JPN - December 3, 2009
USA - November 15, 2009
EUR - November 20, 2009
After 13 years, we finally see New Super Mario Bros. Wii, the first 2D Mario console platformer since Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island. It was a huge surprise when it was announced at E3 2009, and perhaps overlooked over the more exciting announcements of the new Zelda and Super Mario Galaxy 2. So how does this game stack up to the most-hyped games of the year?
It’s Princess Peach’s birthday party. Mario, Luigi, and two generic Toads are celebrating with her when suddenly a giant cake appears from nowhere, and out pop the eight Koopalings, who steal her and hop on the airship. So the four go running after her like idiots, and then the Toad guards inside throw random presents into a cannon and shoot them out, which just so happen to be the new items of the game. Where is the Mushroom Kingdom Army at this crucial invasion? And more importantly, where is the Chancellor/King/whatever his name is? Okay, so it’s just a normal Mario story.
M’kay, so you’ve played Super Mario Bros. Now take all the nostalgic parts of it. Take the Challenge of Lost Levels. Take the power-up cache, overworld, and overall feel from SMB3.
From Super Mario World, take the Koopaling battles, the epic Final Castle, the enemies, and the replayable levels. Take the bubbles from SMW2, basically. Then from New Super Mario Bros, take the physics of Mario, and the Star Coins. And now you have New Super Mario Bros. Wii.
This is the best combination of every single one of Mario’s main platformers of the past (except the US version of Super Mario Bros. 2. Buuuuuurn!). It is absolutely the most challenging Mario game (outside of Super Mario Bros. 2: The Lost Levels) for starters. Some of the levels, especially in the last world, are completely insane. Enemies, obstacles, and pitfalls will surround you, and even the most seasoned players will find themselves at a loss some times. If you want to get the full 120% needed to fully complete this game, you have to not only beat it, but find every Star Coin, go without using a single continue, and you not die more than 5 or so times in one level. Miyamoto made up for the easiness of most of New Super Mario Bros. (on the DS) and tripled it.
Another major improvement on New Super Mario Bros. is the variety. There are now 3 new items. The Propeller Suit, lets you fly high in the air in one short burst. It makes several courses much easier, and all flagpoles are much easier to get a 1-up on. Instead of burning enemies or turning them into coins, the Ice Flower freezes them, letting them be used as platforms, or finally gives you the ability to kill Dry Bones. But when you get the Penguin Suit, which lets you swim as well as when you have the frog suit in SMB3, plus allows you to slide like you could with the blue shell in NSMB, you realize that the Ice Flower isn’t very useful. The Koopa Shell’s removal wasn’t very bad, but why is the Mega Mushroom not in this game? I see no real need to remove it as long as the mini mushroom is in it too.
Level variety is tremendous. Right off from World 1-1, you can tell that this game is completely fresh. The Wii’s much more advanced physics allow for many more types of levels. Sadly, though this is relatively minor, there are a huge lack of Ghost Houses and Airship levels, and the Castles are pretty much the same besides one point. A completely unused point is the amazing gravity feature of the 2D bits on Super Mario Galaxy! Those were absolutely stunning, and on a real 2D platformer, it would have rocked.
Whenever they took parts of every game, they also did the near-unthinkable and included nearly every enemy from every game! The only real examples I can think of are the Amazing Flying Hammer Bros, the Football Koopas, and the Pumpkins. It is a huge refresh to see almost completely new sets of enemies every single couple of levels. Now because of the Koopalings, the main bosses of NSMB are not present. Which is a shame, because they could have been in the mid-castles, but they weren’t really necessary. Plus, I see no Dory or dolphins as helpers, which was a great gameplay element in SMW, and there wasn’t a single normal level in which you had to constantly run away from thing gigantic invincible monster. Just scrolling ones =P
Now onto the gimmicks of the gameplay. Yoshi comes to mind immediately. He’s only in about 5 levels, but he’s on the cover. Not a really big deal, except that multiplayer levels with the little guy are way more fun than many others. The “encounters” are always easy (except some of them in World Cool), and all you get is 3 more mushrooms, plus the Toad Houses with special items only give you Stars, not anything really cool like in SMB3, which is what you’d expect. And there are only about 10 levels in the whole game that utilize the mini mushroom, and they don’t even unlock anything awesome like the two extra worlds in New SMB. It would’ve been better if it unlocked some bonus mini-worlds or such, because otherwise, it’s just for star coins.
The real meat of this game is the multiplayer. There is nothing better on the Wii than to get 3 friends together and play through some of the game’s best levels, such as 1-3, 2-4, and all of the World 8 levels. There are three ways to play. In Free-For-All you go into any level (if you’ve beaten that world’s castle) and at the end, you see what the score is for everyone. Coin Battle has 7 or 8 completely new levels, and then charges all of the players with collecting the most coins. Levels 5-4 and 1-7 (I think) own on this one. You can also have a whole weekend of awesome by playing through the whole campaign…. err…. Story Mode with the group. I can think of only a few games with better multiplayer, and those would be Brawl, Wii Sports Resort, and Metal Slug Anthology.
Of course, all complaints I’ve made so far are nitpicky and just things I wish would be in the game. This game is completely perfect in all gameplay levels if you block out all expectations, comparisons, and changes you would have made. Wow.
Let’s be a little less heavy on the words in this section here, shall we? I can sum it up easily by saying that this game has stylish graphics, and all models are beautifully… modeled, but it has the same graphical level as, say, Mario Party 7. Not close to Galaxy. But then again, it still looks good. Why does it matter?
I was blown away when I found this out: They didn’t remix the SMB overworld theme yet again to put in 50 levels! Each of the overworlds are completely new in their music, and World 9 (ooh, what a spoiler, I just ruined your day by saying that, didn’t I =P) even remixes the GCN Rainbow Road theme! I guess the Rainbow Road Song on Youtube was just that popular, lol. But the NSMB main theme finally gets some good remixes, especially the World 8 version that gave chills up my spine while I was playing more than once. Now the underground levels still use the same tune, but the water levels have a new theme! Now the sound itself is great, just like all Mario games, and Charles Martinet has done his best voiceover work EVER, in this game. If you haven’t already, find a way to get this game’s OST.
The multiplayer, man. Who cares if it’s online or not, it would have been way harder to play with friends if all you could do was talk to them. And the Star Coins and Sparkly Stars will always challenge you to finally get 20% on this game.
Well I covered this in the Gameplay section, but the extreme amount of variety in this allows for it to be extremely difficult and unpredictable at times.
If you’re trying for 120% and you get a super guide block at world 8-Airship, that wold absolutely make you furious. But there are only about 5 or 6 levels that are hard enough to make you frustrated, so it’s not too bad. Hey, how can you even get frustrated at a gem like this?
It’s worth the full 50 bucks you paid for. If you paid less for a used copy, then you got a great deal.
Great game, completely. You need to buy it. Now. Only a few games ever make me want to write an entire review about it just because that’s how good it is, and this is one. Ciao.
51/54 = 9.5 on a 10 point scale.