Review: Super Mario Bros. 2
|REVIEWS - VIDEOGAME REVIEWS|
Everyone’s favourite Italian plumber is back for more gaming shenanigans in New Super Mario Bros. 2...
Those who have played the DS original and subsequent Wii remake will be well accustomed to how the game plays. Controlling Mario, you travel across the mushroom kingdom defeating Bowser's minions; in this instance the return of the Kooper kids. It's classic side scrolling thoroughfare, travelling left to right, squishing mushroom and turtle based foes under one portly plumbers girth.
As with any Mario title there are many power ups to help aid our man in the red dungarees. Returning are the classic super mushroom and fire flower, as well as the raccoon suit last seen in Super Mario 3D land. The suit now features the same mechanics as its Mario Bros. 3 incarnation. After running for a few seconds, Mario can ascend far into the heavens to grab those usually elusive and out of reach coins. Now this is all well and good, but it's stuff we've all seen before, same old same old. Well the newest power up has to be the most fun. After collecting a rare gold flower, instead of shooting fire balls, Mario launches golden nukes that detonate the landscape, turning blocks into showers of coins and enemies into walking piggy banks.
Coin collecting is a big feature of this game. As well as the previously mentioned gold flowers, we have gold gates. The beauty of these sparkling golden rings is to, for a short time, turn all the enemies in the level into golden versions of themselves. Now instead of points, Mario collects coins from slaying enemies. This quickly turns into a coin collecting frenzy, with golden Kooper trooper shells spilling out the dosh faster than you can pick it up. The reason for so many coin based additions is the new coin counter, that tracks your global coin amount. The game takes great delight in announcing how many coins you have, and there's a big emphasis on collecting the lofty amount of one million of them. This may appeal to those magpies out there looking for more shinys, but it doesn’t really add much to the core game play. Coins were always a means to gaining more lives in a level, and as such although there were enough, you'll find that extra lives will be gained every other level as you build up your stash. Not any more. With so many coins literally spilling into the screen, I found that by the time I had completed the second level, I was already on my tenth life at least.
Coin Rush is the major new feature. After selecting a level pack, your warped into three completely random levels. Your mission? Blitz through the course as fast as you can and collect as many coins as possible. This is where all that needless coin collecting makes sense. Your high scores are saved, and sent through street pass, allowing you to brag about your “L33T” skills in completing the courses with thousands of coins in record time. Its just a shame that level design in the main game relies too heavily on supplying for coin rush. Hidden rooms, where you'd usually expect to find power-ups, hold nothing more than a multitude of coins.
Its hard not to feel that you've seen this all done before. Things like the Tanooki suit and the Kooper children ape back to Mario's third outing, and the 2.5D game play hasn't changed since the original New Super Mario Bros. on the DS. Now don't get me wrong, the game is instantly enjoyable, and ludicrously easy to pick up and play. I dare anyone to find someone who can't work Mario's simple yet genre defining controls. However, that said, it saddens me that Nintendo have seemed to have released a game for the sake of releasing a game. I love Super Mario 3D land. Though it pains me to say it, I never really played Mario 64, so I missed out on a lot of three dimensional love for the plumber. 3D land gave me that. This game gives me more of what I already got, and adds a little sparkle to trick me into thinking its brand new.
As for the 3D in this game, you may not want to bother. Many of Nintendo's games have really pushed the boat out as to what 3D can mean on their console, with the beautiful Ocarina of Time 3D and the previously mentioned Super Mario 3D Land. What we are presented with in Super Mario Bros. 2 is little more than a slightly deeper background, one that looks blurrier with the 3D on as opposed to off. Its disappointing, but its not unexpected. When making a game that exists in the lateral dimension, it doesn’t really need to pop out.
All gripes aside, the game is still great fun to play. The platforming is tight, and the only reason you'll fail is because you've messed up along the line. The 80 plus courses add greater challenges as you go along, with a difficulty curve that eases you in. There will be plenty of moments where you execute the perfect dash, triple jump and wall bounce to get that last giant star coin, making you feel godly and awesome. The levels themselves are full of charm. For me the best part is just standing still and letting the enemies go about their business. At certain points - whilst the level music plays - all the enemies will do a little dance, or hop in time to the beat. This always makes me smile, and almost makes you regret stomping on turtle heads. Well I did say almost!
I'd highly recommend Super Mario Bros. 2 to anyone who wants a good time, and fancies a little challenge here and there. Its enjoyable, and has all the right elements that make you want that one last go; to get 'that coin', the one that eluded you on your last attempt. Yes its nothing new and innovative, and this disappointed me a bit, but it doesn’t stray away from the fact that its a finely crafted game.I can only hope that the next time Nintendo releases a plumber-infused title it will blow me away, rather than simply being a summer solution for boredom.
IF YOU ENJOYED THIS ARTICLE, PLEASE HELP SUPPORT OUR SITE, AT NO COST WITH ONE CLICK ON THE FACEBOOK 'LIKE' BUTTON BELOW:
If you're interested in writing for Shadowlocked (disc and screening reviews, etc, or just getting some extra coverage for your extraordinary writing talent, get in touch with us.