Review: New Super Mario Bros. Wii
For a lot of us, Nintendo is another family member. Whether he’s an immediate family member or a distant cousin is decided upon how much we adore the franchises they’ve brought to us. Ultimately, they play some part in our life. So when Nintendo decided to bring back Super Mario to one of his most basic forms on the Nintendo DS, we rejoiced. But now we rejoice for a new reason. New Super Mario Bros. Wii is all that is good in an older Super Mario Bros. adventure, complete with a kidnapped princess, world map, suits, Koopa bosses, and side-scroll platforming.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii is a throw back to all that was great from Super Mario Bros. 3. As mentioned, the suits are back, as well as the Koopa kid bosses. The suits are a particular fun way to change up the pace of the game, and never a true necessity, aside from the occasional mushroom. And the Koopa kids, well, they’re just a blast from the 90’s past. Essentially, this is a title meant to appease the gamers from that generation, and bring a new level of appreciation to the side-scrolling platform games. But how does it fair?
And it fairs really well. From start to finish, the game continues to entertain while not punishing the player(s) for getting to the end. This is also one of the rare gems from this generation of gaming that truly gets what co-op is all about. Of course, that would be trying to kill your friends off before the end of that stage. Playing with friends in the game seems to be a game within itself. Not only for the co-op killing that will eventually happen, but the pleasure of being accompanied on the adventure is a true treat.
The game is setup in a 2.5D perspective. This means while the game is actually 3D, you still are running down a line to reach an ending. It really feels retro, which is what Nintendo was shooting for. The game works best this way anyway since they’ve included a 4-player co-op mode. The music and sounds are very retro too, which means this game truly is a blast from the past.
The core of the series is here still, with all the tricky jumps, moving platforms, and all of our favorite classic enemies. Not to mention the wall sliding/jumping ability brought to us in New Super Mario Bros. on the DS. There’s also a secondary objective to each level, similar to those of Super Mario World. Remember the Yoshi coins? They’re back. Collecting them all will lead you to a special world for the more experienced Super Mario players. The best part about each level design is that you’ll want to go back and replay them, just to make sure you didn’t miss something, or just to see if you can master a speed run. This is truly the same Mario we’ve grown to love, which means it’s the same game we’ve played before. There’s nothing truly new or ground breaking. It doesn’t even push Super Mario games to the next level of creativity. But is that really a bad thing? I think not.
The game is set up with a total of nine different worlds and environments, with a total of 88 levels. You’ll travel through many familiar surroundings from previous games and run into some familiar enemies. This doesn’t mean that you’re just playing a remake of the same game you’ve played before. Sure, you’ll get your Starman suit, or jump on a few Goombas, but the game’s magic is really in the platforming, level designs, and newly developed suits. For instance, in the frozen levels, you can acquire a penguin suit that will allow you to belly-flop onto the ground and skid across entire frozen areas, killing anything in your path. It can also double as the frog suit during swimming sequences. Another suit attaches a propeller to your character, and with the flick of your wrist, sends your character spinning of flying/floating to a new destination.
While the game can be challenging in a few spots, the game was a bit too easy for the most part. There’s a few levels that will snatch lives from you, but you’re never going to be left feeling like the game is impossible. This is a good and bad thing, depending on your play style. What really makes little sense is the addition of the Super Guide mode. It allows the game to play for you, skipping a difficult section or level that is just too tough for you. It’s activated when the game realizes that you’re not any good, and you’ve died several times on the same level. In the old days, we called the Super Guide the level skip code. But the feature being implemented into the game without some type of cheat code just feels cheap. It takes “hold your hand” gameplay to a new level.
If you’re not taking the simple road to victory, you’ll be collecting coins that can be spent at the beginning castle. The things you’ll end up buying are videos of secret places throughout the game, or incredible speed runs. The speed runs were jaw-dropping incredible, as a matter of fact. Often times, I wish I had better friends to play with so we could pull off these moves, but no such friends exist.
Actually, these friends do exist, just in another state. Nintendo has opted out of including any type of online play, which means you need to plan couch co-op parties to really enjoy the game with friends. This is one of the only draw backs to the game itself, but Nintendo did give a good enough reason of why it wasn’t added. In this game, precision is everything. If there’s a tiny spike in lag, you’re likely to have a character fly off a map or miss a platform that’s hard to hit. LittleBigPlanet on the PlayStation 3 managed to have online play, but there’s not near as much platform jumping involved as in New Super Mario Bros. Wii.
You really can’t go wrong with a Super Mario adventure usually, and New Super Mario Bros. Wii isn’t breaking this trend. For the slightly few things it didn’t get correct, it manages to master everything else. This is a full scale Super Mario, and feels like a sequel to the Super Mario Bros. more than just another money grabbing scheme cooked up by a company looking to make some quick cash.
+ Classic gameplay from the 21st century.
+ Co-op mode is a blast.
– You never feel like you’re going to “lose”. Especially with a mode like “Super Guide”.
– No online co-op.
Reviewed on the Wii.