Super Mario Bros. 35 review6 minute read

A new battle royale style game from Nintendo

On the 1st October 2020 Nintendo dropped a free game onto the Nintendo Switch online store. In celebration of 35 years of Super Mario Bros. they created Super Mario Bros. 35. This is a battle royale-style game where the player must fight off 34 other players in a race to see who can last the longest. But how does this game fair against other battle royale games and other games in the Super Mario franchise?

The premise is simple

The premise was always going to be simple though. With a game that is 35 years old, one of which I have only played for 29 years, the dynamics have to be simple. But even though critics have stated that this is the downfall of the game, they clearly do not understand Super Mario.

This game has truly captured Super Mario Bros. and thrown it into a new world where players are more interested in online play and battle royale style games. Before online play was couch co-op play. We were only able to play our friends when we were in the same room as them, and these days are oft missed.

Then the internet took consoles by storm and we were soon playing friends around the world and combating in arenas we could only have ever dreamed of. Then came battle royale games, such as Fortnite and Call of Duty Warzone. Sure, there have been other but non quite as original as Nintendo’s take on them.

We first saw Tetris 99 – which ultimately had similar concepts to other variants of Tetris that allowed two-player activities. But now we have Super Mario Bros. 35. This game combines the original game and new concepts beautifully.

The objective

The objective of the game is simple – last longer than the other players. There are several ways in which you can lose. Getting killed by an enemy (especially the Goomba on level 1-1 at the start) is obviously the most common. Falling into lava or a hole is the way I most frequent. However, running out of time is the biggest concern.

When you start the game you have but a few seconds. However, defeating enemies will gain you more time. Power-ups that you have already acquired also give you a boost, as well as flags at the end of the level.

The Battle Royale element is triggered when you defeat enemies. These are sent to you opponents screens, depending on whom you have decided to attack. You can either manually attach with the right stick, or select to attack those with the least time, most coins, those who are attacking you or a random opponent. And rest assured that people will be attacking you too!

Collecting coins is also key. These can be found throughout the levels and secret areas and allow you to use 20 coins at a time for a random power-up from the roulette wheel. Again – if you have fire power and it awards this to you then you will get a time boost.

The wheel will grant either a Mushroom, Fire Power flower, Super Star or POW Block. Surprisingly these are all required depending on the situation you find yourself in.

Looking simple is only the front cover

Yes the game may appear simple, but there are still many secret blocks and warp pipes and coin-filled areas to be found. Dynamics of the game are also multi-layered with higher jumps depending on the timing of your attack on an enemy.

But looking at the game with a simplistic approach will not get you into the leaderboards. You will not only have to learnt the levels and were to find the coins, but also have your wits about you when the timer starts running dry.

Chaos is a frequent occurrence in Super Mario Bros. 35 (video credit: Jim Cullinane)

Sometimes you are desperate for a Fire Power Flower, and you get a POW Block instead. Other times you are completely grateful for these blocks, as in the video above.

The final countdown

When you reach the final 5 players of the game the music changes as it did in the original games when you have less than 100 seconds left. The time starts to speed up and you can rest assured that at least one of these opponents will be attacking you, or in some cases all four of them!

This is when tension starts to rise and even though you don’t have to, you start to play faster as the music’s pace has built.

A well-timed shell (video credit: Jim Cullinane)

These matches can last anywhere from a handful of minutes to (from my experience) over 20 minutes. It is always humorous to hear the KO sound effect 10 seconds into a match though.

The verdict

As an avid fan of Super Mario I was very excited (and late to the party) when I saw Super Mario Bros. 35 was launched. I can honestly say that I needed this in my life. The game is incredibly addictive, highly amusing, boyishly frustrating and absolute pure genius.

The levels are looked on as repetitive, but I see them as an oppurtunity for further practice and more chances for coins and that first place position.

A near-death experience (video credit: Jim Cullinane)

Whilst there are some framerate issues when there are more enemies on the screen, and the longevity may not be there for some players, the entire magic from the original game has been beautifully transposed into this battle royale experience. I could not recommend this game more to people and I truly think it is deserving of this rating.


Overall 9.5/10

Rating: 10 out of 10.

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