Super Mario is an institution in and of itself. Nintendo’s Italian plumber and the franchise he stars in have become synonymous not only with the Japanese company, but with gaming as a whole. Mario transcends any single media, and the impact he’s had on video games as a whole cannot be overstated.
This year is a special one for Super Mario, being the series’ 35th anniversary and all, and Nintendo, it seems, are celebrating that milestone event with all the pomp and style that a gaming icon such as this deserves. Recently, Nintendo held a Direct presentation dedicated entirely to Mario, announcing everything from Super Mario 3D All Stars and Super Mario 3D World’s long awaited Switch launch to Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit and the original Super Mario All Stars being added to Nintendo Switch Online.
Another announcement that caught the attention of many was the appropriately named Super Mario Bros. 35. The game is out in less than a week from now, and as we gear up for its launch, in this feature, we’ll be going over everything you need to know about the game. Without further ado then, let’s jump in.
In February 2019, Nintendo surprised one and all when they announced and released Tetris 99, a game that ingeniously combined the classic puzzle gameplay of Tetris with a battle royale framework, of all things. It sounded bizarre on paper, but it worked surprisingly well. In fact, it may very well be one of the best versions of Tetris we’ve seen in years. Now, Nintendo are teaming up with Tetris 99’s developers Arika once again to deliver Super Mario Bros. 35, which is going to do something similar. And how exactly is that going to work? Well, if you’ve played Tetris 99, the central gameplay premise will be familiar to you.
Super Mario Bros. 35 is a battle royale platformer, and like Tetris 99, its name is rather descriptive, in that each match sees a total of 35 players battling against each other. Also similar to Tetris 99 is how that is actually shown on your Switch’s screen. Your own gameplay takes centrestage, of course, while your competing players appear in small picture in picture images along the sides.
Your goal, as in any platformer, is to be the last man standing (or the last Mario standing, in this case). Every player plays through a stage whose design will be themed around the original Super Mario Bros. from 1985, and the player that survives the longest and is left as the last one standing wins that match. You’ll be collecting coins, stomping on koopas and goombas and what have you, and racing against time as the clock counts down to zero, which is something all Mario fans will be very familiar with.
ATTACKING OTHER PLAYERS
But every battle royale has to have major competitive elements, right? If you’re fighting to be the last man standing against 34 other players, you need to be able to do something to ensure that they fall before you do. And how exactly are you supposed to do that when you’re so focused on getting through your own platforming stage? Well, similar to Tetris 99, Super Mario Bros. 35 employs some clever tricks.
Every enemy you kill in your own stage is essentially sent into some other player’s stage. That’s your primary means of attacking other players- the more enemies you kill, the more you bother and harass your competitors. And you will also have the means of choosing who you’re attacking with the enemies that your knock out in your own stage.
In Super Mario Bros. 35, you will essentially have four choices for whom you want to attack: you can simply attack players at random, you can attack whichever player currently has the most amount of coins, you can attack the player that currently has the least amount of time, or you can attack the player that’s attacking others the most.
But what’s a good Super Mario game without power ups, right? Power ups, whether its something as simple as the classic fire flower, have been integral to the Super Mario experience for as long as the experience has been around. Super Mario Bros. 35 may not be a typical Mario game, but make no mistake- power ups are still going to be an important part of the gameplay.
All power ups will be purchased through currency during gameplay, and that currency will, of course, be the coins that you collect while you’re running, jumping, and stomping your way through levels. Players will be able to spend coins to spin an “item roulette” that will grant you with a random power up item, which you can then use whenever you want.
What power ups will be included in the game isn’t something that Nintendo have talked about yet, but given the fact that Super Mario Bros. 35 seems to be sticking closely to the original Super Mario Bros. in terms of everything from its look to its stages, it seems likely that you should only expect power ups from the first game. Combined with the ability to attack players, be attacked by other players, and having to contend with your own platforming stage though, the power ups should add a nice layer of strategy and variety to the proceedings.
LAUNCH AND AVAILABILITY
Super Mario Bros. 35 launches exclusively for the Nintendo Switch on October 1, but there’s a few curious things to speak about as far as its release and availability are concerned. For starters, just like Tetris 99, the game will only be available to those who have a Nintendo Switch Online account. If you are a Nintendo Switch Online subscriber though, you get Super Mario Bros. 35 for free.
What’s more interesting (and not exactly in a good way) is the game’s availability beyond launch. You’re only going to have half a year to play the game, which means you’ll have to cram all of your gameplay time into that period. Why is that the case? Well, because Nintendo have made it clear that the game is only going to be playable up until March 31, 2021. And that doesn’t mean you will only be able to get the game until that day- no, as soon as we get to April 1st, Super Mario Bros. 35 is more or less going to get nuked. No one will be able to play it.
This, of course, is what Nintendo are doing with Super Mario 3D All Stars as well. The remastered collection of mainline 3D Mario games is available right now, both digitally and physically, but will only be available up until March 31, 2021 (though unlike Super Mario Bros. 35, those who purchase the game will, of course, still be able to play it after that). It’s a decision for which Nintendo have been receiving plenty of criticism (and rightly so), but for now, it doesn’t seem like they’re going to budge on it.
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