An edutainment title starring Nintendo's best known game character and friends, Mario's Time Machine features colorful graphics, fun historical factoids from the various eras, but is ultimately bogged down with frustrating action sequences that have little educational value. In his latest evil scheme, Bowser has stolen 14 important items from the past and has placed them in his museum, guarded by Koopas. Bowser then captures Yoshi and before Mario can rescue him, he must find the stolen items and return them to their proper places in history.
Geared toward young children, Mario's Time Machine is set in a museum with eight doors. You can enter the first seven in any order, each of which leads to a side-scrolling world with two of the items hidden in them. After finding an item, you can use a time machine to go back to that item's correct time period and return it to the right place. Once you put all fourteen items in the right place at the right time, you can enter the 8th door at the end and face off against Bowser. The problem is that to get to these items, you must negotiate a series of mini arcade games, each of which isn't that much fun to play. On the prehistorical level, for example, all you need to do is keep moving and jumping to avoid hazardous material from Pterodactyls in the sky, and animals on the ground. Not a task worthy of Mario, to be sure, and unlike the famous Nintendo games, these games get repetitive and boring pretty fast.
Overall, kids who love Mario will probably enjoy Time Machine for a few minutes before realizing that they're neither having a lot of fun, nor are learning anything exciting. Software Toolworks' other Mario titles, Mario is Missing (which is aimed at older kids), and Mario's Early Years series (aimed at younger kids) are much better than this average underdog.Reviewed by: Underdogs