As Nintendo’s first attempt to play around with Super Mario Bros. on a handheld system, Super Mario Land was an awfully experimental little title. It has its charms, but there’s not a lot that feels distinctly Mario. There aren’t many Nintendo systems that only host one adventure for our favorite plumber! Super Mario Land 2 set out to be much more like a Mario game.

With an art style based around Super Mario World, Super Mario Land 2 set out to be quite different from the mold. Whereas every previous game focused on a damsel in distress being kidnapped, Mario Land 2 sees the dastardly Wario kicking Mario out of his castle and magically locking the gates. The only way to break the curse is to collect the six golden coins held by bosses across the game!

Super Mario Land 2 doesn’t feel as fun to control as 3 or World, but it’s a large leap above Super Mario Bros or Land. It features thirty-two levels across six zones. There are even some secret exits to find and minigames to master! Each zone is unlike anything you’ve ever seen in a Mario game. Even Tatanga, from Super Mario Land, returns as a boss! You’ll see stages based upon LEGO brick and enemies dressed up as Jason Vorhees. There’s more boss variety here than the average 2D Mario platformer circa 2009!

Super Mario Land 2 will still only take you a day, but a day is a lot longer than thirty minutes. For a fan looking for something with a little extra spice, I don’t think you can go wrong with Super Mario Land 2. I wouldn’t exactly recommend hunting down a physical cartridge, but there isn’t a good way to play the game on the Nintendo Switch! I hope they fix that soon. Super Mario Land 2 isn’t the best, but it’s a cut above the Gameboy’s rest!

Screenshots sourced from Nintendo Life