Super Mario Bros. 35 review: The ’85 classic with a hectic battle royale twist

From now until March 31, 2021, owners of a Nintendo Switch and the Online membership can get Super Mario Bros. 35 with their plan.

This year marks the 35th anniversary of Super Mario Bros. and Nintendo decided to re-release the iconic NES classic platformer from 1985 in the form of a battle royale game. I’m personally over this genre dominating the market. I had my BR fix playing Fortnite and Apex, but this game is different.

Think Tetris 99, but it’s the 1985 NES Super Mario Brothers. You’ll be playing through the original 32 levels of this game, while possibly revisiting cleared levels in the same playthrough. The game plays just like it did back in the day, but with mechanics taken straight out of T99. The Tetris 99 mechanics actually work quite well in SMB 35. Just like you would send lines to other players by clearing them in Tetris, defeating goombas, koopas, and other enemies send them to other players’ levels!

Much like Tetris 99 as well, the user interface is very reminiscent of it, especially when actually playing. There are all the other 34 player screens to the left and right of yours, all sending their enemies to other players and you. Even the attacking system is just like T99. You can choose to either send defeated enemies to random opponents, those who are sending enemies to you, people with the most coins, or those with the least time remaining. This can get so hectic very quickly, but that’s the beauty of the game.

It can definitely be daunting because in each game session, you only have one life. The last one standing wins. If you fall into a pit, take damage from an enemy as little Mario, or run out of time, that’s the end of that run for you. But worry not, you won’t necessarily be facing a whole screen of enemies that impede your progress at the get-go. By collecting coins throughout your run, you can spend them via the item roulette in bundles of 20 to get something like a super mushroom, a fire flower, star power, or a POW to help you survive. You can even give yourself a pre-game handicap by buying a powerup with the coins you collected from past runs.

Super Mario Bros. 35 for Nintendo Switch

Nintendo

My biggest fear of this game would be that speedrunners would completely dominate, but that actually isn’t the case. Super Mario Bros. 35 isn’t about reaching the goal post as fast as possible. It’s about the points, the exploration, and most importantly, your perseverance. To maintain your time, you have to defeat enemies that originally spawn in your levels or those sent to you from other players. Defeating enemies one by one net you some time while defeating them without hitting the ground or with shell combos net you even more.

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Don’t feel intimidated when you’re still on World 1-1 while another player is on 1-3. The name of the game is to form a strategy that keeps you running. For all you know, the swift player will also find themselves at a swift loss while you’re slowly making your way to victory.

Super Mario Bros. 35

Nintendo

8.5

Super Mario Bros. 35 is not your typical BR game where balance changes come left and right, forcing you to adapt to new metas every few weeks. It’s the kind of game where even if you come to it late or take breaks from it, you aren’t going to be painfully behind the pack. You can pick this up either as a 2D Mario veteran or noob and have fun with it. Unfortunately, this game will only be playable until March 31, 2021, and I hope that isn’t the case.