Super Mario Bros NES Review

by | NES

Super Mario Bros NES was first released in North America on October 18, 1985. It was one of the first 8-bit games to be released on the Nintendo Entertainment System. The game was developed by Nintendo and published by Nintendo of America. Super Mario Bros is a platform game in which the player controls Mario, or his brother Luigi, as they travel through the Mushroom Kingdom to rescue Princess Toadstool from Bowser. 

This Mario Bros NES game is considered one of the best games of all time and has been praised for simple gameplay, solid graphics, and recognizable music and is one of the most popular video games of all time and has sold over 40 million copies worldwide. This classic game is worth playing just to see how the Mario franchise gained popularity.

Keep reading our Super Mario Bros NES review to learn more.

Game Story

In this version, the game begins with Mario or Luigi dropping into an 8-bit setting with a blue background and a Goomba sidestepping over to one of the brothers.

Gamers know from subsequent Mario games that the story is about Mario or Luigi receiving a letter from Princess Toadstool asking for help. Bowser has kidnapped her and takes her to his castle in the Mushroom Kingdom. Mario and Luigi set out to rescue her.

Unique weapons

The player can collect power-ups that will help them in their quest. Power-ups include mushrooms that make the player bigger, allowing for an extra hit, or touching a fire flower that gives the player the ability to shoot fireballs and stars that make the player invulnerable.

These powerups become commonplace throughout subsequent Mario games, like Super Mario Bros 2 and Super Mario Bros. 3. Another popular powerup used frequently is star power, though that has undergone plenty of changes and upgrades over the years. 

Game Levels

Super Mario Bros NES has colorful graphics that are faithful to the original Nintendo Entertainment System. The game’s sprites are large and well-detailed and the level design is simple but effective; it provides a good sense of the location. Because of this simplistic yet fun design, it’s considered one of the classics, and favorite games to play on NES.

In this game, the areas are divided into eight worlds, each with four levels. The first seven worlds are based on different locations, such as forests, a desert world, deep ocean, and in later levels the eighth world is Bowser’s castle. The player can access warp zones (via warp pipes) to skip levels and find hidden coins for points or go down the various green pipes to find items.

In the original game, the player had only one screen and background to work with, but in this Super Mario game, however, we have horizontal scrolling and level progression.

Music and General Gameplay Mechanics

Super Mario Bros NES is a platform game in which the player plays one of two playable characters Mario or Luigi as they travel through the Mushroom Kingdom.

The player must overcome obstacles such as enemies, spikes, and pits. Players can earn extra lives by collecting green mushrooms which are hidden in the levels or gathering enough gold coins. Stomping on enemies gives the player points to add to their score, which is visible on the screen.

In this game, the high score serves no major purpose but gaining points comes from pretty much any activity, even high you can jump on the flagpole at the end of each stage.

Despite the age of the game, the controls were pretty solid when compared to modern games. Speaking of controls, they’re very simple with the “A” button used for jumping and the “B” button used for running or shooting fireballs if the player has the power up. On every level, you can find a hidden block that contains assorted items like a green mushroom or invincibility star.

The music is catchy and iconic, which is recognizable even to those who have never played the game. The game’s soundtrack has been praised for its quality despite the limitations of the NES chipset. The sound effects are simple much like the music but effective and the mushroom power-up sounds are still a favorite of mine.

Bosses and Enemies

Super Mario Bros goombahs and koopas are some of the most iconic enemies in video game history. The majority of these bad guys move in simple patterns and will not actually track you once you move past them.

Goombas are one of the most common enemies in the Super Mario Bros series. They are small brown mushrooms with eyes. Goombahs first appeared in Super Mario Bros and have appeared in every main Mario game since then. These foes can be defeated by being stomped on or by being hit with a projectile.

Koopas are turtle-like enemies that come in different colors and have different abilities. The most common type of Koopa is the red Koopa, which can be found on various levels throughout the Super Mario Bros series. Koopas can be defeated by being stomped on or by being hit with a projectile. Rare koopas such as the Hammer Bros can shoot projectiles, but can be defeated in the usual manner although it is difficult to avoid damage unless you have the fire flower.

There are a few other enemies that are seen on specific stages such as lakitu who flies around and buzzy beetle who is armored so he cannot be killed by stomps. Bullet Bill is fired from cannons which you’ll see a lot of in later stages.

The only mega boss you’ll face in the game is King Bowser (AKA King Koopa), who appears at the end of the world after the four levels are completed. This means you’ll face Bowser several times throughout the game, and you’ll end up rescuing the princess only after saving a mushroom person at the end of each castle.

Overall Level of Difficulty and Game Length

Super Mario Bros is not a particularly difficult game, so there isn’t a hard mode selection. Most of the game can be completed by simply jumping and running. However, there are a few challenging sections, such as the castle levels and the last world. The game can be completed in a few hours if you are familiar with the level layout.

One particularly challenging section in the game is with the Hammer Bros who constantly toss hammers non-stop, this part is pretty hard without a few power-ups. There isn’t much replay value once the game is completed unless you enjoy speedrunning the game to quickly beat it.


Super Mario Bros NES is a classic platformer that is still enjoyable to play today. It’s a must-play for any fan of retro video games. It is also a good game for those who are new to the platformer genre. This game is easy to learn and provides a moderate challenge that scales as in the later levels.

The classic graphics, music, and solid gameplay were rather good for its time and make for a great retro gaming experience.

The later Mario games on the Nintendo console carried over some of this series’ mechanics and added new and now familiar powers like warp whistles, the tanooki suit, and the frog suit.

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