A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
While Mario and Luigi are trying to defeat Bowser and save the princess, there's very few messages apart from persevering against seemingly impossible odds.
Positive Role Models
Mario and his brother Luigi are two guys that try to help others, but no character development or activity occurs at all.
Ease of Play
Gameplay across the two Super Mario Bros. games are easy to grasp, but become challenging over time. The second game immediately throws players into the deep end, and expects that players have skills to meet challenging game levels. The Ball games, by contrast, simply rely upon a player's reflexes.
Violence & Scariness
Players stomp on enemy creatures, use fireballs, or invincibility stars to eliminate enemy creatures, but no blood or gore's shown when they're defeated. Instead, creatures bounce off the screen or fade away.
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Products & Purchases
This features two classic Super Mario Bros. games. The first game by itself helped to launch a world famous franchise that created TV shows, toys, movies, and more.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros is a separate stand-alone handheld device that features some of the most recognizable titles ever made. The biggest title in the group, Super Mario Bros. Is one of the most recognizable games worldwide, and has influenced toys, TV shows, movies, and more. While players stomp on creatures, use fireballs or invincibility stars to eliminate creatures, no blood or gore is shown during this constant action, and defeated enemies fade away or bounce off the screen. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content to be found. The game does rely upon ever-increasing challenges to a players skills, which will require perseverance and repeated play to be successful. One of the games is infamous for its difficulty, which will tax their skills on each stage.
Is It Any Good?
This small device is a great way of tugging gamer's nostalgic heartstrings, even if its limited availability and price are a bit of a hurdle for some fans to clear. Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. tips its retro hat to the 80s by packaging two classics (and a rarely seen game) with a vibrant LCD screen and a control scheme reminiscent of the classic NES controller. Virtually nothing needs to be said about Super Mario Bros. – it's one of the most classic action platformers of all time. The Lost Levels, on the other hand, demands your best skills as a gamer due to its incredibly difficult play. Its stages are full of split-second jumps, invisible blocks, and even poison mushrooms that shrink Mario or potentially kill him outright. This missing classic that only migrated to the West via eShop or older collections is an excellent addition to this package, and will keep testing players that think that they've fully mastered the plumber's play. That's especially true thanks to the differences in gameplay, with Mario being fast, but Luigi being able to jump higher than his brother.
Of course, it wouldn't be a Game & Watch without a true game from that series, and Ball, where players juggle two or three constantly accelerating balls across the screen, will test your reflexes. It's cute, but it's probably not going to keep your attention like the classic NES games will. Finally, it's nice to see that Nintendo invested in the Watch side with platformer inspired clock scenes, and even a hidden song that teaches you to draw Mario. It's great, it's kitschy, and it's a nice extra when you're not playing the game. There's not really a lot of issues with the Game & Watch. It would've been nice if it included Super Mario Bros. 3 or another title, or even some of the other classic Game & Watch LCD games. Similarly, paying $49.99 for these classics may be a bit much given its limited availability (only sold until March 31, 2021) and especially since the games are available on the eShop for a fraction of the price. But if you overlook these issues, Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. is a great way to get a sense of nostalgia in a small, pocket-sized package.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.