Time Limit

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The time limit in Super Mario 3D World.

A Time Limit (or simply Time) is instituted in almost every platformer game, and its basic purpose is to notify the player of how much time is allotted to complete a level or task. It is a prominent element in the Mario platformer games. When the time limit decreases to below 100 counts of the timer (in many Mario platformers, an in-game "second" is not actually 1 second, instead being about 0.6 or 0.7 seconds. In Super Mario Bros., an in-game "second" lasts only 0.4 seconds), the "hurry up" jingle traditionally plays to warn that the player is low on time and the level's music plays at a rushed tempo.

While the player is in a level, the time limit on the HUD decreases at a steady rate until it reaches zero. If the player does not finish the level when time is up, they automatically lose a life and have to start the level over (or receive a Game Over when they have no more to lose). Once the player finishes a level, the remaining time is multiplied by a number and then added to the player's score (or coin total in Super Mario 3D Land). With few exceptions (e.g. in Super Mario World, Super Mario 3D Land, and Super Mario 3D World), it is impossible to increase a level's time limit. In Super Mario 3D Land, New Super Mario Bros. 2, and Super Mario 3D World, the time limit glows red when it goes below 100.


In addition to the platformers, the Time Limit appears in various spin-offs.

Mario Kart series[edit]

The time limit in a Balloon Battle as seen in Mario Kart 8.
The screen displayed when time expires in Mario Kart Arcade GP DX (US version 1.04). This is later followed by the usual race results screen.

In the Mario Kart series, the time limit is used for Battle mode games like Balloon Battle and Coin Runners. In addition, the time limit also appears when a race is about to begin. When Lakitu comes in with the traffic light, the timer will start once the first red light comes on and when it hits zero, the light will turn green and the race begins. Some missions in Mario Kart DS also have a time limit in Mission Mode. There is also a 10-minute time limit in Mario Kart 8. All circuits have a time limit in the Arcade GP series.

Super Smash Bros. series[edit]

In the Super Smash Bros. series, the time limit appears during a standard match. The time limit varies depending on which mode the player uses. The timer starts when the announcer signals when to start the match. When time runs out, the match will end and a winner is announced but if the score is tied when it hits zero, then the match will go to Sudden Death.

Mario Party series[edit]

The time limit also appeared in the Mario Party series during a minigame. The amount varies on which type of minigame the player will participate in. When the time limit reaches five seconds, it will pulse when it counts down to zero and since Mario Party 4, the timer will also turn red.

Games in which the time limit appears[edit]


  • In newer Mario games, if Mario loses a life after hitting a Midway Point, the time limit will be reduced when he restarts the level from that point.
  • A glitch in Super Mario World involves letting the timer drop below 100 to make the music speed up, then using Yoshi to eat a green berry to bring the time limit back above 100. When the timer reaches 100 again, the music will speed up a second time; this can be repeated several times to make the game music play very fast.
  • In Mario & Wario, a variation of the usual timer called the Time Gauge (タイムゲージ[1]), which is represented by a bar rather than numbers.
  • There was originally going to be a time limit on the Game Boy Horror in Luigi's Mansion, indicating how much time to save Mario is left, or the timer for the E3 demo.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mario & Wario instruction booklet, pages 6 & 10.