Monday, March 11, 2013

New Super Mario Bros 2 Review


New Super Mario Bros 2 
System: Nintendo 3DS
Release date in North America: 07/28/2012
Mario goes on a coin collecting frenzy, but is a large surplus of coins enough to tickle your platforming fancy?

Mario’s roots are grounded in the 2D. The original Super Mario Bros. revolutionized the way we play video games today.  Nintendo kept the Mario platforming in the second dimension  till the mid 90’s when the Nintendo 64 dropped. Super Mario 64 brought the Mario we knew and loved into 3D and changed the gaming industry once again. Mario would not return to his 2D roots till 2006 with the game New Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo DS. NSMB  took the Mario we knew and loved and brought it to the modern day.  Now 6 years and a Wii iteration later 2D Mario is back on a portable system with New Super Mario Bros 2 for the 3DS.
The story is your typical Bowser kidnapped Princess Peach and the Mario Bros. must chase after the King of Koopas and stop him. The only twist this time is the expansion of coins. Mushroom Kingdom has been overloaded with those round gold pieces of metal. The game even has a coin counter with an ingame goal of collecting 1 million of those shinny little disc.  Jumping through gold rings causes enemies to turn gold and spill out coins. The new gold fire flower shoots gold fireballs that turns enemies and bricks into coins. Hitting a coin block multiple times causes it to get stuck to Mario’s head and shoot out coins like a water fountain. The first time you see Mario running around with a gold block on his head is a real treat.  The issue with this is that though there is an obvious increase in coin amounts, I still feel like it was not enough. If Nintendo really wanted to capture on this idea I think they should have upped it even further. I want to see coins spilling out of every nook and cranny of the Mushroom Kingdom. Also where is Wario during this coin extravagant  Nintendo has made Wario infamous for hording coins. Shouldn’t he show a slight bit of interested to what is going on? A Mario/Wario platformer? I can only dream…
The coin box now gets the last laugh

Graphically speaking  NSMB2 looks very similar to the previous games in the “New” series. Everything is colorful and all aspects of Mario’s world is easy on the eyes. The sound also does a bit of recycling. All the familiar “bup, bup” tunes are back as well as the classic jingles we are come to expect.  I was very disappointed with the 3D. Unlike Super Mario Land 3D, NSMB2 does nothing with the 3D feature of the 3DS. When you turn on the 3D all it does is blur out the background. It doesn’t make much since to me why Nintendo wouldn’t tap more into the 3D side of things, but at least it doesn’t break the game.
Mario controls like a charm. Controlling Mario is everything you would want it to be. The tanooki tail that made its return in Super Mario Land 3D is back once again. This time Mario can use it for full flight like he did in Super Mario Bros. 3. The tanooki tail joins the fire flower, mega mushroom, and mini mushroom for a very well rounded group of power up. I just have to ask…whatever happened to the frog suit? The easiness of NSMB2 may come to a turn off to veteran players. With the large increase in the amount of coins per stage, the increase of 1-Ups have gone through the roof. I never came close to seeing a gameover, and wouldn’t expect many well equated Mario players to either. Regardless of not finding NSMB2 to be very challenging, finding every secret exit and giant coin still adds a layer of depth to the series.
Stuck on a level? Just use this power up to make it through.
NSMB2 has a total of 3 modes. You get your basic single player experience that takes you through 9 worlds of platforming goodness. A coop mode is included giving a friend the chance to control Luigi during local play. This mode feels more tacked on, than fleshed out like we saw in the Wii version with its 4-player CoOp.  Lastly a new Coin Rush mode adds a competitive twist on coin collecting. Coin Rush has a player go through 3 randomly selected stages in a row without dying. If the player completes all three levels a coin total is calculated and then that total can be sent to other 3DS owners via streetpass. Sadly there is no online leaderboard which I feel is a huge missed opportunity.

It is hard not to have a soft spot for NSMB2. With great level design, spot on controls, and colorful worlds, a lot of fun can be had with this platformer. At the same time though you get this feeling the glass only being half full. Without bringing much new to the table and a lack of features that seem like a no brainier NSMB2 doesn’t feel like a complete experience. I recommend this to anyone looking for a good platforming experience on their 3DS, but don’t expect too much out of it.



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