Super Mario Bros. X

By: Derek Yu

On: January 6th, 2011

[This is a guest review by Paul Hubans. To submit a guest article for TIGSource, go here.]

When it comes to non-commercial games, fan tributes that recycle the same assets and themes from their commercial counterparts are probably the least appealing. Just when I thought that Super Mario Bros Crossover was the only exception to this rule, I discovered Super Mario Bros. X.

SMBX is a masterfully done mash-up of all of the core SMB titles up to Super Mario World with crossovers from other games like Zelda II, Metroid, and a few others that may surprise you. The game looks and plays just like the games it is based on, and it’s obvious that a lot of care and attention to detail went into making this game.

Perhaps the most compelling feature is the game’s two-player co-op mode that I blew an entire day playing with my roommate. This mode is akin to New Super Mario Bros Wii, but with a brilliant and innovative split screen feature that happens very seamlessly and never manages to feel jarring. When both players are in the same area the screen displays normally, but if they move far enough apart the screen will split either horizontally or vertically depending on the players’ relative locations.

In addition to the story campaign that features over 50 familiar and cleverly designed levels, there is also a battle mode where your objective is to kill your friend three times to win. In both the campaign and versus modes, players choose from five different characters, including the Mario brothers themselves, Toad and Peach from SMB 2, and Link as he appears in Zelda II. The mechanics of these characters behave as they would in their respective games, and there’s no greater feeling than taking down Wart with a few thrusts to the face from Link’s sword.

Packaged with the game is a very robust level editor that allows you to create and edit levels in real time; erase a path straight through levels that prove too difficult to pass or treat yourself to a gratuitous amounts of power-ups and 1-ups. While the game is missing a few obvious power-ups like the star or Mario’s cape, it does feature some very cool new and exclusive power-ups like the Billy Cannon, a portable cannon that your character carries like a turtle shell that fires a barrage of Bullet Bills.

Altogether, Super Mario Bros X is an excellent and highly-polished mash-up that fans will love and everyone can appreciate.

  • Christian Knudsen

    This looks pretty damn impressive… and fun!

  • Stephen

    Getting this onto the HD before it gets lawyerized.

  • Anderson_Lake

    It looks like a fever dream I had when I was eight years old.

  • Jilhear

    The dynamic split screen looks annoying, and potentially dangerous when a new split suddenly throws off your sense of distance.

    It seems like it would interfere with level design as well, as an area built around expecting a full horizontal view may instead be encountered with a half-screen view. (The same is true for vertical, but most action is probably horizontal.)

    The split seems kind of pointless when the screen unsplit offers plenty of space, and zooming out a bit more would probably be acceptable. If there are designs that really benefit from the distances apart allowed by split screen, then a permanent split might be better. (A permanent split would lend itself to expanding the game to more than two players, though that was probably never considered.)

  • Eagle0600

    God damn that music! I remember it but I can't remember from where! (I'm talking about the last one)

  • Eagle0600

    Nevermind, a Youtube comment gave it away when it said all the music was from Kirby. I recall it now.

    God, I loved that game.

  • RazzRox

    I think that's the point — it encourages the players to stay together.

  • rinkuhero

    this is a good game to show people who hate fangames

  • Steveorlando

    Can anyone get their joystick to work? I can't and I'm no good at Mario type games on the keyboard. Looks great though.

  • Kevin Cole

    try Joytokey

  • Hyper Emerson

    I can't run this game. I can open the launcher, but the game itself doesn't work and i have no idea why it wouldn't. Unless the game somehow requires a powerful video card, which i don't have.

  • Kenzyas

    I don't know why you talk about it “theoretically”. I've played 3 entire campaigns with a friend and the splitsceen is fine. Its not perfect or flawless but it really doesn't hamper the gameplay. There are also specific co-op levels where each player starts off in a different part of a level. It's awesome. It's fucking awesome.

    And, really, what's the alternative? The way New Super Mario Bros. does splitscreen? Yeah, right, I'll take dynamic over that any time of the day.

    Also, hallelujah, this game finally starts getting the praise it deserves. :)

  • Phubans

    I don't think Nintendo cracks down on fangames as long as they're not for profit.

  • JasperD

    If by “powerful” you mean “powerful for ten years ago.” You only need a 128mb card to play this game. You can probably find one in the scrap electronics bin at your local Goodwill for a dollar.

  • Sam Baker

    “Only”… Sweet mercy I hope that's sarcasm. The SNES had 128 KB to work with!

  • raigan

    WARNING: the installer for this game tries to also install crap-ware “Nitro PDF Reader”

  • Clint Emsley

    I had an issue with it because my netbook runs at 1024×600; I had to force it into 1024×768…which doesn't make any sense because the game runs at 800×600, but whatever, it worked.

  • rinkuhero

    the snes also used far fewer colors and fewer sprites on screen than this game does, and at a smaller resolution, etc.

  • cou

    My CPU is to fucking slow…..
    (1,6ghz dual, but no true dualcore yet….)

  • Valida

    Thanks for the warning. I'm not downloading it now.

  • anonymouse

    It does offer to install crapware, but all it takes to avoid it is to unmark a checkbox. Not too big a hurdle.

  • raigan

    Yeah, I didn't mean for it to sound like a virus — it's just like Sun packaging Java with an installer for Yahoo Toolbar… come on!

  • JasperD

    It's not a Super Nintendo game. Don't let the 2D aspect fool you. It's a modern PC game. So yes, “only.” You need technology that is at the very least less than a full decade old to play this game… that's hardly a steep requirement.

    *sigh* Why do people always think that 2D means “it should run really fast on crappy hardware?” 2D games nowadays often take just as much VRAM to run as a 3D game. That's because video cards are optimized for 3D, not 2D.

  • Phubans

    It asked me if I wanted to install some app that donates to the ASPCA every time I make an online purchase and it worked on Amazon, no charge to me… Pretty thoughtful of the developer!

  • rinkuhero

    but what if you hate animals, is there a charity for that

  • Guest

    What about that OpenCandy crap? It seems to want to collect info about the games/products you own and “offer” new ones for you to “try” (ie buy). Seems like adware to me. :/

  • heyhey

    also it makes no sense to compare console hardware to pc hardware in terms of numbers because consoles aren't “gaminc pcs”. their hardware structure is completely different.

    also back in those days you had to optimize the hell out of your engine to get your game running at any decent speed. the snes mario games probably used assembly at least in part. these days that kind of insane optimization isn't necessary anymore so game engines are often kind of bloated.

  • mosh

    Might actually try this..

  • TheDustin

    i'll go out on a limb here and say that the game is terrible. it's confused on exactly which Mario game it wants to be — and i'm not just talking about the mish-mash of graphics and sound (i literally cringed when i heard the mario 64 bob-omb music play). it needlessly combines elements of the mario series like an ungainly adolescent frankenstein, and the physics are subtly off in just such a fashion i'd call it the “uncanny valley of gameplay(tm)”. case in point: link. why is he there? his movements don't mesh well with the mario universe, and his 8-bit ass clashes with the rest of the patchwork graphics. the split-screen thing is nice i guess, its implementation is pretty nice. this is all stream of consciousness, but i also have to say that the toad npcs irritated the shit out of me.

    tl;dr alright for gormless heathens, mario weaboos with luigi caps hanging on their dresser drawer will spew inept nerdrage. rom hacks at the very least keep the sublime controls/physics intact.

  • TheDustin

    oh yeah the multiplayer ain't no super mario war.

  • PhasmaFelis

    Nintendo's been pretty cool about not lawyerizing fan games.

    …Though if the dude's actually making money off of it–as implied by the inclusion of adware–that might be a problem.

  • raigan

    I think there are some good additions, like the up/down fireball aiming; the “Get Off My Lawn” level was also pretty funny.

  • True Hitoare

    If you were running it full-screen, then maybe the game requires your screen to be at the same aspect ratio as the game. If you were running windowed, that probably wouldn't actually fit on a screen of the same height anyway, what with the window borders and such. *shrug*

  • Turkfff

    Nearly everything you mention can be fixed by creating your own campaign in the engine. You can disable characters, change the music, and control your campaign's theme/graphics.

    The only real issue you brought up would be the physics but so what. They're actually fairly close especially when compared to other mario fan games. You know you aren't playing a mario game made by nintendo so why are you expecting that? The movement physics certainly aren't bad.

    You sound like somebody who would rather play a hack of super mario world than indulge in some dirty mario goodness. It's just a free fan game. Though I can understand your mindset. I would be the same way if a Metroid fan game came out. I love my Super Metroid rom hacks :)

  • deadeye

    Just started playing this and meh… it's not as good as it looks in the video. The controls and control scheme are just a little too off. Why do you have to press down + run to pick up SMB2 items? And why do you auto-throw them if you let go of the button? And why is the Princess hover ability not on the primary jump, but the secondary one? Poor design choices, imo. SMB2 managed to get all of that right with only two buttons.

  • Schoq

    I multiplayer this is a total blast. Makes me wonder why it took Nintendo so long to get sim multiplayer in a Super Mario game. Technical reasons I guess.

  • Luigifan2010

    Yeah you bet.
    Redigit already said he's not adding the Starman. Go ahead, go on chat and Say “Oh redigit can you please add starman ofgoijg”. You'll get kicked. This is coming from a true blue veteran of the game also. Oh, and If you want the rest of the koopalings, come visit the forums as a man named Valtteri has made them. I've also made some NSMBWii styled ones.