Super Mario Bros. 35: first impressions

As part of the big Super Mario 35th anniversary celebrations, Nintendo recently revealed an online-only, “battle royale-style” game called Super Mario Bros. 35 which is now available on the eShop. The game clearly took some inspiration from Tetris 99 and follows a similar premise. Rather than 98 other players though, there are (as the name implies 34) and this time rather than taking on Tetris – you’re tasked with completing several levels from the original Super Mario Bros. game. As you play, defeated enemies will spawn within other players’ levels – and you have the added layer of strategy in that you can ‘broadly’ direct which players get your enemies (randoms, those with the most points, the least time, or those that have attacked you).

I got my first chance to play it over the weekend and got to say I rather enjoyed it. I never had to wait more than a few seconds to jump into a game, I never had any noticeable lag that affected the gameplay and Nintendo has done a good jump of randomly assigning the levels and the experience is a pretty smooth one. Each enemy you defeat as well as repeated powerups will add a few seconds to your timer and the goal is basically to outlast all your opponents. The addition of a special ‘roulette-style’ power-up wheel which you can spin after you’ve collected 20 coins changes things up a little and levelling up will unlock a simple but fun way to customise your online icon.

The game is rather tough though. And I’m still a little unclear as to how the final run actually works. At a certain point (not sure if it’s time-based or related to how many players remain) but near the end… the count-down timer will suddenly turn red and run a lot faster. I’ve had up to 400 seconds accrued and a bunch of coins saved up for the spin power-ups and yet, the few times I’ve reached the last few players I’ve run out of time. And I know there were some rumours about some hackers managing to get 99 999 coins (which is just not possible) but I didn’t see anything that bad in my playthroughs. So there’s obviously some end-game strategy I still need to learn and I’ve still not managed my first win (second-place is my highest position so far).

It’s cool that it’s a game you can just jump into to pass a bit of time and again shows just how staggeringly popular the original games still are. There are also some Daily Challenges and Special Events to assist you in your coin collecting and that actually encourages you to jump in and play a little every day. Unfortunately, for some unknown reason Nintendo has announced that this game will only be available until the end of March next year – so make sure you give it a go before then.

Nintendo Nerd, sharing my love of Mario with the world one pixel at a time.

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