Published on July 4th, 2015 | by octaneblue0
Retro Review: New Super Mario Bros.
Platforms(s): DS, Wii U Virtual Console
Release Date(s): May 15, 2006 (DS), May 14, 2015 (Wii U VC)
Mario’s 2D platformers on the NES, Game Boy, and SNES were all memorable adventures, but once the Nintendo 64 hit the scene, Mario successfully made the jump to 3D platforming. That left 1992’s Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins on the Game Boy as Mario’s last original 2D adventure until 14 year later, with the release of New Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo DS. The game brought the Mario Bros. back to their 2D roots, but with a more modern look. The result is yet another fun and memorable platformer that’s worth playing. Read on for the full review of New Super Mario Bros. on the DS!
The game begins with Princess Peach being kidnapped… again. This time, Bowser Jr. is the kidnapper. The story gets a small pass since not all of the previous 2D Mario games had this story. Unfortunately, every New Super Mario Bros. game after this one more or less followed the same exact story. Anyway, like several of its predecessors, the Mario Bros. will travel through map screens for each world. And each world has several levels that they’ll have to go through in order to get to the castle, which houses the bosses. Upon defeat, you’ll earn a key to go through to the next world.
The core gameplay from the later 2D Mario games primarily remains the same: Mario or Luigi will have to get from the starting point of each level to the flagpole at the end of the level. Of course, there are plenty of enemies, obstacles, and platforming sections to go through. This game is accessible for nearly any players to get into, but those who have played past Mario games will feel more at home. NSMB’s predecessors feature several power-ups to help the Mario Bros. fight enemies, and this game brings back the basic ones: the Super Mushroom, Fire Flower, and Starman are all here. There are some new power-ups here too, such as the Mini Mushroom, which shrinks Mario or Luigi down to a very teeny size. This allows them to jump really high, run across water, and, most importantly, enter mini pipes. And then there’s the Mega Mushroom, a rare but fun power-up that temporarily makes the Mario Bros. gigantic. You’ll be able to run through practically any obstacle or enemy in your path, earning 1-ups as you destroy more things. And there’s also the Blue Shell power-up; grabbing this adds a shell to Mario or Luigi’s back. At top speed, pressing down will cause Mario or Luigi to retreat into the shell, knocking down enemies in their way. You can also swim faster with that on too.
Graphically, the 3D visuals of the game looked quite good upon its original release. The movement is fluid, the frame rate is solid, and the environments are nice and colorful. The dual screen setup of the DS is put to good use; the top screen primarily displays the action, while the bottom screen shows your stats and level progress. When you go down a pipe, the screens will switch. It’s a nice effect, but it’s apparent that it’s not helpful sometimes because you’re unable to use a reserved item, which requires the touch screen, while you’re in an underground section. The music is nice and catchy, with several new songs but some remixes from past games thrown in the mix too. Mario & co. have plenty of voice samples as well.
There are eight worlds total in the game, but you actually don’t have to go through all of them to complete the game. In fact, two of the game’s worlds are only available by either beating bosses in Mini form or by finding and using Warp Cannons. The game has many hidden exits, which lead to additional levels, item houses, and shortcuts. Each level in the game also has three Star Coins to find. Star Coins are used to open up some alternate paths and extra levels. Once you beat the game, you can spend Star Coins on wallpapers for the bottom screen. Full, 100% completion of the game requires you to beat the game, find all hidden exits and alternate paths, and collect and spend all of the Star Coins. A 100% play through will probably take around 4-6 hours, but a regular run through for non-completionists will take less than that. A hidden Challenge Mode is available via a code. In this mode, much like in the original Super Mario Bros., you’ll be unable to backtrack to previous parts of levels. Unfortunately, you get nothing for playing levels in this mode, so it’s only worth trying if you really want to test it out; there’s no incentive otherwise.
Unlike its sequels, New Super Mario Bros. does not feature a hidden final world. But the game does feature a Vs. mode for 2 players in which the Mario Bros. battle each other for Stars in timed matches. Most of the Mini-Games found in Super Mario 64 DS are back and are unlocked right off the bat. There are multiplayer and single player games, and only one Game Card is required for multiplayer. So outside of the main adventure, there are some fun multiplayer options. Some of these mini-games are really addictive too.
New Super Mario Bros. doesn’t tread new ground like Super Mario Bros. 3 or Super Mario World did back when they launched. However, it takes inspiration from past games and is a pretty fun game in its own right. It’s worth playing for fans of 2D Mario games.
+ Retro-inspired platforming action
+ Plenty of levels
+ Nice, colorful graphics & catchy soundtrack
– Doesn’t introduce many new elements to the Super Mario series
– Bland story
A port of New Super Mario Bros. is now available on the Wii U Virtual Console. This version features multiple display options for your TV and Miiverse support. However, any multiplayer functionality is not supported. Otherwise, it’s essentially the same game and remains an option if you’d prefer playing on your TV than on a handheld.