Super Mario Bros. Game & Watch Review

Handheld head bopping from the past.


Uh, there's not much of a story here. As best I can gather from the game (I have no box or book) it's the same as the NES game of the same name. Heaps of princesses have been captured and you need to rescue them. The same old Super Mario Bros. we all know.

Game Statistics

  • Play as Mario.
  • 1 player game.

Game Design
Each stage is split into eight levels, which repeat over and over, however they include a further distance to travel and some hazards you must avoid. In most cases, the screen scrolls while you travel towards the end of the level, marked by your distance from it at the top of screen. On the way there are things like moving platforms, and trick paths that can send you to your doom. Other stages are a single screen affair, where you have to solve a puzzle as to what you need to do, and the final stage for each level is a collection of these. Being an LCD game, you move in blocks, each block dropping the distance you need to go by one. As you progress through the levels, obstacles like Bullet-O-Bills (I think) and hammer dropping Lakitus appear, making the progression more difficult.

Okay, scoff if you will, but remember that this game is smaller than a GBA, and made way back in 1988. It's just your general LCD fare, although this one doesn't have the 'animating' arms or legs of other games of the ilk. You can't really judge this kind of game on its graphics though.

You should be able to guess this one. Beeps, beeps, and more beeps. There are a few traditional Mario Bros tunes converted into beep format which last about 3 seconds each which are instantly recognisable, but other than that its a beep for moving, a rising beep for jumping (hard to explain) and a beep for the screen scrolling. Remember, this is 1988.

There's three buttons: Game, Alarm, and Jump/Time, as well as our great friend, the D-Pad. In the general, horizontal-platformed levels, all you need to use is a combination of left/right and jump, however on the flying/swimming level (who knows which?!) the up and down keys are involved, as you navigate through the maze of vertical walls in your path. Basically it's simple, effective and fun.

Well, in the later levels, some of the best satisfaction available in the game is to dodge a Bullet-O-Bill coming from your right, and a hammer dropping from above at the same time, but of course it's the finishing of each eight-part stage that's the greatest. There's something about knowing that you can beat level 1, 2, 3, 4 and so on that leaves you feeling great.

Replay Value/Game Length
Very long for its time, and more difficult than most games were back then (and now), this game will definitely see you playing for a good while. And its sheer, addictive scrolling is enough to keep you coming back for more. Addiction was definitely more important back then than it is now, and it shows in this game.

It was a great game back in '88, and its still a great game now. Snap one up immediately.

Game Design 7.1
 Mechanics 9.5
 Innovation 8.0
 Originality 7.5
 Extras 3.5
 Depth 7.0
Graphics N/A
 Character/Animation N/A
 Environment N/A
 Framerate N/A
Sound 7.0
 Music 7.0
 Sound FX/Voice N/A
Control 10
 During Play 10
 Menus N/A
 Functionality 10
Satisfaction 9.3
 Challenge 9.5
 Fun-Factor 9.0
Replay Value/Game Length 9.5

Review by Rago

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Box art provided by Fredrik's Game & Watch Collection.

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