Review: New Super Mario Bros 2 (3DS)

A lot of things can come to mind when  mentioning the Nintendo Entertainment System. For me, it’s memories of my dad coming home with a universal AC adapter for my birthday NES, and me watching him play it after he called me in to see it. While everyone’s memories of the NES vary, one thing that most they all have in common is a single 2D platformer: Super Mario Bros. But did Mario forget his roots after 3D graphics and DLC came into play? Well, I can say with confidence that he hasn’t yet, and New Super Mario Bros. 2 is a perfect example.

Story

As this is a traditional Mario game. There is next to no plot. Bowser has captured Princess Peach and Mario and his brother Luigi must save her.

Content Warning

You do realize that this is a Mario game, right? There isn’t even much speaking going on, and none of it is polluted with profanity. As far as violence, there is the basic cartoony squishing of Goombas to the non-violent scene of Bower falling into the lava, though he survives without any visible harm. Some may disapprove of the use of magic wand-type weapons by some boss characters, but it’s not used for much more than making Bowser grow at the worst. Sexual content? Laughable! Mario loves Princess Peach, and he obviously respects her the way we as Christians should respect women. Princess Peach is modestly dressed too, which violates all the seductive standards of modern entertainment—go Mario!

Gameplay

New Super Mario Bros. 2 is essentially a classic Mario game rendered in 3D. Anyone and everyone can pick it up and have the formula down in a matter of minutes. While it may be a little more complicated than the “A: JUMP / B: FIREBALL” mechanics from the original Super Mario Bros., it is obviously rooted in the classic NES hit. Hardcore players will also appreciate the added challenge of collecting all Star Coins hidden within various parts of each level, with new levels being rewarded for this accomplishment.
In most levels you will find low-to-moderate difficulty in reaching the end of the level. While some levels contain confusing level design, such as choosing the correct door out of many, most have you simply making jumps, stomping Goombas, and shooting fireballs—just like the old days. Any time you encounter a difficult level and die multiple times, a special power-up that makes Mario invincible as well as giving him the ability to fly after he runs fast enough will spawn. You will find this very useful for practicing a tough level until you can improve and beat it on your own. As far as other power-ups are concerned, we all know the classic growth mushroom, and you will find plenty of those, but you will also find extreme growth, shrinkage, and a new gold mask that gives you coins as you run! The latter item  brings me to the point of the new coin system. Collect all the coins you can as you work towards your goal of one million coins. Can you make it? What will be in store for you?
You’ll find some nice multiplayer modes here. Of course you can go classic and link up with your friends and enemies to have them play along through the level or you can combat them in coin rush as you run for the highest number of coins. While the multiplayer is good, I am not overcome with desire to play this with someone else as I am with titles like Super Smash Bros.

Presentation

As with most other Mario titles, New Super Mario Bros. 2 is polished to the extreme. Graphically, it impresses, looking just like New Super Mario Bros. on the Wii home console (not the Nintendo DS port). The environments here are classic and dripping with nostalgia. That being said, each these levels and their respective music are taken straight from the aforementioned Wii title, with little changes made. Sadly this causes a lack of variety in the series for me, as Nintendo could easily introduce something new in each level but instead chose to be conservative. One could argue that changing the formula would ruin the nostalgia, and I understand that, but maybe the New Super Mario Bros. 2 could go in the direction of using newly-inspired stages instead of “copy and paste” environments. All complaints aside, this really doesn’t take anything away from the fun factor, which is the most important thing.
As far as audio, there’s not much voice acting beyond the basic “Ya-hoo!” and “Ow!” but each sound effect is high quality, as expected. Musically the Game doesn’t do anything really new. Like I stated earlier, the music is copied from the original New Super Mario Bros. game with little to no change at all. This is disappointing, as newer music (or at least remixed music) could have been introduced here.

Conclusion

All in all, New Super Mario Bros. 2 is amazing on its own. It is simple to pick up yet hard to finish, and offers something gamers with any level of experience. Classic Mario fans will appreciate the classic levels and music, but those who have played the first New Super Mario Bros. (Wii) will find that this is already available and didn’t have to be redone. If you are looking for a portable version of New Super Mario Bros., then this is for you, but the only new things it has to offer are gold power ups and the gold-collecting meter. Not to say that this isn’t fun; it looks and feels like the old platformer that made the NES famous. I love this Mario title, and it is a great addition to the series as a whole, but I can’t say it is a must-have title for all 3DS owners.

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Photo from newsupermariobros2.nintendo.com

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Jeremiah Jackson

Resident Sonic fan at Geeks Under Grace. Also a drummer as well as a collector, but most importantly I'm a Christian.

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