Product Type: Nintendo Wii games
Newest Review: ... in a 2D format, advancing from one side of the screen to another. I am really glad that Nintendo decided to stay true to past games i... more
THE ONLY GAME THAT CAN END A RELATIONSHIP!
New Super Mario Brothers (Wii)
Author Name: mdstone
New Super Mario Brothers (Wii)
Advantages: Addictive multi - player action, fun to play and very durable
Disadvantages: Split second freeze when your co - op partner loses a life can be annoying (intentional or not?)
Super Mario is back and this time it's bigger and better than before!
I delightfully received this game as a Christmas present as I wanted a multi-player game that both the missus and I could play. For one, it would stop any arguments about me spending too much time playing console games as she would be playing it at the same time! More to the point, she always gets bored easily so this would surely keep her going for a while.
Plot & Aim of the Game
If you are considering buying this game for a brand new plot then you will be vastly disappointed. Although this is the latest Mario title, the plot is pretty much the same as always; rescue Princess Peach from the evil claws of Bowser and his Koopalings.
You start the game with an animation of Mario, Luigi, Blue Toad and Yellow Toad celebrating the princess's birthday when a large cake is rolled in. Out pop Bowser and his Koopalings to throw the cake onto the princess and take off with it onto their airship with Mario & co giving chase.
"Just jump on the damn ship" you're thinking as they just stand their staring at it. It then flies off leaving you the tough task of having to actually complete the game to rescue the princess. And so your journey begins......
The format of the new series is pretty much the same as previous titles where you aim to complete a set of levels on various Worlds inside the game. All the usual familiar goals are there for every level; collecting coins, collecting mushrooms to get power-ups and other useful items, killing enemies, jumping into pipes, finding secret rooms and defeating an end of world 'boss'.
There are 9 worlds in total, 8 regular worlds and one secret 9th world that is only accessible by collecting all the Star Coins for each world. Each World is unique and has its own theme with the later Worlds obviously more difficult than its predecessors.
Graphics & Sound
The graphics of this game are as visually impressive as you can get with a Mario game. You don't buy this game for the amazing graphics you buy it just because it's a Mario game and the fun associated with this 'one for ages' platform game. The 2.5D (2D background with 3D rendering) animations are crisp, clear and colourful combined with a decent soundtrack of familiar Mario melodies and some added extras. The design of the main selectable characters (Mario Luigi, Blue Toad & Yellow Toad) are very clear and superbly animated when performing in-game actions. The little additions such as the Mario and Luigi voices when entering a level, losing a life and coming back into the game are very catchy. "Here we go again" is a common sound you will hear once you use a continue because you are bound to use lots of them on tricky levels!
The single player mode is what we are all familiar with but the main topic for discussion has to be the multi-player co-op aspect of the game. This is what makes this different to previous titles. You can play with up to 4 players at the same time and even choose to join mid-game for helping out during difficult parts of the game. You chose from playing Mario, Luigi, Blue Toad or Yellow Toad as already mentioned. It's a shame there weren't any other characters to choose from as this appears rather limited. Once the first 2 players have chosen Mario & Luigi (which always happens) there are only the toads to choose from. I would have liked to see others from the Mario story added here for more choice such as Princess Daisy, Rosalina, Wario and Walugi (all of which appear in Mario Kart). It's easily done but Nintendo decided not to bother which is a shame.
Having played the game for a few weeks now I would recommend playing the game 2 player rather than any other combination for obvious reasons which you will discover when you start playing.
Firstly, it is great having a helping hand on levels so that one of you can perform one task, such as collecting coins while the other kills enemies etc but you can get caught out during levels with lots of platforms and jumps where one player rushes too far ahead on the screen and forces you to lose an unnecessary life. This can occur on a horizontal rolling screen or a level consisting of a vertical climb such as a Castle. Having said that, the screen does zoom out quite far if your characters have spanned to either side of the level which does help a lot. The other annoying aspect of the game is the split second freeze when your opponent loses a life as this regularly causes you to miss a jump on a platform or accidentally run into an enemy resulting in another unnecessary life loss. This was apparently intended by Nintendo and isn't a game bug (arguably). Apart from these gripes you get more than enough enjoyment out of the game play to put them to one side and think about all the positives.
You can use each other to get to hard to reach places by jumping on your partner's head as they jump which can spring you much higher. This is particularly useful for reaching Star Coins that would normally only be accessible with a Propeller Suit. You can also pick each other up as you would with a turtle shell and throw each other into enemies. If you happen to be on a level containing a Yoshi (an item gained from an egg shell) then you can also eat each other using the Yoshi with his long tongue and then spit them out to fire them into enemies or coins etc. Great fun!
3 or 4 players tend to be a case of 'too many cooks'. You may find it easier to kill enemies and get through less tricky levels but it just requires too much co-ordination between the characters to get past certain sections of a level. You do have the added benefit however of pressing the minus button on the Wiimote to put your character in a floating bubble so that you can let the other players complete the level (they just pop your bubble to bring you back in). Sometimes this trick can backfire if they accidentally pop you in mid air and you simply plummet into gaps in the platform or into lava etc and lose a life. Expect the arguments to start here; "What did you do that for? You did it on purpose". "No I didn't", "Yes you did and I'll get you back". This kind of defies the object of the game as you can be led astray and start throwing each other into enemies or off cliffs intentionally to get your revenge. Beware this can cause a split in a seemingly strong relationship!
If you are a competitive person then you may like the Free mode and Coin Battle between your friends and family. The aim for Free mode is to get the highest score at the end of each level by coins, item collection and enemy kills etc. With Coin Battle you fight it out to get the most coins by any means possible. You have no worries here about throwing a shell at your opponent, picking them up or jumping on them to gain an advantage. The coin battle is a great fun alternative to playing co-op and can be more enjoyable, especially 4 player.
One word of advice to help with the game play is to ensure that the Wiimote batteries are fully charged when playing as when they run low it can sometimes affect your jumping which can be annoying when you have a level that requires precision on several platform jumps. I do have an un-official battery pack connected to the Wiimote which may be a contributing factor but for the amount of time you will spend on this game I assure you they are needed as replacing the batteries every few days can be very expensive.
I found the game easiest to play with the Wiimote and nunchuck together, although you can turn your Wiimote sideways and play it that way but I think it makes it more difficult. The controls are quite different for each method so it's a bit silly that a horizontal Wiimote icon showing a hint of it being flicked up appears in the corner of the screen when your character is in a bubble as you don't perform this action when the nunchuck is attached, you simply shake the Wiimote to move closer to your partner for them to pop you.
Either way you use the controllers the game does make the most out of the motion control which is evident on cannons when collecting lives on the bonus levels and controlling moving platforms which appear on some levels.
Navigating the Map
The map screen is very retro style 2D where small replicas of your characters are moved around the map to enter various levels on the current world. If you have played previous Mario titles on the DS or N64 then you will be very familiar with this layout. As you move from level to level on the map you can encounter an enemy by bumping into them along your chosen path. This will give you the chance to defeat them and rescue a toad which will reward you with 3 Mushrooms. Also on the map you will find Red Mushroom houses which give you the chance to play Pairs and match items to gain them, Green Mushroom houses which give you the chance to earn extra lives by firing you character out of a canon into numbered balloons (with the number corresponding to the amount of lives you earn for popping it) and Yellow Mushroom houses to collect an invincibility star.
Along the map you will sometimes come across levels or places that you cannot get to. This may appear frustrating at times because you can't collect all the Star Coins on the World if there is a level you can't reach. Usually these become accessible by finding a secret ending to a level. Instead of completing certain levels the easy way you can sometimes find a hidden passage that will take you through a different route. All the secret endings make the game more challenging and it gives you something to go back and do again once you complete the game. Also if you missed any Star Coins you can go back and find them to get an alternative ending and reach the 9th World.
Super Mushroom (Red) - This basic item will give you a power up and turn Mario into Super Mario if you happen to be small size Mario. The benefits of this item include giving you the power to break bricks from underneath and taking a hit back into small Mario again (kind of like having 2 lives).
1-Up Mushroom (Green) - This basic item will give you an extra life.
Star Man - The Star Man will give you temporary invincibility. The music changes once you collect the item and your character flashes to indicate your new found power. You can then run into any enemies to kill them. This can be a very handy item getting you past difficult stages but it doesn't really last long enough as its pretty much over before it even starts.
Mini Mario - This is a surprisingly powerful item. You are turned into a miniature Mario which gives you the ability to run across water, jump higher than normal at floating pace, jump on enemies without stomping them and fit through tiny warp pipes that often lead to secret endings or Star Coins. The only downside is that if you take hit you lose a life instantly.
Ice Flower - This item is useful for firing ice balls at enemies to freeze them into an ice block. This will then allow you to stomp on them to kill them or pick them up and throw them. This can be very handy for freezing large plant enemies but beware that frozen enemies are only temporary.
Fire Flower - Firing fireballs is great for destroying enemies in your path with one hit and they can travel the distance of the screen. A very destructive item but you can't hit fire with fire and destroy incoming fireballs from enemies.
Penguin Suit - The Penguin suit gives your character the same benefits as the Ice flower but you also have the ability to walk and run on ice without sliding and you can slide on your front down ice slopes to crash into enemies or break blocks. You will also be able to slide on top of water and have better control under water.
The Propeller Suit - This is my favourite item that allows you to fly and glide in the air by shaking the Wiimote. It's a very useful item for reaching high points in the level and finding secret warp pipes and beanstalks. Seemingly difficult levels can be a breeze with this.
Making the game easier
I would say it is near on impossible to complete this game fully without looking at a walkthrough or hint online. Some of the star coins are hidden in places you would never find on a level even if you did it over and over 100 times. I would certainly recommended looking at a walkthrough if you're completely stuck as it will give you an explanation of what needs to be done. It can't really be classed as cheating because you are merely being told how to do something as even when you know how it can still take several attempts to do it.
Once you've completed the game once without collecting all the star coins you at least get the ability to save the game at any level rather than only have the option after you've defeated an end boss or mid level boss. Once you've had a continue there is also nothing stopping you going back to previous worlds and entering all the mushrooms to gain a load of items and put your extra lives into double figures. It even hints at this on the map screen.
Once you have collected all the Star Coins on a World it will open up a hint movie that you can buy using the coins from the World 1 Princess Castle. These are great little movies that show you all the secrets in a level and sometimes how to get infinite lives. Some levels present a scenario where you can perform an action to gain some continuous points and when they reach a certain amount they turn into 1-Ups meaning you can get to 99 lives quite easily. The hint movies also show a skill where you see how to complete a level in the fastest possible way but this is for the very advanced gamer as it is very difficult to re-enact what you see in this hint movie.
This game really is one for everybody. Adults will have just as much fun playing this as kids and the multi-player game offers something different to previous titles. The game is priced around £35 which I think is good value for money due to the durability of the game play. There are some annoyances with the game but a lot of these are self inflicted. This is a classic platform game that is as much enjoyable as it is frustrating. The controls are great and the multi-player action is very addictive. I would probably say if you are not bothered about completing the game 100% then it is not that difficult to play but if you go back and get all the Star Coins you need a lot of patience as it does get very difficult.
Summary: Latest Super Mario adventure for Nintendo Wii with multi-player up to 4 players
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