Review by gulliver49

"Nothing special"

New Super Mario Bros. Wii (henceforth abbreviated NSMB) had a lot of potential and unfortunately instead of ushering in a new age of 2D Mario greatness, has contented itself with tossing in a few nostalgia elements and a beefed up difficulty. If you've played the DS Mario game, you'll see little to no difference here and I personally would not buy the game at full price, but rather at a more reasonable sum of $20 or less.

Story:

Nintendo doesn't care about the story, and they know the fans don't care. I care a little but there are few who share my sentiments. There is however one small complaint I have and that is how the story scenes cannot be skipped and you have to watch the same parts every time you start a new game. Why do this? Honestly, we all know Peach gets kidnapped and then Mario wins and then the cycle repeats forever. Can't I just get on with the game?

Graphics:

NSMB pretty much looks like the DS Mario. I would have preferred better graphics akin to what I've seen in Super Mario Bros. Galaxy, but yet again, I'm sure the fans of Mario wouldn't care if this was in 8-bit or not. I can't shake the feeling that they just took what they had for the DS Mario and then just changed up the levels then put it on the Wii. How lazy can you get? The whole scenario reminds me of Super Mario Bros. 2 The Lost Levels. It's the same game as Super Mario Bros., but with a few new ideas, and the same exact graphics.

Sound:

I hate the music, pure and simple. The songs are ripped straight out of the DS Mario and when playing that game I thought the music was cute for a while, but now I'm sick of it. “Bah bah!”..... “Bah!” ….”Bah bah bah bah bah!!!!!” Make it stop! Why keep adding those annoying “Bahs”?

I mute the game whenever I play, yes it's that bad. I've never had to mute a game before in my 20 years of gaming. There aren't even that many songs. Off the top of my head I can count 3 maybe 4 songs.

Gameplay:

1st complaint, motion Controls. That's right, the forced them into the game. Waggle your controller to do a spin jump, to pick up blocks, and to move certain platforms, all of which feel incredibly awkward . They weren't even courteous enough to include Classic Controller support which, hopefully, would have given an alternative to waggling. No, they want you to waggle and if you don't like it, play something else. For the most part, the motion controls were a minor nuisance, but in one particular level (8-5) you need to tilt the controller to move a platform through the level. Don't tilt too fast otherwise you'll spin jump into the lava, but don't tilt too slow because there are bomb enemies dropping from above. I was looking for innovation in this title, but awkward motion controls were not on my wish list.

My second complaint comes from the overall lack of new material and their pathetic recycling of old material. Yoshi is back, but for only a few levels. I could only find him in 3 but from reading other reviews, it seems like he is in around 5 levels. After you beat a level with Yoshi, you can't keep him for other levels. This is ridiculous. Why even include Yoshi at all if he's only going to be in 5% of the game? Then remember the switch palaces in Super Mario World? There's only one switch palace, and it only effects two level. I'm not joking. It's bad enough that they are recycling old material, but they can't even use that old material throughout a majority of the game?

The Koopa kids are back, but their attacks are just rehashes of what they did in Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World. I was really hoping they would change things up a bit more, but what we get here are a few tweaks.

The worlds themselves are just the same as in Super Mario Bros. 3. You have the water world, desert world, fire world, grass world, the sky world, there's really nothing new.

Collecting special coins is back from Super Mario World, however there are only 3 in a level opposed to the 5 in Super Mario World. Nevertheless, this is one of the best features in the game and Nintendo thankfully included these coins in every level.

Simply put, the game is borrows too much. The bosses are borrowed, the music is borrowed, the graphics are borrowed, the worlds are borrowed, Mario's “new” moves like the triple jump and wall jump are borrowed, the concept of the special coins is borrowed, and the only major new feature happens to be motion controls that I would have never wanted.

As for the powerups, there are only 2 new ones. Technically, there are 3, but I'll explain. One powerup is the Ice Flower. It functions just like the Fire Flower except your shots freeze enemies into ice blocks which you can pick up and throw, butt stomp, or if you wait a few seconds, they'll just unfreeze. The game is obsessed with the Ice Flower. It's featured far more than any other powerup in the game, and it's even in levels where there are no enemies to freeze! Unlike the Fire Flower, you can't use it to kill bosses and there are some enemies that you can't even freeze. Overall I dislike this powerup a lot. Whenever I was handed an Ice Flower, I wished I had the Fire Flower. At least then my shots would permanently kill the enemy instead of the Ice Flower where I can only get rid of that enemy by hauling myself over to butt stomp or throw the ice block into oblivion.

Now the Ice Flower's presence is further degraded by the fact that it's included in the Penguin Suit. Remember how the Tanooki Suit was basically the Raccoon Suit with one extra feature? That's basically what the Penguin Suit is. You have the Ice power, you have the ability to slide on ice killing all in your path, and you have the ability to swim and walk on ice a little easier. The Penguin Suit is admittedly a great addition and it's only a shame that besides World 3, you rarely encounter it.

The last new power up is the Propeller Suit. You waggle your controller to propel Mario into the air and from there he slowly floats down provided you don't press down, in which case he would dive down killing all who are unfortunate enough to be below. Despite the fact that you have to waggle to get it working, I love the Propeller Suit. I do find it makes the game a little too easy as you can easily make your way onto every platform by waggling at the last moment should you happen to miss your jump. You can also just waggle past many of the enemies in your way.

In terms of saving, you get to save after beating castles. I'm glad they did this and not allowed you save after every level. Not being able to save after every 5 levels or so means you have to pay attention to your lives and you have to pay attention to collecting coins. If you should want to leave the game at any time you can quick save, but once you return to the game you can only continue by erasing that save and then quick saving again. What this means is, if you screw up and want to just restart by going to the title screen so that it'll be like you never lost a life, you can't do that. You can farm lives however should you feel the need.

Should you die 8 times in a level, the game gives you the option to switch to Luigi who will play the game for you. This is completely optional so I don't have any complaints. Should you wish, you could get by without ever having to play a single level.

I want to discuss difficulty before I move on. The game is significantly harder than the DS Mario, but overall it's not that bad. World 3 is a nightmare, but the rest of the game is relatively tame. Don't be scared into thinking the game is impossible. Just keep in mind that nothing compares to the hell of World 3.

I've had a few problems with the controls. Sometimes Mario has not jumped when I clearly pressed the jump button. No other review has brought up this issue, leading me to believe that I might have a defective product. In any case, I feel obligated to warn potential buyers that this is an issue I have experienced and for a platformer, an unresponsive jump button is unacceptable. Mario himself feels awkward to control. He slides a lot more and the majority of my deaths have come from when Mario lands on a platform, I press left, and he decides to run to the right off to his death. In previous Mario games, if you pressed left, Mario would brake. Here he sometimes brakes, but other times the game doesn't register what you want Mario to do. Again I want to emphasize that the MAJORITY of my deaths have occurred because of this. My advice to you dear reader is to never use the run button. You need as much control as possible and taking it slow and steady is the best way to survive.

The best feature of the game is its multiplayer. I've seen reviews say how multiplayer is broken and how it makes the game difficult, but in my experience, multiplayer was the best addition and the only reason I play the game is because I can play it with friends. Online support would have been nice though. The extra characters are Luigi, and two toads. Why they didn't add Wario I'll never know. To offset the difficulty, any player at any time can press the “A” button and will then be in a bubble form. You also are in this bubble form if you die and you come back into the game if another player touches your bubble. The best part about this bubble is that if you miss a jump or are about to get killed, just press “A” and then you're saved! From there just waggle your bubble over to another player and you're back in the game. It is annoying to be constantly bumping into each other and jumping off each other's heads, but this bubble feature makes up for it all.

Summery:

NSMB plays the nostalgia card and fans instantly forgive its shortcomings. I was hoping that this game would innovate. I was hoping this would be the new Super Mario Bros. 3 or new Super Mario World. by including many more never before seen gameplay elements that would blow our minds. Alas, the game simply borrows concepts from previous installments and is basically the DS Mario all over again. Will we tell our kids of how amazing NSMB was? Or will we tell them about the NES and SNES Mario games and continue to praise them as we do today?

My recommendation is that you buy the game if you have friends to play it with, if not, then try it out if you can get it for less than $20.


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 08/31/10

Game Release: New Super Mario Bros. Wii (US, 11/15/09)


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