Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Review: New Super Mario Bros. 2


Inevitable - Certain to happen; unavoidable

Many aspects of New Super Mario Bros. 2 were inevitable. The fact that the game was released was inevitable following the success of previous New Super Mario Bros. titles. Of course, gamers are often quick to forget the things they liked, so it was also inevitable that the series' 3DS entry would be met with skepticism. The question had never been whether or not New Super Mario Bros. 2 would be a good game, but rather if it was the right time for it to be released. The world certainly did not and still does not need any more 2D Mario side-scrollers, especially with the words "super", "mario", or "bros." in the titles, but sometimes it is not a matter of what you need, but what will supplement your life.

Any notion of New Super Mario Bros. 2 being a lazy cash-in by Nintendo should be shot down immediately. Again, considering making such a notion is inevitable given the circumstances. However, this game, against preemptive belief, is a welcome addition to the series that brings "new enough" gameplay to keep things fresh. Interestingly, the thing that makes New Super Mario Bros. 2 feel like a new game is not new at all. Coins are now everywhere, and I mean everywhere. Each level in the game must have at least 100 coins, enough for a single 1-up. While many coins are well hidden and the game does a great job of keeping track of how many coins you have collected in each level as well as how many you have collected in total, more coins means more lives, and more lives means a much easier game. Not getting a game over in a Mario game is not that unheard of these days -- in fact it is pretty normal -- but finishing the game with over 250 lives is not normal and never should be. Simply put, NSMB 2 is just way too easy to recommend to anyone looking for even the most basic of challenges. The levels themselves can be difficult at times, especially the infamous ghost houses, a staple of 2D Mario games for years, but the assurance that you will never actually fail means you can retry as much as you would like without penalty.


Beyond difficulty, there is not much to complain about in regards to New Super Mario Bros. 2. Nintendo continues to be the go-to developer and publisher for fans of the platformer genre. Platforming veterans and traditionalists will certainly not be disappointed by NSMB2. Video game newbies will also love this game due to its charm and pick-up-and-play gameplay. Level design is spot on as well. Few Mario games have as many secrets, power-ups, and hidden levels. Playing through the game without replaying levels for secrets would not be getting your money's worth. Gameplay in general is very reminiscent of Super Mario World, the SNES classic, which is obviously a great thing. Everything just works in a way only a Nintendo game could, giving the game infinite re-playability and a steady pace. It is very possible to master every level and then replay the game in the form of a speed run. When every level in the game can be mastered to the extent in which it can be finished in an extremely quick amount of time, you know it is a good game because the levels are not too easy but not too hard and also give the player the ability to progress at his/her own rate. Of course each level still has a timer, but rather than detracting from the game it encourages the player to work harder to win and manage how much time they spend collecting coins.

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It's clear that the one thing New Super Mario Bros. 2 really has going for it is coins, and the new game mode, Coin Rush, capitalizes in this. In fact Coin Rush may offer a better experience than the regular single player mode. Levels from specified worlds are chosen at random and the time limit is very, well... limiting. You can put more time on the clock by reaching the checkpoint mid-way through each level. All the levels that appear in Coin Rush are slightly edited to produce even more coins than they do in the single player game. Because the levels are randomized, this leads to almost endless fun and replay value.

New Super Mario Bros. 2 is not the most interesting or innovative game you will play by any means. What it is though is pure fun that only Nintendo seems to be able to deliver in this modern era of gaming. Forget everything; controversy in the game industry, good storylines, EA DRM nonsense, etc., and just sit back and enjoy a stinking game for once! This is what NSMB2 is about, so please do not try to fool yourself into thinking a game is not good unless it has an ultra complex narrative or in depth-character customization, because Nintendo has done what seemed to be the impossible once again and made us not only buy, but enjoy, yet another Mario game.

Find New Super Mario Bros 2 on ebay | Amazon

Released: 2012-08-19
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo 

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