Nintendo return to the good old days. Or do they?
It’s been over a decade since we’ve seen a new Mario plat former, so it’s nice to see Nintendo are going back to their roots with New Super Mario Bros.
Once again, Peach has been kidnapped and it’s up to you to travel through the worlds of New Super Mario Bros to rescue her. This is the same simple story that almost all the Mario games use and I don’t mind it. Of course, Mario isn’t renowned for the story; it’s renowned for the Gameplay.
You’ll travel through at least 6 worlds in New Super Mario Bros. Unfortunately, 2 worlds are optional and can only be accessed through hidden entrances in worlds 2 and 5, making the game seem quite short. All the worlds are similar to ones in older games in the series; desert, forest, ice etc. making them a bit bland in comparison to some of the ones in SMB3.
The new levels in New Super Mario Bros are impressive and very well designed. Like in older games in the series you also have underwater and underground levels too, so there is a fair amount of variety. As for enemy and obstacles, their mostly from older games and there are very few new ones. Mario also has a lot of different techniques he can use, wall jumps, butt smashes and backflip jumps. These will be used in various places in the levels.
While a lot of the new levels are well designed, a lot are boring or easy and don’t offer a lot of challenge. In fact, if you die, it makes you want to quit because it’s so damn boring. There’s often no appeal to keep playing and a fair amount of it is terrible to play. It just doesn’t feel as fun as other Mario games and some of the levels play like exact copies of ones in previous titles,
New Super Mario Bros adds some interesting, new power ups. The first one which Nintendo were keen to show off in trailers is the Mega mushroom. It gives Mario a short burst of invincibility, makes him giant and allows him to smash through the levels. The more smashing you do, the more lives you get as a reward. However, the Mega mushroom seems to have more problems than other items. It makes some levels far too easy, and it can be used in very few levels, because Mario will usually get stuck, which is very irritating and shows poor design.
The best new item by far is the mini Mushroom. You’ll need it to access quite a few secret areas and it also makes Mario light enough to run on water and perform floaty jumps. Unfortunately for Mario, he’s much weaker when he’s tiny and it’s hard to kill enemies. The mini mushroom is the most balanced power up by far and Nintendo have made good use of it.
The final new power up is one of the most useful. The Koopa shell allows Mario to defend himself and roll down hills to take out enemies. It’s a pretty good item – that is if you know the best times to use it.
New Super Mario Bros also has the old Super Mushroom and Fire Flower from the original, but unfortunately the cape, Tanooki suit and POW feather (among other) haven’t made a return, which for me is a massive disappointment.
One aspect of NSMB which deserves a special mention are the graphics. Everything is made of smooth Polygons, which gives it a 2D-3D feel which I thought was very welcoming. The terrain also looks cool too. So despite its simple look, NSMB has a good lasting impression graphically.
NSMB also has a variety of minigames, some of which are ripped off Super Mario 64 DS, but there are a few new ones. There quite fun to play in a group of people, but they’re really just a gimmick. Still, a nice addition though.
The last disappointment and the biggest for me, was the lack of co-op. In earlier screenshots it looked like you could play co-op, which for me was what I was most excited about. Instead, Nintendo added a mediocre multiplayer mode where you have to race to get stars. Its fun but also frustrating and you don’t feel like you’ve achieved anything when you win. So next time, hopefully a co-op will be added and this multiplayer mode will be removed.
To answer the question I answered at the start, to some extent, yes, NSMB makes return to the good old days. But not in the fashion I was hoping for. It’s a good game so I will award it an over generous 7. I feel harsh giving it lower, even though certain aspects make me want to. Overall, NSMB is one of the weakest games in the series, but then again, it has a lot to live up to.