REVIEWS -- New Super Mario Bros. Wii -- Wii
‘New Super Mario Bros Wii’ rocks
by Jacob Crites
Fun factor: Fun
Worth to: Buy
Mario’s first 2D outing on a home console in over 15 years is his best yet. If you own a Wii this is a no-brainer. If you don’t, it just might be time to invest.
There was a lot of skepticism about New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and rightfully so. The way Nintendo was marketing it you’d think it was a shallow port of the DS game; a watered down party title disguised as a Mario adventure. Well I’m happy to say that all that is completely and utterly untrue. New Super Mario Bros. Wii isn’t just another Mario game -- it’s Mario’s best 2-D outing yet, even managing to top Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World.
Leave it to Mario to bring back the gameplay
To clear things up, this is NOT a port of the DS game -- it’s a completely new Mario adventure (hence the word “New” in the title) -- although I can see how the confusion came up. Visually, the game is practically identical to its DS predecessor. I realize there have been a lot of complaints and temper tantrums about the game’s presentation, but I actually like the choice: New Super Mario Bros. was the best-looking 2-D Mario game out there so it makes sense that they reused its style. This is a very under-rated game visually; it doesn’t exactly push the Wii to its limits, but there are some pretty impressive graphics for a Wii game in here, and it’s all very vibrant and colorful and...
But it’s not the graphics that matter. It’s the gameplay. And in that regard Nintendo has truly outdone themselves. Although the big attraction is the multiplayer, the game still excels in single-player, first and foremost. Series faithfuls will feel right at home with the control scheme, but even Mario veterans will have some new tricks to learn.
The new motion controls add a bit of skill into the equation: a shake of the remote at the tip of your jump gives Mario about a half-second more air, which can separate the men from the boys when making difficult jumps and trying to get seemingly-out-of-reach Star Coins. There are even platforms, cannons, and gears to move that involve tilting the Wii remote. It’s a fun and smart way to use the Wii’s unique hardware -- and like Galaxy, it doesn’t beat you over the head with complex motion controls. It does what it needs to do. Most importantly, the controls never fail, even the motion-sensitive ones -- if you die, it’s your own stupid fault, and not the controls’. There are also some fantastic new Power-up suits that not only look cool (or in the case of the Penguin Suit sickeningly adorable), but also add much to the gameplay and make for some clever puzzles. The Penguin and Propeller Suits are already some of the series’ best Power-Ups.
Crazy fun in crazy land
The level design is easily the most creative I’ve ever seen in a 2-D Mario game. Every single stage throws some new gameplay mechanic or level design quirk at you, meaning you always have to stay on your toes. One welcome addition that wasn’t anywhere to be found in New Super Mario Bros DS: difficulty. NSMBWii is friggin’ hard! The difficulty ramps up surprisingly quickly (the 4th level in the game is a doozy) and only gets harder. This is certainly not a complaint: I like my Mario challenging, and thankfully it never feels unfair. Finding all the hidden Star Coins in each level adds an extra layer of challenge, replayability, and fun.
Of course the main new attraction here is multiplayer, and it does not disappoint. If this isn’t the best multiplayer the Wii has to offer, it’s pretty darn close. Some people wrote it off as a LittleBigPlanet rip off prior to its release, but that really couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, in my opinion, it puts LittleBigPlanet’s multiplayer to shame. The best thing about it is you can play with people of literally any skill level and everyone will be able to enjoy themselves, but it’s also cool that you can play however you want.
If you want to play cooperatively and try to work together to complete a level, you totally can. But if you want to try to annoy the living daylights out of your friends and throw them into pits of lava, jump off their heads, or have Yoshi eat them, you can do that too. NSMBWii provided some of the most fun I’ve ever had with my friends, period. For that alone the game is worth a purchase.
Wii like playing on the couch!
Some have complained about the fact that there’s no online support, and I was one of them. However, after actually playing the multiplayer, I can tell you that it really wouldn’t work online. New Super Mario Bros. Wii is a social experience -- a game where you want your friend next to you, either to trash talk, to plan your next move, or to punch in the face when they screw you up. Sure, Wii Speak might have been able to replicate that, but first of all, how many people own Wii Speak? Like, 10? In the world? It wouldn’t be any fun at all having to play a level with a bunch of people hell-bent on screwing you up, or that didn’t have any clue what they were doing. Second of all, this is a twitch platformer. This is a game of skill. If there was any lag at all it would just ruin the experience. If I die, I want it to be my fault, not the Internet Connection’s.
A few little complaints hold the game back from perfection. The soundtrack which, while good, and an improvement over the DS version, is still not quite up to the Mario standard. There are some great tunes here, and while none are bad, some of them are quite forgettable. I also found Yoshi to be severely underused. He really only appears in six or so levels, and you can’t take him with you after you beat a level with him. Considering Yoshi’s awesomeness, it’s a bit of a letdown.
But really, these are small quibbles when you consider just how mind-blowingly amazing the rest of the game is. We’re talking one-of-the-best-2-D-platformers-ever amazing. It’s not revolutionary. It doesn’t have HD graphics. It doesn’t have online play, achievements, Zombie DLC, Spec-Ops Mode or some groundbreaking graphics engine. But New Super Mario Bros. Wii is some of the most fun I’ve ever had with a videogame. And when it comes right down to it, isn’t “fun” the reason we started playing games in the first place?
Genre: 2D Platformer
Release Date: November 15, 2009
Review Date: 02-12-2009
Numbers of Players: 1-4
Players Online: No
Not pushing the Wii’s hardware by any means, but as bright, colorful, and charming as you’d expect a Mario game to be.
The classic Mario formula still feels fresh thanks to the addition of smart motion controls, imaginative level design, new enemies, and brilliant new powerups. Single player is a blast, and it has one of the best multiplayer modes ever conceived. The nostalgia factor doesn’t hurt either.
It doesn’t have online play, achievements, Zombie DLC, Spec-Ops Mode or groundbreaking graphics. All production went into fun. If you don’t have a ridiculous amount of fun with New Super Mario Bros. Wii, you must be a cold, heartless shell of a human being.
Has more songs than any other 2-D Mario game, but some of them aren’t all that hot. The overworld and water themes, however, are infectious. There are no bad songs here, but the soundtrack pales in comparison to the outstanding soundtrack of Mario’s other Wii platformer: Galaxy.
9 huge worlds, each with secret levels, secret exits, cannons, and pipes to find. On top of that, there’s three well-hidden Star Coins to collect in each level -- and thankfully this time around there’s actually great incentive to get them all. Multiplayer adds yet another layer of replayability.