NEW Super Mario Bros.
Someone once said that everything old shall be new again. Well, somebody must have gotten an early copy of the New Super Mario Bros. game for the DS because quite frankly I haven't had so much fun in 2006. New Mario Bros. takes place in the very familiar 2D world of side-scrolling platformers. Once again, Bowzer has kidnapped Princess Peach and once again are Italian plumber friend is up to his eyeballs in turtles, goombas, bottomless pits, skeletons, traps, koopas and Bowzer. Thank the gaming gods for this one folks, it's time for some old-fashioned fun.
Yes, you heard me right, it's time for some fun. But never one to rest on their laurels, Nintendo has updated this side-scrolling platformer with some moves and tricks that have been invented in the more modern scope of the games. For example; Mario can now backtrack the levels that he's on, meaning if he goes down a pipe and pops up further down the course, he can run back and pick up anything that he may have missed. Next, Mario can crush blocks with his patented butt drop, the one he perfected in Super Mario World 64. Smashing through bricks that are below him opens up all sorts of possibilities for exploration. He wall jumps, he grows to incredible sizes and knocks everything out of his way, shrinks to the size of a mouse, stores power ups for later should he need them, wears turtle shells - the man has come to play.
"I'm here to check your plumbing Mr. Bowzer."
Now the thing that I've been asked the most is "How does the stylus fit into all of this?" Well, take a look at the screenshot above. See that little part that says "Touch"? That activates any power up that you may have collected when already powered up. If you find the fire flower when you already have the fire flower, then you get to bank it. Should you be injured, simply tap it with the stylus and the flower will fall to you, powering you up again. But other than that, the game never uses the stylus, and that's fine by me. I knew what I wanted to expect and the folks at Nintendo must have had my house wire tapped because it really does remain true to it's platforming lineage. Some things of note, though: veteran players will have their hands full trying to find the multitude of hidden items and locations, including two worlds that must be sought after, rather then stumbled upon. But more than that, the game utililizes a "find three coins" premise on all levels which can be used to "buy" access to little bonus games that can be very profitable in the 1-up category. In fact, with the exception of that little trick on the original game that got you 99 lives, this game is constantly throwing that familiar green mushroom at you, if you know where to look.
"I once caught a goomba thiiiissss biiiiig!"
While playing, I was pleasantly surprised at how well the game looked. The action of the characters possessed a surprising fluid motion that I really was impressed by. But more then that, for a 2D game, there is some pseudo 3D visuals occurring. Items in the background are smooth looking and increase the overall visual experience. The levels themselves are both familiar and original. Items shift in size and shape while you are running on them, ceilings open up that you have to jump through, mini-trampolines help to give you an extra boost while giant trampolines launch you quite high. Water levels, castles, sewers, weird bendy things, it's all firmly rooted in the Mario universe and it all looks good. Bright colors, clean looking details, really great graphics.
I was a bit tough on Super Princess Peach's audio, claiming it was accurate but not so spicy. Well, the first time that familiar tune piped in, I knew I had come home. The audio sounds like a direct port of the originals, but then the developers went ahead and added a bit more of a kick, while toning down on Mario's battle cry. The audio is meant to channel a happier time for some of us veteran gamers, a time when everything was blissfully 8-bit. Well whatever, the audio seems so right and I liked it.
"I've got to make-a my delivery!"
The game has you running through eight different world's in your mission to rescue Peach. On the lower screen, there is a sort of top down view that shows the world you are currently in and all the locations you can go if you complete the stage prior to it. Interestingly enough, there are some stages that appear to have branching paths, telling the player that more then likely there is another exit to be found. And in case you are wondering, there is no way the GBA would be able to pump out this title, at least no way it would look as good. I've really come to love my DS, Nintendo and it's developers have really made another winner here. I wouldn't be surprised if they released this title on the GameCube, it's that good. With this title, the Nintendo DS is easily secured its place among the handheld consoles firmly at the top. Games like this sell systems and I fully expect to see a jump in sales because of this title.
There's even some mini multiplayer
games that you can play against a friend and let me tell you, there is a ton
of fun to be unleashed. Most notably the versus mode where Luigi and Mario try
and see who can collect five stars on one of several loop-style courses. Trust
me when I say the word "crazy."
|Review Scoring Details for NEW Super Mario Bros.|
It's instantly familiar and incredibly responsive. The game throws so many little things at you even after beating it, chances are you will need to go back through it and try looking for the ton of stuff you missed.
Again, the game looks so good even on the DSs little screen. The colorful graphics, the in-game dynamics, character movements all video game candy.
EEET's Me Mario! Nuff said.
OK, it will only take you around five hours to go through the game the first time. But you will have missed an awful lot of goodies that have been liberally spread all over the game.
It's been a long time since we played in this yard, and I for one couldn't be happier. Taking some of the tricks that were seen in the more recent Mario games and putting them in a platformer is a smart move. Growing mega huge to destroy literally everything or shrinking super tiny in order to squeeze into a itty bitty pipe were somewhat surprising and entirely needed.
The looping levels of multiplayer action are awesome, the game also has some multiplayer levels that will seem familiar to those who played the 64 DS game's mini-games, only now that they are open for multiplayer mayhem there is some new life breathed into them.
This is the hot game to get for the DS. It's loads of fun, has huge exploration potential and reinvents the 2D side-scrolling platform game. Nintendo has another notch on it's belt to go with all the other notches that the DS seems to have. Good game.