Super Mario 35 is Still Koopa-Stomping into Our Hearts

I’m old enough to remember playing the original Super Mario Bros. My siblings and I would fire up the old school Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and spend our evenings stomping Goombas, dodging flying fishes, and kicking Koopa shells while trying to rescue the princess (who for some reason was always in another castle). Super Mario Bros 35 brings back this old favorite and a bit of nostalgia while adding a fresh spin to it.

What is Super Mario Bros 35?

Super Mario Bros 35 (Mario 35) is a battle royale based on the original Super Mario Bros.  The levels and enemies are the same as in the original game, but the order of the levels and amounts of enemies can vary wildly. The objective is no longer to rescue the princess, but to survive the longest.

Mario 35 pits you against 35 other players in a battle for Mario supremacy. When you defeat a foe, it appears on another player’s screen as a ghastly apparition, just as capable of damage as the normal baddies. Ok, ghastly apparition may be a bit of an exaggeration, it’s just a paler version of the original. However, getting 30 Goombas on screen when you expected three can be quite a challenge, and it gets even more intense when you have to defeat numerous Bowsers, Lakitus, and Spinies at the same time.

How Do You Play?

The mechanics and gameplay of Mario 35 are very similar to the original. You run and you jump, you stomp on foes or hit them with fireballs, and you slide down a flagpole to proceed to the next level. There are some interesting differences, in addition to the ghastly apparitions, that make the game more interesting and challenging: the clock, the level selection, and the special items.

The Clock

The biggest difference is the way the clock works. In most Mario games, you race against the clock to complete the levels. Mario 35 also has a timer, but it counts down for the entire battle, not just level by level. You earn extra time by killing enemies and completing levels, for a maximum of 400 seconds. But the way in which you kill enemies matters – killing them with fire only gives you one extra second while stomping on them gives you two. Stomping on a ton of enemies in a series gives you even more time. A final way to score some extra time is to double up on a power-up item. If you already have a fire flower and get another one, you get ten extra seconds added to the clock!

Clock management is an incredibly important part of the game. If you don’t kill enough enemies, you will run out of time pretty quickly. But that’s not the only clock problem. If you stand in one spot for too long, the timer will turn red and count down faster. This prevents folks from hiding out in safe spots, and encourages you to keep moving!

But the most insidious and difficult part of the game is red clock mode. This happens about 15 minutes into the battle, when there are only a few challengers remaining. The clock goes red and starts to wind down more rapidly. Killing enemies with fire isn’t enough to build your time back up. You must kill as many as you can as quickly as possible in order to prevent your clock from completely running out, and hope that you had more time than your competitors. I’ve lost many rounds because my clock ran out first in red clock mode; it’s an interesting way to make the end of the game more challenging when you have a handful of skilled Mario players in a battle.

The Levels

Yes, the levels are the same as in the original game. However, you don’t play them in the same order. Most games do start out in World 1-1, but it’s random from there. If you make it to 1-2, you can head to the warp zone, which usually gives you three options, but sometimes it only gives you two. If you want to be relaxed and play the game on easy mode, you can rerun world 1-1 as often as possible. However, if you want to make things harder for yourself (and others) you can opt to try your hand at levels with more intense baddies, like the aforementioned Bowsers and Lakitus.

One common complaint folks have about the game is about the levels though. Sometimes you can run through 1-1 and 1-2 on repeat for the entire battle. It can get boring to run through those over and over again. In order to unlock new levels to play, you have to be randomly sent to it, and you have to beat it. There are quite a few levels I haven’t even seen yet to unlock, and I’ve been playing the game since it came out.

The Special Items

There is no such thing as an extra life in this game. It’s a sudden death, winner take all battle. However, there are still coins to collect and secret one-up mushrooms to find, just like in the original. Instead of giving you extra lives, they give you special items.

The special items are the normal items you would find throughout the game (the power-up mushroom, the fire flower, and the invincibility star) in addition to the iconic “POW” that kills all enemies on the screen. Stocking up on these is incredibly helpful when you have a run-in with 7 Lakitus at once, or when you’re running low on time, as using the special items gives you the same clock boost that finding an item does.

You need to collect 20 coins or a single one-up mushroom to earn a specialty item. It’s best to collect as many coins as you can. This way, you will have an arsenal full of these specialty items at the ready in crunch time.

How Do You Get Super Mario Bros 35?

Are you ready to play some Mario 35? If you have a Nintendo Switch and pay for their online subscription (which, at twenty bucks a year is the most reasonable of all the gaming subscriptions) then Mario 35 is absolutely free. All you have to do is search for it and download it in Nintendo’s online store.

As the Mario franchise is exclusive to Nintendo, it is only available on the Switch. But the Switch has some other amazing games, like Breath of the Wild and Animal Crossing. If you don’t have one yet, now is the perfect time to grab one (or get it as a gift for the gamer in your life).  

Why is Super Mario Bros 35 Limited?

The biggest problem with Super Mario Bros 35 is that it’s only available for a limited time. According to Nintendo, this game will only be available until March 31, 2021. Most folks are assuming that it’s a limited release to build hype and celebrate the the35th anniversary of the franchise, but only Nintendo knows for sure.

This limited release time means you only have about three more months to check it out, so what are you waiting for? Fire up that Switch and check it out today!

About the Wonderful Author

Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.

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