3DS

North America

New Super Mario Bros. 2

by Neal Ronaghan - August 10, 2012, 2:26 pm PDT
Total comments: 19

8.5

Mario doesn't settle for bronze.

With the exception of its gold aesthetic, most of the pre-release footage of New Super Mario Bros. 2 made the game seem like a retread of its DS precursor. To an extent, the sequel is just more of the same, but with a pervasive cleverness that makes this new 3DS game more than the sum of its parts.

NSMB2’s focus on gold tweaks the structure of its levels. Coins are everywhere; they’re out in the open and nestled away in numerous hidden locations. The million coin chase is kind of ridiculous (even the most coin-hungry players should barely get to 100,000 on their first run through the game), but the ongoing counter gives you enough of a tangible tease of progress. It’d be nice if more rewards were tied to the counter—without them, the reward is merely finding a hidden area or a new trick and uncovering an embarrassment of riches.

The Coin Rush mode adds an interesting high score mechanic that lengthens the experience beyond the single-player quest. Your mileage may vary, but if you’re a high score fiend, it could consume your life, especially if you can find StreetPasses to give you more high scores to chase. Unfortunately, there are no online leaderboards, which is a big missed opportunity.

Aspects of the game make it seem like the developers might be making light of some series tropes. The music, mostly borrowed and/or remixed from previous games, features a stupid amount of the synth voices that everyone hates so much. Lives, often lamented as outdated in modern times, are basically made fun of, as the number you gather soars into the hundreds even if you aren’t that good at the game. Fortunately, the developers also took note of legitimate complaints about the New Super Mario Bros. series. The Star Coins are generally more hidden, and the game features many secret levels and alternate exits. NSMB2 isn’t as hard as some of the first side-scrolling Mario games, but it keeps up a decent difficulty curve.

 

New Super Mario Bros. 2’s level design is surprisingly creative, with labyrinthine ghost houses and challenging, offbeat levels. With fewer power-ups and a more focused direction, it lacks some of the intricacies of Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World, but stands up well next to Mario’s superlative works.

The game isn’t that long at first blush, with six worlds and some hidden stuff along the way. You can do a basic, no-nonsense playthrough in around five hours. However, if you look for the secrets, collect Star Coins, and dabble in Coin Rush, New Super Mario Bros. 2 could last you much longer—somewhere around the 15-hour mark, or more.

 

Graphically, NSMB2 doesn’t seem like much more than a cursory upgrade to New Super Mario Bros. However, the 3D effect is actually kind of awesome in certain levels. It blurs the background, creating the illusion of depth. In open environments, it doesn’t look as sharp, as the background is already far away. In castles and ghost houses, it’s excellent, showing different layers of the background. The 3D doesn’t add anything to the gameplay, but it’s endearing enough that I played most of the game with it on.

New Super Mario Bros. 2 doesn’t rewrite 2D Mario games, and is certainly not as inventive as last year’s Super Mario 3D Land, but using that as an excuse to write it off would be remiss. New Super Mario Bros. 2 is a fine, quality Mario title that deserves a mention in the same breath as Nintendo’s finest 2D platformers. It doesn’t hit their highest highs, but comes much closer than the other games in the New Super Mario Bros. series.

 

Note: Since I do not have any access to another 3DS and a second copy of the game, I was not able to test the co-op multiplayer.

Summary

Pros
  • Awesome level design
  • The coin focus bolsters gameplay
  • Wealth of content
Cons
  • Limited power-ups
  • One million coins? Seriously?

Talkback

Killer_Man_JaroTom Malina, Associate Editor (Europe)August 10, 2012

...okay, so you do think the game has some creativity. Reading your blog post from yesterday, that wasn't the vibe I was getting at all. Glad you thought so anyway - maybe I will pick this up sooner rather than later after all.

Pixelated PixiesAugust 10, 2012

'deserves a mention in the same breath as Nintendo’s finest 2D platformers.'

Seriously? That's incredible! I'm kind of psyched now to try this for myself.

On another note, I was watching a trailer for this game earlier today and wanted to twist my ears off the music was so bad. I really hope there's not too much synth voices.

RasAugust 10, 2012

I must be unusual.  3DS reviews always say, "I played with 3D on most of the time" or "The 3D effect wasn't noticeable enough for me to even bother using it."  If it's a 3D game, I use it 100% of the time.  I feel like I'm crippling the game if I disable it--it's sort of akin to playing with the sound off. I guess many do it to save battery life, but I usually play the system at home anyway.  I bought it for the games, not the portability.

Humorously enough, I'll play games with the sound off. I guess we're different types of gamers.


And I was skeptical of this game going into it, which colored that blog post I wrote (which was initially written when I was at around World 2/3). It honestly surprised me with how clever it was in spots. To the point where I glanced at some thoughts from others who had played it and was thinking if we played the same game. Maybe my 2D Mario expectations are lower or not as sky high as others. This game satisfied me (and continues to do so as I work through Star Coins, Coin Rush, and bonus stuffs) and if this is the type of game that will get oversaturated with four like it in 6 years, I'm not too upset. If NSMBU is on this same level, I'll be very content.


NSMB2 isn't some master stroke. I'm probably overselling it in the preceding paragraph. But in my opinion, it is very good. It is a good 2D Mario game.

Gosh darn it Neal, why are you making me want this game when I've already publicly stated I'm not planning to buy it!

Also, this image tugged at my heartstrings so strongly that I really am almost sold on NSMB2:

http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/media/29905/1/7.png

Mission accomplished, I guess. Everytime Reznor pops up, I'd get so happy. Not challenging, but so nostalgic.

tendoboy1984August 11, 2012

To be fair, most 2D Mario games had easy bosses.

And I really don't get why people keep calling it a "3D effect". New Super Mario Bros. 2 is not a 3D game, it's a 2D sidescroller.

Games like Super Mario 64, Zelda: Ocarina of Time, God of War, Killzone, Halo, Uncharted, etc. are all 3-dimensional games, since you can view the characters and environments in full 3D glory.

This whole "3-D" gimmick is misleading. Just because a flat 2D image appears to pop-out at you, or gives an illusion of looking through a window, doesn't actually make it 3-dimensional.

TenserAugust 11, 2012

My problem is that I so do not care about the coins. Even in other 2D Mario games I wouldn't even hit the jump button to grab coins as I was running by. Hopefully NSMBU will be more up my alley.

SonofMrPeanutAugust 11, 2012

Actually, the use of less power-ups is not unlike Super Mario World.  Sure there's things like the P balloon and Yoshis, but only having Mushrooms, Fire Flowers and Cape Feathers is a demonstration of more focus in the power-ups compared to 3.

JRokujuushiAugust 11, 2012

Quote from: tendoboy1984

And I really don't get why people keep calling it a "3D effect". New Super Mario Bros. 2 is not a 3D game, it's a 2D sidescroller.

Games like Super Mario 64, Zelda: Ocarina of Time, God of War, Killzone, Halo, Uncharted, etc. are all 3-dimensional games, since you can view the characters and environments in full 3D glory.

This whole "3-D" gimmick is misleading. Just because a flat 2D image appears to pop-out at you, or gives an illusion of looking through a window, doesn't actually make it 3-dimensional.

Some of the definitions for "effect" include "an illusory phenomenon" and "an impression, usually one that is artificial or contrived."  Calling it a "3D effect" makes perfect sense because it looks like there is a third dimension on the Z axis (depth) when there are really only two dimensions on the X and Y axes (width and height). 

But if that doesn't work for you, what do you propose we call it?

Also, this 2D game with a 3D effect is just as 3D as a 3D with a 3D effect. I mean, they're all on the same screen...

RasAugust 11, 2012

Do you think the 900 coin gold nunchuk was added right now to encourage people to download NSMB2?  I mean, I'm 260 coins shy, and that 100 coins is kind of tempting (though, I'm pretty sure I'm getting the physical cart).

Pixelated PixiesAugust 11, 2012

Quote from: Tenser

My problem is that I so do not care about the coins. Even in other 2D Mario games I wouldn't even hit the jump button to grab coins as I was running by. Hopefully NSMBU will be more up my alley.


I'm in the same boat. I'll be curious to find out if the platforming is unique enough that you could play the game as a straight platformer and just ignore the whole collecting coins thing.

vinniebrockAugust 11, 2012

sounds good. Pre-order confirmed. As much as I hate GameStop, i need that gold pin...

nhainesAugust 11, 2012

Haha, Neal, I saw you playing the game late at night this week and thought, "Well, I guess I know who's doing the review for NWR!"  Glad I was right.  :)

It got me to pick up SM3DL again and go from World 6-5 to Special World 2-1 over the course of two nights and I'm excited for the new game.  Although mainly for the chance to get closer to a golden nunchuck controller.  >.>

tendoboy1984August 11, 2012

Quote from: NWR_Neal

Also, this 2D game with a 3D effect is just as 3D as a 3D with a 3D effect. I mean, they're all on the same screen...

But having a "3D effect" in a 2D game does not actually make the game 3-dimensional. You're only moving on a 2-dimensional plane, left and right. There is no true "depth".


Go play Super Mario 64, Zelda: Ocarina of Time, God of War, Halo, Metroid Prime, etc. All of those games are true 3D games, since you can maneuver the characters in a 3D space.

CaterkillerMatthew Osborne, Contributing WriterAugust 12, 2012

Quote from: tendoboy1984

Quote from: NWR_Neal

Also, this 2D game with a 3D effect is just as 3D as a 3D with a 3D effect. I mean, they're all on the same screen...

But having a "3D effect" in a 2D game does not actually make the game 3-dimensional. You're only moving on a 2-dimensional plane, left and right. There is no true "depth".


Go play Super Mario 64, Zelda: Ocarina of Time, God of War, Halo, Metroid Prime, etc. All of those games are true 3D games, since you can maneuver the characters in a 3D space.

Man... I wish for you to drop your car keys inbetween the space where the floor and the elevator platform meets.


This review and this trailer has me excited for the game again.http://mynintendonews.com/2012/08/11/new-super-mario-bros-2-trailer-2/

NinSageAugust 12, 2012

@Neal

Well done, sir.  I applaud this review ...

http://www.gifsforum.com/images/gif/clap%20clap%20clap/grand/clap_clap_aplause_gif_879.gif

Disco StuAugust 12, 2012

I really like the way they incorporated the new raccoon tail hover animation from Super Mario 3D Land into this game.

Share + Bookmark





3DS

Game Profile

New Super Mario Bros. 2 Box Art

Genre Action
Developer Nintendo
Players1 - 2

Worldwide Releases

na: New Super Mario Bros. 2
Release Aug 19, 2012
PublisherNintendo
RatingEveryone
jpn: New Super Mario Bros. 2
Release Jul 28, 2012
PublisherNintendo
RatingAll Ages
eu: New Super Mario Bros. 2
Release Aug 17, 2012
PublisherNintendo
Rating3+
aus: New Super Mario Bros. 2
Release Aug 18, 2012
PublisherNintendo
RatingGeneral
Got a news tip? Send it in!
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement