Super Mario Bros. 35 is an addictive Battle Royale twist on the 35 year old Nintendo flagship platformer that has defined video games ever since. It’s available now, free to Nintendo Switch Online subscribers. But this is a limited time affair with Nintendo promising to retire the game at the end of March 2021, so be sure to jump in soon.
My very first game ever was the original Super Mario Bros. on the NES when I was about four years old. It’s one of my favorite games of all time and I can’t even count how many times I’ve played it both on the NES and all the countless ports it’s had throughout the years. Thankfully all of my years of playing the game have proven useful because Super Mario Bros. 35 takes the original game’s formula and tweaks it into a multiplayer skill match-up. Much like Tetris 99 pits players against each other in a winner-takes-all, here you’ll be in a virtual coins competition to put your Mario skills where your mouth is.
Now, Super Mario Bros. 35 only has two modes: 35-Player Battle and Special Battle. The former is exactly what it sounds like. You’ll start the game from one of the 32 courses at random smashing enemies and collecting coins along the way. Each enemy you defeat will be sent to another player’s screen, much like Tetris 99’s system of sending unwanted tetriminos to other players. Of course other players’ defeated enemies will also be sent to your screen, so even if you have years of Mario experience you will still need to be cautious while playing.
You lose if you run out of time or the enemies overwhelm you. The enemies you defeat are sent to your choice of competitors, such as the ones targeting you or perhaps the ones with the most coins. At first you may only see a bunch of Goombas and Koopa Troopas, but as you advance to later levels you can start defeating things like Bloopers, Cheep Cheeps, and even Bowser, which are then sent to your opponent’s screen regardless of what level they’re currently on. Trust me, navigating a stage like 1-2 and having to avoid or kill fish floating through the air or Bowser precariously placed in areas you’d never expect can become quite difficult.
After every course you will be sent to another random course which could be the same level again. I must have played 1-1 about a hundred times and it can get pretty repetitive if played for too long. I hope that in future updates lesser played stages will be prioritized as I’ve yet to play more than half of the levels.
When it gets down to only five players in a session the music speeds up and the clock starts ticking down faster than normal. Thankfully you can collect extra time by defeating enemies and collecting power-ups. It’s an addictive cycle that I fell in love with. It feels oh so good to be the winner.
Coins are a useful resource to look out for as well because you can use 20 coins in the game for a random power-up, like a fire flower or super star. Whatever leftover coins you have at the end of the match will also go to your player level and the player who wins it all will get a great deal of coins as well. I’ve played for about 7 hours and I’m at level 60 so I still have quite a bit more to go.
In Special Battle the basic rules are the same as the first mode but with added circumstances, such as starting the match with 20 coins. Nintendo will update this mode every week it seems so it’s worth logging into the game to see what’s new.
There’s also user icons to collect with 8-bit sprites from the game. Every day there are bonus challenges to complete, like defeating a certain number of enemies, which can net a lot of coins if completed so it’s worth checking in. I’m looking forward to seeing how Nintendo is going to support this game going forward like we’ve seen with Tetris 99. I hope and pray that levels from Super Mario Bros. 2 & 3 will find their way here as well. Hey, a man can dream.
One point worth mentioning is that this game plays online only and because of that I was a little wary due to Nintendo’s track record with online servers. I’m happy to report that out of all the matches I’ve played none of them were dropped or experienced any lag whatsoever. This is great because the game would obviously be infuriating with even a little bit of lag.
It’s great to see Super Mario Bros. remixed for modern players, introducing new players to the original game in a unique way. Like Tetris 99, this title shows that pretty much any game can be turned into a Battle Royale.
Did I also mention this game is free (to Nintendo Switch Online subscribers)? If you’re a subscriber you owe it to yourself to play this game as it’s probably the best reason right now to purchase the subscription ($19.99 a year). It’s great to see Nintendo breaking out of its comfort zone and celebrating Mario’s 35th birthday in such a clever way. Now let’s hope there’s a Legend of Zelda 99 for its anniversary next year.
Super Mario Bros. 35 Review
- Graphics - 9/109/10
- Sound - 9/109/10
- Gameplay - 9/109/10
- Lasting Appeal - 9/109/10
Final Thoughts: EXCELLENT
It’s you against 34 other Marios in a quest to be last plumber standing. With plenty of risk/reward gameplay and an exciting twist on a tried-and-true formula, this limited time experience shouldn’t be missed. What are you still doing reading this? Super Mario Bros. 35 is amazing and it’s free for Switch Online subscribers! Go download it now!
Tony has been gaming ever since he could walk. Pokémon Blue Version helped him learn how to read. His greatest accomplishment is not just having played the entire Kingdom Hearts series but also understanding it.