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
Old Super Mario Bros.
New Super Mario Brothers (Wii)
Member Name: illogicology
New Super Mario Brothers (Wii)
Advantages: Beautiful and nostalgic graphics and gameplay, a must own.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii is based largely on the style of the DS title, also called New Super Mario Bros. These games are both well developed titles that pick up the Mario franchise as if that whole 3D thing we've been devoting the last ten years to never took off. It is a 2D platformer in truest Mario Bros. fashion. While reviewers have been quick to slap the "2.5D" label on the game, it really isn't appropriate. New Super Mario Bros. Wii is a side on view game that merely uses 3D rendered models instead of sprites. Those familiar with the original Mario Bros. or Mario World titles will be at home instantly. The game involves working from the opening of the level to the flag at the end, between you and your goal is a sequence of obstacles. These might be enemies, lava pits, spiky blocks falling from the sky or even falling off a platform into oblivion. It's classic gameplay that doesn't roll around too often and it's as tightly coded as ever. New power up are involved as is to be expected from an all new Mario Bros. title. This time around you can freeze baddies in blocks of ice, slide around in a penguin suit or even don a little helicopter hat and use it to reach out of the way areas. These all blend perfectly well into the level and no power up is useless or makes completion too easy. Playing through New Super Mario Bros. Wii is so familiar, is almost as though you're picking up right where you left off in 1996.
It's not all retro though, Nintendo have taken some modern gaming ideas an worked it into the overall game. Lives are a lot easier to come by, we no longer live in a world where games are driven by arcade sales and it's nice to see home console titles drop a game mechanic intended purely to pump more quarters out of punters. Lives do still feature but after about twenty minutes playing around in the early chapters of the game I'd picked up so many I forgot about them until this end. This doesn't make the game easier, rather it doesn't penalise you for taking as many attempts as you need. A welcome change. They have also included an overworld map, much like Super Mario Bros. 3. This includes all the levels in a series of world and allows you to navigate to the next level or replay previous levels to up your score. Again showing a bit of modern flair, the map isn't a lifeless information screen but a representation of the Mushroom Kingdom, goombas wander across the map kidnapping the toadstool people and hiding them in other levels and there's always a bonus level or even a cannon to uncover. To say that New Super Mario Bros. Wii is an excellent example of the genre is no exaggeration, it really fits with the rest of the Super Mario Bros. series in the best way. It continues with all the best aspects of the series while developing on them in new and interesting ways. The game is also no quick fix, levels can be completed in a few minutes but there are a very large selection of levels, they also require replaying many times to complete 100%. It's a good, old school replayable game complete with high scores and collectables, it will also last as long as those early 90s favourites.
Nintendo also offers a first for the series and has included four player, co-op multiplayer. While the Mario series has always traditionally provided a two player option, it has always involved players taking turns to complete a level, trying to beat one another's score. This time players control Mario, Luigi and two toadstool folk within a level. The levels are adapted to this gameplay and will provide a powerup for each player, minimising the otherwise likely vicious competition for power flowers. Any game featuring four play co-op gets instant brownie points from me as the feature is just so rare, however I was quite surprised and a little disappointed with how this feature panned out. Nintendo had promoted this feature heavily prior to release, however after putting a lot of time into the game I was pretty stunned to find the game seems to play much better solo. It really feels as though the game was designed for the typical solo play with the four player tacked on later as a selling point. While it doesn't lose any points for implementation, the job is flawless, it does feel like a bonus and not the way the game was designed to be played. Not quite how Nintendo sold it.
Graphically, New Super Mario Bros. entertained me greatly. While the world is rendered in full 3D, you're not going to be seeing any varying perspectives here. Rather, you're locked in a side on view and it's beautiful. Colours are some of the most endearing, a rarity today and it looks as good as 90s sprites.
As fun as it is, the decision to develop the game intrigues me. The Mario series is regarded as one of the few games to successfully make the transition from the 2D to 3D era. Super Mario 64 took elements of the Super Mario Bros games and modified them to fit a 3D world, it too felt like a true continuation of the series despite the massive paradigm shift and is regarded as one of the finest games ever made. Since then there have been three fully 3D titles in the main Mario series and each has received stellar reviews and sold incredibly well. Perhaps I'm reading too much into it, but decisions such as these are usually taken after a failing to meet customers expectations (see Sonic the Hedgehog 4, Megaman 9. Both franchises that have recently returned to the styles that made them famous.). Mario on the other hand has consistently lived up to his reputation. It could be that Nintendo's success with the Wii and DS is freeing them up to take decisions covering many different directions. Nostalgic games who left the scene in the 80s are going to flock to New Super Mario Bros Wii while fans of Mario 64 are equally enjoying the Galaxy series. It seems if your company is called Nintendo, you CAN please everybody.
I wouldn't want anyone to take my words the wrong way. I don't consider New Super Mario Bros Wii to be a step in the wrong direction, I'm just impressed at Nintendo's ability to take so many steps in so many directions at once. This is a first rate title and another must own on the Wii. The price however, should not please. Despite being available since before Christmas, New Super Mario Bros. Wii is still priced at over £30. Wii owners should be used to this by now and no doubt a great deal of you will still buy it anyway (which probably has a lot to do with why prices stay so high.)
This can be found literally anywhere selling video games but nowhere for less than £30 new.
Summary: Could just as easily carry the title New Super Marios Bros. 4
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