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Video Game / Mario Pinball Land

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It's Super Mario 64 with flippers!

Mario Pinball Land (also known as Super Mario Ball in Japanese and European languages) is a "pinball adventure" game for Nintendo's Game Boy Advance, starring the world-famous plumber. It was developed by Fuse Games, who (as Cunning Developments) previously created the critically-acclaimed Pro Pinball series of Digital Pinball Tables.

In Mario Pinball Land, Koopa King Bowser has used a hijacked carnival gadget to kidnap Princess Peach (again), so Mario gives chase using the same gadget. Since the invention smushes people into living pinballs, Mario must now bounce, roll, and smash his way past Bowser's obstacles, collecting Stars to confront various Bosses until he can unlock the final confrontation with the Koopa King. Fortunately, Mario can use various power-ups to help in his quest, and Yoshi's eggs are sometimes available for multiball action.

Game-wise, Mario Pinball Land is divided into more than 30 screen-sized pinball tables, many of which are connected to each other by various doors and chutes. As with Fuse's Pro Pinball games, each table uses pre-rendered graphics and sprites, making this one of the most beautiful Game Boy Advance titles. Unfortunately, the game received mixed reception from most players; while Pinball Land is fun and not too difficult, it is also relatively short, and the biggest challenge is the game's annoying tendency to completely reset a table's status if Mario leaves it even for a moment.

Mario Pinball Land demonstrates the following tropes:

  • Ability Required to Proceed: The beehives, an igloo, and a hole inside a pyramid all require Mario to use a Mini Mushroom and shrink himself before he can enter them.
  • Be the Ball: The main premise of the game is to be a living pinball.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: The Carnival Table features a haunted house with Big Boo as the boss.
  • Boss-Arena Idiocy: These three bosses would be unbeatable if:
    • The Cheep Cheep Pufferfish did not stay in an area that had Bob-ombs.
    • King Tut did not have growing pillars in his tomb.
    • Bowser did not have Thwomps who can be pulled up and be dropped with two wheels and a switch.
  • Boss Room: Boss rooms differ from the other rooms by not resetting if Mario fails to collect the key.
  • Bottomless Pit Rescue Service: The pits are not bottomless, but still, the blue pipes keep Mario from falling off the screen.
  • Cap: 35 Stars to collect.
  • Fake Difficulty: Comes from the game resetting a table's status whenever Mario leaves it. You can clear a playfield's enemies and have a star waiting, then get an unlucky bounce that sends Mario out of a door to a different table — and when you return to the original field, you have to fight the enemies all over again.
  • Guide Dang It!: Frosty Frontier has a star which does not require defeating every enemy on the screen, instead Mario has to switch out Shy Guys so that all four have the same color.
  • Homing Projectile: King Tut shoots balls that will turn Mario mini if he is hit by one of them.
  • Hornet Hole: The two beehives on the Grass Table.
  • Interface Screw: Bowser can disable your flippers.
  • Invincibility Power-Up: The Super Star grants invincibility.
  • Pinball Scoring: Each world except the carnival has a jackpot meter (indicated by the Gold Yoshi Egg), which increases by the stars and points collected in each world. Bowser's Castle's jackpot is based on the overall game instead, and it can reach up to 100 million points.
  • Pinball Spin-Off: While most Mario games do not revolve around pinball, this one is an exception.
  • Superboss: Harder versions of the regular bosses are available if you use the two rooms next to Bowser, which their star requirements is higher than Bowser himself (he requires 15 stars out of 35).
  • Suspend Save: Turning the system off before saving will reset the game back to the beginning.
  • Tick Tock Tune: The ticking tune plays during the red coin challenges.
  • Time Trial: A Time Attack mode is available after playing through the game's first few tables.
  • Transformation Trinket: The Mini Mushroom and Super Mushroom, which temporarily makes Mario smaller or larger, respectively.
  • Turns Red: Bowser curls up into a ball in his second phase and must be pushed with the flippers to slam him through the castle walls.
  • Under the Sea: One of the areas on the Ice Table takes place underwater. This is where the Porcupuffer is fought.

Alternative Title(s): Super Mario Ball