6 years ago Nintendo brought back to life the 2D Super Mario games with New Super Mario Bros. The game was a critically and commercially successful, becoming undoubtly one of the best DS games available. 3 years later came New Super Mario Bros.Wii. This game brought something completely new to the table: 4 players could play simultaneously Single Player, making it a revolutionary Super Mario game. After 3 long years, New Super Mario Bros. 2 was released, but, is it as big as it's predecessors?
Gameplay and Modes
New Super Mario Bros. 2's gameplay is the same of it's predecessors. The game is in 2D, but some models are in 3D. The physics are better though, and it feels smoother, making it slightly more simple to control. You can use both Circle Pad and analog stick to control Mario (or Luigi). The ground pound, triple jump and wall jump of the previous New Super Mario Bros. games returns. The power-ups: Super Leaf, Fire Flower, Mega Mushroom and Mini Mushroom return with their former glory. The new power-up Gold Flower turns Mario into gold (Luigi into silver) and shoots huge fireballs that cause great chaos, plus it turns blocks into coins, defeats many enemies at the same time, giving the player a lot of coins, sadly it's lost after finishing a stage, which is not fair. The map is very easy to navigate, and it shows every single stage in the game, although some are more hidden than others, the map is easy to navigate and use, and like it's predecessors, you can travel through worlds by clicking on the Touch Screen which world you want to travel to. In Co-Op Mode, two players can play as the same time, P1 plays as Mario, and P2 plays as Luigi. Just like New Super Mario Bros. Wii, the camera follows only one player, and the bubble returns, making it sometimes a bit annoying to play, it has it's pros and cons:
-When playing with an unexperienced player, he/she can enter into a bubble while the experienced player beats the stage, or a part of it.
-Both can easily defeat bosses.
-No player gets lost in a stage.
-No freedom to go anywhere you like, one can't explore.
-There are stages which require fast movement, it can cause your partner to die accidentally.
-Unable to speed run together.
The game features a new mode called Coin Rush. In this mode players play through three random stages while collecting as much coins as they want. If they manage to reach the top of the flag, their score is multiplied by two. PLayers can also challenge scores of other players through the use of Streetpass. The game mode is pretty easy, although if you die you have to start from square one again, but the coins you earned are at least added to your coin score. This mode is the true place where you can reach for a million coins more easily. However, the maximum coins you can have on the coin count is 30,000 (with some tricks, you can make it that far), which takes at least over 100 plays to reach such a huge score. The game features also DLC packs, each containing three stages. Although it's a bit too overpriced for the number of stages (3 stages for $2.50, at least in the US region). Some packs are for the most hardcore player, some for the ones that want to reach a million coins fast and easy, and one that even has an online ranking. If you are a true fan of this game, don't doubt and get it, I personally will get them soon, because they don't really call my attention so much, it's stuff that SHOULD have been in the game since the start!
In conclusion about the gameplay and the modes, it is great, but the Multiplayer Mode isn't perfect, and needs a lot of work, it needs to gove more freedom to the players to go anywhere they like with ease, and they had to focus and make some stages actually able to be played in Co-Op Mode. Coin Rush mode is an extra mode for those who are crazy for coin collecting, perhaps not a big deal for those who play to just beat Adventure Mode.
The game isn't hard. The countless number of coins on most stages can make you have around 50+ lives when completing World 1 only. The stages are pretty basic and not complex, making most of them easy to beat. However, the Star Coins are indeed more challenging to find than in it's predecessors, they are sometimes hidden in places the eye can't see easily, making the player explore some stages, trying to find hidden Beanstalks is a true challenge in some stages! In summary, the game is easy to beat, but the Star Coins and some secret exits are pretty challenging to find. The Tanooki Suit though, makes the game very easy to beat, as you can glide when jumping through platforms, making it easy for the player to cross through stages. The bosses are extremely easy, hit the Koopaling three times in the head and it's over. The Reznors are pretty easy too. Hit the block below them and hey are gone. It's the same battle from the great Super Mario World, but slightly easier. The final bossit's the same from New Super Mario Bros. Wii, except that big Bowser follows you through many platforms you have to jump to reach the top of the room avoiding Bowser's claws. It is pretty challenging and tough.
Story and Goals -May contain minor spoilers-
The story of this game is the same as previous entries: Bowser and his minions kidnap Peach, and Mario (or Luigi) has to go to the rescue. The story starts with Mario and Luigi flying away with the Super Leaf transformation for coin collecting, after landing on ground, they are suddenly crashed by the seven dastardly Koopalings, the damage made them lose their transformation. Roy Koopa reveals they kidnapped Peach, and later Ludwig shoots to the sky a blue fireball from his wand, causing a rain of coins to fall on the Bros., who later go to rescue the princess. The game's main goal though, is to collect a 1,000,000 coins (million). To be honest, the million coin reward... it's horribly dissaponting. I won't spoil it, I want you to see it for yourself... although it's not worth it.
The models for the entire cast are the same, but with smoother movements. Nothing much has changed, even the Koopalings possess the same intros from their New Super Mario Bros. Wii battles, making it pretty unoriginal and lazy work from the development team. The graphics though are better, but not completely different in some aspects, such as the stages' enviroments and obstacles.
The game's worlds are the same from the previous entries: Grass, Desert, Water, Forest, Ice, Sky and Lava. However, three new worlds hcame to birth: World Mushroom, Fire, and Star. The worlds that are "new" are in my opinion too generic, it has absolutely nothing special in the backgrounds, but rather a blue, or red crystalline ground with either a Mushroom, Fire Flower or Star sign floating around. The only new enemies are just dry versions of the Goombas and Piranha Plants, which contain nothing special, but being unable to get killed with a Fire Flower power-up. The game features nothing really new in the enviroments and enemies section.
Perhaps the most dissaponting part of this game is the soundtrack. It is 90% the same soundtrack of it's predecessors, but altered. The Athletic theme is the same but with a vocal that sound like it was made of sheeps singing. The underground is the same exact track. The Castle and Tower themes are the same of New Super Mario Bros. Wii but with the infamous "Bahhs" added at some parts. Same applies to the Ghost Houses. The map themes are the same, but the Mushroom, Fire Flower and Star Worlds possess new music at least. On the positive side, the Reznor's battle theme is a nostalgic remix of the Super Mario World battle theme. The Cannons posses a beautiful version of the Athletic theme, sadly it's heard for just a few seconds, and later the classic Super Mario Bros. theme plays in it's 8-bit glory. The sound effects are the same of it's predecessors, the Koopalings, Bowser, Peach and the Mario Bros. possess the same voices, grunts and sounds. In conclusion, the music is somewhat mediocre, completely unoriginal and spiritless.
In conclusion, New Super Mario Bros. 2 is a pretty fun game, but it has its flaws that damage the game. It lacks originality, such as possesing the same soundtrack, same world themes, and easy and basic stages. To solve this, the game should have had new music, new world themes, or at least make them feel completely different, and add more challenge to it.