Mario has returned to the Nintendo 3DS New Super Mario Bros. 2. After a stellar outing the first time around in Super Mario 3D Land, can the title live up to the success of Mario’s first 3DS entry or does it jump into a pit of fail?
New Super Mario Bros. 2 is a sequel to the Nintendo Wii entry of New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Besides being on a handheld a few new features are added and a heavy focus on coins is made. To aid the Mario brothers on their journey, as well as the ultimate goal for the player (to collect one million coins), they have added new power-ups to help in coin hoarding. Bowser is at it again using his many little Koopa Kids to deter Mario and his brother away from rescuing the ever-in-distress Princess Peach.
This entry in the series has almost nothing to do with Super Mario 3D Land other than to borrow a few features. The Tanooki suit, as well as the White Tanooki suit for failing more than five times in a level, also returns to help players out reach their goal while new suits and some older fan-favourites coming to help Mario on coin hoarding pursuit across the Mushroom Kingdom to save the helpless Princess; A Golden Fire Flower being one of them. This shimmering bit of argriculture turns Mario – you guessed it – gold and allows him to shoot golden fireballs which converts impacted enemies and blocks into even more golden currency. Then there is the Golden Brick Mask which is sometimes garnered within levels or rewarded upon completion of certain levels to be used in the next level that the player chooses to access. Once worn, the mask allows a trail of coins to flow into Mario’s pocket for a set amount of time or until the player is hit by an enemy. Finally there is the Golden Ring; Similar in style to the red coin rings except the Golden one turns all enemies Gold; This is best used with a koopa, so you can throw his shell and take out a group of enemies and reap the rewards of a coin chain left in its hard-shelled destructive path.
Being a side-scrolling platformer as opposed to the more recent 3D outings gameplay is a lot more akin to the old Super Mario games rather than the 3D titles, despite it making use of the 2.5D style brought in during the original New Super Mario Bros. revival . The dual screens now show more of the map at the bottom of the screen; a top down view to be exact complete with Toad house locations. Star coins are still accessible via three per stage and play a larger part as Toad houses require five to unlock, however most players are best to hang onto them as they are harder to gather up than in Super Mario 3D Land.
A good amount of the game world is made up of hidden areas. Two hidden worlds again require your hard thought process to figure out their entrances while the obligatory “Star World” awaits your completion at the climax of the game. Unlike Super Mario 3D Land, the game only features six main worlds and two hidden ones with a single measly Star World as opposed to the usual 8. This is just a minor fault as the majority of the focus is now on coin hunting like a greedy under-working, over charging corrupt plumber – Though Mario has done his fair share to request such a hefty fee for his efforts.
Moving onto “Coin Rush” now, a new mode made especially for this new money grabbing Mario gameplay. The mode unlocks upon completion of World 1 and adds new levels to the randomly generated sets as you complete them. You’ll play sets of three levels, each with one-hundred seconds and one life to try and collect as many coins as possible. Once completed your score will be posted on the online leaderboards as well as given to friends via Street Pass as challenges, as you’ll pick up those challenges set by others on the road. Co-op mode allows two players with two cartridges, and of course, two Nintendo 3DS’, to play with each other gallivanting throughout the levels and salvaging even more cash. It’s fun for local play with a friend, however it would have been nice to be able to play online via Wi-Fi.
New Super Mario Bros. 2 adds a lot of new features to the rather same old Mario we have come to love over the years. It may not be as jam packed with content as other entries on the handheld, but it offers a nice option when you want your platform hopping fun in short bursts or if you just want to find out what happened to Mario & Peach after New Super Mario Bros Wii (take a guess). It’s another solid entry from Nintendo’s part, but let us hope that the next entry may finally give us co-op via Wi-Fi. And Yoshi. I miss Yoshi.
Audio/Visual – 4/5: As with all Mario titles the music is classic and the colors pop. The 3D works great on the Nintendo 3DS where the coins at times can fly at you which creates a cool effect.
Gameplay – 4/5: Same Mario gameplay we have come to love, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. Mario is something that is sacred to many gamers and rightfully so, as it gives the most fulfilling and honest fun a gamer can have.
Innovation –3/5: Addition of new gameplay elements focused on something we have taken for granted over the years such as coin collecting was unique and interesting. It is a step in the right direction and hopefully future tiles will incorporate more of this type of gameplay element. However, the lack of Wi-Fi features is a bummer.
Value – 3/5: Again, not the most content packed entry but it is still a total of around eight worlds when all is said and done, a ton of collectible coins and the ultimate goal of reaching one million gold coins. It will keep younger Mario fans busy for a while but seasoned fans may grow tired after a few weeks.
Final Score: 3.5/5