12 April 2017
Super Mario: Level Up! sees the video game's cast of characters competing to climb some grassy stairs fastest
Both board games and video games are going through somewhat of a golden age at the moment, and when the two mediums have come together in the form of recent spin-offs such as XCOM, Doom or even Mechs vs Minions we’ve been blessed with some truly excellent experiences on the tabletop.
Sadly, that doesn’t look like it will be the case with the newly announced Super Mario: Level Up!, a board game based on Nintendo’s iconic Italian plumber created by USAopoly, which has previously applied countless pop culture licences – including Mario – to board games such as Monopoly (obviously), chess, Risk and Munchkin.
From what we can tell from the back-of-box blurb, players simply vote on which characters they want to see progress up the tiered 3D game board, and that decides who ascends to the next step of the setup, which curiously seems to count 1-2-3-4-5-10 – we'd guess it's the points earned for reaching each layer. Who knows, as we don’t have anything more to really go on when it comes to gameplay.
As in the platformer, there’s the chance to pick up power-ups from ? blocks – or you might end up getting knocked down a level by enemies such as goombas, koopa shells or Bullet Bill. There’ll also be coins to collect (cha-ching!), but it’s not clear whether getting the most coins or reaching the top of the hill wins you the game.
As well as Mario, the game includes standees for Luigi, Bowser, Bowser Jr., Princess Peach, Daisy, Yoshi, Wario and Waluigi, and the cards have a load of references to the 30-plus-year-old game series, including Bob-ombs, Super Stars, mushrooms and pipes.
The game is for three to six players and costs $20 (£16).
In perhaps good or bad news, it’s actually exclusive to the US and Canada for now – so at least you won’t have to worry about receiving it as an unwanted Christmas present.
USAopoly is well known for its oft-criticised rebrandings of classic board games, but it’s making a move into original titles too, such as Infection at Outpost 31, the social deduction game inspired by John Carpenter’s classic horror flick The Thing and co-created with pop culture studio Mondo – we only hope it’s as good as it sounds, rather than another half-hearted cash-in.