Mario Bros. Special is not a straight port of Mario Bros, but an original Arcade-style platformer with adjustments to the game's graphics and sounds. There are four different screens similar to Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr.. The stages usually involve Mario figuring out how to progress to the top of the screen, and some levels feature unstable platforms that shake if jumped one (also tripping the enemy). Dollar signs and rare rings are also collected rather than coins. The stages repeat in the same set and get progressively harder, with more enemies and obstacles.