by Chris Scott
reviewed on WII
Classic 2D fun
Nintendo's mascot Mario has been synonymous with quality gaming experiences for over 25 years. His latest adventure, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, continues that trend. The sequel to the 2006 DS game, New Super Mario Bros., brings all the classic 2D platforming fun (and frustration) that previous entries in the Super Mario series have delivered along with some new surprises. Among them is an extremely chaotic multiplayer mode, but more about that later.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii is in essence the spiritual successor to Super Mario Bros. 3 on the Nintendo Entertainment System and Super Mario World on the Super Nintendo, so be prepared for another adventure. It requires Mario and friends to save the kidnap prone Princess Peach from the clutches of Bowser yet again. Despite the often recycled premise New Super Mario Bros. Wii is a blast to play and for gamers who grew up playing the Super Mario Bros. games on their consoles nearly two decades ago, this is as pure as the series has been in a long time.
The game is filled with classic Super Mario Bros. pitfalls, bottomless pits, plenty of goombas, the dastardly koopa kids, airships, castles, power-ups and a host of other Mario tropes. Honestly if you have been looking for this type of game on the home console, just stop reading now because it doesn't get any better than that. However if you are looking for something that might change up the formula well New Super Mario Bros. Wii has something for you as well.
While multiplayer has been a long standing staple of the Super Mario Bros. games the multiplayer on the consoles was always a detached experience as both players would take turns playing the game. New Super Mario Bros. Wii introduces a co-operative mode that supports up to four players on the Wii console. There is no online support for New Super Mario Bros. Wii so to experience this mode, gamers will have to actually, god forbid, invite some friends (or family) over for an honest to goodness classic gaming session on their couch. The exclusion of online play may draw a few raised eyebrows but after playing it gamers will quickly realize that the chaos (and fun) of the mode would not work well in an online environment.
Playing the game co-operatively can be either purely satisfying or supremely frustrating depending upon who you are playing with and how you are playing. Of course being able to play co-operatively does not exactly mean that is the way the game should be played. I personally found the game to be much more fun trying to thwart my partners endeavors, particularly my wife who threatened to throw the Wii remote at me if I didn't stop jumping on her head.
In addition to the co-operative multiplayer there is also a pair of purely competitive modes that can be played. Free-for-All is an all out race to the end of the course while Coin Battle is a race to the end with the added objective of collecting the most coins during the course of the race. Both modes are fun but in the end the most fun comes from the classic game mode as you work through each world.
It should be noted that New Super Mario Bros. Wii is a difficult game. Arguably the hardest game that Nintendo has released this generation and it may frustrate younger or less experienced gamers. For this reason Nintendo has included the Super Guide which is designed to help navigate some of the harder sections of the game. The Super Guide, which is completely optional to use, can be activated after dying eight times on any one level, at which time if a player decides to activate it the game basically reverts to a demo mode and plays itself. It is an interesting feature to have and while it is certain to receive criticism from a certain demographic of gamers, the mode hurts no one and in fact may enhance the game's likability factor to other groups who have steered clear of the title before.
While much of New Super Mario Bros. Wii is praise worthy, its visuals are nothing to write home about. The game does not look bad but it does have some graphical issues that don't particularly look fantastic on bigger televisions. The polygonal characters in particular look a little funky around the edges. While it never hinders the gameplay, considering it is a 2D game, I was expecting a bit more out of it. Regardless though the game is functionally sound and is filled with bright and colorful worlds to explore, just like a Super Mario Bros. game should be.
The Wii is often times slagged for its lack of quality software and it is a fair complaint against the system. But when Nintendo does deliver a product you can almost always be assured that the game is going to be filled with quality, especially if it is branded with the Mario name. New Super Mario Bros. Wii is one of those games and Wii owners owe it to themselves to play the game. It is a trip down memory lane that should not be missed.
Classic Mario gaming. Multiplayer chaos.
Myabe a tad to difficult for some gamers.