Edge

‘Mario 35’ Is A Good Idea That Needs More Substance To Keep You Coming Back

Remember growing up playing Mario Bros. with your friends and having debates over who was the best at the game? Maybe you had competitions to figure it out, racing to see who got through the most levels in a single life, etc. Of course, there was only so much you could do with the original Mario and it’s four levels in eight worlds. All the same every time, with no real way to mix it up.

It is now 2020 and as such, that means there needs to be a Battle Royale for everything. Clearly inspired by the popularity of Tetris 99, Nintendo has taken their first major hit, Super Mario Bros. and turned it into a non-traditional Battle Royale called Mario 35. The concept is, like every Battle Royale, very simple. Whoever is the last one standing wins. If this had been released four years ago it may have been met with greater fanfare, but with a Battle Royale for everything, it’s hard to feel more than just curiosity about the title. It also doesn’t help that someone beat Nintendo to the punch here about a year ago when someone created this exact concept in a web browser game. They were met with a DMCA takedown notice.

That odd backstory aside, there is a definite curiosity here. What happens when you stick 35 people into a Mario style Battle Royale to see who comes out on top? While you might hope for lightning in a bottle, in reality, you get a lot of missed potential.

Mario 35 is a lot like Tetris 99. You go through a pre-determined set of Mario levels stomping on goombas, kicking turtle shells, getting power up Mushrooms, and shooting fireballs until you’re the last Mario standing. The way it’s similar to Tetris 99 is that as you play you are surrounded by the other 35 Marios and you can “attack” them. You do this by defeating enemies on your screen which will then send them all to the screens you have targeted. You can send just about any kind of enemy to your opponents from Goombas, to Pirannah Plants, and Bowser himself.

This does create some fun opportunities to gang up on a single person and send a bunch of enemies their way all at once, but be careful doing that cause they can destroy them all and send them right back at you. Unfortunately, while this is one of Mario 35‘s best aspects, it’s also one of the less interesting ones. It is funny when you send a Bowser at someone, and the thought of them having to work their way through three Bowsers is a funny one, but it can at times feel largely ineffective.

In Tetris 99 when you sent junk to someone else’s screen you were messing up their builds they were working with. They were having to change strategies on the fly and quickly. In Mario 35 it’s just another enemy that you can power through with a fireball and you can take your time doing so. This doesn’t mean that an overwhelming amount of enemies can’t lead to your death, they did so plenty for me, but more often than not I personally ended up dying due to my own mistakes rather than ones caused by other players.

This also made matches feel a little too long. When you reach the final 10 players it becomes a war of attrition as there are fewer enemies to send after one another. It just kinda turns into everyone playing standard Mario. Not a bad thing, but a little less exciting without the chaos of the earlier portions of the round.

To Nintendo’s credit, they seem to acknowledge that matches can grow stale and have a “Special Battle” section that offers unique circumstances to try and keep things fresh. Players can start off with a mushroom or have less clock on their timer than usual in this. It’s a nice mix up and should keep bringing players back. There are of course daily challenges as well so even after you’ve unlocked every level, all the icons, and become the best Mario 35 player in the world there will always be something to keep you coming back. As long as you still have an interest in the game.

Length of interest will be what decides just how popular Mario 35 becomes. The idea isn’t particularly new and outside of the Battle Royale modes, there isn’t much to offer players to keep coming back. If they lose interest they’re going to fall off fast. Nintendo will need to provide a lot of support for this game to avoid it quickly falling out of the collective consciousness of gamers.

At the end of the day, Mario 35 is a fairly entertaining game but it needs more to really push it over the top. It is free on the Nintendo eShop so there’s nothing to stop you from trying it out. Give it a go, especially if you’re a Mario fan. Maybe you’ll fall in love with it. There’s just no guarantee the good times will last longer than a week.

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