Mario and Luigi decide to go out on a coin hunt. While gone Princess Peach is kidnapped by the Koopa Kids and now the duo embark on another mission to save her.... again. -summary
In 2004 Nintendo announced that they were going to restore the 2D style of Super Mario back to original form. This pretty much sent long time fans off into a frenzy whom were craving that old school formula of game play, which went AWOL prior to Mario's transition into the 3D world with Super Mario 64. In 2006 they releasedNew Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo DS. Although the game was well received, I did not take much of a liking to it since I felt it was missing that unforgiving game play found earlier in the 2D franchise. 2009 we saw the release of New Super Mario Bros. Wii, for the Nintendo Wii, and despite flaws I wish I had played that game much sooner, this was indeed a step in the right direction, as it introduced an insane multi-player format not seen before in Mario games, along with that 2D toughness and creativity we love about the franchise.
Now, we're over a year into Nintendo's new handheld device the 3DS, and to help falling sales, another Mario game had been announced to the "New" franchise being New Super Mario Bros. 2. Once I heard what the game was about my expectations lowered. The game is set around coin collecting, where the player will take control of Mario and begin collecting as many coins as possible on his way to the goal. Seriously, what's so special about that? We been collecting coins in Mario games for 25 years. After playing through the game, I must say this is the laziest game to come out of Nintendo in quite some time, quite possibly ever. This is lazier than re-releasing old Nintendo 64 games for their current hand held system in dire need of something groundbreaking since week one.
The game follows Mario as he hikes across 6 playable worlds, with 2 more that need to be found, and an additional Star Road that can be unlocked. Along the way, he eliminates the usual Koopa Troopas, Piranha Plants, Goombas, and well known baddies. He can obtain the usual mushroom, fire plant, mini mushroom, max mushroom, and star man power ups; with the Raccoon Tail returning to the line up. However, New Super Mario Bros. 2 is heavily driven off its latest gimmick, vast coin collecting. There's a reason why people use to blow through these games only picking up the coins that are necessary for the 1up, because it's actually one of the only boring parts of the game play. Cramming coin collecting down the players throats isn't so much innovative as it is annoying.
Now I won't say that the game does absolutely nothing good, because that's way too far away from the truth. First of all, the stage designs have moments where they are amazing; with moving platforms that see the Koopalings attempting to turn you into stone, plus a few tricky jumps here and there. The three Star Coins per stage make a comeback and along with finding alternate exits, they can be pretty tricky to find. I found myself returning to stages multiple times for the sake of completion. Unfortunately, finding these additional routes is the closest thing you'll find towards being rewarded for your work.
In regards to coin collecting; it really got boring around the 2nd world or so. The stages are filled to the peak with coins and Nintendo accommodates's this by presenting many ways to obtain them easily. Pipes will shower coins from either high or low, you will run past check points, or leap to certain areas only to reveal more coins, but the more interesting feature is the Gold Fire Plant. This transforms Mario into solid gold, and he becomes able to hurl golden fire balls with a splash radius turning almost anything within range into coins. If you nail a group of enemies the amount of coins will skyrocket. There's a coin counter that follows Mario through out the game and its encouraged to rack up at least a million coins for something special, and here lies the problem.
The coin collecting is nothing but a shameless gimmick by Nintendo to force some type of replay. You're never going to collect a million coins in your first play through, which is going to force you replaying stages over and over. There is also a Coin Rush mode, where three stages are selected at random, and you have to beat the clock while picking up as many coins as possible. In addition to this, you will earn 1ups like you wouldn't believe rendering the green mushroom 1up completely pointless. There is no reason to try and earn extra lives outside of collecting coins. On top of this, the coin collecting doesn't even fit into the story. Mario is seriously running around grabbing gold coins for no reason. I know Mario games have never been big on story, but this game easily has less story than the Mario Kart series.
My personal gripe only continues, as once again you're forced to find two main stages. I understand unlocking secrets, however, I will never agree with hiding two out of eight stages which actually shortens the game play (around 3 hours if you run straight through). If the game featured a level skip, then that's a different story because that can be used on your own free will. This particular series is billed as being "New", yet there's almost nothing new here. Nintendo rehashes the Reznor boss battle multiple times, in addition to extremely watered down battles with the Koopalings from the Wii version. This is easily the most derivative game ever made by Nintendo.
I can't stress enough how this game was only meant to separate gamers from their cash. The Super Leaf aka Raccoon Tail serves very little purpose outside of nostalgia. It possesses the same ability to fly around, but there is very, very, little use for it. I'm also sick and tired of Nintendo putting games together for very bad gamers; like Super Mario 3D Land, if you die enough times in a stage, then you will be able to use an invincible super leaf to instantly beat the stage and win. I'll never understand this. The game also has multi-player via local play and two people must both own the game. Nintendo mentioned that this was added on as an after thought and it shows. I'm not really a fan of online play but it should have been added here.
This is the only part of the game that succeeds. Controlling Mario is pretty much spot on, and I will argue that if you die and see a game over screen it's your fault. Wall kicking, making tight jumps, using the touch screen for additional power ups works perfectly.
This game could have easily been released for the DS. Visually, I don't see much that sets them apart. The game uses the same art style as the rest of the New series, thus making the claim of it being "New" even more false than true. I see no reason why Nintendo couldn't have been the least bit innovative here. Some of the baddies look nice such as the zombified goombas, but outside of the stages there's really nothing impressive. I do like the ghost houses though, they seem to still have that creepy, cartoony atmosphere about them, plus the castles still have that menacing feel about them. They're dark with some nice lava backgrounds.
I will also mention that the game does a very poor job handling the 3DS capabilities. The 3D effect gives the backgrounds a very blurry look misleading lots of players into believing that the background is further away. It looks terrible. The foreground has no depth at all. I find it hard to believe this is the exact same system I played Super Mario 3D Land and Star Fox 64 3Don. Although the music is fitting and somewhat still enjoyable by this point, it has been rehashed from its predecessors. The sound effects are about as innovative as the music and visuals, go figure.
I have to tell you, when I finally reached one million coins; I seriously felt like breaking this game into pieces. I heard there was something "better" once you maxed out the coin counter. I have no intention at all in finding out the "reward". There use to be a time when salivating over the next Mario game didn't mean you were crazy. You knew that Mario was the gold standard and you would be treated to an innovative, top notch gaming experience. These days if you're salivating over the next Mario game, then you really are fuckin' crazy.
New Super Mario Bros. 2 doesn't have a creative cell in its body. This game reminds me of Mario Kart 7 in how slapped together it feels. It's also way too easy and does not compare with the more menacing Wii version. I'm pissed at Nintendo for selling this weak ass game for 40 bucks in cartridge form when it's worth about 5, and should've went straight to the Nintendo eShop. If you're one of those easy to please gamers out there who can care less about a Mario game possessing zero innovation, then you will more than likely have a blast here. If you're picking it up for a child, they will no doubt enjoy it. If you demand a lot from your video games and you're looking for a reason not to sell your 3DS, then I recommend Cave Story 3D, Resident Evil: Revelations, Kid Icarus: Uprising, Tales of the Abyss, and Super Mario 3D Land. If you played all of those, then make some blind purchases but skip this.
Pros: -Has fun moments for awhile
Cons: -Not the least bit innovative, way too easy, lazy, poor replay
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