On October 1, 2020, Nintendo released a version of Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo Switch to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of the original game for the NES. It was a battle royale game similar to Tetris 99, and allowed groups of up to 35 players from all over the world to compete.
As the game was intended to be a limited release celebrating the 35th Anniversary of the original game, Super Mario Bros. 35 was playable until March 31, 2021, and its online features were shut down and the game was removed from the Switch eShop on April 1, 2021. The game was arguably superior to Tetris 99 and the later released Pac-Man 99, despite only allowing up to 35 players in a group instead of 99 like the other two games.
I put over 100 hours into this game, and it quickly became one of my most played Switch games along with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Super Kirby Clash. During that time, I took a lot of pictures and recorded several videos of the game and would like to share some of the memories I have of it.
Remembering Super Mario Bros. 35
Battling other players
While the game looked and sounded a lot like the original game, the goal of the game was not simply to get through the levels. Rather, you needed to focus on two things: defeating enemies and increasing the amount of time you had. Every enemy you defeated would appear on another player's screen. Which player you sent the enemies to depended on who you were targeting, with the random option changing the target every time you beat an enemy. Defeating enemies gave player's more time. Kicking shells at tons of Goomba's or other enemies was a good way to get more time. Collecting Fire Flowers while already powered-up was another good way to get more time.
All levels except for the first one were locked initially, and simply entering a level would unlock it. However, reaching the goal in a level wouldn't automatically take you to the next. You would often be taken back to World 1-1, or 1-2. Completing these levels multiple times would allow access to other levels. In addition, depending on certain factors (like playing Special Battle mode), the game would sometimes start on other levels instead of 1-1.
Warp Zones were still in the same locations as the original game, but worked a little differently. The Worlds they took you were random. Also they didn't just take you to the beginning of a World, but would sometimes take you to certain levels. They were a quicker way to access and unlock other levels. Using warps was often a good strategy, because later levels contained harder to avoid enemies like Cheep-Cheeps and Hammer Brothers that you could send to other players, making it a little easier to knock them out. By knocking out other players, you were awarded with more coins and time.
By pressing the X button, a Roulette would activate and give you an item: Mushroom, Fire Flower, Star, or POW Block. The POW Block would defeat every enemy shown on the screen. But no matter which item you received, the Roulette was useful if you were just regular Mario and were being swarmed by enemies.
The last player remaining, of course, was the winner.
Often, Nintendo would have events with different rules for the Special Battle mode. In this mode, the game would often start on a different level than 1-1. Sometimes you would start with an item (which would be activated automatically), such as a Mushroom.
Some of the events included the three World Count Challenges, which required player's to defeat as much of a certain enemy as possible (like Bowser's and Goomba's), and Full-Course Battle, in which the levels were played in the same order as Super Mario Bros. on the NES.
Eventually, after playing for a while, the timer would turn red and go down faster. In this situation, defeating large amounts of enemies and collecting items (even if you were already powered-up) was crucial to preventing the timer from reaching zero.
There were a few times I managed to get 1st place with barely any time left. Since the timer went down faster when it was red, 4 seconds was more like 1 second left.
Playing as Luigi
While Super Mario Bros. 35 could be played online with a group of up to 35 players, there was no 2-player option. This left many players wondering if Luigi was playable. Turns out, Luigi was in the game and was indeed playable. Unlocking every level would unlock Luigi, but there was no indication of this. After unlocking every level and choosing a mode and level, you needed to press and hold the L button on the matching screen to play as Luigi. Like the original game, Luigi was basically the same as Mario except for his colors.
Glitches and Updates
Despite the fact that it was only available for six months, Nintendo released updates for Super Mario Bros. 35 that fixed glitches and made minor adjustments. Something I remember early on was kicking a shell into a very tiny space, which made the sound effect loud and annoying. This was adjusted in an update to make the sound effect a little easier on the ears. I also remember losing once as Fire Mario, and Mario was still Fire Mario when it happened (instead of being smaller) and the game displayed the incorrect animation. I didn't take any pictures of this glitch, but some people might remember it.
Aside from Luigi and the levels, there were unlockable icons. I usually chose Super Mario, but when I unlocked Luigi I occasionally chose Super Luigi.
March 31, 2021 was the last day Super Mario Bros. 35 could be played before it was removed from the Switch eShop and its online features were shutdown. I played it late at night, literally right before it couldn't be played anymore. After a long battle, me and a Japanese player were the only ones that remained. It was just the two of us for a while. Eventually the timer turned red, I ran out of time, and I got 2nd. I may not have gotten 1st during the final battle, but I didn't go down without a long, hard battle. I did get 1st place earlier that day, however. Multiple times.
Right after the final battle, I couldn't play Super Mario Bros. 35 anymore.
I put a lot of hours into this game. As mentioned in this blog's introduction, I played Super Mario Bros. 35 almost as much as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Super Kirby Clash (the Switch games I've played the most). I got 1st place many times and unlocked everything. I did about all I could in this game.
It's unfortunate this game was removed, all because it was part of the 35th Anniversary celebration of the original NES game. If only Nintendo would re-name it to something like "Super Mario Bros. Battle Royale", they could re-release it and make it available again. Even though millions of people played the game, there were no doubt a lot of Mario fans who didn't get a chance to play it.
I've got an entire playlist of Super Mario Bros. 35 videos on my YouTube Channel (and some of them are included in this blog), featuring regular battles as well as several of the special events.
Super Mario Bros. 35 remains on my Switch (or rather, an SD Card), but the only things that can be done with it are looking at the menus and stats. At least the menu music is catchy.
Gone, but not forgotten.
Edited by MegaMan52
Fixed typos and added pictures and videos