lauantai 25. kesäkuuta 2016

REVIEW - New Super Mario Bros. 2

GENRE(S): Platformer
DEVELOPER(S): Nintendo
PUBLISHER(S): Nintendo
RELEASE DATE: July 28, 2012

Actually, this game should be called New Super Mario Bros. 3; it's actually the third game in the New Super Mario Bros. series, and I don't see any good reason as to why it's called "2". New Super Mario Bros. 3DS, that would've been consistent. Oops, I forgot: it's not a 3D game. OK, so what we have here, either way, is the third entry in the series that started with New Super Mario Bros. for the original DS in 2006. It's another spiritual successor to the very first Super Mario Bros. titles (including what we know as The Lost Levels), featuring a lot of gameplay elements, designs and mechanics that came along long after those classic games. The first New Super Mario Bros. game was a huge disappointment for me, and I have so far managed to miss the Wii game completely (it's actually one of those Mario titles I literally MISSED altogether, as in failed to note its release!). New Super Mario Bros. 2 is a very good game. It's not that different from what we've seen before in this particular series of Mario games, and its extra gimmick is not that interesting, but it's a fluid, extremely entertaining handheld platformer nonetheless, its influences come from the right places, and both its level and enemy design are far beyond what its direct predecessor had to offer - relativity noted - six years back. This is exactly what I expected from New Super Mario Bros. - it's not the best fairly recently released Mario game out there, but it's a damn good entry point to the modern times for Mario veterans and the new generation alike.

Mario '12

Mario and Luigi take off on a coin hunt. Meanwhile, you know who along with his seven bastards get the chance to snatch Peach (Toadstool.) in total peace. Upon discovering that they have YET another princess-rescuing mission ahead of them, the Mario Brothers decide to mix their little game of gold rush with serious work, Not only are they after Bowser, but the kingdom-wide record of finding one million coins along the way.

I can tell you right now, even if focusing on collecting the most coins possible isn't my favourite way to start a new Mario game, I had much better vibes with this title from the start than I ever had from start to finish with the first New Super Mario Bros. game. It's not that different, really - hell, some of the levels are almost identical to some of the levels in the first game. However, it has somewhat better controls, it looks absolutely fantastic, and no matter how much some levels indeed resemble levels found in the first one, the level design is generally speaking so much more innovative, clever and exciting. It's a much more daring game, in a word. After a game like Super Mario 3D Land, it's obvious New Super Mario Bros. 2 doesn't exactly push the 3DS to its limits, but it's just as technologically awesome as a vintage Super Mario Bros. game on a handheld can be. I'll give it that.

Things get pretty crazy with the Golden Flower.
What might also jog my curiosity and enthusiasm towards this game, including its sights and sounds, is its variety of influences, that most come from two of my absolute favourite 2D games in this series from ages past - Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World. First of all, and most importantly, the three dumb power-ups that almost utterly destroyed a good part of the DS original are (almost) omitted from the fray. and replaced with the classic Super Leaf from Super Mario Bros. 3, and a couple of power-ups that primarily exist to produce a shitload of money - a Golden Flower which lets you shoot fireballs that break bricks into coins, and a very strange curiosity item, a "brick mask" that produces money from every move you make, the faster the better, for a limited amount of time, or until you take damage. There are also some golden rings about, which turn all the enemies to gold, and if you defeat them in that time window, they yield tens of coins upon defeat. It's kinda cool, really, but of course, you'd have to be into collecting coins a bit more than me. Also, since collecting coins is such a focus point in this game, and their primary function is still the same after almost 30 years, it takes no genius to figure out that it's almost impossible to see a Game Over screen in this game. There's a good bit of tension missing - but I guess that's the sign of the times.

What about the children?

The Mega Mushroom is still in, but as even more of a novelty
item than before.
The Koopalings already made their long-awaited return in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, but since I missed that game - it's so damn good to have these rascals back! ...And, to be completely honest, these seven confrontations are probably my favourite boss fights ever against this particular collective of henchmen. The order in which you face these guys is a little shuffled up from the past, which is good, and what's even better: some of the Koopaling fights mirror the fights against them in Super Mario World, and some which were just basically harder copies off each other in that game have taken a turn into something completely new, moreover clever and exciting. Reznor returns, as a mid-world boss - that's a little disappointing, 'cause he (they) appears in every single world, and if you've played half as much of Super Mario World as I, he's easily dealt with throughout the game.

Every promising paragraph has ended with a slight downside, and it's true that New Super Mario Bros. 2 isn't the perfect Mario game, but the best thrills it offers are at the very least very close to what I'd expect from a 2D platformer with the Super Mario Bros. brand on it, and at even better times, the game manages to surpass my expectations. However, and still, having been released after such as mold-breaking masterpiece as Super Mario 3D Land (oops, I might've spoiled something there...), I still find this game somewhat lacking of excitement and true innovation. BUT, to a die-hard fan of classic Mario jump-action, I must say that New Super Mario Bros. 2 might very well be the best game in the NSMB series.


I kinda leaked it out there already, didn't I? New Super Mario Bros. 2 is everything that its direct predecessor on the original DS was, only a much better, more flowing and exciting platformer. If you're still in the dark of Mario's more recent exploits like I was a little over a year ago, but interested in how this jurassic icon is doing nowadays, I strongly suggest you dig up this game first. Like I said, it's a fabulous entry point for both young and old.


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