Skip to main content

Super Mario Bros. 35 guide: Everything the game doesn’t tell you

Super Mario Bros. 35 is out now, adding a battle royale twist to the original Super Mario Bros. On paper, it sounds simple enough. You race through Mario stages and try to outlive 34 other players. Unfortunately, the game is far more complicated than it seems, and there’s no tutorial in sight.

If you’re completely lost about mechanics like targeting, coins, or even how to win, here’s everything the game doesn’t tell you. You’ll have your first win in no time.

Super Mario 35
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The basics

Super Mario Bros. 35 is a survival game, where you play a gauntlet of Mario stages and try not to die. If you manage to stay alive longer than everyone else you’ve been matched with, you’ll win. On the flip side, if you die by any hazard or time out, you’re eliminated entirely. You’ll often see opponents get wiped out within seconds as they run into the first Goomba—it’s that unforgiving.

There are two modes: 35-player Battle and Special Battle. The former is your standard round, while the special mode starts every player with the same item and gives them the same sequence of stages.

There’s also a stats tab where you can view your records, and a practice mode where you can free play any stage you’ve unlocked.

Time management

Time is the most important piece of this Mario game, as much of what you’re actually doing is managing the clock. Every time you kill an enemy or clear a stage, you’ll get some precious time back, which helps ensure that you don’t lose to the clock.

Enemies award different time bonuses depending on how you defeat them. For example, if you stomp on a Koopa, you’ll get three seconds back, but if you kill one via fire flower, you’ll get one second. Successfully killing bigger enemies like Bowser can net you up to ten seconds.

Likewise, jumping to the top of a flagpole will net you 15 seconds, while grabbing the bottom only gets you three. You’ll also get 15 seconds back if you grab a power-up that you already have. So if you have fire power and find a flower, you can grab it for a big boost.

As you get down to the final five, the clock will tick down much faster, making every second crucial. Winning involves a balance of precise platforming and quick thinking to avoid a time out.


When you first start a game, you’ll go to a screen that lets you create a sort of loadout. You can pick an item to start with and a stage.

The item part is simple enough. Whenever you finish a round, you’ll get some coins for things like knocking out opponents. Those coins can be spent to give you a starting item. You can begin the game with a mushroom, fire flower, or star if you have enough coins. Press X on the screen to cycle between them.

The fire flower is a bit of a no-brainer, as it lets you safely take out enemies from a distance. That’s especially helpful when your screen starts filling up with foes. You’ll usually get plenty of coins in a game, so you’ll rarely be strapped for cash, so make sure to set a flower for an advantage.

Super Mario 35
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Stages are a little more confusing. Essentially, you can pick any stage from the original Super Mario Bros. game and add it to the pool of stages that’ll show up during the game. So, if you want to make the game more challenging, you can throw in a stage like 8-4 to make the game harder for everyone. Just make sure you’re picking stages you can actually clear yourself.

When you start, you’ll only have stage 1-1 unlocked. Every time you clear a stage, you’ll unlock another one. If you beat a stage you don’t currently have during a game, you’ll unlock it that way as well. Because of this, you’re bound to play levels from the first world a lot, as new players don’t have a lot of options.

Sending enemies

The main way you interact with your opponents is by sending more enemies to their game. Every time you defeat an enemy, you’ll send it over to another player’s game.

As you play, you’ll see grayed-out enemies appearing on screen. That color palette indicates that it was sent over by another player. As the game goes on and you play more stages, you’ll find enemies like Bloopers, Hammer Brothers, or even Bowser himself showing up where they don’t usually belong.

Targeting players

You can choose who you send enemies to in a few ways. You can manually select any player in the game by using the left control stick to highlight their screen.

The main way you target is through a system similar to that in Tetris 99. By using the right stick, you can choose to pick on certain types of players. By default, you’re set to just attack random players.

Pressing up on the stick selects the player who has the lowest time remaining on their clock, the right option goes after the player with the most coins, and down targets any player currently attacking you.

This can be a blessing or a curse, so you’ll need to choose wisely. For example, if you target someone who doesn’t have much time left, you’re essentially giving them more enemies to defeat, which could help them regain time instead of overwhelm them. Setting your target to Random or Attackers can often be more helpful than trying to hinder the bottom or top players.

What coins do

The coins Mario collects in the game (as opposed to the ones you, the player, get from KO’ing opponents) serve a specific function. Every time you collect 20, you can spend them on an Item Roulette. When you press the X button, you’ll get a random item right away.

You’ll either receive a mushroom, fire flower, invincibility star, or POW block. The latter clears every enemy on screen and gives you time for each one, so it can be very helpful if the clock is counting down.

There’s no limit to how many coins you can hold, so you can bank over a hundred and spend them later when you’re in a tight spot. It’s especially helpful to hold on to a bunch so you can try to get a fire flower back if you lose it.

Super Mario 35
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Challenges and unlockables

There are a few things for players to do other than win. For one, every match will net you experience points. As you level up, you’ll unlock new player badges that you can display in the game. You can access these by pressing X on the main menu.

Players have daily challenges that they can complete to get coins, such as defeating a certain number of enemies or using the Item Roulette function in battle. Press down on the right stick on the main menu to see the checklist.

When you finally nab first place, you’ll unlock Coin Ranking, which are essentially global leaderboards that show you who has collected the most coins in a game and how your best stacks up. Once you have this function, hover over a game mode and press the plus button to access the leaderboards.

Editors' Recommendations

Giovanni Colantonio
Giovanni is a writer and video producer focusing on happenings in the video game industry. He has contributed stories to…
Our 10 favorite Wonder Effects in Super Mario Bros. Wonder
Wonder Flower in Super Mario Bros. Wonder.

Super Mario Bros. Wonder's defining gimmick is its series of Wonder Effects. A Wonder Flower is hidden somewhere on almost every level and, once found, radically switches up what is going on within that stage. Some expand on ideas the stage was already exploring, while others are wildly unpredictable, giving players something they were not expecting at all.

There are over 69 stages with Wonder Effects that players can see while playing through the story of Super Mario Bros. Wonder, but 10 of those Wonder Effects effects stood out the most during my playthrough. By order of appearance, these are my 10 favorite Wonder Effects in Super Mario Bros. Wonder, which showcase just how inventive and unpredictable the platformer is.
Piranha Plants on Parade
Super Mario Bros Wonder – Piranha Plants on Parade - 100% All Wonder Seeds, Flower Coins & Flag

Read more
It’s Super Mario Bros. Wonder’s subtle changes that make it special
The flagpole is knocked away in Super Mario Bros. Wonder

While I’m only partway through Super Mario Bros. Wonder, I’m already utterly in love with the game.

As our glowing review outlined, it’s a highly polished 2D platformer that’s approachable for anyone to play and elicits a joyous and vibrant sense of wonder. But for me, what makes Super Mario Bros. Wonder special aren't so much the wild Wonder effects or elephant transformations. It's the subtle touches. These elements might not be immediately noticeable or relevant to most, but they all work together to create an experience that’s a step above most other platformers.
Changes enhance enjoyment
Super Mario Bros. Wonder isn’t afraid to show that it’s different from previous Mario games through small moments and changes. One instance that illustrates this early on is in one of the first Bowser Jr. fights. It starts like all his New Super Mario Bros. boss fights do, with him getting in his shell and spinning toward Mario. At first, I was disappointed that Nintendo was just doing the same thing again, but after the first hit, that changed. Bowser Jr. activates a Wonder effect and changes in size for the following two stages of his fight. It's a moment of surprise that subverts my expectations, which are based on decades of Mario games. This is a small moment and reference that many Super Mario Bros. Wonder players probably won’t even internalize. Still, it is a smart way to show how the platformer differs from what came before.

Read more
All Captain Toad locations in Super Mario Bros. Wonder
Toadette talking to captain toad.

Super Mario Bros. Wonder is taking the series back to its 2D roots with a new and exciting art style and a ton of new mechanics. Alongside new power-ups and badges, this title has perhaps the largest amount of collectibles and hidden secrets of any game in the series. Between all the Wonder Seeds, Wonder Flowers, Flower Coins, and more, there's no shortage of things to do as you run, jump, and flip your way through all the various worlds. Among all the playable characters to choose from, one non-playable character makes his triumphant return. Captain Toad has managed to make his way to the Flower Kingdom, but this intrepid explorer is not so easy to find. Each time you interact with him, he will reward you with some Flower Coins and a hint at an upcoming world, so let's hunt down all his locations in Super Mario Wonder.
All Captain Toad locations

Captain Toad appears in five unique spots on the Super Mario Bros. Wonder world map. Talking to him at each spot will give you a little bit more of his story, plus the aforementioned rewards.
First Captain Toad location

Read more