We recently got a chance to pay a three level demo of Nintendo’s first original side-scrolling Mario title in a long time. While initial impressions would suggest that the game is more of the same, New Super Mario Bros. offers a number of new tricks and features that haven’t been seen in any previous traditional Mario games.
The biggest addition is Mario’s new moves. He now has most of his moves from his 3D outings, such as his butt stomp, wall flip and back flip. These new moves fit in well and should make the gameplay a little more diverse. Lakitu also makes an appearance, annoyingly dropping spinys from the sky. He also proves to be a rather troublesome obstacle, often getting in the way of your wayward jumps.
While the basic power-ups seem to be present, such as the mushroom and the Fire Flower, some new ones have been included. The pump-up mushroom allows you to repeatedly hit the block that the mushroom is sitting on, in turn increasing the size of the mushroom. If you grab this mushroom when it is full size, Mario will become a giant and become temporarily invulnerable to enemy attack. He also gains the punches and kicks from Super Mario 64.
The two screens are used in a number of ways. When the action is in the top screen (which it mainly is), the bottom screen is used to store power-ups. You can store three at a time and drop them into the game-world by touching the power-up you wish to use. The action also switches to the bottom screen when you go down a pipe, in a similar way to how Zelda: Four Swords switched from the TV screen to the GBA screen when you went underground. It isn’t the best use of the dual screens that we have seen, and the touch screen is only minimally used, but it is nicely done all the same – The touch screen can’t be used all the time.
While this is firmly a side-scrolling game, the visuals are now fully polygonal, and they look great. Mario moves superbly and the levels are bright and colourful. All the usual enemies are back and from the short demo, some of the bosses are going to be pretty big. We took on a giant Goomba that filled the screen and required the use of Mario’s new butt stomp in order to cause him any damage.
What we weren’t able to play was the game’s two player multiplayer mode. In this mode one player controls Mario, while the other controls Luigi. You race through side scrolling levels and can use power-ups to hamper the progress of your opponent. This is a mode that we are certainly looking forward to hearing more about.
The short demo left me wanting a lot more. The DS excels at great looking 2D games and New Super Mario Bros. is no exception. The new moves and power-ups look to bring something new to the classic formula and the tried and trusted gameplay is just as good as it ever was. The Nintendo DS has some great first-party games scheduled for later this year, and this is up there with the most anticipated.
Check out our exclusive gameplay footage of the game.
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