Review by st_gamer
"Old Concept, New Mario"
Nintendo brings back a classic theme not seen since Super Mario Bros. 3, but with a remarkable blend of 3D graphics on a 2D playing world. Also new to the classic Mario theme is the inclusion of local multiplayer. You can have a friend join in as Luigi or a toad to help (or in my opinion, hurt) you. Whereas the game is certainly lacking in the difficulty department, that does not stop the entire package from coming together in a fun, family game. Now let us break it down:
Not too much to say here, so I will keep it brief. The game maintains the classic 2D side-scrolling obstacle course, but the environment has been completely redone to include today's 3D graphics. Both the background and the characters are actually 3D, but do not move in 3D rather following the 2D side-scroll. In my opinion, Nintendo did an excellent job spicing up the old idea with a new visual twist.
Music and Sound 7/10
The classic sound effects make a comeback. Mario still grunts in his unique way whenever he jumps and the timeless sound effects of a coin and super mushroom are still present. Not too many new sound effects make it into the game, but there are few opportunities for these new sound effects anyway. Every gamer recognizes the classic Mario music from the original classic. Surprisingly, this track never makes it into this game. In fact, few original tunes are present at all. This is not necessarily a bad thing as long as it has a comparable replacement. In many places, Nintendo does succeed in this. However, those places are few and far between. Whereas the actual music by itself is not bad, it does not seem to fit very well in a Mario game. Still, the music is bearable and does not affect the game much at all.
Guess what? Princess Peach has been captured! Again! Guess who captured her? Bowser! Again! Guess who has to save her? Mario! Again! That just about sums up the story of New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Nothing new, but Mario games have never been known for their story. Why the perfect score then? Simply because the story fits the game so well. It gives a good reason as to why you should be risking your neck yet it is simple enough to not require a large amount of cut scenes or dialogue.
Game Play 7/10
At last we get to the central aspect the makes a video game a video game: the game play. In this game, just like any other Mario game, the game play consists of jumping over obstacles and fighting enemies in an attempt to get to the end of the level. Basically, continue screen right and stay alive. New Super Mario Bros. Wii adds some unique ways of doing this. I do not want to spoil the surprises, so suffice it to say that there are some innovative puzzles that require some quick thinking and good use of the wii remote. The game also provides some great side puzzles. In every level there are three giant coins to find. Some of these, especially those in the later levels, are quite challenging to find. This provides a great excuse to replay a level. There are also many secret areas and 1ups to find.
The new multiplayer feature can be both fun and frustrating. I have not played the multiplayer too much, but the few times I have it seemed a little too crazy. With multiple people running around in a small area you could scarcely move without accidently knocking somebody into a hole or jumping on their head. On the other hand, multiplayer can be quite enjoyable if played with a skilled player.
The area where New Super Mario Bros. Wii is most lacking is in difficulty. The game was obviously geared toward younger (5-10) players as most levels were far too easy for me personally. However, I found some levels or bosses were much too hard for inexperienced players. This seemed to be a central problem throughout the game. Some levels I could breeze through without so much as a thought. Others required repeated attempts and quick thumbs to finish. Also, there appeared to be no pattern to the difficulty of the levels. The last two levels were also some of the easiest of the game. Nintendo seemed to realize the range of difficulties by including a super guide. Essentially, if you die multiple times on a level, a small green block will appear which, if activated, will make the game play itself through the level. If the difficulty had been set toward a specific audience, this feature would have been unneeded.
Overall, New Super Mario Bros. Wii is a fun game with innovative game play and fun challenges. Its minor imperfections do not seriously take away from the fun of the game or from the final package. I would highly recommend this game to any parent with young children who like to play video games. For more hardcore players, I recommend with caution. Ultimately, however, this game brilliantly and seamlessly blends the classic Mario game with modern graphics and controls while maintaining the same charm that made the original game one of the best and most well known games of all time.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 03/29/10
Game Release: New Super Mario Bros. Wii (US, 11/15/09)
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