New Super Mario Bros. Wii, released on November 15, 2009 for Nintendo Wii, is the latest entry into the 2D Mario catalog. Does it beat the pressure and meet all the expectations demanded from such a title? Maybe not exactly, but it comes pretty darn close. New Super Mario Bros. Wii includes the ability to be played for up to 4-players, a handful of worlds that contain multiple stages, plenty of secrets and plenty of surprises. It is just old school, nostalgic, run and jump fun we have all grown up with. For a game that needs no instructions, it’s ironic that it comes with a 68-page manual.
The story goes like this: Princess has gotten kidnapped. The Bowser kids have taken her and it is up to Mario and friends (Luigi, blue Toad and yellow Toad) to rescue her. That is pretty much the story. So, what is a Wii game without waggle? It’s not a Wii game is what it is. Waggle is here, but used to tilt certain objects like the beam shown below and you shake the control while holding the “1″ button to pick up objects. It does not feel gimmicky, but does feel a bit forced. I mean waggle to pick up objects? What happened to using the good and faithful dash button.
Like most Mario games, the levels are all set in different settings such as the expected desert and ice worlds. The stages clearly hint towards the need for some teamwork, but designed to work with both single player and multiplayer games in mind. However, the game gets significantly easier with multiplayer, but I’ll get to that later. Certain levels are specifically designed for the players to use the power-ups available to clear the stages with ease or to discover secrets. Fire flower power helps not only to defeat enemies, but light up some of the poorly lit stages. Ice flower power is used in numerous ways such as to defeat enemies by freezing them to create platforms, sink and float enemies in water stages, and can clear paths when you throw your newly made enemy ice cubes. The propeller hat power-up is not exactly the raccoon tail or cape as it’s essentially a double jump followed by floating, but still used to get to hard to reach places. The penguin suit offers the same thing as the ice power, but also adds the ability to glide across the stage to demolish any enemies or blocks that are in your way. Lastly, the mini mushroom power up makes you small and light to get to some secret areas that cannot be reached any other way. There is also Yoshi, so you can eat your enemies and flutter to hard to reach areas as well. All this is all perfectly woven by pinpoint precision controls making it such a satisfying experience.
Other great things about this game is that it’s not just old school fun, it is also old school difficult. My philosophy for a while has been that a game is good if it is easy to play, but hard to beat. I hope that makes any sense. Bonus stages are back and include tilting the Wii remote to aim then shooting out of a cannon for lives, and punching random panels for power-ups. You can use these power-ups before the start of a stage much like Super Mario Bros. 3. The music played throughout the game is nice and catchy, with some recycled from the DS Mario title if I’m not mistaken, which isn’t really a bad thing (maybe shows a little laziness). Lastly, the graphics are not an issue. It is a 2D Mario game. As long as every thing is clear and visible it has done its job, which New Super Mario Bros. Wii pulls off.
Now, the negatives about this game. New Super Mario Bros. Wii still cannot pull off the charm and greatness the first four Super Mario sidescrollers had back in the day and still has, but at least they tried. The biggest problem I have with the game is the multiplayer. The general feeling I get when playing multiplayer through the main game is dirty. Although there are parts when jumping on each others heads and carrying each other are useful to complete certain tasks, that is as far as I think that goes. The whole experience would be great if everyone cooperated and knows what they’re doing, but usually that is not the case. Additionally the more players that play, the more difficult and frustrating it gets. You’re constantly getting lost in the mess and bumping into each other. You inadvertently kill your friends over and over and over. There are also parts where you can just cheat so badly using this new button they have added where if you find a need to stop playing for any reason you can hide yourself in a bubble and let your teammates finish the stage. The worst is when you see a hard to reach item or coin. You can have your partner clearly jump for an item that puts them in a death situation, but have them bubble himself/herself just before they die. It’s things like that, that make me feel like a dirty cheater. I’ll let you figure out other ways you can take advantage of that feature, because I spent most of my time with friends trying to figure out new and creative ways to cheat the game more and more. The last issue is the delay or pause when a player dies. It stops everything in the stage just for a second, but enough to take you out of your element. You lose your flow and that’s really annoying. The whole design and how the multiplayer works feels awkward to me and not exactly as I hoped the multiplayer experience would be. I don’t know exactly how they can fix these problems or if its even possible, but I’m not a game designer so I’ll let them deal with that.
Overall, this is a great game. I cannot see many people not enjoying it. It doesn’t necessarily meet the bar set by the past Mario masterpieces, it has some design issues, but these are minor flaws compared to all the awesome the game still offers. Pick it up when you have a chance, you shouldn’t miss out on this one.
- Title: New Super Mario Bros. Wii
- Platform Reviewed: Wii
- Developer: Nintendo EAD
- Publisher: Nintendo
- MSRP: $49.99
- Review Copy Info: A copy of this game was purchased by DualShockers Inc. for reviewing purposes