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Super Mario Labyrinth sends a plumber-themed board game classic stateside this month

The eternal hero needs rescuing this time.

Family board game Super Mario Labyrinth has been slated for a US release, bringing a Mushroom Kingdom twist to a formula that’s nearly as old as Nintendo’s flagship video game hero.

Publisher Ravensburger announced recently that Super Mario Labyrinth would be released to retailers and online stores in North America on September 8th, though it is already available in Europe.

The classic Labyrinth structure remains largely unchanged in this new themed edition - two to four players move throughout an ever-shifting collection of tiles in search of treasures - or in this case well known characters such as Peach, Bowser and Donkey Kong. The player who returns the most friends to their initial position wins, but the knotted passageways tumble and change on every turn and make returning by the same path nearly impossible.

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Each player will knock one tile from the board as part of their turn, shunting that entire row and whoever happens to be in the way into a new orientation. The game is designed for families and younger children, but it's not difficult to imagine more vicious playgroups putting the metaphorical screws to each other whenever possible.

For its $34.99 price tag, the box’s contents may seem a bit underwhelming. Players are represented by simple wooden tokens, seeing as how all the trademarked characters begin the game lost in the labyrinth and the simple tiles sport a brick block motif immediately recognisable to fans of the long running platformer. The design is cute, and Labyrinth has never been an overly complicated title, but those hoping for more than printed art of notable Nintendo mainstays should temper their expectations.

The Super Mario brand is no stranger to tabletop adaptations. Beyond the almost obligatory Monopoly edition, the red-hatted hero has graced versions of Jenga, card game Uno and most recently The Game of Life. Video game universes actually have a fairly rich history as fodder for boxed adaptations and tabletop RPGs. Dicebreaker’s list of the best video game board games reach well beyond wallpapered Milton Bradley mainstays.

Ravensburger publishes a broad range of board games, puzzles and other recreational activities, but is known in the tabletop space for handling well loved titles such as the medieval territory game The Castles of Burgundy and Andreas Seyfarth’s Puerto Rico. The company recently told The Atlantic that a new version will be released in 2022 that more thoughtfully handles the game’s overt colonialist themes.

Super Mario Labyrinth is currently available to pre-order through digital marketplaces such as Amazon, ahead of its September 8th release date.

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