Review by Zeta777
"Rushed, Incomplete, Unpolished, but still enjoyable."
Let me get one thing out of the way, I HATED New Super Mario Bros DS. I thought it ranked easily as the worst Mario game ever. Why? It based itself entirely on nostalgia rather than playability or innovation, and was trying to be Super Mario Bros 1 in 3D with an easier difficulty instead of developing the franchise. In other words, it felt like a quick cash in, which is unusual for Nintendo.
So playing through New Super Mario Bros Wii, is in an improvement? Yes, but sadly not enough of one. Not what it could have been.
Let us get some things out of the way, first. The Graphics and Sound are perfectly fine for a Mario game. They suit the game well. Do any better, and it wouldn't feel like Mario in some ways. I think the future of Mario's graphics will eventually be to give it textures and lighting similar to the Little Big Planet series, so as to make the world look like a hand-crafted art project of a miniature garden (which Shigeru Miyamoto is so fond of and bases all of his game concepts on) but the Wii is really not there enough to develop this idea.
Just one complain: Two Toads? REALLY Nintendo? Couldn't be bothered to make a sprite sheet for Peach for Wario? Or even Toadette (oh wait, I forgot, all females have to be helpless prizes to be won and objectified over, silly me). The characters are already too hard to tell apart when you have four players on the screen. Making two of them simply recolorations of each other is asking for confusion and annoyance at the hands of player 3 and 4.
*Gameplay and Controls*
Where I have a large amount of major issues.
The game has "friendly fire" on ALL The time. When you run into another player, you cause them to bounce in some way. In a tricky platforming game, this just makes most levels simply Hell to play through with more than 1 player. Playing with four people allows you to keep playing through the level as long as one of your friends remains living, but you'll be dying so much more. This game will ruin friendships instead of encouraging teamwork, as playing through the game shortly devolves into a blame game of who ruined who's jumping or pushed who off a platform.
Along the same line of thought comes the atrocious power-up system, which (once again true to the New Super Mario Bros formula!) is devolved from a great system put into place in Super Mario World. It is a living nightmare trying to make sure everyone on your team gets a power-up. The power-ups all have bizarre movements that are usually synchronized that send two of the same item barreling into one player, assuring that one player will always remain Small.
This could have easily been fixed. Give players a power-up storage system as in Super Mario World. That way you can actually throw unused power ups to friendly players by having them drop in the top of the screen over your characters head. Control it by pressing the Minus button. Done
The controls were not as good as they could have been, thanks to Nintendo's insistence on sticking waggle in games where it blatantly does not belong. Mapping the Spin jump to a controller wag instead of the unused B button means that you will never want to use it.
As if Nintendo new they actually had to put effort into this one but nearly vomited at the thought. Yoshi only being in a grand total of 10 stages and two Toads are just two of the major examples that really stand out. There's lots of other ones, though, too. Mapping the Spin jump to a controller wag instead of the unused B button means that you will never want to use it. Odd physics for item bounces mean it's hell to make sure everyone gets a power up. And no turning off "friendly" fire physics for the character so you don't cause everyone to bounce constantly like drunken rubber tree plants is another big thing that should have been in the game. Spin Jump and pick-up should have been mapped to the B Button/Trigger button. Wii remote controls should have been saved for stage gimmicks and obstacles only.
Using Power-Ups between stages is a horrid chore, because you can't control who gets what. If your team is all Small and wants to use a Propeller Suit, but one of your-teamates actually managed to survive and keep a Penguin Suit, your option is to either keep charging ahead and dying at the entry-way of a stage or to royally screw over the best player of your team. Lovely. I am also rather confused at the deletion of the Blue Shell power up, considering it's just a variation on the penguin suit in the same way the Ice Flower is a variation on it.
Is there even any need to point out that Yoshi was thoughtlessly tacked onto this game? A last minute addition when people realized the last good game Yoshi was attainable in was Super Mario World and that he must have called in sick for Mario 64, Galaxy, and NSBDS and SHOULD have called in sick for Sunshine? No? OK. I'll say it anyways. Yoshi is one of the most enjoyable additions to the series. He should not be usable in only 10 stages out of a 90 stage game, and die at the end of the stage automatically. No, bad Nintendo, bad. You put effort into adding things to your game. No treat. If anything, I think it might be time to bring back Birdo and Poochy as ride-able animal buddies because every Mario fan likes the mounted buddy concept so much, but it was expanded on more in Adventure Island, Starfy, and Donkey Kong Country than in Mario.
* What is good about the game*
It may seem like I'm being a negative Nancy, and that's because Mario warrants a higher standard of judgement than generic platform hero #3. I will say the following praise about the game:
1) The game is far more fun than Little Big Planet, especially in multi-player.
2) Some concepts work really well, the Propeller Suit, Penguin Suit, and Ice Flower add a lot of depth to the game most 2D Mario platformers are missing out on.
3) World 9 - Finally a reward of some kind in a Mario game aside from a kiss on the cheek from Peach!? Unheard of! This is mitigated by the fact that World 9 uses a hodgepodge of visual resources from earlier stages in the game, instead of making the actual worlds appear to be part of the Star Road and making the player feel like he's gotten something worthy.
4) The Koopaling boss fights are brilliant and far outshine the giant minor enemy boss fights from the Nintendo DS title (but if Nintendo ever wanted to do a New Super Mario Bros 3 that did both, I would not object).
*Summary and Conclusion*
This game is fun but unnecessarily difficult with four players. I hate to say this but this Mario game ultimately feels almost as rushed as a Sonic the Hedgehog game. It's full of half baked ideas and undeveloped concepts that could have proved fruitful if only the developers had taken a step back to think of what they were doing instead of desperately trying to force the game out by Christmas. And to me, that's Sonic the Hedgehog syndrome.
This game is an improvement over New Super Mario Bros DS, but sadly not an improvement over Super Mario World, which is ridiculous considering Nintendo only had 15 years to refine what they did in 1994. These Mario nostalgia titles still feel like they're step backs from what we had in Super Mario World rather than steps forward, and are starting to stink of a certain Blue Hedgehog's rush jobs and production values.
It looks like we're going to have to wait for New Super Mario Bros 3 to actually see the series make the leap from 1994 to the decade of the 2010s.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 01/11/10
Game Release: New Super Mario Bros. Wii (US, 11/15/09)
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