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Mar 20, 2010

Review: New Super Mario Bros. Wii

New Super Mario Bros. Wii
Available for Nintendo Wii

If you’ve never played a 2D Mario game from the early days of Nintendo, then you probably won’t understand the huge draw for retro gamers to the newest Mario Bros. game on the Nintendo Wii. While Mario’s 3D adventures have been satisfying they never held the same pleasures and challenges that the old 2D side-scrollers did on the NES and SNES. Jumping into the New Super Mario Bros. Wii is like curling up on the couch with your favourite author’s newest book after they stopped writing for 10 years – nothing could be more surprising and comforting at the same time.

If you do know what I’m talking about, then imagine if you took the best elements from Super Mario World and Super Mario Bros. 3, added in some new Wii graphics, controls and a few additional power-ups, and then threw them into a blender to mix - the final product would be the New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Since the days of the SNES, Mario’s adventures just haven’t been the same and thought we’ve had the New Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo DS to tide us 2D lovers over, having Mario on the big screen moving left to right again is so old school, I could bust out the neon leg warms and the New Kids on the Block tapes.

For the retro gamer, NSMBW brings back sweet elements from Super Mario Bros. 3 like the Mushroom houses, the over-world themed maps, the Koopa Kids and the hidden warp points. We also get elements from Super Mario World like riding Mario’s buddy Yoshi again and collecting special coins from each level. Of course to avoid the same old, same old, new elements have been added into the game like special Wii-mote controls, new power-ups, up-dated graphics and 4 player co-op or versus play. Some of these new elements make the game better while others could have been left on the cutting room floor.
The Wii controls, for example, were a bad idea as the game difficulty only increases as you fumble to shake the remote and hold two buttons down together in order to hold objects and run at the same time. Whatever happened to simple pressing down and pressing one button to hold objects? That was easy – this new control scheme makes me feel like I’m having a damn seizure rather than playing a simple Mario game. This also makes it darn near impossible to save the hidden Toads in each world because you can’t run, hold, shake and jump, all at the same time. Whoever designed this control scheme must have a sixth finger – perhaps he’s the six-fingered man from the Princess Bride and that would explain why he made an impossibly, cruel control setup for us five-fingered people.

The multiplayer mode was a great idea but the character roster choices weren’t as it always leaves two players with the no name Toad characters instead of a cool character like Mario or Luigi. The roster would have been better with Mario, Luigi, Toad and Princess Peach like Super Mario Bros. 2 had, plus Nintendo could have broken the whole “Princess Peach is a helpless girl that can’t stay safe for more than 5 seconds” thing for the second time since the 80s. Its 2010 and the Princess has to learn to kick Bowser’s butt sooner or later.

This is definitely a challenging and fun game. Each level holds tons of nostalgia for the retro gamer but also brings some cool new elements into play like tilting see-saws controlled by the Wii remote and levels completely full of giant flying beasts for Mario to run on top of. Overall, the level design is on par with the original Super Mario Bros. 3 but with better graphics.

The music in this game is so cute and whimsical. The enemies actually bust a move at a key point in the music which is such a great little detail in the game. There are a lot of retro sounds throughout the game and if you managed to hit the end of stage marker at a specific time, you’ll get to hear the original Mario Bros. song play. Some sound effects like 1-ups and voice-overs come through the Wii-remote speaker make the player more aware of events in the game.
The graphics are extremely up-dated in comparison to the old 2D games with new chunky 3D/2D polygonal characters and layered and scrolling backgrounds. The Mario world is bright and colourful, full of life and each world out does the last with such cool themed levels.

I can’t say this isn’t the best Mario game I’ve ever played but I enjoy every minute I played it, and I’m happy to see Nintendo going to back to their roots and giving a little something back to their core gamers especially since we’ve politely suffered through all these fitness games. The New Super Mario Bros. Wii is a clear winner for all Mario fans as it has plenty of challenge and fun for everyone new and old to the series. I highly suggest you grab a copy, if you can find one.

Rating: 8 out of 10
Buy it!

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