Review – Super Mario Bros. 35

Nintendo have been the purveyors of “this shouldn’t work, but it totally does”. Take Tetris 99 for instance. Tetris was very rarely a multiplayer game, and yet they found a way to make it a battle royale. In the same vein, Nintendo has now made Super Mario Bros. 35 during the timed thirty-fifth anniversary event for Mario. Once again, Mario is very rarely a game associated with PvP, and especially not battle royale, so how does it work?

Super Mario Bros. 35

The nostalgia starts right from the loading screen.

The layout for Super Mario Bros. 35 is the same as Tetris 99. Thirty-five players play through various levels from the original Super Mario Bros. with a slight twist. The levels are shuffled, when you finish 1-1 you may go to 1-2 or you may jump to 2-1. The next twist is the enemies. Don’t get too comfortable with the familiarity of these levels, as other players target you, every enemy they defeat will be plopped ahead of you, ready to score that player a K.O. Keep in mind though, every enemy you defeat does the same thing.

Super Mario Bros. 35

Sure are a lot of icons to unlock for a game that’s only out for six months.

To start each game, you’re given an option. As you collect coins, survive, K.O. others, and defeat enemies, you’ll gather coins for use outside of the current game you’re in. These coins are used on a small variety of powerups, from spending nothing and starting as regular small Mario, starting with a mushroom or fire flower, or even starting with a star. Although the star is the most expensive, it also seems to be the least practical. There aren’t enough enemies in enough time to make it worth it, especially not if you want to get power ups or coins. Since you can’t pick multiple options at once, you have to decide on being able to survive a hit, or kill things in one hit.

Super Mario Bros. 35

Complete challenges, get coins. Get coins, buy fire flower. Buy fire flower, win game. Right?

Each enemy you defeat and each level you complete adds to your total time. In typical Mario fashion, when your time is up, game over. As you K.O. players, and progress through levels, you will collect coins. Coins are used on a mystery box, which can provide a number of things. Mushroom, fire flower, super star, or even a POW. The POW block is likely one of the most useful if used at the right time, being able to take out even Bowser should you come across him.

If you’ve played Super Mario Bros. before, there should be absolutely no surprise to how Super Mario Bros. 35 looks or sounds. The music and visuals are taken right from the original game. Everything feels incredibly fluent, and unlike in recent Nintendo fashion, the connection actually feels stable. No jumping around randomly or sudden blotches of slowdown.

Super Mario Bros. 35

This jump has ruined too many of my runs. I wish this was a joke.

During the time Super Mario Bros. 35 is available, Nintendo will be running special events in the game with different mutators that influence the game in various ways. How far these will go, or if they’ll provide anything like Tetris 99 that offers visual changes, is yet to be seen. One notable thing missing from Super Mario Bros. 35 is the ability to party up. Although, that could simply be because the game is only expected to be running until the end of March 2021, just like the availability of Super Mario 3D All-Stars.

If you liked Tetris 99, but like me, aren’t good at Tetris, this may be a lot more your speed. Super Mario Bros. 35 is fluent and responsive, but is missing some components that have made Tetris 99 more than just a novelty and turned it into something people play consistently. At the end of the day, if there are no quality of life updates to Super Mario Bros. 35, the player base may leave before the Match end date anyways.


Graphics: 7.0

You know the Super Mario Bros. graphics at this point. It would be nice to see some variance, but at the end of the day, welcome back Mario.

Gameplay: 7.0

Some very key things that have already been integrated into Tetris 99 makes this release feel a bit bare and rushed.

Sound: 7.0

It’s the original Mario soundtrack to a tee. With this being one of the three games being released to celebrate the anniversary of Mario, you would expect some of the other games music to pop up.

Fun Factor: 6.0

There’s a lot missing that should have been expected since the outline was already there with Tetris 99. No way to play with friends, and only having access to the original Mario game can burn you out pretty quickly.

Final Verdict: 6.5

Super Mario Bros. 35 is available now on Nintendo Switch.

Reviewed on Switch.