Review by BigReed
"A very fun Mario game that is receiving way too much hate"
Vibrant art style, music is catchy, perfect platforming mechanics, multiplayer, levels that require exploration
Music used from past games, single player is a bit short
The Mario formula is as old as the current video game market, and Mario is one of the franchises that was able to stand the test of time without sacrificing the soul of the series. Nintendo brought back the very popular 2D Mario games with New Super Mario Brothers on the DS. After that, the Wii also received an entry into the series. And now the 3ds is the home to the newest entry into the series, a sequel that features many elements seen in the other games but also does enough to stand on its own, and is a game worth owning.
New Super Mario Brothers 2 is a game that may feature similarities to the other games in the series, and one of those elements is perfect platforming. Playing NSMB2 is a game that is instantly fun to play, and the controls are perfect. Very few games feel this fluid to play, and Nintendo has seemingly mastered the gameplay department. As Mario, you'll select levels on a board. These levels have multiple paths, and finding the three star coins can be difficult and encourages exploring. There are many hidden paths and different things to do in each level.
Collecting coins is being heavily promoted by Nintendo in NSMB2, but in all honesty while there are more coins in the levels the grind to a million coins feels somewhat downplayed. The reward for collecting a million coins too is not what I expected. Coin Rush mode makes collecting coins quick and more fun than just replaying levels. The star coins in the levels are also well hidden, and I have put a ton of time into going back through the worlds to collect all of them. From what I've played so far, there are six main levels, two rainbow levels that are obtained by finding a hidden path, and then a final star world there requires you to have a certain number of star coins. These levels are also more difficult.
NSMB2 looks like a cross between the other two entries into the series. While it does not look as vivid and full as the Wii version, it looks much better than the DS entry. The art style is bright and colorful, and utilizes the 3ds hardware well. Playing NSMB2 on the 3ds XL is also a fantastic way to show of the graphics. While the graphics may not be pushing the hardware on a realistic looking front, the art style is great for all audiences.
One of the very few downsides in NSMB2 is the sound. All of the sound effects are familiar, and as always, very well done. The music however, is remixed again from the other two games. This is both a good and a bad thing. It is good because the music is very catchy and adds to the gameplay. It is also bad however because it would be nice to get some new tracks for the series. The new super Mario brother's series was a breath of fresh air for Mario. He went back to his 2D roots, but changed up the gameplay to modernize Mario and make it feel fresh. Back then, all of the level design and music were new. Now, while the music is still good, it has been heard before. Hopefully with the next entry into the series they add some new music.
Playing NSMB2 can be done in several ways. While the main game is a bit short, I am talking about 15-20 hours to find all of the star coins and complete all of the levels. Playing through the main game can be done quickly, like most games that have a beginning and an end. Even an Elder Scrolls game can be completed in a very short amount of time. It all depends on the player. The game is short in the sense that I would have liked to have seen more worlds, or more variation to the levels. Everything is pretty standard. Mario 3D Land had a ton of different level designs. While the worlds were not as cohesive as in NSMB2, the variety in 3D Land was a nice touch and kept me entertained.
So in short, NSMB2 takes roughly 20 hours to complete fully. If you do not put much time into your games however, it may be a bit short for you.
For some reason, NSMB2 is drawing a lot of comparisons to the Call of Duty franchise. Activision is hated by a vocal group on the internet, saying they are rehashing COD games. Now, similar things are being said about the new super Mario brother's series. While the series does have some similarities, Nintendo seems adamant about releasing only one title per hardware platform, so I do not think that NSMB will be released so often it could potentially kill the series.
Suggesting Mario is an easy thing to do. It is fun, looks great, and has a good chunk of playtime. Whether you buy it at retail, or decide to download it on the eshop, I suggest picking up a copy of NSMB2.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 08/27/12, Updated 01/28/13
Game Release: New Super Mario Bros. 2 (US, 08/19/12)
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