Part of what makes Super Mario games work is how they feel. The tight controls give you a handle on everything Mario is doing, whether that’s jumping across a ledge or stomping on a bad guy. It feels precise. Jelly Mario, a free browser game from developer Stefan Hedman, most definitely does not.
Instead, Jelly Mario takes one of the most iconic video games and completely upends it by messing with the physics. The game in its current state consists of the first two levels of the original Super Mario Bros. But instead of hopping around with balletic grace, Mario floats about like a confused jellyfish. You play using the arrow keys, but they seem more like suggestions than actual controls; it can be tough to get this floppy version of the plumber to do anything.
What makes the game especially hilarious, though, is that the entire world is built around the same jelly effect. If Mario jumps into a green pipe, it will bend and twist in bizarre ways. If you stand still and let a goomba walk into you, Mario will be shot backward with explosive force. Things get especially strange in stage 1-2, where bricks will break apart into dozens of tiny pieces if you so much as graze them. The music is similarly unnerving: while the tunes and sound effects are all familiar, they bend and contort based on how Mario is moving on-screen. It sounds wrong.
The Super Mario games have always been strange, but Jelly Mario shows that things can actually get even weirder. I wonder what Shigeru Miyamoto would think. You can check it out in your browser right here.