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A Time Limit (or simply Time) is a staple of the main Mario franchise platformer games, and its basic purpose is to notify the player of how much time is allotted to complete a level or task; if the timer reaches zero, the player loses a life regardless of power ups, including invincibility from a Super Star (and if time runs out when the player has no more lives left, they receive a Game Over). A timer's count is approximately 0.6 or 0.7 seconds in most games.
When the time limit decreases to below 100 seconds, the "hurry up" jingle plays to warn that the player is running low on time and the level's music plays at a faster speed. 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, and also beeps for every second at the last 10 seconds.
In most games, it is impossible to increase a level's time limit. However, some games including Super Mario World, Super Mario 3D Land, and Super Mario 3D World feature a collectible such as the + Clock that allow the player to increase it.
Time limits additionally appear in several other games such as in the Mario Kart series, Mario Party series, Super Smash Bros. series, and various Mario sports games where they function as a simple timer for a given game session.
Super Mario series
Super Mario Bros.
Most stages in this game have a time limit of 400, which is 160 seconds in real time (2 minutes 40 seconds). Athletic levels and castles have a time limit of 300 (120 seconds in real time).
Super Mario Bros. 3
In Super Mario Bros. 3, most stages have a time limit of 300 seconds, due to the game having much shorter levels. World 6-5, World 8-, and World 8- are the only stages that had a time limit of 400 seconds. All of the Hammer Bros. Enemy Courses and some very short stages, such as World 2-, have a time limit of 200 seconds.
Super Mario World
In Super Mario World, most levels have a 300-second time limit. Some levels, like most Ghost Houses (bar the Choco-Ghost House and Valley Ghost House), Yoshi's Island 2, Donut Plains 1, Donut Plains 2, and 2 Morton's Castle have 400 seconds. Switch Palaces, the Top Secret Area (in the GBA version only), and Funky have only 200 seconds; it is possible to increase Funky's time limit by having Yoshi eat a Green Berry.
New Super Mario Bros.
Starting with New Super Mario Bros., time limits vary depending on the level type. Short levels have time limits of 300 seconds, most normal stages and Ghost Houses have a time limit of 400 seconds, while longer levels, fortresses and castles have a time limit of 500 seconds.
In this game, Bowser's Castle has a time limit of 800 seconds.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii
The Time Limit reappears in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, where time limits once again depend on the level type. Bowser's Castle has a time limit of 700 seconds, which carries on to most other versions of the level in the New Super Mario Bros. series.
Additionally, respawning at a Checkpoint Flag after losing a life causes the Time Limit to be reduced. This behavior carries on to future games, excluding the Super Mario Maker series.
Super Mario 3D Land
In Super Mario 3D Land, the icon for the Time Limit is a + Clock. Unlike most other games, where a bonus is applied to the score based on remaining time when reaching the end of the level, a bonus is added to the coin count.
The Time Limit can be increased by collecting a + Clock. The amount added depends on whether it is a cyan clock (10 seconds) or green clock (100 seconds).
In this game, the time limit's indicator starts to glow red when the timer falls below 100 seconds. When there are only 10 seconds remaining, the indicator beeps every second.
New Super Mario Bros. 2
The Time Limit reappears in New Super Mario Bros. 2. The time limit's indicator glows red under 100 seconds and beeps every second for the last 10 seconds, just like in Super Mario 3D Land.
New Super Mario Bros. U / New Super Luigi U / New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe
Every level in New Super Luigi U starts at 100 seconds. 100 additional seconds are added to the timer when entering a boss door, while 250 additional seconds are added before fighting Bowser. Each in-game count lasts one second in New Super Luigi U.
If one of the characters being played is Nabbit or Toadette in New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, an additional 100 seconds will be added to the timer. If both characters are present, no additional time bonus is given.
Super Mario 3D World
Super Mario Maker / Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS
The Time Limit reappears in Super Mario Maker and Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS, where each count lasts exactly one second. The time limit of a level can be set in the editor from 10 to 500 counts and can only be a multiple of 10.
Super Mario Maker 2
The Time Limit reappears in Super Mario Maker 2. Like previous games in the Super Mario Maker series, each in-game count lasts exactly one second. In the online multiplayer mode of this game, if the time limit reaches zero, all players restart the course in Multiplayer Co-op, while in Multiplayer Versus, it is considered a tie.
In the Super Mario 3D World style, the indicator glows red when the timer is below 100 seconds but does not beep for the last ten seconds.
Mario & Wario