Console: 3DS Reviewer: ReidPros * New power ups and focus on golden coins keeps you interested * Tight controls * Great level design Cons * No story originality * Lack of good 3D integration * Currently only for 3DS, deserved dual release
Finally a new Mario game in the wake of a dry spell of great title releases from Nintendo. I was hoping they would release this on the Wii alongside the 3DS but it seems like Nintendo wanted to drive the sale of their new 3DS XL and leave the Wii in the dust because of the up-coming release of their new console, WiiU.
Presentation : A
Nintendo ALWAYS does a great job when it comes to hitting the nostalgia factor on new Mario titles. The box art is done well, and it shows what the new focus is on in this title: Golden Coins. And lots of them.
Even playing on my regular tiny 3DS, All the graphics are crisp, and provide a bright colorful environment. They left nothing lacking in character design and detail. Power-ups give you a nice transition from a tiny Mario to a larger one, then to any power ups past that.
You can literally see Mario’s hand get slightly bigger when you’re jumping to break a brick, or his little raccoon tail waving frantically to power his chubby body through the air when flying. The enemies look great as well, as you see familiar ones mixed with a few new ones. They usually correspond to the current world you are in, i.e. Pokey the cactus in the desert world, but are also distributed in other places that don’t seem out-of-place. It’s really nothing different from you would expect, as perfect enemy placement has always been top-notch.
The sound effects are the normal cute little phrases and noises that come from knocking enemies around, or Mario completing certain goals. I still really like the canned clapping when you complete a hard task. It’s like your own little audience is giving you their approval. I also like the enemies that correspond with the music, as they will do a little dance along with the tempo, which can cause a few miss-timed jump attacks. The music is the usual slight variations of former themes, but is still that great Mario ambiance.
They really kept the clean look from the first New Super Mario Bros. and just made slight improvements where they felt necessary, so you shouldn’t be disappointed in any of the way the game looks.
Single Player : A
The princess is stolen by Bowser’s Children. Oops! I mean spoiler alert. Yeah, it’s the same basic story line. Even though we’ve seen it countless times, I am still fine with it. I think Nintendo is careful to alter the story lines too much. They tried a CRAZY weird story in Super Mario Sunshine, and it really turned off a lot of players. I personally liked the new feeling that game had, but in the last few releases, they have not strayed from the same basic story you are familiar with. This does not take anything away from the game play, so don’t let the opening sequences make you yawn and roll your eyes.
NSMB:2 has a new focus as you might already know, as they have used ‘Coin Power’ as their selling point. The coin earning potential is almost endless. The overall objective of the game, even beyond defeating Bowser and saving the princess, is to earn… ONE MILLION COINS. Yeah, that’s going to take a while. As my game save sits now, I have completed everything in the game, save a few hidden paths here and there, and I have earned over 48,000 coins, with over 250 lives. The game gives you chances to literally get hundreds of coins in each level. Most things return from the first NSMB, like the red rings that provide 8 red coins, the blue coins, and the very important Star Coins. There are three star coins to each level, and you can cash them in to open paths to Toad Huts, which provide power ups. There are also cannons along the paths to send you to secret worlds. Again, not much different from NSMB. Star World costs 90 coins to progress through, so don’t spend all of your Star Coins opening Toad Huts just yet.
The new big power up is the “Golden Flower”. Once you get this, Mario turns gold and shoots gold…um…fireballs. These explode and do splash damage, but also turn almost anything into gold coins. There will be times where you can turn a couple hundred blocks, enemies, and other objects into gold coins all in one small section of the level. It is very powerful, and actually can even do damage to the level bosses. It is a risk reward system, and they are spread pretty thin, especially compared to amount of regular power ups in all the levels, and Toad Huts.
Most everything you’ve come to expect control wise is there. No new surprises. The controls are very tight, even in the Snow World, which is nice for me, because I’ve hated snow levels ever since Super Mario Bros. 3 from way back.
One big complaint I have, is there is almost a COMPLETE lack of 3D integration. Oh sure, there are a few blocks or ghosts that pop out at you, but it actually just makes the beautiful backgrounds blurry, and basically takes you out of the game focus wise. If you’ve played Super Mario 3D Land, you can tell that game was designed around the 3DS. You actually couldn’t find some hidden secrets without the 3D on, and it was amazing. Like I said above, in my opinion this game basically was put out on the 3DS to drive the XL sales, when it really should have been released on the Wii, or as a dual release.
The game is actually pretty hard. You can fly through a few levels if you want, but to truly progress in the game, or find all the secrets and paths, you’re going to spend some considerable time. There are the three Star Coins to find, hidden exits to open new paths, and hidden worlds to unlock and explore. They will make you work to find those secrets, especially in the Ghost Houses.
This game will take a while for those who want to complete 100% of the game. To do this you have to find all the secret exits, paths, star coins, worlds, complete every level, defeat Bowser twice, play the game again as Luigi, and earn 1,000,000 coins. Yikes.
Multiplayer : F
This is the lowest grade I’ve ever given a game with a multiplayer option. There is a co-op mode where you and one other person can play together through the levels, but that requires two 3DS’s, and two copies of the game. Yes, I know that this is pretty standard considering it’s on a hand-held, but I’m sure most people are not going to be able to play this option because of those requirements. Nintendo’s Street Pass is integrated in a way that it wants you to mingle about and connect with other players who have a 3DS. They do this by proximity. But honestly, where am I as an adult going to randomly have my 3DS out and come across someone playing the exact same game? Perhaps school children all busting out their 3DS’s during recess or lunch would be a scenario that is likely. But what is so wrong about connecting through wi-fi and finding another person anywhere in the US who is online wanting to play, the same way you would play online through your console?
Replay Value : A
This game is a lot of fun to play. It has everything Mario fans want, plus the addition of just the right amount of new game mechanics to keep you interested. It is yet another game in the franchise that you will want to replay every few years. There is also the “Coin Rush” game mode, where you play through 3 randomly selected levels and accrue as many gold coins as possible before your time runs out. This helps you get to your goal of one million coins a little faster than going through the levels individually.
As of this review, there is no DLC, but according to press released from Nintendo, there will be some with a few weeks of the release. It is heavily rumored the DLC will be extra Coin Rush stages.
The bottom line is Nintendo’s formula for Mario titles doesn’t alter much. If you’re looking for a more original approach, I would recommend Super Mario 3D Land. If you love the game-play you are used to, especially in New Super Mario Bros. than you will not be disappointed.