Thursday, August 23, 2012

My Thoughts: New Super Mario Brothers 2

First thoughts: New Super Mario Brothers 2

I’m kicking off my new review posts with Nintendo’s latest side scrolling Mario game.  First though a few things:
1.        I’m not done with the game, sadly I have to work so unless you want to start paying me (and you can!) I’m only giving my preliminary thoughts.  I will update my review if needed.  Currently I have played World 1, Part of World 2, and World Mushroom.
2.       I’m not going to give you some arbitrary score as to how good the game is.  I will simply tell you my thoughts on the game.  I figure reviews have only two uses; either you like games that I like and trust my opinion or you hate me and the games I like and want to do the opposite of my opinion. 

Oh!  And a note to game publishers:  I’ve bought one game since May and now in the last week three games have come out that I must play.  Can we perhaps spread releases out? 
Oh!  Plug plug look for my first impression reviews of Transformers: Fall of Cybertron and The Last Story later this week.

So, here we go.  The review! 

I like side scrollers, I really do.  I’m a child of the 80’s who remembers with much fondness getting his NES for Christmas of 1988 and playing the first Super Mario Bros until I was blue in the face.  This means that I have a bias.  There, I admit it.  Want to know something else?  I like Nintendo… mostly.  I do feel Pokémon was/is an abomination but hey, nobody is perfect.  So I admit I have some bias when it comes to this game.  If you don’t like Nintendo or side scrollers then you won’t like this game.  Have a good time playing Modern Warfare 10 or whatever it is you play.
Still with me?
Graphics- They are better than New Super Mario Wii.  Are they perfect?  No, but they are bright, clear, colorful and best of all they are Mario.  Do graphics really matter that much in a Mario game?  I don’t think they are huge.  The variety of new stuff is pretty impressive such as the undead goombas and piranha Pete’s that are in the castle levels.  Also, the return to some of the older stuff is nice to see.  Remember the fireball breathing rhinos of Super Mario World?  They are back!  So are the Kooplings which, I admit, I was hoping they would kill Bowser Jr. in the opening.   
One thing I was disappointed about graphically was that there is no use of the 3D.  I know a lot of you out there feel that 3D is just a gimmick and I can’t in many cases disagree with you.  Still I think there could have been some cool effects between the foreground and background that was missed out on. 

Playability- Nintendo is a master of having tight controls in Mario games and this is no exception.  I recommend using the D pad over the analog stick.  One thing I have noticed that is a bit problematic though (but has nothing to do with the game but rather the system) is the lose hinge flaps when you get excited and are rushing through a level.  I hope that Nintendo has fixed this with the 3DS XL.  If so I will have to strongly consider getting one.  Of course I’m pretty poor so that might be a while.

Game play/Originality- Trolling around the various game websites I have noticed that some reviewers feel that this game is just more of the same.  On the one hand I love Mario and if Nintendo wants to bring out a new Mario game every year than I wouldn’t complain. 
Every year we get another Assassins Creed, Battlefield, and Modern Warfare, Dance whatever, Madden, NBA insert goofy number system here, World of Warcraft expansion.  Why should Nintendo be any different?  Also, look at the number of units sold for New Super Mario Wii versus Super Mario Galaxy.  NSMB Wii outsold both Galaxy games combined.  Nintendo is in the business of making money after all. 
That said, I just don’t see it.  I’m only two worlds in and I’ve seen new enemies, new level designs, and a new gimmick the coin collection.
At first I didn’t care for the coin idea, but despite myself I have found myself going back through levels to increase my coin count. 
I also like that Star Coins have more use in this game, so as a player I have more desire to make sure a collect them all.
Another complaint was that the Raccoon Suit’s ability to let you fly is under-utilized.  So far I have found numerous opportunities to explore levels and have been rewarded.  I am only two worlds in however, so this could change.
Another element changed are the cannon levels.  These are the giant cannons from before, except now they take you to a Super Mario Brothers 2 through the red door type level.  The one I went through took me to a bonus world.
Music- Sound effects are typical Mario.  However I wish there was more variety in the music.  The castle levels and ghost houses I really like, the rest is… well it’s there.
Value- Each world so far has about 8-10 levels.  There are six worlds shown, but I also unlocked the Mushroom world so there are at least seven worlds and I would imagine more than that still.

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