Retro Review – Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (Game Boy)

Mild Spoilers! Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins continues Mario’s portable adventures on the original Game Boy. Like Super Mario Land before it, Super Mario Land 2 is a traditional platforming game where you control Mario in his quest to reclaim his castle that was stolen from him and locked away behind a magical seal. Mario can break the magic seal is by collecting the six golden coins that are guarded by henchman at the end of one of the six Lands that Mario must travel to. Only then can Mario take on the final bad guy and reclaim his castle.

Super Mario Land 2 Mario’s castle

Introducing… Wario:

Making his first appearance in a video game, Super Mario Land 2 introduces Wario to the world. Wario is the ultimate bad guy in this game and is responsible for taking Mario’s castle. Even though Wario started as the final bad guy in Super Mario Land 2, he does have a (somewhat) change of heart and becomes the hero going forward. In doing so Wario launched what would become a spin-off series of games starting with the sequel to this game: Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3.


Super Mario Land 2 takes inspiration from Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World. Wither it’s the world map or the character sprites the designers of Super Mario Land 2 definitely went back to the drawing board. Some enemy designs are easily recognizable for long time Mario fans while at the same time introducing many new enemies for Mario to encounter. In a first for the portable Mario series Super Mario Land 2 lets the player travel both left and right in a level as well as up and down. This is a departure from Super Mario Land as well as the original Super Mario Bros. where you can only travel left and the level layout never moves up or down.

This game even has secret endings that grant access to secret levels. In a questionable choice though if you die before completing the secret level you are sent back to the original level. You are not given an immediate second chance to replay the secret level. You must first re-play and finish using the secret exit on the original level to get the second chance at the secret level. However there is one secret level that this does not apply too. This specific level acts more as a secret path to skip other levels within the Land.

Mario controls like Mario should for a 2D Mario game. He runs, jumps, swims, and glides to the end of each level while defeating enemies and avoiding obstacles. Controlling Mario will feel very normal to anyone that has played his other 2D adventures.

There are a few notable changes to traditional items in Super Mario Land 2. In a first for the series coins do not provide additional lives. You are able to collect up to 999 coins and use them in a special mini-game level that provides power-ups and additional lives. Also, additional lives are not the traditional green mushroom. Like Super Mario Land before it additional lives are received by finding hearts. A player can receive either a 1-up or 3-up heart. The 3-up hearts are generally reserved for the bonus mini-game found at the end of each level and the special mini-game level.

Super Mario Land 2 Magic Carrot power up

Power Ups:

Super Mario Land 2 had its share of recognizable power-ups from the Mario series. The Super Mushroom, Fire Flower, and Starman all make a return for Super Mario Land 2. These power ups work in the same fashion as they do in prior Mario games: the Super Mushroom makes you bigger, the Fire Flower lets you throw fireballs at enemies, and Starman grants you temporary invincibility. In a first for the series when Mario gets a Fire Flower he gets a feather in his hat rather than changing color. New to Super Mario Land 2 is the Magic Carrot.

Bonus outfit mention (spoiler for another Mario game): Even though it is not a traditional power up, if you have been enjoying all the different costumes that Mario wears in Super Mario Odyssey, you can thank Super Mario Land 2 for the astronaut outfit! (End of the other Mario game spoiler)

Super Mario Land 2 6 Golden Coins

Final thoughts:

Super Mario Land 2 is an excellent portable Mario game. It does a great job of re-using some of the familiar enemies/power-ups/items while introducing a bunch of new things, and Wario, to the series. The game is a little on the short side, it is only 32 levels long, but this also adds to the enjoyment of the game. Unlike Super Mario Land before it, where you had to play through the entire game in one sitting, Super Mario Land 2 saves your progress after each level you beat. It is the perfect game if you have a short trip and want to play a familiar, yet different, Mario adventure.

Please Note: Because the game was reviewed on the Game Boy Advance SP it automatically added color to Super Mario Land 2. This is a similar colorization that can be found if you play this game on a Super Game Boy for the Super Nintendo.

Released on: Nintendo Game Boy

Reviewed on: Nintendo Game Boy Advance SP

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Matt Cudney is a gamer Dad who likes to write about video games and draw things from time to time. He can be found online here:

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