For as much as I like 3D Mario games, there is something special about the traditional side-scrolling 2D ones. When Nintendo announced that it would be bringing the New Super Mario Bros. series to its next round of consoles, the 3DS and WiiU, I was admittedly excited. After all, New Super Mario Bros. on the DS and its Wii counterpart New Super Mario Bros. Wii both provided me with hours of classic side-scrolling Mario fun and New Super Mario Bros. 2 would surely do the same.
New Super Mario Bros. 2 is exactly what you expect of a New Super Mario Bros. title. Princess Peach once again gets kidnapped and Mario must set out through a host of worlds in an effort to save her. Each world consists of a handful of side-scrolling platforming levels, centered on a core theme (sand, ice, etc…), and ends with a boss battle against one of the Koopa kids, with the last level of course pitting Mario against Bowser.
Each Mario game has a basic premise that it bases its gameplay on, for example Galaxy was spherical worlds, while New Super Mario Bros. Wii was four player co-op, and New Super Mario Bros. 2 is no different. The twist for this game however is a bit of a weird one as it is the iconic gold coins. Collecting coins has always been a cursory element to the game, as collecting 100 of them provides an extra life, however New Super Mario Bros. 2 takes the activity to a whole new extreme.
There are coins everywhere and nearly everything Mario does in the game generate more coins to collect. The first level alone will easily provide players with well over 400 coins. Each coin collected in the game goes to the overall coin total with an ultimate goal of collecting one million coins. You may be asking, what is the prize at the end of the tunnel for those with enough stamina to collect a million coins? I have no idea and will probably never know because amassing that many coins will take countless hours of playtime that I just do not feel the need to invest in this game.
My lack of desire to continue to chase the ultimate goal of the game is indicative of the overall quality of the title. Make no mistake, New Super Mario Bros. 2 is a fun title but it is lacking that something special that other Mario titles have had and all of it boils down to the creativity of the levels, which is noticeably uninspired. Every level feels like it has already been done in the past but better, with more inherent charm, challenge and creativity. Nothing in the core game of New Super Mario Bros. 2 challenged me as a gamer at all until the final world. And even then, the final castle, which is mostly a challenging and enjoyable romp, is marred by an uninspired anti-climactic boss battle with Bowser.
Further marring the overall experience is the shoddy and completely surprising implementation of 3D in the gameas New Super Mario Bros. 2 has some of the worst 3D implementation on the system to date. When toggled on the backgrounds in the game blur out, giving the illusion that they are not even there, while muddying the foreground visuals. Considering this is both a Nintendo developed game as well as a Mario title, this shoddy use of the systems core feature is mind boggling.
As someone that loves Mario games, specifically the 2D ones, New Super Mario Bros. 2 is a huge letdown. Sure it is fun and on some levels that is all that really matters, however when compared to every other Mario game out there this one falters and leaves one wishing there was a little something more.
- Classic Mario side-scrolling gameplay
- Coins all over the place
- Lacks charm and feels highly uninspired
- 3D is atrocious
3 / 5