New Super Mario Bros. 2 Review for 3DS

On: 3DS
New Super Mario Bros. 2 screenshot
New Super Mario Bros. 2 screenshot

In New Super Mario Bros. 2, capitalism has zipped out of a warp pipe and found its place in the mushroom kingdom; the back of the box instructs you the game's main objective is to gobble up a million gold coins by whatever means necessary, and there's a running tally in the bottom of the screen on the world map. After clearing out the game's main six worlds and assorted hidden gubbins I had just over 25,000. One million. What, you might ask, do you actually get for performing such an impossibly gargantuan task? A new title screen.

If I spent one million of anything, let alone gold pieces, on a new title screen I'd want a refund.

New Super Mario Bros. 2 is the Rich Tea biscuit equivalent of a Mario game; okay in a pinch but certainly not a favourite. I wouldn't pick it first from the biscuit tin, either. It doesn't really do anything wrong, but its fatal flaw is that it just doesn't really do anything. You run to the right, jump over some platforms and stomp a checklist of classic adversaries. This time around you'll spend your time predominantly in the Fire and Raccoon suits, and I'm sure you already know how they work.

New Super Mario Bros. 2 screenshot

When it comes to new features, the game often acts like a stroppy child being forced into doing the washing up, doing as little work as possible before huffing and puffing their way back upstairs. Many of Mario's new doohickies solely revolve around the accumulation of wealth, which pretty much summarises Nintendo's philosophies behind New Super Mario Bros. 2's entire existence. Chief amongst the additions is a box you can wear on your head that spits out coins, some new boxes that spit out random allocations of coins, and a golden hoop you can jump through to turn enemies golden and make them drop loads and loads of coins. The whole game is essentially one of Bob Diamond's fondest wet dreams, made slightly more galling by the fact it feels like Nintendo tried to turn the satisfying plink and pop of gathering coins into a sleight of hand trick to disguise the fact they probably designed all of the game's levels in a single lunch break.

It is, of course, all perfectly okay - we're not talking about Sonic the Hedgehog levels of failure here. There's plenty of life in Mario's world, even if it's all been regurgitated to the point where I'm clearing most levels using muscle memory alone. The little guy's charming buoyancy is still the best in the business, so I still had a fairly decent time going through the motions across the game's 80-odd levels. There's also an occasional spark of imagination and creativity, although Nintendo doesn't want me making those moments explicit. But when the best new feature in over 80 levels is a giant Boo who creeps forward even when you're looking straight at him, well, that's when you're probably running into some severe creative difficulties. There's also two player co-op, but I've never really been partial to Mario's co-op endeavours.

'There's plenty of unmemorable fun to be had here, but it's shocking how it only took three goes for Nintendo to make New Super Mario Bros. feel old.'

The real kicker is in the secret levels. They're just not exciting. Usually in a Mario game these are playgrounds for Nintendo's creative designers to run unhindered, twisting the game's core elements and throwing up exciting new challenges that lovingly tickle your brain - these are the moments where Mario Galaxy 2 and Super Mario 3D Land ascended to greatness, and it's here where New Super Mario Bros. 2 stumbles and falls.

New Super Mario Bros. 2 just doesn't crackle and pop with the creativity - that potent Nintendo magic - of its other many contemporaries, and Nintendo has thrown together a Mario-by-numbers experience that's often fun to play but unforgivably formulaic. There's plenty of unmemorable fun to be had here, but it's shocking how it only took three goes for Nintendo to make New Super Mario Bros. feel old.

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Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk

As I mentioned in the Ninetndo E3 conference when first shown, I could have seen this concept more as a Wario title... but that wouldn't have the same level of identification yielded by Mario's name.
Posted 19:30 on 06 August 2012
pblive's Avatar

pblive@ squidman

Fair enough. I liked co-op in NSMBWii but I can't see it working as well on the 3DS.

My main issue is that it doesn't look like they included all the cool mini-games I really enjoyed in the first DS game.
Posted 15:15 on 06 August 2012
squidman's Avatar

squidman@ pblive

I didn't play it very much in co-op, but I didn't really have any feelings towards it one way or the other. But I've never liked Mario in co-op. NSMBWii in 4 player felt like a mess, though some people tell me that is something like 'chaotic fun'

I do not like 'chaotic fun' for the record. It's why me and Mario Kart have never really got on.
Posted 15:05 on 06 August 2012
pblive's Avatar

pblive

Enjoyed that, though it seems as if you didn't even try the Co-op. I don't think it would change the review much either way, though.

Had it pre-ordered, but may just play through the first DS game again.
Posted 14:57 on 06 August 2012
MJTH's Avatar

MJTH

7, from what I've seen of other reviews across the web, is about right. A little disappointing, but then again when one of the worse game in a series is a 7, and the biggest problem is lack of creativity, then you know that series is quality.

To be honest, I was more interested in the wii u NSMB game anyway. That game doesn't look like it will change the formula that much either, but the HD graphics at least will make it seem fresh to me. You never know Nintendo may (hopefully) pull out something left field for NSMBU because it is a launch game, but at this point with the 2D games I sadly doubt it.

Good Review Martin, concise and to the point. I will probably get this early next year can't afford at it at the moment.
Posted 14:35 on 06 August 2012

Game Stats

New Super Mario Bros. 2
7
Out of 10
New Super Mario Bros. 2
  • Mario makes me feel young
  • One million gold coin thing is utter nonsense
  • Not very challenging
  • Not very creative
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 17/08/2012
Platform: 3DS
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Genre: Platformer
Rating: TBC
Site Rank: 1,240 264
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