There’s a certain formula that almost all Mario games follow. Eight levels. Specific ‘Mario Bros’ music. A boss battle. Coins. Mushrooms. Flowers. A kidnapped Princess. Ghosts. Bowser. We’ve seen this basic formula since 1985, and Nintendo hasn’t really deviated from it. Rather, they embrace it. They refine it.
Each Mario game adds something new to the gameplay. For example, Super Mario Bros 3 added in flying. Super Mario World added special coins to the fold and a walking ecological disaster called Yoshi. Super Mario 64, besides introducing 3-D, brought wall jumping to it all.
That brings us to this game. New Super Mario Brothers 2. So what new thing does it add to the series?
Let’s see. We have DLCs. That’s pretty new…. oh, players can finally go back to competing for the top score and collecting the most coins! It’s pretty cool to see a nod to the older games. That’s when us gamers had a quantifiable way to tell other gamers they suck. Hmm… what else… what else…. oh yeah…
There’s so much gold in this game that it is coming out of Mario’s head….
Seriously. Gold is everywhere in this game. Everywhere. It shoots out of pipes. It exists in coin heaven. There are hidden special stages that are nothing but a truckload of gold coins. Heck, they even introduced a golden flower that can turn bricks and enemies into gold!!!
New Super Mario Bros 2 feels like Nintendo took the very best of previous Mario games to appeal to the older crown that digs nostalgia and mixed in a few new things to appeal to the younger/newer gamers. This sort of mix is something Nintendo has seemed to master with so many of their trademark games. The company wears its history proudly and it shows with this game. If you’ve played every Mario game, like I have, you can feel the history of the entire franchise in this game. You can hear it in the music. See it with the character designs and familiar enemies. Feel it with the gameplay. The game could easily be called Super Mario Bros – The Nostalgic Tour and it would have worked just as well
The game has a lot going for it. But there’s one thing that is weighing it down. Believe it or not, it is the gameplay. New Super Mario Bros 2 plays almost exactly like the game before it. It actually feels like almost every other Mario game I’ve played. While this could be a good thing, with the nostalgia and all…. it also is a bad thing. I like to play new games for new challenges and experiences. I’m not really challenged by this game since I know all the tricks that’s needed to win. And I’ve already mastered the tricks in previous games. I beat the first three worlds without dying. In fact, it wasn’t until I reached the end of World 1 before an enemy actual damaged me.
It’s a minor complaint in an otherwise incredible game. There’s a very good reason this game is the 5th best selling game on the 3DS (39th best selling Nintendo game out of 1372 games). There is always something special about a Super Mario Brothers game. You can feel it when you put it in and hear that familiar tune while you stomp on a Goomba’s head.
The Super Mario Brothers franchise is familiar to us all. It is easily one of the cornerstones of video games as a whole. And chances are, it will stay that way for a long, long time to come.
You need to check this game out! It’s lots of fun.