New Super Mario Bros. Wii
With New Super Mario Bros. Wii Nintendo gives a brand new look to one of the most memorable games in history. Whether you're a newb or an oldies fan, this is one Mario game that you've got to play.
Nintendo has always been pretty smart about “giving the players what the want to see”… or giving the players something even better than what they think they want. Not only that, but Nintendo gives it to the players in a perfected, fun format that often renders high ratings and positive feedback from consumers.
Thus, when Nintendo got around to thinking “What game can we create that will appeal to both young and old gamers?” someone obviously suggested a return to the classic of classics–Super Mario Brothers. With new twists to enthrall newbies and old gimmicks to fascinate oldies, the New Super Mario Bros. Wii definitely has potential… The question is, does that potential make the New Super Mario Bros. Wii a hit or a miss?
Mario, Luigi, Peach, and two Toads are enjoying a joyous celebration in the Mushroom Kingdom. Unfortunately, a group of party poopers burst onto the scene and spoil the fun. Baby Bowser and his gang capture Peach and make off with her! With no choice, Mario and friends follow after the fiends in order to save their princess.
“WHAT!? Peach gets kidnapped again!?”
Yep. Hey, this is a return to the original game. What sort of plotline did you expect?
Your whole mission is to rescue your damsel in distress. What more needs to be said? A few missions involve Mario saving Toads and carrying them to safety or releasing them from their confining treasure chests.
Teamwork is a big issue if you are playing New Super Mario Bros. Wii with a friend or three. Victory is dependent totally upon teamwork. If a player goes too quickly for the others, leaves them behind, or doesn’t assist them in fighting enemies, defeat is the sure result. New Super Mario Bros. Wii has a big emphasis on teamwork.
One enemy is a bird-like creature that cackles like a witch and flies around on a broom, waving a magic wand in the air. A few bosses wield stereotype magic wands. A few enemies encountered in dungeons are creatures like skeleton Koopas that crumple into a pile of bones when jumped on, a skeleton fish, and the typical Boo (ghost in the Mario world). A few of the courses are haunted houses that are filled with cartoony, slap-stick ghouls, as well as a few pieces of furniture which come to life and attack Mario.
Gameplay Violence. Very tame–that’s all I can say. Really, you aren’t going to see anything more violent than what is present in the original Super Mario Brothers. Enemies can be flattened, knocked off the screen (etc.). It’s all very tame and humorous. Bosses fall off the screen with a despairing yell. At the end, we see all of the bosses together, so you get the impression that nobody really gets very hurt.
One boss slaps its bottom at Mario as a taunt.
No concerns here.
Other Negative Content
I’ve said it many times already: New Super Mario Bros. Wii plays just like the original with a few fortunate gameplay changes. The entire point of the game is to reach the flag pole at the end of each course while surviving the obstacles in your path and collecting all the coins you can. Along the way, you’ll uncover secret passages and hidden items that will help you in your quest.
Some new features to the game are the famous triple jump (brought over from Super Mario 64) which allows the player to jump three times in a row (each time higher than the last), and the wall jump which allows players to bounce off of an adjacent wall. This latter move is especially useful because it prevents many of the deaths experienced in the original game. In four-player mode, players can press the “A” button to enter a bubble which spares them from falling into a pit and losing a life. It’s a great, kid-friendly way to survive a level, but if all players on-screen are in their bubble or die, the players fail the level.
Some new items make their appearance. The Penguin Suit allows Mario and friends to slip and slide on ice with ease, swim quickly underwater, and even throw snowballs at enemies. The Propeller Mushroom gives characters the ability to fly and hover for brief periods of time, allowing players to reach all of those extra, out-of-reach goodies and save their skin a time or two. An Ice Flower creates the opposite effects of the Fire Flower, giving Mario and company the ability to freeze enemies in large ice blocks.
The Wiimote does come into play a time or two, but virtual action is, fortunately, not overdone. A brief flick of the Wiimote will utilize the characters’ spinning ability and also send them up in the air when equipped with a Propeller Mushroom. Occasionally, a player will find himself on an iron bar or some other workable obstacle. By tilting the Wiimote left and right, a player can tip these objects to his advantage. Some courses even place the player on a moving platform which the player must turn and tip in order to avoid impending doom.
The four-player option is one of the game’s most unique features. Unfortunately, teamwork can make your quest a whole lot easier… or a lot harder. Because very precise teamwork is necessary to successfully clear a goal, only the most careful actions will grant a team victory. This becomes quite difficult if even one player is inexperienced or careless. For example, getting into a life-saving bubble at the wrong time is fatal to the team effort. It is also extremely easy to bounce on each others’ heads in the confusion, causing that player to be knocked down a pit or fail to clear a threatening obstacle. On the plus side of things, defeating bosses and enemies is much easier and the value of teamwork is nicely realized through the gameplay. Though the addition of the four-player feature is nice, it probably shouldn’t be used too seriously to beat the game… unless, of course, the players are all on the same experience level.
Some new features make New Super Mario Bros. Wii a bit easier on the younger or inexperienced. For example, if a player fails a course several times in a row, the player will be given the option of watching a computer-controlled Luigi run through the course successfully. This makes clearing courses slightly easier by showing the safest possible route. Gamers looking for a challenge will likely skip over this option and continue to try their own hand at the course. Another cool feature is the Star Coins–three large coins scattered through each level–which can be collected to watch secret movies at Peach’s Castle. These movies are more amusing to watch than anything else because they show perfect runs through courses, often involving synchronized teamwork, and reveal to the player how to get 8+ lives in a single level. The daring will want to try and mimic these videos, but most will find them as a practical use to discover where all the hidden goodies and Star Coins are on a level. Speaking of the Star Coins… They come in handy once you’ve beaten the game, but… Well, I won’t spoil it for you guys.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii has one major drawback. It’s a bit too short, and too easy, at least in my opinion. The levels really don’t start to get challenging until the last few worlds or so. Even then, I didn’t even use my first continue until almost the end of the game. I did, however, find the final world to be a genuine challenge and died many times before I beat it. The last boss is a satisfying battle and will certainly be a toughy for all players.
Nostalgia is everywhere. It’s in the enemies, in the music, in the voice acting, in the movement of the characters, in the level design, in the hidden passages… Like I said: everywhere! I found myself stumbling through levels that I knew I had seen before in the old Mario games. Every so often, I would reach one small area in a course and just have this weird déjà vu feeling that I’d seen it all before without actually remembering where. Players who enjoyed the original Super Mario Brothers are likely to be left smiling from a few cleverly-placed scenes reminiscent of original Nintendo classic.
Take everything that you remember about the original Super Mario Brothers and enhance the graphics into beautiful 3D textures. Now you have a pretty good idea of what New Super Mario Bros. Wii looks like graphics-wise. The landscapes and colors are uniquely Mario and pour on the nostalgia for those who remember playing the original on a black and white TV. What else can I say? Water splashes gorgeously, clouds dissipate realistically, pathways look enhanced, yet distinctly familiar… It’s all good.
Believe it or not, New Super Mario Bros. Wii doesn’t use the classical “da-da-da, da-da-da, dum…” tune, but instead resorts to an all-new track that plays throughout most of the levels. Its familiar, light-hearted sound will quickly be accepted by the player, even though it is a tune totally original to the Mario series. Likewise, new themes have been composed for the water levels (etc.), but don’t think that Nintendo has completely done away with tradition. On the contrary, players will hear plenty of tunes pulled straight from classics like Super Mario Brothers and Super Mario 64.
Voice acting is kept to a minimum of victory quotes, continue quotes, and common gameplay grunts. Sounds are familiar. Really familiar. Koopas still “blip” when you jump on their shells, Mario’s jumps boing, and Yoshi still speaks his own, squeaky dino language. Basically, the sound department of the game is very loyal to tradition, which isn’t at all bad.
Nintendo has offered an old Mario adventure with a new twist… and succeeded. Whether you are a gaming newb or a cyber athlete, you’ll find something to love in this game, through the form of novelty or familiar nostalgia.
Needless to say, New Super Mario Bros. Wii is a hit. It’s a game that you really can’t dislike. I know of gamers who don’t like many video games, but absolutely love this one. Definitely give it a rent if Mario is your thing because it’s a game that, like Ocarina of Time, you’ll want to play just to say you’ve “played it.”
What more needs to be said? New Super Mario Bros. Wii is a successful, family-friendly game with no objectionable content. If gaming with your siblings is what you enjoy, or if you’re looking for a clean game that you can have no qualms about the smallest child playing, then this is definitely the game you’ll want to look into. Nintendo has once again won our well-deserved “Kudos!”
+ 2D side-scroller faithful to the original
+ Carves its own path with new gimmicks and music
+ Co-op play with up to four players
+ Original soundtrack with familiar sound effects
+ Family-friendly for all ages
- Fairly short
- Doesn't get truly difficult until the end
- Co-op can do more harm than good
- May disappoint those wanting a 100% traditional return to the original
- Some mild spiritual content and cartoony violence