Review by Gridogn
"The Toads Aren't Mario's Bros but They're Still Like Family!"
After putting up the plunger on traditional 2-D platform gaming on the consoles for 14 years, the Italian plumber is back. This time however, he's brought along his brother and two animated mushroom men to aid him on his inevitably perpetual quest to rescue the princess. Mario's newest latest, and greatest 2-D Wii adventure takes many cues from its DS predecessor, adding simultaneous multiplayer game play to regular levels for the first time in franchise history. Has this new paradigmatic shift in the tried and trued formula hit the top of the flag pole, or has it plummeted into the pit off of an invisible block?
New Super Mario Bros Wii is true to its namesake, being extremely similar to its DS counterpart. The mechanics, world themes, world format, and enemies have carried over. The goal is still to reach the flag pole at the end of each level, and conquer the boss at the end of each world until you rescue Princess Peach. The bosses by the way should invoke a sense of nostalgia as they are none other than Bowser's octuplets, last seen in Mairo's 1988 adventure, Super Mario Bros 3. We all know what the basic components of a Mario game are like, right? So lets move on to the new and shiny things.
Some minor additions have been added on top of the DS game's formula. After all though, things like new suits, and new level specific mechanics are expected from a new installment in the Mario franchise. The twirl jump from Super Mario World has made it's oh so frustrating return, now being activate by thrusting the Wii remote. Despite being jittery and activating in undesired circumstances, mastering the technique can prove to be especially beneficial because it extends your jumps midair. Apart from this single gripe, the controls in New Super Mario Bros Wii are fantastic. The fact that it is played by holding the Wii remote sideways is a throw back to the NES games.
Another somewhat minor addition which has been included is the Super Guide option. If failing to complete a level eight times consecutively, your are given the option to allow the computer to take the helm and complete the level for you. At any time during the run through of the level, players can opt to regain control and complete the level manually. This new innovation is superb! Not only does it assist casual gamers in completing especially difficult levels, it allows Nintendo to actually develop a Mario game with especially difficult levels. This is one of the hardest installments of the Mario franchise in the decade folks.
As mentioned above though, the most substantial addition to New Super Mario Bros Wii is the fact that four player can play simultaneously. Certainly, many of us have imagined the implementation of this concept in the past. However, it was most likely dismissed as being too hectic and broken to function smoothly. Now don't misconceive this implication, I'm not saying that NSMBWII doesn't get anarchic. Once four players are on the mix, the chaos really begins. What NSMBWII manages to do though is craft this four player formula in such a way that it is still enjoyable and never frustrating. (Well, I guess the frustration factor is dependent on how big of a jerks your team mates are, and whether or not they always force you into pits.).
To derive maximum enjoyment from New Super Mario Bros Wii's co-operative play, all participants have to get the competitive drive out of their systems. This game is not a competitive multiplayer game at its core. There are separate competitive modes for the pride hungry, such as the Coin Battle mode where players scramble to gather and maintain the most coins up to the conclusion of a level. The game truly thrives when everyone works together. Collecting elusive star coins by tossing a partner upwards, or carrying a pal through a portion of a level they find too difficult proves to be extremely rewarding. Working together to complete levels is immensely enjoyable, and the game is at its best when played cooperatively.
Technically speaking, New Super Mario Bros Wii isn't the biggest dazzler on the market. However, it does have a charming art style and runs at a crisp 480p resolution. The graphical component of this type of game is secondary due to the constant on screen mania anyways, so its not that big of a deal that it doesn't challenge the likes of Uncharted 2 or Modern Warfare 2 in this department.
All in all, New Super Mario Bros Wii is what you'd expect for a traditional 2-D Mario game. It has zany suits, diverse platforming levels, and absolutely no plot to interfere with your progression through the game. The addition of four player cooperative play really justifies the purchase of this game and diversifies it from its predecessors. Ironically enough, at the end of the day, New Super Mario Bros Wii is a much more suitable party game than any of the Mario Party games, and is a must buy especially if you have three friends readily available to play it with!
Lasting Appeal: 9/10
Audio: 7/10 (its somewhat annoying tunes pale in comparison to Mario Galaxy)
Game Play: 8.5/10
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/23/09
Game Release: New Super Mario Bros. Wii (US, 11/15/09)
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