Everyone's favorite fat red plumber is back on 3DS.
While New Super Mario Bros. 2 might be extremely similar to past games in the “New” series, a new group of developers are trying their hand at bringing everyone’s favorite plumber to life in a sidescrolling adventure. While some of the young developers have little experience working on 2D Mario titles, they are extremely knowledgeable when it comes to working on 3DS projects, taking part in the development of Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7. At this point, I’ve put about three hours into New Super Mario Bros. 2, and while there are a lot of familiar aspects to the game, there are a few new high points that show that these guys know what they’re doing.
So far I have almost made it through the first three worlds. Of course, for those of you out there that have played New Super Mario Bros. on DS or New Super Mario Bros. Wii, there will be many familiar aspects here. For starters, the visual aesthetic remains largely unchanged as does most of the music. Personally, I wasn’t expecting a complete overhaul but was hoping for more changes in these areas than what was made. Of course, I’m still fairly early in the adventure, so perhaps things will change a little bit down the line.
When it comes to the game's visuals, after E3 2012 some complained that the game looks only slightly better than the original DS title and lacks visual pizzazz. Yes, character models and assets are very similar to those of previous titles, but they still look pretty sharp, and maybe even a bit better than the Wii version. The 3D effect is used sparingly, offering only minimal enhancement to gameplay. It’s a little disappointing, but it doesn’t take away from the experience.
One of most important aspects of any Super Mario title is its level design. New Super Mario Bros. 2 is no different. Again, I haven’t seen everything that the game has to offer, but the cohesion between the levels and the gameplay aspects are pretty well done. Like the music and visuals, the aesthetics of previous titles make an appearance here. For example, a desert theme in the second world isn’t something that’s exactly fresh. The levels themselves can be pretty easy to blow through but are full of nooks and crannies that hold secrets here and there.
Perhaps the biggest focal point of New Super Mario Bros. 2 is the emphasis on collecting coins. As many of you know, items such as the golden flower that transforms Mario into Golden Mario turns blocks into coins and Golden rings, and also changes enemies into potential gold spouting lunatics. While it might seem a bit gimmicky, the collection aspects of the game aren’t nearly as annoying as you might have encountered in other games. I find myself going out of my way to make sure I pick up as many coins as I can in each level.
I did get a chance to try out Golden Mario, too. It feels very satisfying to shoot golden fireballs, transforming the blocks around me into gold. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to spend very much time with the game’s new coin rush mode, in which players go through three levels with one life and try to collect as many coins as possible. The level design makes it easy to go through levels very quickly in this mode, but it can also provide quite a challenge. Trying to get through a castle, which is usually a little slow going in the normal game, is a little tricky when trying to go through quickly.
New Super Mario Bros. 2 is a solid game that builds off of a solidly established brand. While there aren’t a whole lot of surprises, Nintendo has given us an extremely polished game.