New Super Mario Bros. 2
ESRB Rating: E
System: Nintendo 3DS
Release Date: August 19, 2012
Good news: Mario is back. Bad news: so is Bowser. Wait, that’s not bad news. The adversarial dance between the plumber and the King of the Koopas is what keeps the Super Mario series fun and imaginative. New Super Mario Bros. 2 for the Nintendo 3DS throws more fuel on the characters’ long-smoldering rivalry, but there’s a new gameplay element at work, too: you (as Mario) are encouraged to collect a grand total of one million gold coins in your travels. Make it rain!
Trouble With Koopas
New Super Mario Bros. 2 is the direct sequel to New Super Mario Bros., which hit the Nintendo DS in 2006. Like its predecessor, New Super Mario Bros. 2 is a side-scrolling action game that takes you through multiple levels and worlds of the Mushroom Kingdom. As usual, there are various power-ups to collect, and enemies to stomp. In fact, the beloved Raccoon Tail, the iconic power-up from Super Mario Bros. 3, makes its return in New Super Mario Bros. 2.
You can play through the game as either Mario or Luigi. The Koopalings, Bowser’s unruly children, return as well, presumably to give the Mario Bros. some grief.
Pennies (and More) From Heaven
New Super Mario Bros. 2 is standard Mario fare at first glance, but one key mechanic is different this time around. The game’s golden coins, which have been a series trademark since day one (collect 100, hear that lovely 1UP chime), are central to gameplay. Nintendo wants you to collect one million pieces of the valuable currency, and has installed multiple means of helping you reach that goal. Coins are everywhere in New Super Mario Bros. 2. They spew out of pipes, they spawn from bricks with the help of the Golden Fire Flower (a new power-up), and they trail behind Mario when he wears the Gold Block mask. Oh yeah, coins come out of Question blocks, too.
Think you can reach a million coins? Sure, it seems easy on paper, but one million is a big, big number…
New Super Mario Bros. 2 is another Nintendo 3DS game I was able to personally demo. Its similarities to other entries in the New Super Mario Bros. series are a little off-putting at first. That’s not to say anything is wrong with the New Super Mario Bros games—in fact, they’re excellent. It’s just that it’s nice to see completely new ideas come from a company as talented as Nintendo (granted, Super Mario 3D Land was pretty fresh).
However, there’s no denying that crashing into walls and walls of coins is just a lot of fun, and it sells the game, at least for me. In fact, the Super Mario Bros. 3 nostalgia in New Super Mario Bros. 2 goes beyond the return of the Raccoon Tail. Gathering up buckets of coins will remind old-timers about the thrill of looting Mario 3’s Coin Boat for the first time, or visiting that Mini Fortress in World 7 that was made of bricks, and contained a single hidden P-block that would instantly turn the foreboding palace into coin heaven.
New Super Mario Bros. 2 doesn’t concern itself with originality. It simply wants to deliver a happy, fulfilling experience. From my angle, it’ll succeed with no trouble.