Game Review: New Super Mario Bros. 2

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Everyone’s favoruite plumber is back in a new entry in the New Super Mario Bros. series on the Nintendo 3DS. Can this adventure surpass the rest or will it be another game for this iconic character?

New Super Mario Bros. 2 gives me mixed feelings. There’s nothing like a Mario game yet, after so many they  start to feel very similar to games gone by. NSMB 2 feels just as good as every other game in the series and will definitely cater to the diehard platforming fans, the problem lies in the fact that it doesn’t move the series forward as well as players would hope. Is that really a problem for one of the most successful game franchises in history though? Let’s find out.

The Koopalings are the star villains of this game providing the predictable boss battles you’d come to expect at the end of each game world. They’re as fun as you’d expect them to be and actually do require some precision as your progress through the game. Let’s be honest though, coin-collecting is the name of the game and it’s more important than ever before. Coins are in abundance and these things are everywhere, I can never remember getting so many extra lives from coins.

Two brothers are better than one.

Speaking of coins, there’s a new power-up( a golden flower) that turns everything into your own personal coin machines as you take down enemies by the bunches. Coin blocks can also be worn on Mario’s head that leaves a line of those shiny golden medallions behind him. The Golden rings give you even more coins however, temporarily giving you a better coin output for bopping enemies on their heads or even leaving a trail of coins in the wake of a tossed Koopa shell. Coins are definitely the name of the game and it’s very apparent from the get-go. Your coin count is displayed right in front of you on the map screen and you’ll see some nice little congratulatory messages when you reach milestones. I’m not quite sure what the whole premise is behind it but, I’m sure it must be something big or else there would be not point in keeping track.

The old power-ups are there for the most part with the natural Star, Fire Flower, and Leaf there to let you turn into a flying racoon Mario (by the way, who came up with that idea?). The Mini-Mushroom and Mega-Mushroom also return this time around yet, you don’t get to see them quite as much as I would have liked. The power-ups feel great though, they’re not over-used and you seem to run into the right ones at the right times.

The levels in New Super Mario Bros. 2 are vibrant and full of colour.

Graphically, the game looks as you would expect. Mario and his adversaries are all bright and colourful and the game worlds look very well-defined and have a lot of character and charm that you’d look for in a Mario game. The problem that I had wasn’t so much with the graphics but, with the lack of 3D in this game. When you turn that 3D slider up, you don’t get 3D effects, you get blurred garbage. Honestly. That’s all I see when I turn that slider up, play this game in 2D or you’ll be missing out on the great visuals that the 3D mode totally takes away. What a missed opportunity there.

Good ol’ Mario goodness!

There are a lot of secrets in the game that will keep players searching for that second exit that may lead to that secret world or  place. Trust me, it starts to consume you looking for all the little spots where secrets could be! Mario still glides, jumps, and runs just the way you remember. The control is so precise, I really can’t think of another game that gives you as much freedom and plays as well as this one does.

The co-op multi-player is alright considering it’s always better to play with a buddy but, on such a tiny screen as the 3DS has and with the need to keep everyone in focus, it just doesn’t work well. Difficulty is another touchy subject as with even a low-skilled player, you’ll have more lives than you know what to do with which kind of takes the difficulty bar way down. It’s not that the game doesn’t have it’s tough points, but when you have so many lives you can try things over and over. Coin Rush adds a nice element of competition and I found myself rushing to get better and better scores each time against a fairly quick clock. This mode adds a little bit of longevity to an otherwise short main mode.

Flying is severely under-used in this one.

Overall, New Super Mario Bros. 2 is exactly what you’d expect it to be. This series has been filled with excellent platformers and this one is no different. The game does have its little flaws here and there but, nothing that will tarnish the experience you’re going to have. New Super Mario Bros. 2 on the 3DS is a short and sweet experience that you’ll enjoy until the next great Mario adventure.

 

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