Nintendo’s second battle royale-style nonsense hybrid is here, although we’ll only get to play it for a limited time (for some reason). Super Mario Bros. 35 follows up Tetris 99, and in many ways has a similar structure. And sure enough, getting to that number one spot is no easy feat, especially in a game with perhaps more dedicated and high skill players than Tetris. Now, I’m no Mario expert, but I’m alright at games and can consistently place high here. Still chasing that number one, but second place ain’t too shabby. UPDATE: Moments after this guide went live I got my win, so you can consider everything in this guide with more authority. I am the Superest Mario.

Super Mario Bros. 35 Beginner’s Tips

With that in mind, I think I can confidently say I’ve figured a few things out. There’s only so much additional nuance you can put into Super Mario Bros., but there are a few additional factors to consider in helping you get a leg up. So as far as day one is concerned, here are some things I believe are important to keep in mind while you’re playing Super Mario Bros. 35.

Take Your Time

Look, unless you’re a Super Mario savant, or are classically trained in the arts of Super Mario Brothers, you’ll do a lot better easing off the run button. You don’t want to dawdle too much, but running forward at top speed is going to backfire. There are too many variables at play, and extra systems you’ll want to interact with.

Related: Super Mario 3D All-Stars Review | A Curious Collection

Do All the Things

What happens when you take it a little easier in Super Mario Bros.? You get a lot more stuff. You can stomp all the enemies, hit the blocks, collect all the power-ups. And there’s a big reason for that! Your biggest enemy in Super Mario Bros. 35, aside from yourself of course, is the timer. That clock ticking down is, effectively, your storm, circle, what have you in other battle royale games. Luckily there are ways to get additional time, including killing baddies, collecting redundant power-ups, grabbing 1-up mushrooms, and getting as high as possible on the flag pole.

Get That Money

Also, while it’s ok to miss some here or there, you need to make sure you’re grabbing as many coins as possible. There are two reasons for this - one, you can spend coins before a round to start the match off with a power up. Two, paying 20 coins during a match (with the X button) will spin an item roulette that can easily make or break your run in a pinch. If you don’t have 20 coins or at least close to it, you won’t have any backup if you take a hit. It can take a lot longer than you may think to snap up 20 coins, especially in certain levels that don’t have ‘em scattered all over.

Abuse Warping

If you’re in 1-2, the famous Warp Zone is still something you can reach. Super Mario Bros. 35 randomly spits you out in a level after you win, but with the Warp Zone you get to choose from three available options. You also get ten seconds on the clock even though you didn’t go to the flagpole. This feels like it’s super important, as being able to choose your level opens up a few different strategies. Do you go after the castle to try to send Bowser over at people? Or do you pick 1-1 over and over for easy clock padding? The water level is an option too, I guess. 

Kill Everything

Maybe you’re so confident in your speed skills you don’t feel the need to pay much attention to your clock (mistake). Even though it’s usually better to avoid enemies if you can, this is a battle royale. The “battle” part is crucial - defeating an enemy on your side sends it over to someone else, and vice versa. So in addition to earning extra time, you’re also basically lobbing grenades, which counts for every enemy you can take down, including Bowser. If you don’t fight back, you’re gonna get mobbed.

Be Prepared

If you’re good at Mario, you’re in for a war of attrition. It takes quite a while for the timer to start speeding up, and until then you just have to play an endless gauntlet of Super Mario Bros. This can get, frankly, mentally and even physically exhausting. That’s part of the game of course, but rounds feel like they go on much longer than Tetris 99. And you really have to be on your A-game the entire time if you’re trying to win. If you can get as far as the top 5, you’re in for a fight - I’ve consistently had the last 5 eliminations last as long as the first 30 all together. Well, it feels that way at least.

That’s what I’ve got. You can (probably) trust me, even though I can’t say I’ve won yet at the time of this writing. But it’s day one, and I gotta work here! But having reached second place multiple times gives me the confidence to suggest I have Super Mario Bros. 35 more or less figured out. Here’s what I’ve noticed, and honestly if you go in not knowing what to expect it can take a lot of adjustment. So arm yourselves with knowledge!

Are you enjoying Super Mario Bros. 35? Are you gonna launch a Change.org petition to ask Nintendo to keep it online? Let us know over at the Prima Games Facebook and Twitter channels!