Nintendo made a Super Mario Battle Royale!
And for some reason, nobody is talking about it?
Back when the Nintendo Switch online service was announced I remember seeing the trailer for Tetris 99 and wondering how on earth they were going to pull off a Tetris Battle Royale. To my surprise, Nintendo nailed it, allowing the game to feel whole heartedly like a Tetris title while still providing the added depth and high stakes action of a battle royale title.
Fast forward to today when I was browsing the Nintendo Eshop on my Switch and stumbled upon Super Mario 35. Taking everything Nintendo had learned after transforming Tetris into a Battle Royale, Nintendo did it again by turning Super Mario Brothers into a Battle Royale as well. But how does it work?
I asked myself the same question as I waited for the title to download (which wasn’t very long at all). Here’s the run down:
Its classic Super Mario Brothers from the NES except no loading screens, when you hit the flag you immediately start the next stage. There is a very strict time limit, roughly 30 seconds when you start but you can increase your time incrementally by defeating enemies, collecting excess power ups or hitting the flag pole.
You have 1 life, your goal is to outlive 34 other players while playing the OG Super Mario Brothers. To win, its simple, you have to ensure you always have time and you never die. Its not a race to the finish, its a race to survive.
But if it’s a Battle Royale, there must be some way to attack other players? Right you are. It borrows the layout and targeting system of the successful Tetris 99. Using the right analog stick you can set your target to players who are attacking you, random, least amount of time or the player with the most amount of coins. Once you have a target, whenever you defeat an enemy you will then send that enemy over to the player who you are targeting's screen. This can affect other players and yourself detrimentally, take for instance the picture I have used as the header for this article. I was doing rather well, having completed a number of levels and edging myself closer to the top 10 when I had burned through all my powerups in a dreaded underwater level. With no coins to my name and no hitpoints to cover me, when my opponent spawned a Piranha plant at the edge of a high platform I needed to jump to it was essentially game over for me.
By now you’re probably wondering why I keep mentioning the importance of coins if you can no longer obtain additional lives by collecting 100, and right you are for questioning this. In Super Mario 35 coins take on a new role. By collecting 20 coins while on your run you can purchase a powerup at any given moment in a level. Its randomized, much like a Mario Kart powerup, but so far has come in to provide clutch saves during a match.
Now that you have a bit of an understanding of how the game actually works, how does it feel to play? Honestly, really satisfying if not a bit disheartening as well. To praise the game, playing Mario with 34 other people feels natural and getting the abundance of enemies spawning in small areas makes it so satisfying to just hop through the level on across enemies. Take this video here from Twitter:
Where the game feels disheartening is when you remember that some people have been playing the Original Super Mario Bros for years in the speedrunning community, getting far more comfortable with the level layouts, enemy placement and controls than anyone rightfully ever should. Good on them for doing it, but when you spectate some people and they’re just kind of breezing through the levels and not even looking at the additional enemies that have spawned it takes some of the wind out of your sails. Now of course, you can argue “Get Good” to which I agree, but I don’t want to paint the picture that you’re going to log in and win your first game. In fact, I came last in my first game because for some bizarre reason ‘B’ was jump and ‘Y’ was Sprint. In what world is ‘B’ jump in Mario? Thankfully you can change that control layout in the menu but it’s beyond me why anyone thought that was a good idea in the first place.
The best thing about all of this though? Its completely free if you’re subscribed to Nintendo Switch online! So if all of this sounds interesting to you, go and download it! As always, thank you so much for reading!