Not exactly a rehash, but not exactly the
gold standard for the Mario series either.
Rehash. That's a popular word for those who don't care for the Mario series and more broadly, Nintendo. Change too little and the game is a rehash. Change too much and the game is ruined. Nintendo constantly has to walk the line between tradition and progress, and their fans will tell them if they stray too far from it. I have mentioned in the past that I considered New Super Mario Bros. 2, the game developed by a team of newcomers who got a crash course on Mario level design, to be the appetizer to New Super Mario Bros. U, the game series veterans are building. Well, after playing New Super Mario Bros. 2 for an extended period of time, if this game is the appetizer, I would love to have seconds.
If you have any experience playing an old school Mario game, the moment you boot up New Super Mario Bros. 2 you get waves of nostalgia and a sharp sense of familiarity. Yes, you are indeed playing an all-new 2D Mario. That understanding might not unleash the same power as it normally would because there is another New Super Mario Bros. game in the pipeline for this very year, New Super Mario Bros. U. But then you realize that Nintendo only pushes out one mainline 2D Mario per system, and thus you feel content and ready to play what you believe will be something special. Though, what isn't so special is the reason for this whole grand platforming adventure to begin with. Once again Princess Peach is kidnapped by the Koopa Kids, and it's up to a pudgy plumber to rescue her. See what I'm talking about with regards to familiarity?
|I'm whisked away to the land of Super Mario Bros. 3|
with simply this standalone screenshot.
|Mario is the top man on the totem pole.|
A new level type exclusive to New Super Mario Bros. 2 are short cannon levels. These have Mario constantly running forward with no opportunity to stop, as he uses enemies to leap off of to cross deadly chasms. Think of them as the mach speed sections in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), except they're in 2D, are less agonizing, much shorter, and they aren't absolutely broken. These levels are found through secret exits scattered around the game (and there's plenty of them to find).
|These fast-paced stages require timing, |
precision, and quick thumbs.
Discovering the quite crafty in location secret exits isn't the only optional task persistent perfectionist players can attempt. No, like the prior two games in the New Super Mario Bros. line, there are three Star Coins per level that are placed in precarious spots and hidden throughout. These will take all your cunning and ability to find them. My only problem with the sites of some is that they require you to hit invisible blocks which grow beanstalks. In fact, the new blood of developers on this title seem to have a penchant and over-reliance on them. Nonetheless, Star Coins not only are a requirement to getting a star on your save file, but they also unlock overworld map paths leading to new areas, Toad Houses, and levels.
|Coins come easy in NSMB2:|
from pipes, from blocks, from foes, etc.
|Mario goes for gold with this new power-up.|
|Don't worry, Mario. At least you aren't|
sleeping with the fishes!
|Get two times the brothers when you |
team it up with the co-op mode.
Some have stated that they are losing hope in Nintendo's ability to craft awesome Mario experiences. However, with the release of New Super Mario Bros. 2 and playing through it, this game just gives me more hope as it was made by newcomers who had never made a 2D Mario in their life. These beginners have shown that they have the brilliant ability to create a Mario game with ingenuity, supremely creative level design, terrifically tight controls, and interesting ideas in such remarkable ways that I feel the future of the Mario franchise is safe, and more importantly, all the brighter. New Super Mario Bros. 2 isn't the definite gold standard for 2D Mario as it doesn't deviate too far from the protected formula (and I wish it would start), but with some more fine-honing of the young men and women behind this game, they could create a generation's Super Mario Bros. 3 or Super Mario World someday.
[SuperPhillip Says: 9.0/10]