The agony and the ecstasy of New Super Mario Bros 2

first_imgNew Super Mario Bros. 2, which was recently released for the Nintendo 3DS, is a brief, but inescapably accurate portrayal of everything that works and does not work with the 3DS. On the surface it’s YAMG (yet another Mario game) and it stays remarkably true to the formula.Since the 1988 release Super Mario Bros. 3, Nintendo has known exactly what gamers want from a 2D Mario game — the raccoon suit, the fire flower, bricks you smash by jumping, and a few swimming levels. The company has done an incredible job at keeping this formula interesting through many different iterations and platforms, but ultimately they know what people expect, and just how far things should be pushed before the natives get restless. The team also knows just what concoction brews up the secret sauce: that perfect Mario jump, the ideal degree of difficulty for all members of the family, and exactly how to introduce players to new perks and mechanics.Depending on your perspective this can be a good or bad thing. After all, Nintendo has managed to innovate without reinventing, to modernize without displacing our nostalgia, and to attract new players without losing the long-time fans. Depending on your perspective, this could be the sign of a company that doesn’t want to kill the golden goose or one that’s too complacent to survive in an ever-changing industry that thrives on creative destruction.One of the important aspects of a franchise that holds so many things constant is that the smallest changes can feel ever so important. While playing New Super Mario Bros. 2 I’ve been downright gleeful every time I get the gold flower, which turns Mario into a veritable King Midas. I’ve also been suspiciously eying the persistent coin counter, which gives me a virtual pat on the back every time I collect 1,000 new coins, reminding me both of the hard work I’ve done collecting them and the additional hours of my life that I’ve invested in jumping Mario into the same bricks and over the same koopa troopas.One of the most lackluster aspects of the otherwise extremely polished game is the 3D. This isn’t anything new for 3DS owners: the 3D perspective is unnecessary, uncomfortable and, unlike Super Mario 3D LandC$27.99 at Amazon, there are no times when 3D viewing is required to unlock a puzzle. I was able to play through long stretches of the game just as if I was still on my trusty DS Lite, having totally forgotten that 3D was even available.Not surprisingly, New Super Mario Bros. 2 is another fine addition to the franchise. The game has a new gold-obsessed Coin Rush mode, Mega (think 50-foot-tall) Mario is shockingly amusing the first time you get the power-up, and the game is still perfectly balanced. Like the other recent games, coins and lives are thrown at you with such reckless abandon that they lose all meaning. The stages are all ones we’ve seen before, and the game will not hesitate to pat you on the head and hold your hand if you have problems. Perhaps this biggest change with this release was that this game was not delivered to me as a cartridge, but as a download through the 3DS eShop.So yes, New Super Mario Bros. 2 is exactly what it sounds like, and the problems with both Nintendo and the 3DS remain unaddressed.last_img

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