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Super Mario Bros. 2

Developer / Publisher: Nintendo
09 October 1988
Super Mario Bros. 2 - cover art
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3.20 / 5.0
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1,589 Ratings / 6 Reviews
#2,226 All-time
#12 for 1988
Super Mario Bros. 2, 2D platformer and sequel to Super Mario Bros. (1985), features 4 selectable characters (Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Toad) as they navigate the dream world of Subcon to defeat the evil toad king Wart. Super Mario Bros. 2 features different ways interacting with enemies and the world, including an object carrying mechanic and more intricate level designs.
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I didn't really get much fun out of this one. The non-Birdo bossfights seem mostly mundane or somewhat annoying more than anything, some of the level design is quite poor (I do not enjoy the "enter the correct jar" one in particular and there's a major difficulty spike in one of the World 4 levels), and blowing up walls with bombs to progress is one of the worst things I had to do in the game because sometimes you throw it in a way where it flat out doesn't work. I'm not sure how telling it is that the first true bossfight in the game is one of the most satisfying to take down and the final bossfight is one of the least, being a very slow, repetitive, and exploitable fight. I think there's also a lot of features in the game that don't really hit either. I had the option to choose between 4 characters but considering this is a platformer, I pretty much always picked Luigi. Everyone has different stats but the highest jump made the most sense to go for every time and I'm most certainly never picking Toad for the same reason. There's a lot of items too of which some of them kinda feel half-baked? The turtle shell in particular makes me feel this way, it's rare to encounter it and when you do find it it's kinda useless and it brings up the question as to why that was even put into the game.

That being said though there are a lot of positives to this as well though. I think it's aesthetically pleasing in terms of the graphics and music. The whole dream world vibe is captured very well and the soundtrack is very well made and fitting for any occasion. I liked the potion item that got you into the flipside world for a short amount of time to pick up coins and the occasional life boosting mushroom. Some of the levels are pretty good and/or interesting in design too, the second to last final boss is a very clever idea and the level leading up to it was fun too. The slot machine minigame inbetween each level is kinda fun too to give you a chance for some extra lives. And it goes without saying that despite this being a definitive version of a non-Mario game with Mario slapped on it, it is fun to see it influence the rest of the franchise. Shy Guys and Birdos are a still a thing thanks to this game and I couldn't be happier. Overall though, this game is a mixed bag and Ithe bomb thing in particular makes me lean quite negative on it, it's really not fun to need to reload a room because the bomb bounced off the wall to the point where it doesn't even explode it.
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Sothras 2024-01-02T22:41:15Z
2024-01-02T22:41:15Z
2.0
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Game of the year baby!!!!!!!!!!!!
Super Mario Bros 2 manages to have some amazing and terrible aspects that make it superior to the first games. Physics are better, screen actually moves left, pixel art gets a major upgrade. Levels are more interesting, there's a neat mechanic where you can ride enemies and pluck them off the ground, and overall the game is designed around exploration. There's also the introduction of mainstays like shy guys, birdos, bobombs, and even pokey. However, the game suffers from a few major flaws that make it almost as annoying to play as the originals.

The game has 7 worlds with 3 levels each, excluding 7 which has 2. This seems pretty standard and even less than the previous Super Mario games, but these levels are very long and tend to have you explore different areas, which takes up a lot of time. There's even times I got softlocked because I needed to blow up a few walls with bombs, yet there were a lot of walls in that area that couldve been blown up. SMB2 has many examples of this sort of messy and confusing level design. Also, there are frequent boss fights where you have to pick up objects and throw at the boss. This seems fun initially, with the first birdo fight not being too bad. However, the further you get into the game, the bosses start to fire pretty rapidly. This means that you'll be going through the animation to pick up an item right as a projectile goes on top of you and guarantees that you take a hit. Also, the throwing mechanic acts pretty odd, sometimes dropping the item, throwing it sideways, or throwing it diagonal downwards, and by the time I had beaten the game I still had not known how it worked. These issues are what mainly makes the game difficult, as well as the occasionally spam of enemies you'll encounter that's hard to dodge without extremely precise platforming.
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mountainfalcon15 2023-11-10T22:10:44Z
2023-11-10T22:10:44Z
3.5
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Of all the NES games that had so much potential and just made me wish that they had been developed in the SNES era with the experience of the previous console generation behind them to provide guidance to greater heights, Super Mario Bros 2 might just be the game that tops the list for me at this point. I feel this way thanks to how amazing so many elements of this game are, and the way they often feel marred by some often massive flaws that tank a lot of these ideas and made the game as a whole feel rather unsatisfying to play. It's also pretty funny how clear it is that this was not originally a Mario game, though it honestly feels more like a little fun fact about gaming history rather than anything that shaped my opinion on this game in any particular way. In fact, I'd go as far as to argue that it feeling so blatantly disconnected from the other Mario games in almost every facet serves to elevate this experience quite a bit and ends up making it feel like a pretty unique game on the system as a whole.

The level design is where a lot of this really is most apparent, for better and for worse. While it's all very linear still, albeit with usually a couple of paths that you can diverge from and have them link up at the end, it feels like there was a lot more that went into crafting a set of distinct worlds that presented the player with a decent variety of challenges that feels more adventurous, as if the player is being taken on a proper journey. The complexity of some of these challenges feels pretty interesting as well, aided by the throwing mechanic allowing for some more room for creativity. Even the early parts of the game are able to integrate this stuff in, with the very first stage providing the player with an optional path that they can only get through if they carefully time when they throw a bomb they pick up. The moment most indicative of this however is in the way the player has to take on the minibosses in the game. Rather than simply having to jump on the enemy's head or make it to a button past them, the player has to actively intercept the projectiles being thrown in their direction and then throw it back at them, and it's stuff like this that ends up contributing to a game that feels very compelling and brimming with interesting ways of challenging the player.

With that said, this complexity and variety also comes with a couple of huge stipulations that stops this from reaching its full potential. The first is that a lot of the level design ideas themselves are simply not good at all, often being confusing, frustrating, painfully obtuse, or a combination of some of these. There's often something that feels a bit off about navigating certain sections of the game, as if it's all just a bit off in what the game seems to expect from you. While some of these are rather charming ideas, such as having to guide a flying enemy down to you and then hijack its flying carpet to reach new areas, there are a fair few times where it comes across as unintuitive in such a way that it ends up teaching some pretty bad habits to the player, ultimately leading to a game that's probably more confusing than it ought to be in many cases. A prime example is the way the game early on has you riding on top of an enemy projectile, which in itself is a really cool idea, but one that get ruined by introducing this possibility that flying enemies and the like could be also leading to progression or secrets, a thought further reinforced by the way some levels almost seem to reach a dead end out of nowhere and have the player take on some more unconventional paths. By introducing such a possibility and then having level design making this possibility seem even more plausible, weird and interesting ideas like this end up leading to a lot of moments that make the levels feel more convoluted than they are most of the time. This could have worked in the favour of the game for sure, but with certain NES design conventions being plastered everywhere, it really does become hard to truly parse what ideas you come up with are nonsense and what ones could actually happen.

Another huge issue is that the game feels like it runs out of steam after the 4th world, where this almost aggressive variety in what challenges are presented mostly halts and the game starts retreading. The moment where this really clicked is when world 6 came around and it was a desert themed world in a game that already had one of those, same assets and everything. This ended up making the 2nd half of the game lose a lot of its appeal in discovery due to how it really stopped feeling like you were discovering all that much, and those few ideas you did were almost universally overbearingly difficult. The worst example yet again finds itself in world 6 where the player has to find a key and has around 15 - 20 small sub areas that the key could be hidden in, with the only way of finding it being either knowing beforehand, or by trial and error. Even ideas that were initially interesting, such as having to dig through layers of the ground ended up feeling more tedious than anything after having the same dynamic be repeated multiple times in a bunch of levels, each time simply being more irritating due to the often unfair sense of difficulty at play.

Ignoring the level design as well, there are still issues with most areas of the game, despite most areas also showing some serious promise. I love the way the controls feel in this for the most part, still having a bit of slipperiness to your movements, but feeling as if you have considerably more control over where you're going, which stops this constant anxiety of thinking "what if the controls don't work as intended this time?" which was nice after having that thought for almost the entirety of my SMB1 playthrough. Unfortunately, I found it endlessly unbearable to have the button to pick things up and the button to run be mapped to the same button. I had more times than I could count where I died because I tried jumping across a scary looking gap, only to pick up what was under me and ruin the timing. The lives system in this also seems cooler for the most part, as while a lot of them come down to RNG, the combination of the doors you can use to get coins being an interesting idea, and the amount of chances you get end up giving you a considerable amount of lives. However, both the fact that some of the stages near the end are downright brutal, and the way this gives you a total game over where you have to start from 1-1 after losing all your lives a handful of times makes it feel far worse in general, especially without that safety net of warp zones allowing you to at least make back some of that progress. Really in the end, there's a lot I love about Super Mario Bros. 2, but it still feels as if it's been held back so strongly in a variety of ways that culminate in a game that is amazing on paper, but thoroughly unenjoyable to actually play, or at least I found that to be the case.
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Kempokid 2021-10-16T11:48:32Z
2021-10-16T11:48:32Z
2.0
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Strange
Super Mario Bros. 2 is probably the strangest 2D Mario game in the series. I don't dislike this title. But there's a lot of things about this game that doesn't sit right with me.

The development for this game is probably the most interesting. After the success of Super Mario Bros., Nintendo got to work on the sequel. When making the game, they intended on Super Mario Bros. 2 to be the same as the first game. Except way harder. Thinking that the US wouldn't be able to handle the difficulty, Super Mario Bros. 2 (The actual one) was released only in Japan. While the US and Europe were given an entirely different game. But it wasn't made from the ground up. They essentially got a game called Doki Doki Panic and changed the assets to resemble Mario. So the US version is a reskin of Doki Doki Panic.

Super Mario Bros. 2 allows you to play has 4 characters. Mario is average, Luigi who has the best jump, Peach who can float, and Toad who can pick up things faster. The gameplay consists of you grabbing keys to unlock doors, throwing items to kill enemies and fighting bosses. It's fairly challenging. But never too bad to where you wanna shut the game off.

Super Mario Bros. 2 may just be a reskinned game, But it's a fun time nonetheless.

3/5
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OvalsOk 2021-08-20T05:24:42Z
2021-08-20T05:24:42Z
2.5
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The peculiar history of the American Super Mario Bros. 2 has been well documented for decades, garnering the status as the red-headed stepchild of the Mario franchise. In short, the real Super Mario Bros. 2 was considered to be too difficult by American standards. If you consider the content in what we in America know as Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels, they might have had a point. Instead, America was treated to something completely foreign to all of the foundations presented in the groundbreaking Super Mario Bros. Sometime later, it was revealed that the American Super Mario Bros. 2 was a Japanese game called Doki Doki Panic, masquerading as the sequel to Super Mario Bros. It was a case of Doki Doki Panic wearing Mario’s skin with only a few familiar properties to make it marginally discernible. “Super Mario Bros. 2” turned out to be a fraud. This never would have stuck with today's internet-savvy gamers who would’ve caught onto this as quickly as the wind. In the pre-internet days of 1988, the radical changes to Super Mario Bros. 2 didn’t even raise one skeptical eyebrow. The Mario franchise was still in its infancy and the elements that make up a Mario game weren’t as concrete. They were too busy enjoying the game to care. Nowadays, people fervently try to discredit the American Super Mario Bros. 2, labeling it as a “fake Mario game”, retrospectively noting that the game sticks out like a sore thumb. Nintendo has paved over the reskinned anomaly that is the American sequel to Super Mario Bros., but they themselves have not erased it from the Mario canon. Nintendo has kept several properties from this version of Super Mario Bros. 2, becoming staples in the Mario universe.

Immediately, something about Super Mario Bros. 2 should ring suspiciously. The player has a choice between four characters instead of being catapulted into the action as the titular red plumber. Mario is one of the selectable characters, but who wouldn’t be intrigued by the new options presented here? The other playable characters are Luigi, Toad, and Princess Toadstool/Peach, a few recognizable characters from the first Super Mario Bros. The selection here seems appropriate enough, but I can’t help but think that it was slim-pickings back in 1988 before the Mario universe expanded. These were just the four characters from the first game that weren’t enemies or Bowser. Doki Doki Panic offered four different playable characters, so Super Mario Bros. 2 had to follow suit, I suppose. Each character also comes with their own unique abilities, something also copy and pasted from the Doki Doki Panic source. The recognizable Mario characters are essentially painted over the characters from Doki Doki Panic with the exact same attributes. Mario is the balanced character with a reasonably high jump radius, Luigi jumps higher, but is harder to control, Toad can’t jump as high but seems to be the strongest, and Peach is the wildcard character with a gliding motion.

The moves that Mario characters have here are directly intertwined with their DDP counterparts, but the dynamic between each character has carried over into future Mario games. Luigi was essentially just “green Mario” in the first game with absolutely no unique attributes for himself. His swapped color pallet just signified that it was the second player’s turn. Luigi was the exact same as Mario to keep both players on equal standings, but Super Mario Bros. 2 doesn’t offer multiplayer. Here, Luigi’s differences help formulate him into a character that is entirely removed from Mario. In the direct sequels, Luigi is reverted back to a reskinned Mario for the second player. Over time, Luigi formed his own independent personality and moveset. He was the taller, more air-bound younger brother exactly how he was in Super Mario Bros. 2. The plucky cowardice of Luigi’s personality came later. Toad is confined to an unplayable in subsequent Mario titles which is a shame because he’s a favorite character in this game due to his strength. One could argue that his inclusion in this game is only due to having a minor presence as an NPC in the first game, but this game proves that Toad can be fully capable in the action. Princess Peach’s character here isn’t implemented much into the main Mario franchise due to her obligatory role as being more catchable than chlamydia at a Vegas whorehouse. The traces from Super Mario Bros. 2 are not lost as they carry over into Peach’s role in Super Smash Bros. Peach can glide in the air for a short amount of time and pull a vegetable from out of the ground to use as a projectile. If that’s not enough of a Super Mario Bros. 2 easter egg, plucking from the ground as Peach will net you a bomb on rare occurrences, a happenstance from Super Mario Bros. 2

Nintendo may have carried over different attributes introduced for the playable characters, but the most important inclusion is all of the staple Mario enemies introduced in this game. Unlike the playable characters, these enemies are directly from DDP, so the Mario franchise has adopted these enemies directly from the main source. It’s unbelievable how many recognizable enemies are in this game. The Shy Guys, Pokies, Ninji’s, Bob-omb’s, and even the androgenous Birdo all make their debut here. These are all Mario enemies that have a presence in the franchise, practically to the same degree as Goombas and Koopas from the first game. Yet, all of them would have been relegated to an obscure Japanese game if Nintendo hadn’t decided to repaint DDP as a Mario game.

If you start to consider a few things, these enemies more or less fit more appropriately into the lore and background of Doki Doki Panic than any Mario game. The Mario series is inspired by sections of Japanese culture and mythology, namely the villains like the shiitake mushroom-shaped Goombas and the Koopas. Doki Doki Panic is heavily inspired by Arabic mythos. There are many desert-themed levels in Super Mario Bros. 2, the magic carpet rides are certainly a dead giveaway, and let’s be frank here, the bombs are definitely an indication of some kind of middle eastern inspiration, offensive or not . The playable characters from DDP that were reskinned as Mario characters are wearing turbans and other middle-eastern garbs. The only aspect of DDP that allows it to be absorbed by the Mario universe without seeming totally unfit is the element of vague psychedelia. Both the first Super Mario Bros. and Doki Doki Panic take place in a colorful world with a myriad of strange creatures with the objective to dismantle their oppressive regime, a rabbit hole of an adventure similar to Alice in Wonderland. The only difference is that DDP opens with a cutscene that explains the premise of the story a little better. The world takes place in an Arabic storybook and two children have been pulled in and captured by Mamu, or Wart as he is known in the American Super Mario Bros. 2 and the four characters have to rescue them. In Super Mario Bros. 2, there is absolutely no context to the surroundings until the very end.

Besides the enemies and the backgrounds, the most radical shift in the American Super Mario Bros. 2 is the gameplay. I remember playing this game for the first time as a kid and wondering why the enemies weren’t defeated when I jumped on their heads as I rode on top of a Shy Guy for two whole minutes. The trick that I soon became privy to is that everything in this game is defeated by either picking it up and throwing it or throwing something at an enemy. Every enemy can be easily hoisted up and disposed of, making the difficulty of the game always manageable in terms of combat. There are also vegetables that can be used as projectiles after rooting them up from the ground. Mushrooms are not found in boxes, but through doors that teleport you to a nocturnal, parallel space to the surrounding area. The mushrooms are not from DDP, but a staple item put in to make the reskinned game feel more like Mario. Many of the more distinctive aspects of DDP were translated to fit the Mario universe like Koopa shells instead of shrunken heads and going through doors instead of genie lamps. The sound design in Super Mario Bros. 2 also leagues better than the ear-piercing effects from DDP.

One thing from the original DDP that isn’t translated more effectively into Super Mario Bros. 2 is the difficulty. My biggest grievance is the game’s arcade-style difficulty in which you go back to the very beginning when you get a game over, but I could say this about any game with this direction. Super Mario Bros. 2 has other difficult aspects that make me wonder about the quality of this game. The movement in Super Mario Bros. 2 is very loose and flighty. This may just be because I primarily play as Luigi, but I found this to be the case playing as the other characters as well. Jumping on a foe to pick them up can be inaccurate at times resulting in unfair damage done to the player. Ironically, my biggest gameplay gripe comes with the game demanding too much precision. In the underground sections of the game, the player has to pluck the bombs from the ground and use them to blast open areas in solid dirt barriers to progress. Unfortunately, the bombs have a blast radius of a tepid fart, so the player has to be incredibly accurate to blow up the barriers and the player has a finite number of bombs, so the player will have to restart plenty of times. The dirt-digging sections suck and while the key chase sections are tense and harrowing, that mask is way too fast for anyone’s convenience.

The biggest improvement from the first Mario game, reskinned from another game regardless, are the boss battles. Getting to the end of Bowser’s castle eight separate times got incredibly stale very quickly, but Super Mario Bros. 2 offers tons of different, formidable foes at the end of each world. Mowser is a bomb-throwing rodent that will test your bomb-cooking abilities, Tryclyde is a hydra creature that will test your throwing abilities, and Clawgrip is a crab that will test both. Between all of these bosses are the Birdo encounters where she will spit eggs at you to throw them back at her. These occurrences happen at least 15 different times, but Birdo alternates her color and her attack patterns to prevent her encounters from becoming stale like Bowsers. Wart, the final boss of the game, is a portly toad who is defeated by every fat person’s true weakness: healthy food. He’s not more difficult than the other bosses but takes a few more hits to take down. After he chokes on too many garlic cloves, Wart is defeated and the player rescues some fairy creatures trapped in a vase. All of the player characters celebrate and Wart is dragged off and disposed of by the serfs of the kingdom. The entire game is then revealed to be a dream that Mario is having.

Unbelievable. The game’s premise turns out to be one of the most cliche endings any narrative can have. This is the best they could do? After some consideration, however, the American Super Mario Bros. 2’s existence is like a weird fever dream. It’s a reskinned version of an obscure Japanese game with almost every property kept with Mario’s persona at the helm. It holds a bizarre place in the history of gaming’s most iconic franchise, and its further recognition in the Mario canon naturally draws some ire from fans. It doesn't seem as if Nintendo is ashamed of this game however as many properties from DDP have been adopted into the Mario universe such as the enemies and character abilities. The four playable characters in the more modern Super Mario 3D World are the same as they are here, an obvious tribute to Super Mario Bros. 2. It was an interesting idea that people only have discrepancies with retrospective insight. The players in 1988 didn’t care because it was a solid successor to the first Super Mario Bros., and the fact that it was copied from another game didn’t matter in the long run.
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Erockthestrange 2017-07-21T19:07:10Z
2017-07-21T19:07:10Z
7.0
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Its just a dream you know
Different can be good sometimes, I honestly have fond memories playing this on the GBA and looking back on the original NES version I still think its a solid platformer, its just once you attach the Mario name brand onto this, that's when the fans get rabid. Certainly far from a conventional mario title, SMB2 was a reskin of the Japanese Dream Factory: Doki Doki Panic [夢工場 ドキドキパニック], a very strange mashup for the west to handle after the phenomenal SMB, but I think is vastly more welcome. Ive always loved the strange and arabesque feel to the levels and characters, Like its a strange mish mash of a Japanese take on 1001 Arabian nights. The game gets decidedly more difficult towards the end and not in a particularly fair or sensible way with regards to difficulty progression. All in all though as I appreciate the series as a whole I definitly view this game more fondly for what it is. The Mario platformer formula can get rather sedentary at times and this just feels like the perfect break from it. I wish Nintendo didn't cop out at the the end and just hand wave it as just a dream because honestly id love to revisit this world and characters. Birdo and the shy guys inclusion in other games past this is some consolation but this arabesque dream world is dying to be returned to, hopefully sometime soon.
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_tumbleweed_ 2021-07-03T15:59:56Z
2021-07-03T15:59:56Z
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Catalog

hugo6849 Super Mario Bros. 2 2024-05-25T07:41:01Z
2024-05-25T07:41:01Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
thatmusicguy Super Mario Bros. 2 2024-05-24T16:33:40Z
2024-05-24T16:33:40Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
sadgirl2023 Super Mario Bros. 2 2024-05-23T17:47:57Z
Switch
2024-05-23T17:47:57Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
sadgirl2023 Super Mario Bros. 2 2024-05-23T17:36:00Z
2024-05-23T17:36:00Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
residentdisaster Super Mario Bros. 2 2024-05-23T02:55:19Z
2024-05-23T02:55:19Z
2.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
MrFlobe Super Mario Bros. 2 2024-05-20T23:03:41Z
2024-05-20T23:03:41Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
niallquinn Super Mario Bros. 2 2024-05-20T19:50:40Z
2024-05-20T19:50:40Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
gb7b5 Super Mario Bros. 2 2024-05-19T15:08:06Z
2024-05-19T15:08:06Z
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
urielink Super Mario Bros. 2 2024-05-17T01:45:11Z
2024-05-17T01:45:11Z
2.5
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
KindaGamer777 Super Mario Bros. 2 2024-05-15T19:25:37Z
2024-05-15T19:25:37Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
DissonantTimpani Super Mario Bros. 2 2024-05-15T01:15:54Z
NES • US
2024-05-15T01:15:54Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Selvmoord Super Mario Bros. 2 2024-05-14T10:50:15Z
NES • US
2024-05-14T10:50:15Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Also known as
  • Super Mario USA
  • スーパーマリオUSA
  • View all [2] Hide

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  • Previous comments (52) Loading...
  • finemotorsmiff 2024-01-15 03:34:46.882693+00
    As a platformer fan first and foremost, this is just not satisfying to play compared to other Marios. But I could see it being popular with action-adventure fans. Just a hypothesis for this game’s apparent divisiveness
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  • figurehead 2024-01-19 20:21:23.569831+00
    pretty much an accident that this ended up as a mario game but tons of stuff from here ended up as part of the series which gave it more diversity
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  • kaifmo31 2024-02-05 02:06:48.911606+00
    this game draaags. some levels are just blatantly unfun but the picking up and throwing objects mechanic is nice - i think i'd honestly rather play the japanese SMB2 though
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  • anderd0504 2024-03-29 19:20:39.436779+00
    this game lowkey sucks
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  • fleshtache 2024-04-12 09:04:32.949506+00
    It's alright I guess. Mechanically it's quite fun, but the level design can be quite hit or miss. And the limited continues suck so I'm not gonna finish it.
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  • fleshtache 2024-04-12 17:17:02.738656+00
    7-2 is fucking hard, fuck.
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  • SuzetteBlainePinkerton 2024-05-13 01:47:35.042125+00
    fuck you Nintendo misgendering Birdetta is not cool
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