12th December 2009 - It’s been over 20 years since we first experienced the phenomenon that is; Super Mario Bros. And back in the day, the game was a groundbreaking, untouchable experience that revolutionised gaming forever. So in this day and age, when playing with thousands of other players in geeky fantasy world, recreating wars as realistically as possible and making moral choices that define hours of gameplay is all the rage, can what is arguably the most classic modern game ever made stand the test of time and still be as fun and enjoyable as always? Well Nintendo think so, and with this; New Super Mario Bros. Wii, we get to put them to the test.
In the past decade we’ve seen a lot of new Mario games, all trying to outdo the last with more modern gameplay mechanics and prettier 3D visuals, so it’s no surprise that when Nintendo make yet another Mario game everyone watches on in anticipation. Only this time Nintendo aren’t trying to revolutionize anything. They are simply giving us what some would say we are lacking in this gaming generation; true fun. New Super Mario Bros plays just as the original did; as a side-scrolling 2 dimensional platform game with head jumping action and a little chubby Italian plumber. The story is the same old ‘Save the princess’ thing which has Mario travel all over multiple worlds and all sorts of different environments in order to earn his long overdue kiss, so no one will blame you for tuning out whenever one of the little cut scenes pops up, as we’ve all been through this over and over. But no one plays Mario for the story, honestly. We’re here for one reason and one reason only; fun gameplay. And given what the this game offers, the only thing that leaves a feeling of regret is that Nintendo didn’t give players the option to use the Wii’s classic remote to experience Mario the way it should be.
New Super Mario Bros has more levels and more variety than most of the other Mario games, which is great as the levels never get old and you will always want to just keep on playing. And being very accessible to any type of gamer, the game is certain to be a hit. There’s nothing like running through some of the easier levels trying to get the best score you can, even by yourself. As any Mario fanatic will tell you, the later levels of any given Mario game are actually a true challenge and will put everyone’s platform jumping abilities to the test, and New Super Mario is no exception. So if you plan of playing through the whole game, ready yourself for some increasingly great challenges.
Although playing through these great Mario levels is fun, the games main focus is on Multiplayer, which apart from Mario Kart, is a first for a Mario game. The main multiplayer element is the cooperative, but there are also coin battles, in which you must attempt to beat the opposition at, you guessed it; collecting coins! Back to the Co-op though, this can be played with 2 to 4 players. Playing with multiple people is perhaps one of the most enjoyable multiplayer experiences of the year, and although at times you will get frustrated with others getting in your way and bumping into you when you try to jump that last damn gap, it is still great fun. Once you get used to the controls and a feel for the game, you will be using each other as jump boosters, escorts, sacrifices for the greater good and all, which truly makes the ‘Cooperative’ meaning, come to life.
Another given with a Mario game is its plain ability to be the ‘Pick-up-and-play’ game of your collection. This is arguably one of the game’s best aspects, as it can be played by anyone, at anytime, for any reason. Whether you just want a quick run-through, a long adventure, or a slow walk through the Mario universe’s wonderful landscape, New Super Mario Bros is the game for you. As I mentioned before, Nintendo obviously didn’t want to push the technical boundaries with this game. What they have done is recreated the classic Mario game we all know and love into a modern masterpiece. There are now some new power-ups to be played with, which add even more variety to the levels and opens up alternative ways that you can overcome certain levels and challenges. For example, the Penguin suit allows for swifter swimming and even the ability to shoot ice balls to freeze your unfortunate victim.
Of course when the words ‘New’ and ‘Wii’ share the title with ‘Super Mario Bros.’, there is bound to be some major improvements from the old games, and in the graphics is where they lay. Every character is a beautiful 3D model, sculpted perfectly to make new comers feel at home, and us long-time Mario fans still love the timeless protagonist, as it suits the feeling of a new age game, while still looking just as he did back in the day (well, plus a couple thousand extra pixels of course). But the characters aren’t the only aspect that’s undergone a makeover. The environment you walk and jump on now looks just as spectacular as the players, and while the far-away backdrops are still good old’ 2D images, it goes down great with the 3D ground and characters. New Super Mario Bros. Wii looks just as good as it plays.
Personally, this is my favourite thing about the game. New Super Mario Bros. Wii features the most wonderful soundtrack and original score a video game has ever known. I say that with no exaggeration. The game has kept its trademark level sensitive theme tunes and soundtrack, just with a bit more ‘modernization’ put into it, but not enough to ruin it as some would have done (like all those horrid techno remixes of the songs that have been traversing the internet for years). To hear all your favourite Mario tracks brings the deepest feeling of nostalgia possible and has you immersed into the wonderful world of Mario.
Before getting bored of this game, it’s likely you will clock up a good hundred hours or so of cooperative action and replaying the main adventure, maybe even more, depending on just how big a Mario lover you are. This just goes to show where the true value of the game is. It’s an extremely replayable and enjoyable romp which will have you never wanting to put down the controller, always wanting to pick it up, and have you and your friends always coming back for more. You can play it over and over with your mates and while there are no online capabilities, Mario is best enjoyed in good company rather than over the internet with some kids you have never met. To sum it up; Mario is worth more than every cent you pay for it.
What is perhaps too difficult to put into words is the simple enjoyment you get out of this game. In all honestly, this is one of the most enjoyable games of the year, if not generation, and heck, maybe even ever. It looks, feels, and above all else sounds perfect. Single player is great, co-operative is better, versus is a fun side-dish to the Mario feast, and the only thing that could have made this game any better is the ability to use the Wii’s classic controller. Nintendo have shown us all that they still have what it takes to make the world’s greatest platformer. The sales figures are showing us that we all still love it! One final word to sum up Nintendo’s latest feat; BRAVO!
AAG SCORE: 9.3/10
- Co-operative is massively enjoyable
- Long, replayable, varied and fun adventure
- The games soundtrack = perfection
- Long-lasting value
- No Wii Classic remote support
- Constantly bumping into your co-op companions can be frustrating
Reviewed & Written By John Elliott