Everything you need: unbiased reviews, product specs and great deals.
New Super Mario Bros. for Nintendo Wii
Marketing Information Developers at Nintendo have dreamed of creating a simultaneous multiplayer Super Mario Bros. game for decades. The... Read More
Marketing Information Developers at Nintendo have dreamed of creating a simultaneous multiplayer Super Mario Bros. game for decades. The Wii console finally makes that dream come true for everyone. Now players can navigate the side-scrolling worlds alone as before or invite up to three others to join them at the same time on the same level at any point in the game for competitive and cooperative multiplayer fun. With the multiplayer mode, the newest installment of the most popular video game franchise is designed to bring yet another type of family entertainment into living rooms and engage groups of friends in fast-paced Super Mario Bros. fun. General Information Product Type Software Manufacturer Part Number RVLPSMNE Manufacturer Website Address www.nintendo.com Manufacturer Nintendo Co., Ltd Product Name New Super Mario Bros. Brand Name Nintendo Product Information Platform Supported Wii Features New Super Mario Bros. Wii offers a combination of cooperation and competition. Minimize
120 Reviews from Epinions.com
Dec 15, 2009
New Super Mario Bros. Wii: - A Bright Star Shining Amidst a Barren Landscape
Pros: Fantastic Gameplay, Great Difficulty Balance, Absolutely Amazing Level Design, Multiplayer, Charming Presentation
Cons: Somewhat Underwhelming Graphics, Forgettable Soundtrack
The Bottom Line:
New Super Mario Bros. Wii is the best sidescroller I've played in years.
The original New Super Mario Bros., released a few years back on Nintendo's handheld DS platform, was an experiment which may seem unfamiliar to Nintendo fans. Usually they reward their retro fans with mere ports - a brand new classic styled Mario has seemingly been out of the realm of possibility given Nintendo's strategy as a games publisher. Long time fans were eventually rewarded with New Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo DS. For all intents and purposes this was a return to form of the classic Mario that we all grew up with. Despite this one question remained - when would 2D Mario return to consoles? Nintendo, not keen on limiting the success to their handheld sect has answered this question with New Super Mario Bros. Wii.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii, as with it's past incarnates, has very little storyline at all. The game begins as Princess Peach is kidnapped by King Bowser and his litter of Koopa Kids. Mario, Luigi, and two Toads run off to rescue her from the giant lizards slimy mitts, but to save her they're going to have to run, jump, and swim their way through 8 different worlds. Each world is guarded by one of Bowser's foul offspring. Because this is the backdrop to most Mario titles I don't see it fair to be critical of the scenario.
This game is a classic style side scroller with emphasis on platforming. New Super Mario Bros. Wii perfectly replicates the old school Mario style - you run/walk left or right and the screen scrolls with your movement. You still defeat enemies by stomping on their heads and each area of the game is jam packed with power-ups that give Mario added abilities. Furthermore the game is littered with obstacles which include enemies, cliffs, platforms, and several environmental hazards put in place to steal away your precious lives. Falling into a bottomless abyss, into lava, or being touched by an enemy (provided you don't have any powerups) will take a life from your character. It is in dodging these obstacles that the real challenge rears it's head, and believe me when I say that, unlike the DS incarnate, New Super Mario Bros. Wii does not pull any punches.
As a wonderful throwback to our favorite Mario titles progression is made across a map from which you select the level to play. Each world has it's own map and each one allows you to take multiple paths across it. This means that every so often you can pass levels up, but with the amazing design of each of them I would hardly recommend doing so. I was delighted to find out that Nintendo included the old bonus mini-games from Super Mario Bros. 3 on each map. These give you opportunities to earn items for your item pool or simply compete to win 1ups. Even the old maze-like Ghost Houses from Super Mario World made the cut.
With a new Mario game comes a host of new power-ups. Returning to the front is the now trademark Mushroom which transforms Mario in to a larger version of himself capable of destroying bricks along with the signature Fire Flower that gives him the ability to throw fire balls at his opponents. You've also got the Super Star which grants your character invincibility, and the Mini Mushroom which shrinks Mario down so that he can reach new areas that a normal sized character would not be able to get to. New to the formula is the Ice Flower which has the opposite effect of the fire variety - with this Mario can throw ice balls that freeze opponents and various elements of the environment. The completely new Penguin Suit also allows Mario to throw ice balls but with the added ability of allowing him to slide across icy environments and increased swimming ability in the underwater levels. The best of the new suits however, is the Helicopter Hat which lets you fly up into the air for a short while.
Super Mario is a series where level design has always been a notch above anything else, and New Super Mario Bros. Wii is a clear indication that Nintendo has not lost it's creative edge. This game feels like another step stone in the natural progression of the series. The level design is a clear and ultimately satisfying evolution of Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World. I found myself impressed at every turn, and even amazed at some of the obstacles the game presents you with. Then of course there's the random elements that you hardly even notice because they fit the design so well. The boss fights may not carry a lot of variety but the environmental elements are what keep them interesting, with one battle in the air against Bowser Jr. being the exception to this rule. With this game it's clear that Nintendo still has the creative and design edge over the competition when it comes to this genre.
Some of the most interesting changes to the formula come in the form of Wii specific controller tilting antics. This is one aspect I was initially concerned about but it wasn't long into the game before my worries were put to rest. Some levels feature platforms which you have specific control over by tilting the Wii remote either to the left or the right. Usually areas with these require you to tactfully dodge enemies by tilting and moving your character at the same time. It's more difficult than it sounds, but it's also more entertaining then you might expect. Some levels are completely dark, and in some of these areas you are given a small boat to ride. Rather than controlling the boat with the tilt functions of the remote you instead tilt the light source equipped on top of it. Many times this functions as your only way of seeing what lies ahead.
As with most Mario games there is a ton of stuff to collect in this game. On top of coins and powerups each level features three special coins. It's not obvious at first what their function is, and you won't really know what they do until after you've completed the game, but believe me when I say that they're well worth collecting. The game gives you plenty of warrant to search each level thoroughly, and chances are you won't find everything the first run through so you may find yourself returning to several stages time and time again. Normally this would be tedious, but given the excellent design of the game it's far less a chore than you would expect. This holds especially true when playing with more than one player.
My initial concern when this game was first revealed was that multi-player was the entire focus of the project. If you share this fear then it's best laid to rest - this is a full blown single player Mario game that's as fleshed out as the Mario of old. Multi-player is in the game, sure, but the real focus was in making a full blown single player Mario title. With that said, playing this game with friends is an absolute blast. Unlike older games in this series everyone plays at the same time, on the same level, on the same screen even. Player 2 assumes the role of Luigi and 3/4 take control of two different colored Toad characters. Each character controls the same so the changes are purely aesthetic. This is a bit disappointing but once you start playing you'll get over it quickly.
The only problem I have with multi-player is that it is, perhaps, a bit too frantic for my tastes. The game encourages playing co-operatively but it's far too common to mess each other up by either hording power-ups or through accidentally using each other as stepping stools during the more difficult jumping segments. Unfortunately the basic design does not lend itself particularly well to playing with your friends, unless of course you're looking for something completely frenetic. Despite this it's still a lot of fun, but younger gamers will get more of a kick out of it than I did. Personally I prefer to stick to the single player mode.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii is relatively short - I completed the main game in three sittings and it probably took less than 6 hours total. This is longer than the DS iteration, but at the same time, I prefer a little more for $50. Of course you've also got the secrets to discover (and believe you me, there are many) and the multi-player mode will keep you busy for a long time (if that's your thing). I don't feel ripped off because the time I spent with the game was pure magic and because of this I feel it's well worth the price of admission. An online mode would have made this a significantly more worthwhile package and I see no reason why Nintendo forewent adding this feature to the game. Maybe the house of Mario will wise up for the next iteration.
This game also stands as the most difficult Mario game in quite some time. Thankfully the game eases you into the more complex situations slowly, so slow that you probably won't lose a single life in the first world but the later levels more than make up for it. You will have to make challenging jumps onto moving (or in some cases, rotating) platforms with extreme precision and timing all the while avoiding tons of strategically placed enemies and projectiles. Nintendo realized this game will be, at times, too difficult for the younger crowd so they incorporated a help system which can get them through areas automatically after they lose a certain number of lives. I never lost enough in one level to activate this feature so I can't comment on it unfortunately, but I imagine this will prove quite beneficial to younger or less experienced players.
Graphically the game is not as strong as it could have been, but because the screen is zoomed out it's not easy to notice the low poly characters and enemies. What's nice is that the game runs at a constant framerate which keeps the action smooth - usually slowdown can break a game like this and I'm happy to see that Nintendo understands that. The backgrounds are a bit bland but this too is something that you won't notice when you've got the brilliantly colorful foregrounds to look at. The game also contains a host of subtle graphical effects, one of my favorite being the dance step the enemies bust out when the music reaches a certain note. Overall this may not be the best looking game ever, or even on Wii for that matter, but it's quite charming and very adequate for what it is.
I'm not very fond of the soundtrack to be honest - the only highlight are the remixed versions of songs from older games in the series. Even though the new stuff is distinctly "Mario" but it's just not very catchy, or at least, as much so as I expected from an installment in such a legendary series. The game contains a small amount of voice acting which consists of small blurbs that characters say when completing a level, and various other small sound bytes. Unfortunately I can only hear "Mario's Numba 1!" so many times before I start to disbelieve the portly plumber. Sound effects are pretty much ripped straight from the old games so I've no problems there - they're intended to instill even more nostalgia and that's exactly what they do.
Controls are adequate but I do have a few problems with them. The game is controlled by turning the Wii remote on it's side to mirror that scheme of the classic NES controller. The Dpad moves Mario and the A and B buttons are used for jumping and running. Everything works pretty well even if Mario is a little more floaty than he was in the SNES and NES games. My first real issue with the controls has to do with the motion controls. While some integrations are pretty interesting, such as tilting platforms or light sources others are quite annoying. For example, in order to pick up a frozen enemy you have to shake the Wii remote. This makes absolutely no sense to me - the B button could have gotten the job done just as well. Furthermore Mario's famous spin jump from Super Mario World can only be performed through the same method - shaking the controller. These issues are annoying but they don't take long to get used to.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii is a great reminder to old school fans of just why they love video games - simple concepts means nothing in the face of tight gameplay and intricate level design. This game is an absolute treat and overall my favorite game of the year. New Super Mario Bros. Wii gets five stars and comes with my highest recommendation to every man, woman, and child.
Back to all reviews