Game – New Super Mario Bros. 2
Version – Nintendo 3DS (eShop download)
Obtained – Review copy from Nintendo of America
The Mario Bros. are back in classic side-scrolling action again. This time, they have went back to their “New” beginnings with a handheld sequel to the original New Super Mario Bros. While being on the Nintendo 3DS brings the obvious graphical enhancements, do the additional features and levels provide enough reasons for this follow-up?
Story & Plot
As with most Mario titles, the story is not very relevant to the overall gameplay. Essentially, this is the same story you have come to know from the series. Bowser (and his Koopa children) kidnap Princess Peach. It is up to you to travel through each level, defeating enemies and bosses to save her. Yes, there are some added suits this time, including the return of the Racoon Suit (from Super Mario Bros. 3) and the new Gold Flower, but the basic idea is still the same. The plot is tried and true, and that is just how we like it. There is also a subplot, if you will, of gathering one-million coins. This is less of a storyline, but more of a reason to keep players coming back for more after they have beaten the main game — saved Peach.
As stated earlier, this method is something they have done many times before, and it works. Why mess with it? Sure, it might be nice to know, at the beginning, what collecting all these coins has to do with rescuing Peach, but it is definitely not necessary to enjoy the game. This is Mario, just as you have grown to love it.
Similar to the plot, the gameplay has not changed. If you are familiar with Mario, you know what to expect. You will travel through one world after another. Each world contains approximately seven or so levels. Some levels are basically normal, but others could be castles, ghost houses, or even secret levels. After you beat one level, you move on to the next via the “overworld” map. After you make your way through all the levels in a world, you will head into the boss castle. Defeat that level, and you move on to the following world. Defeat enough worlds, and you will fight Bowser in order to rescue Peach. (Please note that these are not spoilers, as this is the same plot in nearly every Mario game. See above.)
The added feature to this title is something called Coin Rush. Essentially, you are given a set of three levels to play through on one life. Your goal is not only to make it through each level, but to also collect as many coins as possible. What do you do with these coins, you ask? They will go toward your overall coin total, but you will also save your highest total in an effort to beat those whom you StreetPass. This is just another way Nintendo has added replay value to the game. It would be nice, though, if those totals were available on some sort of online leaderboard, but maybe that is something we can hope for in future titles.
(There is a 2-player co-op mode, but I was unable to find another person to play, since both players must own the game.)
The controls follow the same pattern as previous New Super Mario Bros. games. While you can use the 3DS Circle Pad, you might find the control pad provides for more precise movement in the side-scroller. It is nice, though, that they provided the option. Your ABXY buttons will control your actions (i.e. running, jumping, throwing, flying), and you have two options on their layout. There is not much more to say than that. Controls are simple; yet, that is exactly what is needed for this game.
It is no secret that the Nintendo 3DS provides better graphics that the Nintendo DS. Beyond the third-dimension, the characters, backgrounds, and icons are crisp and clear. There are a few “jaggies,” but that comes with the territory of not being high-definition. The 3D is a great effect, but it is not needed. In fact, you can play through the entire game in 2D and not miss a thing. Nonetheless, you should definitely try 3D, because it sure makes the Mushroom Kingdom rather pretty.
All the sound effects are right on par with what you would expect from a modern Mario title. There is very little voice-acting, which is perfect for a game not driven by a storyline. The one thing that is worth mentioning is the music. Many of the songs seem to be recycled from the original New Super Mario Bros. and New Super Mario Bros. Wii. In fact, most seem to come from the Wii game. This is a bit disappointing. Yes, they sound great, even on a handheld, but why not create some new songs?
The first New Super Mario Bros. game for Nintendo DS was rather easy. The Wii game was a bit more difficult. The 3DS sequel is basically on par with that of the Wii. However, while the difficulty might be higher than the original, the ability to gain extra lives is extremely high. The typical player will easily have over 100 lives by the end of normal play.
For those desiring more difficult levels, head to the Coin Rush store, and download some extra level packs. They range from very easy to incredibly difficult. Each pack of three levels runs for $2.50, which is a bit high. Nonetheless, it is great that Nintendo is offering DLC.
SCORE: 9 out of 10
The New Super Mario Bros. series has done a great job of bringing Mario back to his roots in some challenging and fun side-scrolling adventures. This 3DS sequel is not exception. Sure, the music is recycled, and you can easily accumulate extra lives, but the overall value is quite high. Add in the Coin Rush mode and the desire to collect one-million coins, and you have a Mario title you will keep coming back to over and over.