[VR Review] The Only Good Virtual Boy Games, Part 6: Mario Clash

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The first Nintendo game I ever played wasn’t for Nintendo, it was for the Atari 2600. Mario Bros was a classic Nintendo arcade title. Not Super Mario Bros, mind you, but the single screen arcade game about jumping at turtles from below the platform they’re on, then knocking them off the top:

However this gameplay doesn’t translate straight across to Virtual Boy, as there is no 3D element. Mario Clash is basically a redesign of the original, classic Mario Bros arcade game such that it makes at least some limited use of the third dimension:

As before, Koopa Troopas and various other baddies come out of the pipes and it’s your job to bop ’em. But this time you do so using their shells, throwing from the background to the foreground or vice versa. As before, when you die you won’t immediately re-enter the level but instead float above it until you hit a button.

…Aaaaand that’s about it. There’s a whopping 99 levels, though the pipe structures and platform locations do differ significantly between them. Still, this is basically no more complex than the 1983 arcade game it’s based off of, and about as complex as a modern casual smartphone game.

This is why Nintendo struggled with the emergence of widespread smartphone gaming. For a long time, that sort of simple, pick up and play game was their bread and butter. Having a million such games (albeit less polished) available on smartphones for free undermined their business model and forced them to step up their game.

Still, that’s for the best. They have come a long way since Game and Watch for example, or 1983 Mario Bros Arcade. I’m giving this one a 6/10 but only barely, because while it’s disappointingly simple, it is also polished and fun.

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