02nd Nov2020

‘Super Mario Bros. 35’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Jason Brigger

Per the official website: “Race against time, defeat enemies, and sabotage your opponents in an online battle to be the last Mario standing!” The newest digital-only Mario game from Nintendo celebrates the 35th anniversary of the original Super Mario Bros. game while adding a “last-man-standing” competitive twist with you and 34 of your closest online friends. The idea is simple: Play the classic Super Mario Bros. game and beat each level that the game throws at you! Nintendo made a Catch-22 game with this addictive game…it’s free to play and download but it’s only available until March 31, 2021.


The default controls, to put it simply, are a pain to use on the Switch controller. The D-Pad controls how Mario moves, the B button jumps, the Y button is for running and shooting fireballs, and the X button lets you use a random item during the game.

After spending a generation using the joystick for moving characters in a video game, reverting back to the D-Pad seems to slow Mario’s movement and affects the precise jumping needed for certain levels of the game. I appreciate the nostalgia for using the D-Pad like in the original game, but on the Switch, it becomes more of a liability than it’s worth. Luckily, players can switch the controls and in my opinion, the best option is moving the movement controls from the D-Pad to the joystick, resulting in your frustration levels to drop considerably.


Going “old school” and playing the original Super Mario Bros. game is always fun but with the new competitive twist, the game becomes a lot tougher than what you played in 1985. This is especially true when one of your 34 competitors defeat a Goomba or a Koopa Troopa, they have the option of sending that defeated foe into your game! The more competitors that are eliminated, the more frantic the game becomes as the few remaining players will start to overload your screen with enemies. Not only are you fighting the defeated foes your online competition throws at you, you will also be fighting the clock that speeds up the more levels you conquer.

The game does require strategy as the longer the game goes, players must decide whether they want to stomp Bowser’s baddies, in order to gain more time and send them to their opponent’s screens, or gather more coins, which allows for more power-ups for the player. If you choose wrong, you may find yourself running out of time or in a situation where a “small” Mario is more vulnerable to even the weakest Piranha Plant.

The Levels

Every game starts in World 1-1 from the classic game and then the majority of the time, the player moves onto World 1-2. From there, the game can send you to any world that you have previously unlocked. Unfortunately, most of the time it still sends you to one of the same 5-7 levels you have already played, resulting in a certain level of repetitiveness. The longer you play, and the higher your skill level is, the more levels are unlocked, which can freshen up the monotony of the game. That isn’t to say each game you play is new and original, but the game does reward experienced players with a few more levels than a beginner. And yes, the underwater worlds are still awful.

How Do You Win?

Being the last person standing is the ultimate goal in Super Mario Bros. 35 but that’s easier said than done. Players end up playing several levels over and over again, which is a blessing and a curse as you will get more comfortable playing a level you just played, but it also allows players to get too comfortable, causing them to make more mistakes and resulting in their demise. The levels don’t stop generating until one person is left alive and declared the winner.

What I Liked About The Game:

The game is fast-paced and quick to play, so if a player doesn’t have time to play a full Mario experience, this game allows players to get a quick fix in before they have to do something else. My competitive nature will not let me stop playing until I reach at least a Top Five finish, which is more difficult than you may think. The most fun part of the game is stomping on Bowser’s minions and sending them to another player’s world and disrupting their game. This is made even more fun as you can manually pick which player receives your defeated enemies or choose one of the four pre-determined “groups”, including the player with the most coins, any player that is “attacking” you, player with the least amount of time, or even the tried and true “random” person.

What I Didn’t Like About the Game:

The game can become repetitive when you play the same levels over and over in a short amount of time. Every game starts on World 1-1 and while that is fine to make an even level playing field to start, starting in a new world every once in a while would be appreciated. Luckily, Nintendo releases a limited-time “special battle” event each week where players can play a set order of new or different courses. This event adds special conditions to the typical 35-player battle game, like starting as Fireball Mario or starting with 100 coins, which freshens up the game.

Replay Value: High

Due to being a fast-paced game, Super Mario Bros. 35 is an addictive game as the thrill of ranking higher than your opponent causes a high replayability factor. I don’t know how many times I say to myself, “Just one more game,” which ends up turning into ten more games. This sense of competitiveness is universal as everyone in my family, from my 4-year-old son to my wife can’t seem to put the game down.

Easter Egg:

If you play enough, and are good enough, to earn the rank of level 100 in the game, you can unlock Mario’s less-famous brother, Luigi! After spending hours upon hours to get to level 100 and unlocking every stage in the game at least once, press and hold the L-button while the match is loading, and your character is now Luigi instead of his camera-hogging brother Mario!

Final Score: Grade: A-

Super Mario Bros. 35 is just a tad below a perfect Mario game. Minor gripes like the repetitiveness issue, the default controls, and the limited time frame the game is available, keeps this game from joining the “classic” status. The game is a blast to play and will keep the attention of both young and old players. Allowing players to send Bowser’s goons to other player’s levels is a genius move by Nintendo because not only does it cause the most intense competition in a Mario game yet, it also freshens up the classic levels players have played hundreds of times before. Do yourself a favor and download Super Mario Bros. 35 before it’s gone forever!

Have you played this game? If so, let us know what you thought of it below in the Comments section!

You can catch Jason Brigger on the geek-centric podcast, The History of Bad Ideas, as new episodes are released every week at www.nerdly.co.uk or subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and other podcasting apps. You can listen to their latest episode right here.

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