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Hearts are recurring items in gaming, including the Mario games. They can usually be amassed to gain more hit points or chances.
Game & Watch Gallery series
Hearts first appear in the modern Game & Watch Gallery series. They can usually be obtained by getting 200, 500, and 700 score points, but they will only appear if the player has one or two misses. Obtaining it will remove a miss from the screen.
Paper Mario series
Hearts later appear in Paper Mario. After defeating enemies in battle, Mario and his partners may find Hearts left behind in the overworld. Each Heart found will restore 1 HP to Mario and whichever partner is active at the time. It returns with the same purpose in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door.
In Paper Mario: Sticker Star, they are made of cardboard and replenish 5 HP of Mario's health, and are found in other places such as behind bushes. In Paper Mario: Color Splash, each regular heart restores 40 HP. One heart is also found at the Prisma Fountain for every Big Paint Star retrieved; when they're all returned, the fountain they fill heals Mario instead.
Super Mario Advance
Hearts appear in Super Mario Advance, replacing the Small Hearts that appeared in Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic and Super Mario Bros. 2; they are now much more common, usually appearing when a thrown object takes out two enemies in a row, from enemies defeated by Shells, and from Mega Guys and Giant Ninjis thrown to the ground or beaten. They could also be found floating in midair (even in boss arenas) and plucked from grass; the latter were called Heart Radishes.
Hearts also appear in the GBA version of Mario Bros. included with the Super Mario Advance series and Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. They are one of three items that can appear from an Egg in a garbage can, which is exclusive to 2-Player Vs. Mode; if found, they work as they do in Super Mario Bros. 2, turning Small Mario into Super Mario.
In Luigi's Mansion, hearts come in two sizes. The smaller restores 10 HP and the bigger restores 50 HP. In the PAL version of the hidden mansion, hearts are quite rarer.
Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
In Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, hearts are the special item of Princess Peach and Princess Daisy, but Petey Piranha and King Boo can also use the item due to them being able to use any special item in the game. When used, two small pink hearts will appear and circle around the kart. These hearts will protect the kart from up to two obstacles or weapons on the course. The racer can then use the new item as he or she pleases. However, Spiny Shells, Chain Chomps, and Bob-omb explosions will penetrate the protective barrier. Lightning attacks and falling off the course destroy both circling hearts. Also, any fireballs received do not multiply by five when thrown. If a green fireball hits a heart, the icon for the green fireball received is a red fireball.
Hearts reappear in Yoshi Topsy-Turvy. They are small hearts that restore one point of Yoshi's health meter when swallowed. There is a rare variation of these hearts called Big Heart, which restores all of the health back.
Wario Land series
Donkey Kong series
The health of the player is measured in heart points in several Donkey Kong games, namely New Play Control! Donkey Kong Jungle Beat and every Donkey Kong Country game from Donkey Kong Country Returns onward. Enemies and obstacles can take away one heart from the Kongs' health meter. Heart points can be restored by collecting heart items, found throughout the course of most levels, where they can be encountered either floating in mid-air or inside containers and Item Handles. In the latter case, if the Kongs are already fully healthy, they might obtain a banana instead.
In the Donkey Kong Country games, an alternative way to regain health is by breaking a DK Barrel. Also, during boss battles, should the Kongs lack hearts, they can replenish them by simply dealing damage to the boss enemy and collecting the heart that appears. Hearts are completely removed during Mirror Mode in Returns and Hard Mode in Tropical Freeze, thus making heart points impossible to restore.
Super Mario Odyssey
Hearts make their first appearance in the Super Mario series in Super Mario Odyssey, where they are red with black eyes. Each heart restores a wedge of Mario's health. Another item known as the Life-Up Heart, which works like the Life Mushroom does in the Super Mario Galaxy games, also appears.
Similar-shaped items known as 1 UP Hearts previously appeared in the Super Mario Land series and Donkey Kong, awarding Mario with an extra life; 3-Up Hearts in Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 gave 3 extra lives.
Names in other languages