Platform: Nintendo Switch
Version Reviewed: eShop Download
Category: Platformer, Action
No. of Players: Up to 35 players
Release Date: October 1st, 2020 (Worldwide)
Price: Free (Nintendo Switch Online Users Only)
The original Super Mario Bros. released on the Nintendo Entertainment System back in 1985. It was immensely popular and is noted to have helped resuscitate the Video Game home console market. It also featured Nintendo’s star mascot, the world-famous Super Mario.
Over the years the Super Mario series has spawned multiple main title entries and an abundant number of spin-offs. Such games have seen Mario wear try his hand at many things including a race kart driver, a golfer, a tennis player, party-goer, and even a doctor!
As regards to genre, Mario has touched base in quite a number of them from Platformers and Puzzle games to RPG’s and Sport. If there was one genre Mario had yet to tackle it would be Battle Royale… until now. Following the big 35th anniversary of everyone’s favorite plumber, A number of new and old games were announced for Nintendo Switch featuring Mario and one of them was Super Mario Bros. 35. Will you be the last Mario Standing?
Super Mario Bros. 35 does not have a story, even less so than the original game it is based on. The game is a remix version of the original Super Mario Bros. but the stages are played at random and there is no princess in need of rescue.
Instead, The objective of the game is that you have to stay alive for as long as possible to be the last Mario Standing. It is a long road with 34 other players from around the world, all aspiring to take the number one spot.
Super Mario Bros. 35 is an action-platforming Battle Royale game that pits you against 34 other players around the world at random. You have to run, jump, and stomp your way through scores of enemies like Goombas, Koopas, Piranha Plants, and even King Koopa himself.
As you defeat enemies, they will be sent to whoever it is you are targeting at the time. You can target opponents in a number of ways. Like in Tetris99, you can use the Right Joystick to choose one of four options. These are Random, Most Coins, Attackers, and Lowest Time. The Left Joystick and the touchscreen can also be used for selecting opponents singularly.
Just as you can send enemies to other players, they can do the same to you. The bar below your screen will show enemies that await for you on the stage. The ones that are faded in color are those that have been sent to you by other players. Faded enemies can hurt you just as much as normal enemies so don’t be shy about sending them back to whoever sent them to you, or better yet, send them to some unsuspecting person for the chance to K.O them.
Killing enemies will earn you valuable seconds for your in-game timer. Hitting them with fireballs as Fire Mario will award you with one second per enemy. Stomping enemies will earn you more time and stomping enemies in succession will also increase the number of seconds you get with each progressive stomp.
Coins are a valuable commodity in Super Mario 35 and are just as important as stomping enemies. As well as the Power-ups that you can find in-game, you can access a roulette wheel of sorts after collecting more than 20 coins. If you find yourself in a tricky situation and have coins to spare, you can spend 20 coins for a chance to get a power-up.
The power-ups are completely random and can be either a Super Mushroom, Fire Flower, Star, or a POW Block. If you get a Power-up that is a bit of a dud (like the Super Mushroom in most cases) you will have to wait a few seconds before you can roll again. Bear in mind that if you are pinned down in one area for too long while you wait for a decent roulette spin, the timer will go down faster, so don’t dawdle in the same place for too long.
As you play through each stage, more and more people will get knocked out. If they kill themselves on a full-colored enemy, in a pitfall, or run out of time, some of their coins will be added to a bonus chest that the winner will be able to claim at the end of the match. If a player is K.O’d on a faded enemy, the player who had sent that enemy will receive coins for the K.O. Players that you have K.O’d yourself will appear yellow on the surrounding screen.
When there are only five players left, the music will speed up and the tension is real. As the game progresses, the timer will eventually turn red and start timing down quicker. It then becomes a race between the remaining survivors to kill as many enemies as they can to top up their timer.
Whether you win or lose, any coins that you have collected throughout your session will be counted towards leveling up. As you Level up, you will need to collect more and more coins to increase your level. The highest level is 99 but when you beat that, your level will return to 1 but with a white star next to it. You can then increase your level all over again to try and reach a two-star rank.
CONTENT & FEATURES:
Super Mario Bros. 35 has two main game modes: 35-Player Battle and Special Battle. 35-Player Battle is the standard game mode that will have you play through random stages. Special Battle is an event mode held for a certain period of time and has a fixed set of rules and stages.
A Course Practice mode can be found on the main screen that will allow you to play through any of the courses you currently have unlocked. You don’t have a timer and you can your time to learn where all the secret pipes and Star Man power-ups are. On the course selection screen in 35-Player Battle and Course Practice, as well as choosing a preferred course to play on, you can also choose to start with a power-up. In Course Practice Mode, these are free but in 35-Player Battle, there is a charge in coins.
Another feature is the Stats menu where you can see how long you played, how many enemies you have beaten, how many times you have come first, etc. As regards your profile, your name that you have chosen on your Nintendo Switch will be displayed as well as an icon. You can change your icon to any other image that you have currently unlocked. The icons themselves unlock randomly so there no knowing what icon you can get when you level up.
One final feature that I would like to touch upon is the spectate function. After you have been beaten in a session, you can opt to spectate the rest of it. This is quite handy as you can see how other players control themselves and you may learn of a secret area or shortcut that you never knew before.
Super Mario Bros. 35 has all the original course music tracks that were composed by Koji Kondo. It also has a new track for when navigating Menus, just before you begin a session and when you have finished. All the sound effects are reused but there are a couple of new ones like when someone gets K.O’d.
VISUALS & PERFORMANCE:
The visuals for Super Mario Bros. 35 are a blend of 8-bit graphics for the actual gameplay and modernized visuals for the menus and User Interface. The sessions have a similar layout to that of Tetris99 in that your screen is in the center and there are 34 smaller screens surrounding yours.
The performance of the game is very solid which is extremely important seeing that it relies on a stable internet connection. There were a couple of bugs that some people experienced, including some folks finding exploits in the game and hacking it to their own benefit. Nintendo has fixed these issues with a recent patch so hopefully, hackers will have a tougher time causing trouble for other players.
I have found Super Mario Bros. 35 to be an extremely addictive game that is quite difficult to put down. One of the reasons why this review wasn’t published last week is because I really wanted to play as much as I could to make the review as thorough as possible.
After an extensive playthrough, I can honestly say that Super Mario Bros. 35 is as challenging as Tetris99 but feels much more forgiving in the sense that while hordes of enemies have been thrown at, you. You can more often than not make a decent recovery with the right power-up from the item roulette.
As more and more players get better at playing Super Mario Bros. 35, sessions can take longer and longer, especially with skilled opponents. When a session has been going on for too long, the game will speed up K.O’s by rapidly reducing the time or by unleashing dozens of Lakitus at you.
The biggest criticism that I could make is that Super Mario Bros. 35 is only available to play until March 31st, 2021. After that day, it is expected to but shut down by Nintendo. Hopefully, if the game still proves to be popular in the next few months, it could well see an extension. Who knows?
Super Mario Bros. 35 is such a blast to play. It is fun, crazy addictive and though the repetition of some stages can be extremely annoying for some, the abundance of different enemies thrown at you will keep you readjusting your tactics on the fly. On top of that, anyone can be number one if they really go for it.
THE VERDICT: 10/10
*The game was downloaded from the eShop for the purposes of this review
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