After the success of Tetris 99, it wasn’t going to be long before Nintendo gave another franchise the battle royale crown. With Mario’s 35th anniversary, who better to give it a go than the main man himself? As it turns out, Super Mario Bros. 35 makes for a fantastic competitive multiplayer game that’s only let down by the weird circumstances surrounding it.
Super Mario Bros. 35 has you and 34 other players trying to outlast each other in the original Super Mario Bros. That’s already a pretty cool idea, but the twist here is that you need to keep killing enemies to keep the timer from hitting 0 and any enemies you kill get sent to the other players’ matches. Alongside trying to balance that, you’re also using your own coins to spin a roulette wheel that can give you items like Fire Flowers and POW Blocks.
It sounds complicated, but the general idea is to try and take out as many enemies as you can to keep your time up and interrupt other enemies, whilst also making your way through the level to collect coins to try and get items. My first instinct was to try and speed my way through the levels as fast as possible, avoiding coins and enemies like the plague, but I quickly realised that was the worst way to proceed.
Super Mario Bros. 35 is a marathon, not a sprint. Once you realise that you’ll have better luck just taking your own time and focusing on yourself things really start to click. Soon you’re purposefully sending enemies to the player with the most coins, or allowing a crowd of enemies to invade your level so you can get more time. I’m still yet to win a game myself (seriously, how is everyone so good at Super Mario Bros.?), but I’m getting closer and closer to the final five and the learning curve is a real treat to figure out. Considering this is something offered pretty much for free, you’ve really got no reason not to pop it on and try it out.
Although I’m well aware that Super Mario Bros. is one of the most influential games of all time, I’ve played it enough times over thousands of different ports and emulators and in-game tributes that I usually can’t play more than the first level without having my fill. Super Mario Bros. 35 changes enough that I’m happy to be jumping on back into such a classic.
I was pleasantly surprised to find a fair amount of replay value and challenge baked into the experience here. Not only do you level up through playing matches, but there are also daily challenges and special game modes that change over time.
Still, as much fun as it is to play against other players, there’s only so much this can do to make things feel fresh. You’ll soon be a bit sick of seeing the same levels and wish that there were more Mario titles, or even more classic Nintendo games.
There’s an elephant in the room whenever you discuss Super Mario Bros. 35 and that’s the weird time restriction that Nintendo has placed upon it. We can’t really know why they’ve done it, but it’s a really big shame and actually makes playing it a little less fun, as you know that sooner or later all the progress and fun you’ve had will just be wiped away. Sure, that’s not going to happen till March 2021, but there’s still that thought in the back of your head.
The worst part about that time limit is that there’s actually quite a lot of potential here. Nintendo could easily expand on this with other Mario games and courses, or just even with different modifiers to make things more interesting. Maybe that’s what they’ve got planned, but as of right now it seems like this is a limited time thing which is really a shame.
I’d genuinely be very happy to see Nintendo release versions of other classic Mario games with a battle royale mode added on. It really does add a whole new layer to these games, and makes them really fun to experience once again. It’s just a shame that it won’t be around forever.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch