Super Mario Bros. 35: How to win and be the last surviving plumber

Super Mario Bros. 35 is unbelievably addicting. Its Mario battle royale in grand style. All you have to do is be the last Mario standing to win.

Of course, this might seem a little strange to people who are used to speedrunning this classic game. In fact, any of your standard strategies won’t do you well here. You need to play Super Mario 35 as its own game, and here are a few tips to get you into that mindset.

Understand the resources

Super Mario 35 is, actually, a resource-based game, and there are four resources to keep track of. They are:

  • Time – Determines how casually you can play
  • Coins – Generally determine survivability by allowing you to use the item roulette
  • Enemies – Your primary method of attacking opponents
  • Power-up State – Determines the methods by which you can search for the other resources

Time is gained most effectively by chaining enemy kills. In standard Mario games, you would get a 1-up for bouncing from enemy to enemy, killing enough enemies with a shell, or running through an army with a star. Here, it will just give you more time the more enemies you kill maxing out at 400 seconds. Note, killing an enemy with a fireball only nets you one second, and reaching a goal gives you more time depending on how far up the flag pole you get.

Coins allow you to spin the item roulette. Later on, the screen will fill with too many enemies to reliably dodge. Using the item roulette will allow you to pull power-ups out of thin air, granting you more hits of safety. The item roulette can also grant you a star and a pow block, both of which double as attack maneuvers as well as defensive maneuvers. In a pinch, the roulette can be spun to try and get some extra time. Each redundant power-up you pick up is worth 15 seconds, so it’s worth spinning in a pinch.

Enemies get transferred to your opponent’s screen whenever you defeat them. The enemies you kill when you are looking to attack are different from the enemies you kill when you are looking to farm time. 1-1 and 1-2 are smorgasbords of goombas and koopas, but these probably won’t present your opponents with any sort of challenge. Look for rarer enemies in later stages like lakitus, bloopers, hammer bros., and even Bowser himself to really put the pressure on. Piranha Plants are also decent since they simply hang out and make ledges inaccessible to anyone without a fire flower.

Finally, your power-up state determines how you can play the game. Large enemy waves are basically unable to be navigated without a fire flower, so you always want to figure out a way to have this power-up active. When you are in fire flower mode, you can easily wade through enemies as you figure out the next stage of your plan.

If you are Super Mario your main goal is to figure out how to get your next fire flower. This can be via the item roulette or by making your way to a known power-up location. Use your invincibility frames well. Start speedrunning.

If you are small Mario, you are in panic mode. Your goal is to get a power-up as quickly as possible. Slow down and take it carefully, spending your item spins as you go.

If you nab a star you might be tempted to start speedrunning again, and it’s not a horrible idea if you want to mount an attack. However, the real strength of stars is allowing you to focus on platforming in tricky segments without worrying about taking a hit. Don’t nab a star just to run into a bottomless pit.

Bring a stage that you are familiar with that grants you the resources you want

Before you start any run of Super Mario 35 you need to choose a stage that will be shuffled into the stage pool, which consists of all 35 players’ chosen stages, and a few random stages thrown in for good measure. You want to include a stage that you have memorized and that has plentiful resources of some sort.

For example, world 2-2 is full of cheep cheeps and bloopers that can easily be taken out with a fire flower. While these enemies are simple in water stages they are terrifying in-ground stages, so it’s an easy way to mount an early attack. World 1-4 is an easy and safe way to spawn a Bowser. World 3 introduces hammer bros. and world 4 introduces lakitus.

Don’t just bring in 1-1 and 1-2. If you find that you constantly loop these stages, it’s because people keep putting them into the pool! Don’t be that sort of person. That’s the worst kind of person.

Memorize locations of 1-Ups and warp zones

You only get one life, but 1-Ups are still very valuable. They are worth 20 coins, which is one whole spin on the item roulette. So hunt them down if possible.

Warp zones are also incredibly useful. Everyone is stuck on the same shuffled stack of levels unless you hit a warp zone. This will allow you to choose the next level you go to, and it can be a life-saver. When everyone else is stuck on 1-1 and 1-2 you can use a warp zone to warp to a later level and attack with more powerful enemies. Similarly, if you find yourself low on coins, time, or power-ups, you can warp back to 1-1 or 1-2 to have a safer go at rebuilding resources.

Be careful with sub-worlds

It’s easy to be tempted into going into every pipe you come across, but that’s not necessarily the best thing to do. It bypasses enemies, which means you bypass time, and it’s entirely possible that the coins you get from the sub-world are not worth what you skip.

For example, never enter the sub-world of 1-1. It doesn’t even grant you 20 coins. Meanwhile, sticking above ground gives you access to a fire flower, a star, and a 1-Up which already gives you more than the sub-world did, as well as a bunch of enemies to kill along the way for time.

Be careful with who you target

Each auto-target setting has its own place and function.

Lowest time will target players who are playing more recklessly due to being close to death. This is usually the option to go for if you are looking to score kills.

The highest coins will heap enemies on people who are safest, bringing them down and making them more vulnerable for a kill.

Finally, attackers aren’t actually as self-explanatory as you’d think. Yes, this will send enemies back to whoever is sending enemies to you. However, this is also the only way to send enemies to multiple people at once. What this effectively does is escalate the game. Remember, each enemy you send back to them can then be sent back to you, which can be sent back to them, multiplying every time. If you want to start flooding the screen with mobs, this is the option to choose.

Make a plan

Don’t just go through every level randomly. Make a plan. Different strategies have served different top players and streamers well, but this is the one that works for me.

  1. Enter the level with a Mushroom power-up paid through your leftover coins. Most levels have a power-up right at the beginning allowing you to go right into Fire Mario mode.
  2. Immediately set the mode to attackers. You want to escalate as fast as possible.
  3. Get a burst of time. You can do this by hitting a star or just kicking a Koopa into a bunch of enemies. Your goal is to get to around 70-ish seconds just to give you a buffer.
  4. Start farming coins. Pick up 1-Ups. Slowly roll through every level hitting every block. Your goal now is to get to over 100 coins.
  5. At this point you should have high coins and low time, making you very likely to get attacked. Find another enemy line to burn through with a Koopa shell or a star to flood the game world with enemies. Your goal is to keep doing loops with easily obtainable stars until you reach the maximum 400 seconds of time.
  6. Switch to the lowest time if you are above the final 10. You want to start getting kills now. Each kill gives you yet more coins and time.
  7. Aim for higher-level stages. You want to start sending more difficult enemies to your opponents. As I said before, Bowsers are always an easy way to go.
  8. When you get above the top ten (or perhaps top five if you still think there are some easy kills to mop up) change your targeting to most coins. You want to keep the playing field as level as possible.
  9. Alternate between high-level stage runs and farming runs. I particularly suggest sending lakitus as they are some of the hardest enemies to deal with.
  10. Play cautiously until you die or win.