Welcome to a frighteningly addictive, utterly bonkers, frantic re-imagining of the original classic Super Mario Bros. Welcome to a battle royale, Mario-style, that’s brought us all back to where it all began, some thirty-five years ago.
As a concept this is very simple. You’re playing the original Super Mario Bros. What’s new is that you’re playing it alongside thirty-four other players, and when they kill an enemy, that enemy gets transferred to another player’s screen. Likewise, you will transfer enemies you defeat to another player (and you can choose which player receives your squashed goombas and koopas… ahem).
The result is a mad dash through the original game, but with a seemingly endless horde of bad guys, including the appearance of certain enemies in locations they wouldn’t usually appear in. Oh, and upon completion of a stage, the game is a little random as to what level you play next (1-1 might become 1-3 instead of 1-2, and you might end up going backwards from time to time).
You don’t win by completing the game – you win by being the last Mario standing. The idea is to ensure your opponents are overwhelmed with enemies, whilst avoiding all the ones heading your way – oh, and watch out, because you’re on a timer – killing enemies will earn you precious seconds. Collecting fire flowers if you already have one equipped will gain you more time, and collecting enough coins grants you an item box to exploit. In short, there are plenty of ways to stay alive – but plenty of other players trying to destroy your Mario.
How has this meerkat done? I’ve had some woeful games, but also won it on one occasion and had a few podiums too. This is a brilliant, mad dash through a classic game, a terrific fresh interpretation of the original.
(Super Mario Bros 35 is free to download on Nintendo Switch)