Metal ball

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"Iron ball" redirects here. For information about the recurring spiked ball also referred to as an iron ball, see Spike Ball. For the projectile from King K. Rool's Blunderbuss (referred to as an iron ball in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate), see Kannonball.
Metal ball
A Metal ball as seen in Mario Kart 7
A pinball texture from Mario Kart 7
First appearance Super Mario World (1990)
Latest appearance Mario Kart Tour (Bowser Tour) (2023)
Effect A metal ball attempts to roll into the player, resulting in that player losing health.

Metal balls, also referred to as iron balls, bowling balls, and pinballs,[1][2] are large obstacles that appear throughout the Super Mario franchise, commonly rolling around the area to hinder the player's progress, not unlike rolling boulders. They debut in Super Mario World as Big Steelies,[3] in which they are used in a final boss attack. They also return in Super Mario 64 as an uphill hazard.


Super Mario series[edit]

Super Mario World / Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2[edit]

Big Steelies, also referred to as Bowling Balls[4] (also uncapitalized as bowling balls),[5] giant steel balls,[6] and big rollers,[7] first appear in the second phase of the final battle with Bowser in Super Mario World (and reappear in its reissue). Bowser drops Big Steelies from his Koopa Clown Car, and Mario or Luigi can jump over them to avoid getting hit. Mario or Luigi can also spin-jump on them without getting hurt. A Big Steely can be destroyed if Mario or Luigi uses his sliding cape attack against it using a Cape Feather; however, a glitched sprite is displayed if this happens.

Super Mario 64 / Super Mario 64 DS[edit]

In Super Mario 64 and Super Mario 64 DS, iron balls[8][9] are also referred to as rolling balls,[10] cannonballs,[11] or simply balls.[12] They appear on the Bob-omb Battlefield; Tall, Tall Mountain; and Tiny-Huge Island as an uphill hazard. Several more also appear in the DS version's Battle Fort. In the remake, Wario has the ability to destroy iron balls by punching or kicking them, and players equipped with a mushroom can destroy them simply by walking into them.

Super Mario World television series[edit]

In the Super Mario World episode "Send in the Clown," King Koopa attempts to defeat Mario in one scene by dropping a Big Steely on him, but Mario dodges it. King Koopa, with the same method, is shown dropping a Big Steely after Yoshi hits him with his Mechakoopas. Mario, however, uses a golf club and knocks the Big Steely at him.

Super Smash Bros. Melee[edit]

Metal balls are mentioned in Super Smash Bros. Melee in the Koopa Clown Car trophy, where they are described as "bowling balls."

Mario & Luigi series[edit]

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga / Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions[edit]

In Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, an iron ball (erroneously called a "rock") appears during the Jellyfish Sisters' tutorial on Dashing, where it must be pushed with the ability. Later, some appear around Gwarhar Lagoon's exterior in timed courses involving the Dash.

Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story / Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story + Bowser Jr.'s Journey[edit]

In Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, iron balls appear in multiple locations. In Cavi Cape, Bowser must punch a falling one in order to knock it into a button; in the game's remake, these are replaced with barrels. Later, Midbus crushes Bowser with a massive iron ball (which Midbus dubs the "Super Ultra Wonder Ultimate Ruthless Great Iron Ball"), prompting Mario and Luigi to visit the Arm Center one last time. At Blubble Lake, Bowser can punch some iron balls found on spinning mechanisms to push himself into the lake.

Mario & Luigi: Dream Team / Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam[edit]

There are Hammers called the Iron Ball Hammer and Iron Ball Hammer DX in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team and Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, which sometimes cause an iron ball to fall onto a random enemy after an "Excellent" rating is achieved. In the former game, they have a studded appearance, though they are smooth in the latter. The latter game also has them appear in the mission Hammer, Bros!, where they are referred to in localizations as cannonballs.

Mario Kart series[edit]

Metal balls are obstacles in Waluigi Pinball in Mario Kart DS, Mario Kart 7, Mario Kart Tour, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. In Mario Kart Tour, they also appear in GBA Bowser's Castle 4. They roll around all throughout the course, and they flip over any player that drives into them. On the pinball table section of the track, metal balls are bounced around by bumpers and flippers. In GBA Bowser's Castle 4, they are spawned by a flying dispenser, and bounce around in a straight path. In Mario Kart DS, they are 2D sprites that always face the camera, while in Mario Kart 7, Mario Kart Tour, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, they are 3D models. In Mario Kart Tour, metal balls show a reflection of the courses they appear in; in DS Waluigi Pinball, the reflection is of the pinball table section of the track, regardless of where the metal balls are, whereas in GBA Bowser's Castle 4, the reflection is more appropriately that of the one straight path they appear on. They are black in Mario Kart DS and Mario Kart 7; however, they are gray in Mario Kart Tour and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

Mario Sports Mix[edit]

Pinballs also appear in Mario Sports Mix on the Waluigi Pinball court, which is based on the Mario Kart course of the same name. Here, they are released onto the court by a giant robotic Waluigi and then continuously roll around the area, hitting bumpers and walls. When they collide with a player, they push them back and stun them for a few moments while also becoming faster. They keep their momentum if they hit a bumper, but they revert to their original speed if they hit a solid wall instead. If a pinball ends up in the hole at the top middle of the court, another one appears shortly afterwards.

Unused appearances[edit]

In Super Mario Maker, graphics for iron balls exist unused in the Super Mario Bros. game style's object graphics. However, the iron ball's sprite is green instead of dark gray, making it resemble the Big Bubble from Super Mario World.


Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese 鉄球[13][14]/てっきゅう
Iron ball
Chinese (Simplified) 铁球
Tiě Qiú
Iron Ball
Chinese (Traditional) 鐵球
Tiě Qiú
Iron Ball
French Boule de métal (Mario Kart Tour) Metal ball
German Eisenkugel
Metallkugel (Mario Kart Tour)
Iron ball
Metal ball
Italian Palla di ferro
Sfera di ferro[citation needed]
Iron ball
Iron sphere
Korean 철퇴
Cheol toe
Iron mace
Portuguese Bola de metal (Mario Kart Tour) Metal ball
Russian Стальной шар
Stalnoi shar
Steel Ball
Spanish Bola de metal (Mario Kart Tour) Metal ball


  1. ^ "If you attack a rolling pinball, you can divert it away from you." — Mario Sports Mix, in-game description for the Waluigi Pinball court
  2. ^ von Esmarch, Nick. Mario Kart 7 PRIMA Official Game Guide. Page 130. ROAD HAZARDS section. "PINBALLS: These giant pinballs will topple your kart if you let them. Keep your distance!"
  3. ^ M. Arakawa. Nintendo Mario Mania Player's Guide. Page 52.
  4. ^ "Take it and get ready for Bowser's Bowling Balls." — M. Arakawa. Nintendo Mario Mania Player's Guide. Page 148.
  5. ^ "As he hovers overhead, Bowser throws gigantic bowling balls and handfuls of Mechakoopas." — M. Arakawa. Nintendo Mario Mania Player's Guide. Page 52.
  6. ^ "The giant steel balls that Bowser throws from the Clown Ship are impossible to beat." — M. Arakawa. Nintendo Mario Mania Player's Guide. Page 52.
  7. ^ "He'll toss out two of these big rollers, then a pair of Mecha Koopas." — M. Arakawa. Nintendo Mario Mania Player's Guide. Page 148.
  8. ^ M. Arakawa. Super Mario 64 Player's Guide. Pages 106, 107, 109 and 110.
  9. ^ Super Mario 64 DS internal object name (IRONBALL)
  10. ^ M. Arakawa. Super Mario 64 Player's Guide. Page 101.
  11. ^ Nintendo Magazine System (AU) Issue #52, pages 45 and 46.
  12. ^ M. Arakawa. Super Mario 64 Player's Guide. Page 19
  13. ^ 「任天堂公式ガイドブック スーパーマリオワールド」 (Nintendo Kōshiki Guidebook – Super Mario World), page 124.
  14. ^ Shogakukan. 2015. Super Mario Bros. Hyakka: Nintendo Kōshiki Guidebook, Super Mario 64 section, page 92.