New Super Mario Bros Wii
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With most games being 3-D and all fancy schmancy in this new day and age, I was feeling a bit nostalgic for some good ol’ fashion 2D, side scrolling adventure. Enter the New Super Mario Bros. Wii (herein “NSMBW”), the perfect throwback with a congenial twist. This game is a seamless blend of the epic Super Mario Bros. games, incorporating titles 1, 2, 3 and World. If you don’t already own a Wii console, this game should be the reason to go out and buy a Wii now. Seriously, right now. Not later. NOW! Okay, well, after this review, of course!
NSMBW truly is a blast from the past, taking you on a trip down memory lane in the vintage NES and SNES era. At first glance, you’ll notice each level’s underlying aesthetics concentrate mainly on the style of Super Mario Bros. World graphics. However, the scenery has a Super Mario Bros. 3 flair to it, topped off with Super Mario Bros. 1 end-level flagpoles and a stellar, revamped musical soundtrack.
There are eight Worlds, reminiscent of Super Mario Bros. 3, with approximately eight levels in each, including Boo Ghost Mansions, Mid-Castles, and Main Castles ruled by the Koopa Kids — yes, Ludwig, Iggy, Bowser Jr. and the rest of the gang are back. You will also find familiar foes, such as the Koopa Troopa, Goomba, Bullet Bill, Chain Chomp and many more, as well as the beneficial Super Star, Super Mushroom, Fire Flower, and your trusty ride, dino-pal, Yoshi.
There are four new power-ups added in this game, which can be obtained through levels, Toad House prizes, or random enemy encounters on the world map. The Ice Flower will turn you into Ice Mario, similar to Fire Mario, only you’ll be throwing, coincidentally, ice balls! The Propeller Hat was my personal favorite, allowing me to twirl and fly my way to out-of-reach places and items, or glide over troublesome situations. The Wii-mote intuitively encompasses this power-up with a simple shake of your hands. Penguin-suited Mario allows him to swim under water with ease or slide over surfaces for extra fun and strategy. Last, but certainly not least, the Mini Mushroom did just the opposite of the Super Mushroom; it made Mario microscopic. At first reaction, this was hilariously comical (who can’t resist laughing at a dime-sized Mario?), yet, Mini Mario becomes Air Jordan with incredible springing power, and acquires the ability to squeeze through those suspiciously narrow warp pipes. While they are all fun to use, you’ll find that each new power-up has its advantage over the other in certain vexing situations.
To continue with the latter sentence, some levels can be a walk in the park, while others can be clench-your-fist frustrating (but that’s just what makes this game so awesome – it’s challenging!). Three Star Coins can be found in every single level; some that are in blatant view, and some that are so cleverly hidden, you’ll find yourself redoing the level twice, trice, or perhaps even more. Not to worry though. You can unlock “hint videos” with the Star coins you’ve already collected. These videos convey tips and tricks to unveiling those elusive Star Coins, discovering secret exits, and an impartment of cheats, such as infinite lives. Still having trouble passing that one level? Die eight times, and a video guide will appear to help you through it. Accumulating every single Star Coin in the game will unlock World 9.
And now for my personal favorite addition to this game….the multiplayer capability! As Player 2, it was always an impatient wait for Mario to bite the dust so that you, Luigi, could finally start stomping on shells and, well, play! In this game, that wait is nevermore! Up to four players–Mario, Luigi, and two generic Toads–can simultaneously play in NSMBW, both competitively or cooperatively. I started off playing this game solo, and when I added a second player, the fun-factor went through the roof! I then recruited two additional players, and it was a flat out party, with barrels of good fun and laughter. Whether we used teamwork to get skillfully get through each stage, or caused mayhem and mischief to steal one another’s thunder, knock another player off a ledge, or purposely try to avoid popping the “bubble” (Yoshi’s Island, anyone?) of a revived player, it was a complete riot!
To wrap it up, Nintendo’s reversion to an old-school 2D side-scrolling platform in the midst of the myriad of 3D games, is a real treat to its Super Mario Bros. fans. For that nostalgia fix, no blowing on old NES cartridges (to get them to work) is required. Instead, the NSMBW’s retro experience with all new, challenging levels, familiar characters, and an entertaining multiplayer feature, is your best warp pipe to 1985-1991. Okay, now you can go out and buy that Wii…and the New Super Mario Bros. Wii game!