on the other hand, have a long tradition of delivering fun multiplayer experiences.

Whether mastering challenging levels together or engaging in friendly competition, Mario’s Multiplayer mode offers adult gamers a fun way to connect with friends and family during their gameplay sessions.

The joy of sharing these experiences creates lasting memories and strengthens social bonds. 


Is Zelda or Mario better for adult gamers who love storytelling? 

Both Zelda and Mario boast compelling storytelling, but Zelda’s epic narrative and character-driven story make it a top choice for adult gamers who value immersive storytelling. 

Which game offers a more challenging experience for adult players? 

Zelda’s complex puzzles and combat pose a greater challenge, making it a preferred choice for adult gamers looking for a more challenging experience. 

Can adults enjoy it even if they have no experience with the Mario series?

Absolutely! Mario games are accessible to players of all ages and backgrounds and are designed to be enjoyed by both novice and experienced players. 

A Youtube comparison between Zelda and Mario


  • In the timeless battle of Zelda vs. Mario, there is no clear winner. Each franchise brings its unique strengths to the table, catering to different preferences and playstyles.  
  • For adult gamers seeking immersive storytelling, complex gameplay, and emotional depth, Zelda stands tall.  
  • On the other hand, Mario’s accessibility, nostalgia, and innovative iterations make it a beloved choice for players of all ages, including adults. 
  • Ultimately, the best choice between Zelda and Mario comes down to personal taste. Both franchises have left an indelible mark on the gaming industry, providing countless hours of joy and entertainment to players worldwide. 

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