It’s been almost 25 years since the release of Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo Entertainment System and the franchise is still going strong. While Super Mario Bros. may not have been the first video game ever, it is still the game that many people today first played and is sort of the “poster boy” for video games. Mario has become a household name like Elvis and Michael Jackson, that is to say that people all around the world know the name Mario or at least know what he looks like. The Mario franchise has had its rough patches and its bad games, but overall Nintendo has a lot to brag about and they have made some really nice advancements in the world of gaming. Super Mario Bros. has helped define what a platform 2-D side-scroller game is, and back in the days of the NES no one did it better.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii has taken some of the best of every installment of the Super Mario Bros. series and have thrown it together into a reminiscent experience that takes many of us back to our childhood. Nintendo has taken the level design from Super Mario Bros., the themed game worlds and special power-ups from Super Mario Bros. 3, the use of Yoshi from Super Mario World, and have combined with the innovativeness of the Wii and added a multiplayer experience to make New Super Mario Bros. Wii. If you are looking for a game that the whole family can get involved with then look no further than this game.
I expected a lot from this game and I wasn’t too disappointed. While it may not posses the expansiveness or high quality graphics of games on the 360 or PS3, there aren’t many games that provide the level of fun or replay value of New Super Mario Bros. Wii. After I invited a group of friends over for a New Super Mario Bros. Wii gaming session, I found that I was playing the same levels over and over again I continued to find them equally interesting, difficult, and as fun as they were the first time around. Usually when I finish a game I’m satisfied with adding it to my collection on the shelf and occasionally staring at it in fondness, but I rarely play it again. New Super Mario Bros. Wii is the type of game that I will bring out at almost every get together regardless of how many years from now it may be.
There are 8 themed worlds to explore, and an additional 9th world that is opened after defeating Bowser. The 9th world has level just like the first 8 worlds, but each level in the 9th world is opened up by finding all of the Star Coins in the World that is correspondent to the particular level. That is to say that in order to open World 9 level 1 you need to find all of the Star Coins in World 1. Each level has 3 Star Coin, some are easier to find than others, and some are easier to get than others. Each world has a particular theme much like what you saw in Super Mario Bros. 3, with a water world, an ice world, and of course a fire world. Even though this game sticks to the 2-D experience, the team did a great job of making objects and monsters very lively and vibrant; it is almost as if you are experiencing a 3-D world despite the 2-D screen.
The music is typical of a Mario game, even sticking to some of the old tunes from previous games but still throwing in some new ones. Each jump, spin, bounce and power-up has a sound and some sounds will have you laughing hysterically when you’re with a group of friends. Speaking of friends, the greatest feature of New Super Mario Bros. Wii is the four player co-op that is new to the Super Mario Bros. series. Instead sticking to the typical style where each player takes a turn at each level to see which person can beat the game first, they have decided to allow players to work together to solve the platforming puzzles. There will even be many situations where you will need to jump off of your friend’s head to grab that Star Coin just out of reach. Unless you have practiced for days and are now running through the courses like a well-oiled machine, you will find you and your teammates constantly betraying each other or accidentally jumping on someones head and sending them into a pit. You don’t only have to play cooperatively, there is a Free-for-All feature and a Coin Battle feature where you can compete against other players for higher scores and faster times. Multiplayer sessions can be chaotic to a fault at times, yet they are still fun and they help define the new direction that New Super Mario Bros. Wii and gaming is taking. The controls are solid and stick to the classic controls where a D-Pad and two buttons are really all you need to make Mario do what he has to do. Holding the Wii Remote sideways with the D-Pad to your left allows for this button set-up to work. Buttons “1” and “2” are like the old school “A” and “B” on the NES controller. Motion control is added in this game but it is limited to a simple shake of the Wii Remote to launch Mario in the air when equipped with a Propeller Head or pick up a nearby item.
It’s great to see another solid title added to the Wii library, and we can expect New Super Mario Bros. Wii to be a staple for the Nintendo Wii for the next couple of years. If this game is any testament to the lifespan of our favorite Italian plumber, then I wouldn’t be surprised to see him living for another 25 years.