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Game Review: New Super Mario Bros. 2

December 29, 2012

Sequel to 2006’s New Super Mario Bros for the DS, the second handheld New Super Mario Bros game has arrived about 6 years after the first game in the “New Super Mario Bros” series. The original, (despite it’s simplicity), was a fun little 2D platforming game that reminded me of the original Super Mario Bros game, but redone with upgraded graphics, a few power-ups added in here and there, and a multiplayer that gave me a few good memories with some friends and family. It had been my hope that future games in the series would take a similar approach with other classic SMB titles, although that didn’t seem to be the case for “New Super Mario Bros Wii” and this title (although New Super Mario Bros U for the Wii U feels very much like a revamped Super Mario World.) But, maybe that was my fault for thinking this series was meant to be like that.

New Super Mario Bros 2 is the Nintendo’s attempt to see what the 3DS can bring to the “New Super Mario Bros” series. Let’s see how well it does.

Gameplay: If you’ve ever played the original New Super Mario Bros game, or a 2D Platformer, you should be fine playing this game. The controls are fairly simple and should take no time at all to master. For those worried about the game being too easy, I will admit that New Super Mario Bros 2 can be very easy to breeze through. That being said there are somethings added for veteran Mario/2D Platformer players.

Graphics: As per usual, I don’t factor graphics too high in review scores. That said, I wasn’t too impressed with how the game looked. This wasn’t because of the art style, but rather that we’ve had much nicer looking games on the 3DS that were produced by Nintendo (One of those was Super Mario 3D Land! Which came out last year.) The game certainly looks nicer than the original New Super Mario Bros game, and doesn’t look horrible, but I feel as if it could have looked a little nicer.

Game Modes: For this game, you have your basic Single Player mode, a Multiplayer Co-op mode, and a Coin Rush Mode. The Multiplayer Co-op allows you to play with another friend who has a 3DS, but does not allow for online play, which I feel is somewhat disappointing. There’s also a lack of a versus multiplayer that the original had, which (despite what some people feel about it) I do miss having. The game also features a Coin Rush Mode, which challenges players to do specific challenges while racing to get as many coins as possible (I’ll talk about the coin collection a little later). I’m not sure how much of a challenge it will provide for Veteran Mario players, but if you’re looking for something extra, it is there for you. This is also the first Nintendo Game to have DLC, which comes in the form of extra Coin Rush maps. At the time of this writing, all Coin Rush maps are available and Nintendo is not making anymore DLC Coin Rush Maps. If you want some of these DLC Coin Rush Maps, you will have to pay a small fee.

New Features: The game does bring a few new things to the table that the original New Super Mario Bros game did not have. For starters, it allows you to use the Tanooki suit, which I greatly appreciated. I love the Tanooki suit ever since it appeared in Super Mario Bros 3, so it’s great to have it back here. Also, similar to how Super Mario 3D Land, if you die multiple times and are unable to get past the level, the game will give you a white Tanooki suit to make you invincible to enemies for just that level (when you return to the level after completion, you will not be given the white Tanooki suit again). However, while the Tanooki Suit is fun to use, I feel as if I had more fun with the Tanooki suit in Super Mario 3D Land than I did in this game. Not sure why to be honest.

The game’s main feature is coin collection, as you must collect as many coins as possible per level and try to reach the game’s 1,000,000 coin goal. Every time you beat a level, the coins you collect will be added into a counter in game for you to see your total. Besides the usual ways of collecting coins, the game provides you with additional ways to rack up your coin count. Gold Rings you can jump through turn your enemies into gold temporarily, allowing for higher coin counts when stomping on foes. Some levels will allow you to start with a special winged brick box that, when you jump into it, sticks the brick box on your head for a good amount of time in the level. As you jump and move around, your coin total will start to skyrocket. There’s also a golden fire flower, (my favorite new power-up of the game) that turns you into a Golden Mario. You can use this to turn bricks into coins, get more coins for defeating enemies, ect. It is a fantastic edition to the game, regardless of whether you’re into collecting coins like crazy in Mario Games.

If you’re a big fan of trying to collect as main coins as possible to get the top score, or just love collecting things in games, I think you’ll have a blast with this emphasis on coin collecting. If you’re not though, then New Super Mario Bros 2 may feel a little bland/too similar to the original New Super Mario Bros.

Final Verdict: If you’re a fan of the New Super Mario Bros series, than you should be fine picking up this game. Coin Collectors may also have fun with this game as well, as the idea is implemented very well. That being said, it does lack innovation to the series, a criticism that has been brought up about other games in the series before. The lack of online multiplayer co-op is also somewhat disappointing, but I suppose can be looked past. After all, I didn’t have any issue with New Super Mario Bros U not having an online mode either. That being said, other than the coin collection emphasis, the game doesn’t have a lot to make it stand out from it’s original, as well as some of the other games in the series. It’s not that it is a bad game, but it can seem rather bland at times. Something like an updated versus multiplayer mode (even if it wasn’t online) or online co-op, or a level creator would have made it stand out a little more from other games in the series. The DLC maps are a nice touch for those who are willing to spend money on them, but I don’t consider it worth it to spend money on, and feel it would have been better to make those maps free.

I give New Super Mario Bros 2 a 3/5. If you have a Wii U, I recommend sticking with New Super Mario Bros U instead of getting New Super Mario Bros 2. However, if you’re interested in the coin collection emphasis, or you only have a 3DS and really want a new Mario Platformer to play, then give it a shot. It certainly isn’t a horrible game to have in your collection. I just feel Nintendo could have added a few extra things to make the game truly memorable.

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