Nintendo dropped its latest in the Battle Royale game style that’s been popular lately. Based slightly off of the Tetris 99 concept, Super Mario Bros 35 pits you against 34 other players online, simultaneously running through the original Super Mario Bros levels to become the best of the best.
You run through the levels, grabbing coins and power ups as well as killing enemies as you would normally. The difference in this game is that when you kill an enemy on your screen, you send their “ghost” to an opponent’s screen, trying to keep them from reaching the end goal.
An added bonus of defeating a goomba on your screen is that it adds extra time to your counter, keeping you in the game a little longer as you try to knock out other players. Similarly to the Tetris 99 style, you are given four options for battling your opponents. This allows you to target opponents with specific circumstances such as “most coins, attackers, least time, or even random.
As you collect coins you can spend 20 of them on a roulette question block that will give you one of the following power-ups: 1 mushroom, a fire flower, a star, or a Pow (that will clear every enemy on the screen at once). Grabbing coins as you run becomes useful in the end game as your screen will fill up with enemies and the roulette will become more useful.
As you progress through the game and complete more matches you are given daily tasks to complete that will give you coins to spend outside of the matches. These coins will allow you to buy a power-up that you will receive at the start of the match. Personally I go with the fire flower and try to hold on to it as long as I can.
After playing for about an hour and a half I was able to rack up three wins by utilizing the following strategy: Don’t worry about speed-running through the levels. Take your time and focus more on grabbing powerups such as the mushroom or fire flower and 1-ups. Coins are useful for the roulette but try to hold on to them until you are in the top ten unless you have to spend them to stay alive. Kill as many enemies as you can, and focus on sending them to the person with the least time. Also, try to keep on a loop of familiar levels, so you know exactly where all the power ups are going to be, or you can set up a chain of attacks to kill the most enemies.
There may be a point where the music will speed up, meaning you are probably the person with the least amount of time left on the counter, but try not to focus on that. Rather, keep to the plan of killing enemies to send to your opponents, and spending coins for more power ups as needed.
This is so far my favorite “Battle Royale” style game and that’s not just because I’ve managed to score three wins the first few hours of playing, but because it takes the Mario 1 game everyone knows and adds a new twist by making you compete with 34 other live players.
The game is free to download and play, so long as you have an active Nintendo Online subscription. Though this game is being advertised as a limited time release, I hope that just means it’s free to play until the March 31st deadline.
I also wouldn’t mind it being updated to add additional Mario levels outside of Super Mario Bros (Mario 1). It would be interesting to see the game played out across the rest of the NES Mario catalogue.