Super Mario Bros Reviewed: Outstanding Platformer

Last Updated on October 18, 2023

We take a look at one of the most iconic games ever released: Super Mario Bros.

Mario is one of the most well-known video game protagonists with an unmatched legacy. The Mario games have existed longer than I have, and as I was a Sega kid, I never tried the classics. 2023 is the perfect time to change that.

The sound and visuals of a truly iconic video game

Super Mario Bros Review
Image: GamingRetro

What can I even say about SMB’s gameplay? You run from left to right, jumping on enemies as you make your way to the finish line. The backdrops are the stuff of legend. Even though I’m not too familiar with SMB, I’ve played enough Mario Maker to have seen these areas many times before. I could write a book on Mario’s controls, but they are tight and responsive. Thanks to momentum and how you can finely tune jumps in mid-air, you feel equipped for every situation.

I’ve played enough miserable underwater stages, but in all fairness, they are pretty good here. Mario feels heavier and can swim with rhythmic taps of the jump button. This mechanic works well, and Nintendo proves that life underwater doesn’t have to be a chore.

The marathon of stages is broken up with boss battles if you can call them that. It does feel a little unceremonious to defeat an otherwise invincible foe by jumping over it and hitting a switch, but it gets the job done.

Although the levels are mechanically simple, they quickly become demanding and require precision from the player. I lost the most lives in Stage 1-2, but that was down to me fumbling the controls. Super Mario Bros is challenging but fair. Some obstacles, like the Hammer Bros, dented my life pool, but they were manageable once I figured out what to do.

In fairness, I didn’t use the secret “continue play” feature in Super Mario Bros.

Super Mario Bros movement is almost perfect

Image: GamingRetro

I’ve praised the controls, but did notice a few issues with them. Mario’s momentum feels superb, but it isn’t perfect. I fell victim to many pitfalls on my journey, which often happened if I grabbed a power-up just before I jumped. I don’t know if this is exclusive to the Nintendo Switch port, but taking an item and then jumping sometimes altered my speed. Dying to this quirk was easily the most frustrating part of my playthrough.

Besides that, everything else I noticed can be chalked up to system limitations. As iconic as the music is, the shortlist of tunes did start to get repetitive, and there’s not much in the way of enemy variety. Both of these are minor nitpicks that don’t take away from the precision platforming, which is easily the best part of the game.

I comfortably beat Super Mario Bros within 4 hours, and while I wasn’t begging for more, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with this legendary platformer from start to finish.

You can play Super Mario Bros on the Nintendo Switch with a Nintendo Switch Online subscription. Meanwhile, the handheld Nintendo Game & Watch 35th Anniversary Edition remains available from Amazon.

Oh, and you can play Super Mario Bros online.

Super Mario Bros: There's no denying Super Mario Bros status as an all-time classic. Without any nostalgia for the title, several aspects of the game feel dated, especially parts of the level design. That said, Super Mario Bros has withstood the test of time remarkably well and offers players an outstanding platforming experience despite its shortcomings. Anthony

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