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SummarySo New It Smells Like New
The GoodHaving decided to come back to writing reviews after a little hiatus, I decided to review a Nintendo DS game. As over my “time off” I finally got one. The subject that I shall examine today, New Super Mario Bros. This being one of the handheld's biggest titles. Further interesting is the fact, that this is the first 2D Mario game in 15 years. Can Mario still pack fun in the second dimension?
2D or not 2D that is the question….
In New Super Mario Bros., Mario and Luigi, must once more save Princess Peach, and the Mushroom Kingdom from King Koopa.(Or Bowser…Or Whatever.) This time however Bowser Jr., will be Mario’s main menace. Gameplay wise the game most closely resembles The original Super Mario Bros. With many references and tricks from other Mario games from over the years. Mario still must slide down the flagpole to end a level for example. And uses maps to travel in between the levels in the various worlds ala Mario 3.
However there are many new things to do and see. New power-ups include Shell Mario, Mini-Mario, and the coolest Mega Mario.(Or as I like to call it, Mario Smash!) This turns Mario enormous, from here he must crash through the levels as quickly and thoroughly as possible, the better the destruction the more 1-ups you will gain.
There are also many secrets in the game. Some of which require a particular power-up to acquire. For instance the levels branch off at one point, and the only way to get to World 4 and World 7 are to finish Worlds 3 and 6 in a particular way. There are 3 special coins to collect in each stage, which can then be used to unlock alternate paths in a World.
The Worlds themselves all have a different theme. World 1 is a grassland. Whereas, World 3 is a water world. As per tradition there are 8 total. The levels lead to a castle with a boss. Here is where NSMB differs from SMB as, each boss at the end of world is different, not always Bowser. The mini boss is always Bowser Jr., but as the game goes on he learns new techniques to keep things challenging.
All the secrets keep the replay value up. As you can always go back and get the things you missed. Another new addition, in the 2 player head to head gameplay, via the DS and a Wi-Fi connection. Dubbed Mario Vs. Luigi, this is the first time in the series that two people play competitively in a Mario game. It is a cool feature but not as original as one might expect, as Sonic the Hedgehog 3, had a similar feature.(And that was 10 years ago.) This is not the only place where Luigi pops up. As you can also play the single player game as Luigi, via a code that you get after finishing the game. There are also a score of mini-games to play, and unlock as you progress the game. From card games, to skill based games, they all provide a fun distraction, but won’t keep you playing after you conquered the game.
The graphics in NSMB are quite good, and help show just what the DS is capable of. The levels themselves are in 2D. While Mario and all the other inhabitants of the Mushroom Kingdom are in 3D. The DS backlight really helps bring out the beauty of the game. In the end this is one of the best looking games on the DS.
The sound and music are much what we have come to expect from Mario games. And many sounds are the same exact sounds they were 20 years ago. There are also voice samples as seen in more modern Mario games. In the sound department NSMB gets the job done.
The BadSomething Is Rotten In The Mushroom Kingdom
All is not well in New Super Mario Bros. I think that my first complaint has to be that, you can not save whenever you want. You can only save your progress after you finish a castle, a world, or unlock a new path. This is exacerbated by the battery issue of the DS. If you have not saved in a while, and then suddenly you need a recharge, you may lose your progress. When you finish the game you unlock the ability to save anywhere. Of course this does not help the first time.
The fact that every time you defeat Bowser Jr., and then he grabs the Princess and runs off is kind of dumb. And a little on the tedious side. Why does Mario not just stop him from taking off with her. It really make no sense.
The redundant voices get old. But this is only a minor complaint.
The game is a little too easy, perhaps the easiest in the entire franchise, and it is short, but then again so was the first game.
The Bottom Line“It's A Me Mario”
In the end, New Super Mario Bros., overcomes most of it’s shortcomings. It will assuredly provide a fun experience for Mario fans. And fans of 2D platforming. Furthermore it is one of the best Mario games in years. DS owners have to have this game in there collection.