This sequel is exactly what the 2 (inserting 2 after a title is not very original) stands for, a lame, but quality made, gold grabbing sequel, that does not bother to innovate or change much from its New Super Mario Bros. predecessors, yet it is still a well built platformer.
CORE CONCEPTS: It does not try to impress people with interesting concepts such as gravity from the Super Mario Galaxy series, the use of water jet-packs to alter platforming mechanics from Super Mario Sunshine, or anything bold like that, just like previous entries in the NSMB series. The game just features well constructed platforming stages, and some of the stage concepts are quite refreshing for a Mario platformer, and if they’ve been done in the Mario series before, they have not been done too many times, but even so, the game ultimately plays on the safe side of what is expected.
Essentially, overall, this game is as the NSMB series has been, quality platforming that skews on the easy and short side of gaming, that is all-in-all afraid to innovate the platforming genre, safely secure with just meeting the status quo, which will insure it to sell millions to the Mario faithful.
It will likely take around 3-5 hours to run through, (you can skip two of the eight [nine if you count special] worlds) unless you are a serious collector or just want to play every level possible, in which case that will push the length two to three fold to a 10-15 hour game, easily.
There are a few unique things to this entry, nonetheless, which differentiate it from its predecessors. Its gimmick of collecting an outrageously large amount of coins, cannon levels, a feature named: Coin Rush Mode, downloadable content, and 3D gameplay (the 3D effect is hardly noticeably though and it will blur out the detailed artwork in the background). These unique additions may win some on-the-fence fans over, but for those who do not like particularly care for the series already, they will not be won over by the game and its unique elements.
The first unique element mentioned: Collecting coins, is more fun in this game than it has been in any other Mario title, because of how Nintendo has handled coin placement, and because of the power-ups and the like Nintendo has incorporated into the game that focuses on this objective. Coins are often allocated in positions where the player will feel rewarded for collecting them, and power-ups such as a coin-block helmet (the faster and longer you move, the more coins you are rewarded), and the Golden Mushroom (a power-up that allows you to throw a projectile that will turn enemies and blocks to gold coins) only add onto your gratification for collecting them. There are also gold rings, set-up to where if you jump through them, all the enemies will produce gold when killed, leave trails of gold or fire gold at you. Also, as usual in the New Super Mario Bros. series, the three-golden-coins which players are given the option to collect in each level to unlock parts of the secret world are as extremely challenging as ever to collect, more-less find, same with the game’s secrets. Unfortunately the joy of collecting coins will eventually thin into oblivion, but it’s generally fun to collect coins as you progress.
Most of these elements can be seen in the trailer below.
The cannon levels mentioned are few, but they are most certainly fun. Mario cannot stop. He will continually run till the level is over, so it’s up the player to make sure Mario doesn’t accidently find his grave, by jumping at the right times.
EXTRAS: Coin Rush is perhaps one of the biggest additions, which largely ties into the game’s theme of collecting coins. Coin rush allows players to choose certain level/difficulty packages, which contain three stages, and the player is charged with completing said stage with only one life and an overall time limit (which can be extended), while trying to collect the most coins possible in the best time possible (Streetpass is used in this capacity: of how many coins you collected in said package, etc.). Three packages are available: Mushroom (courses may be selected from World 1, 2, and Secret world), Flower (…World 3, 4, and Secret world), and Star (…5, 6, and secret world), and additional packs are available as downloadable content for $2.50. Downloadable content is also managed through this mode, and three downloadable packs have been released as far (which will not be accounted into this review). Overall this mode is a blast to play, especially if you are looking to challenge yourself post-game.
Multiplayer: Also, continuing on the tradition of New Super Mario Bros. Wii, this game does feature co-op multiplayer, but it’s limited to two players, and you have to have two systems, locally to play it. Characters can still only occupy one specific space and can hence accidently kill one another. It can be fun, but this game was not specifically designed with it in mind.
GRAPHICS: Visually the game is debately slightly inferior to New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Its artstyle like with the rest of the New Super Maro Bros. series leaves a lot to be desired, as its an artstyle that gets the job done and that’s it. Unfortunately, this artstyle has made it so it’s hard to tell the games in this series apart at times. Click this link to see what we mean…
The 3D effect in this game is weak, as noted, and it will blur out details in the background to create a field-of-depth effect that is barely noticeable. The 3D does look okay, but players could easily switch it off without regret.
SOUND: Audio-wise, the game reuses music and sound effects from previous games. It works, but it will not floor anyone. Clapping in the game sounds like popcorn popping though…
FINAL THOUGHTS: Coins may be in endless supply, but innovative ideas are clearly not, as this game sticks close to your standard modern 2D Mario platforming affair, which does not hold a candle next to Super Mario World or Super Mario Bros. 1-3, more-less the other Mario platformer on 3DS: Super Mario 3D Land. Even so, it’s a solid 2D Mario platformer that is enjoyable, and tried and true.
POSITIVES: Friendly and true 2D Mario platforming, a fun gimmick based on coins, coin-rush is a challenge and the prospect of future and current downloadable content is promising.
NEGATIVES: Too easy, and generally uninspired with gameplay, graphics and sound.
SCORE: 7.5 out of 10