Developer(s) – Nintendo EAD Group No 4
Publisher(s) – Nintendo
Director – Yusuke Amano
Producer(s) – Takashi Tezuka & Hiroyuki Kimura
PEGI – 3
A direct sequel to the well-received DS revival of the classic 2D side-scrolling formula of the series, New Super Mario Bros 2 was described by Satoru Iwata as being a “completely new side-scrolling action Super Mario in 2D as a key title for the Nintendo 3DS”. To me, however, whilst it was a fairly decent game in its own right, it doesn’t have the kind of innovation in gameplay, as Iwata seemed to imply that it did.
Graphics – 7/10
Where this game impresses most in terms of visual presentation is from a technical standpoint in my opinion. It is certainly one of the better-looking titles on the system in this respect, and I think compared with other portable Mario games, there is a lot more textural detail; mostly made evident by the many objects and elements made out of gold to go along with the entire tableau of the game. It does suffer somewhat from a conceptual standpoint, however, since many of the different themes of the individual world had been seen in not only the original New Super Mario Bros, but in New Super Mario Bros Wii before it.
Gameplay – 7.5/10
Playing out like most other classic Super Mario games, it follows the same 2D side-scrolling formula that Nintendo built upon vastly with the creation of the original NES classic; the difference being that in this game, coin-collecting has a slightly greater bearing on gameplay than in most other titles in the series. The problem being is that it doesn’t have as much bearing that players would most probably have expected before playing, and the reward for collecting one million coins is nothing more glorious than a new title screen. Nonetheless, it plays out as well as any other 2D side-scrolling Mario game, and there’s not much wrong with that.
Controls – 10/10
Nintendo not only reinvented the overall idea of what a good 2D side scroller should be for the better, but they also fine-tuned the control scheme of any typical game of its kind, making it much easier to cope with than in other 2D side scrollers prior. Therefore, there should have been no problems with the controls of this installment, and nor are there. I’ve always found the tiny Mario a little bit hard to cope with, but that’s semantics.
Lifespan – 7/10
With a lifespan of around 15 to 20 hours, depending on how many coins the players wishes to end up collecting, it may not be the longest experience ever developed, but it still exceeds the average lifespan of most other 2D side scrollers; from the third and fourth generations of gaming or otherwise. I don’t begrudge games like this lasting that long, since whilst they can seem linear, especially these days since the formula has been repeated time and again, they still make for exceptionally fulfilling experiences if done right.
Storyline – 4/10
Once again, Mario is pit against Bowser in order to save his constant damsel in distress, Princess Peach. This concept has been exhausted since even the later days of the NES, and is in my opinion, one of the most beaten dead horses in video game history; if not, the most. These days, it can be automatically assumed that people don’t play Super Mario Bros for the plot, with the exception of a few standout games, like most games in the Super Mario RPG series for example.
Originality – 4/10
Although it is always entertaining to pick up a new Super Mario Bros game, they aren’t always kept as fresh as most gamers would most probably like them to be kept; New Super Mario Bros 2 is literally a shining example of this with all the gold riddled across it. Another huge gripe I have about this game is the exceptionally poor quality of the majority of boss fights; most of which is increasingly harder variations of the four rotating rhino boss first found in Super Mario World. The Super Mario series has never been particularly renowned for its boss fights anyway, but this takes the cake.
Overall, despite its many different faults, New Mario Bros 2 may be one of the worst entries in the series in my opinion, but that isn’t to say it’s a terrible game; just a very unoriginal and repetitious one. Nintendo has gone on to make a few more varied and unique games in the series, but this isn’t one of their most standout efforts, unfortunately.