Review: New Super Mario Bros. 2

It really is quite amazing to think that in Mario’s long and illustrious history that a game like New Super Mario Bros. 2 has never been released. Making coin collecting the focal point of the game has taken the old premise and added a good turn of OCD coin looting to the mix and rewards players that want to go out of their way to find secret levels, find every star coin and spend every last second they have on a level trying to attain all the little gold pieces possible.

Ok here is the obligatory Mario plot synopsis. Stop me if you’ve heard this before. The Princess is chilling in her castle when the Koopalings come along and kidnap her and take her to Bowser’s big bad castle. So first off, Bowser has become too lazy to kidnap her himself and also has anyone ever thought about who the Koopalings mom was? I mean Bowser has kidnapped the Princess a lot. Now that I have taken Mario to a deep, dark place that you will never forget let’s move on!

One thing that the Mario franchise has never been lazy on is level design and that does not change here. You will be platforming your way through nine levels which include the normal environments of desert, water, snow and fire as well as three special worlds of the mushroom, flower and star variety. Now while the environments may not change the actual level design is all sorts of Mario goodness. As a lifelong Mario player I still found myself cursing at certain ghost houses or castles filled with rotating buzzsaws….those effing buzzsaws. But that is part of what makes the game endearing. You may want to throw your 3DS occasionally but you keep going onward because as weird as it sounds, the frustration is part of the fun.

The new twist with New Super Mario Bros. 2 is that for the first time ever the game keeps up with your cumulative coin totals. Now that may seem like a simple change but you are given new powers and new game types to ensure that you will be collecting long after you have beaten the game. Special golden fireballs allow you to destroy any enemy you hit with them on screen and add extra coins for doing it. Special gold rings turn enemies gold and assign coin totals to each one killed. Stomp on a Koopa and hit his shell into enemies and watch your coin total balloon. Not to mention all the P blocks to find for blue coinage and each level truly has it’s own chance to be a banking bonanza.

Another new addition to the game is coin rush mode. These are three randomly selected levels from different parts of the game which have you speed running through them to see how many coins you can collect. You start off with 99 seconds and have to take off and try and use all your skills and memorization of the past levels to keep the money coming. Now it’s not quite as rushed as you may think because there are random clocks to find to add to your timer but if you don’t pay attention fully to what’s going on you will quickly be staring at zeroes on the clock. This mode is where a majority of my coinage has come from because you can really get on a roll and get a great count for the three levels and for every flag you hit the top of at the end, your coin total doubles. And when you have your Streetpass on it will automatically send out your high scores and receive them from other players so there will always be a challenge out there for you.

One thing that I could pick out to complain about would be the lack of any kind of 3D look to the game. It is colorful and very vibrant but it had no use at all in 3D mode. When I would set it on any kind of 3D the background would move back but become so smudged looking that it was almost ugly. This is definitely one to play with the 3D turned off unless you like beautiful levels marred by background that appear through dirty film.

Nitpicking aside this game is a good, not great addition to the Mario family. Completely replayable and while it doesn’t break much new ground with enemies or environments it should be applauded for attempting something new that works for this as a handheld title.

42,000 coins and counting. What is your total so far?




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