Friday, December 25, 2009

review of new super mario bros. wii

Just wrapping up a few more thoughts on New Super Mario Bros. Wii (NSMB Wii)!


The Wii has never been a console whose purpose is to demonstrate the technical potential of developers' skills. Nintendo is purposely focused toward opening gaming toward a wider audience. While this goal doesn't imply graphics will take a backseat, in reality this is usually the case. NSMB Wii is no different on this account. Don't get me wrong; the levels are really well done, very colorful and detailed when necessary (some of the backgrounds are really cool). The special effects are well-done, too. In addition, the game never slows with a great amount of activity. Overall, I'd say the graphics definitely fit the "atmosphere" of the game.


The basic framework is this. You have 6 or 7 levels in a world. There are 9 worlds total. The minimum goal is to complete the level by evading and killing monsters, clearing perilous platform challenges, and (of course) jumping on the infamous flagpole. For gamers looking for more challenge, there are three star coins placed in each level that are usually placed in somewhat tricky locations. Getting all the star coins in a world unlocks a secret, difficult level in the ninth world, which is unlocked once you beat the game. Each world ends with some boss level, and also includes a ghost house and some random monster encounters.

The game is said to be relatively more difficult than more recent Marios, and having completed the game 100% on 7 of the 8 worlds and getting a few of the less challenging star coins in worlds 8 and 9, I agree with this assessment. Some of the coins are really challenging to get and you will find yourself spending quite a few lives, and sometimes even asking your friends to help you get some of the trickier coins. It's not so difficult as to detract from the game, however, so I find it a positive aspect of the game.

The cooperative mode is the real innovation in NSMB Wii. By allowing up to 3 players to join Mario in working through the worlds, the game adds dimensions of frustration, cooperation, and what can turn into loads of fun. While it can make the main challenges in the game a bit more difficult at times if you have a companion slowing you down, I think that, overall, it does add a positive element to the game. This is especially true when considering you can have fun with other players without having to work through a level in a serious fashion.

What I mean is there are two alternative game modes that are open to cooperative play: "Free-for-all" and "Coin Battle". The first simply allows you to go through any level you've completed in the game in a "just for fun" style. The second is more involved but, I would argue, is also tons of fun if you have 3 or 4 players on the screen at once. In this mode, you choose one of 5 specially-designed levels or any of the regular levels and race with other players to the end, trying to collect as many coins along the way as possible. Bonuses go to those who finish highest on the flagpole, beat the boss, or get a star coin,. It adds a really interesting competitive atmosphere, especially when you have more than two people on the screen at the same time. The "battles" for coins can get quite heated and they are a lot of fun!

It's interesting to note this because when I gave my "first impressions" of the game in a previous post I noted that playing the main game cooperatively is no fun with more than 2 players, especially if the third player is not particularly talented or into the game. The fact that competitive battle is only really fun when there are more than two players (whose talent can vary widely and still offer a great experience) gives you the perfect balance of multiplayer experience.

It is for this reason that I am tempted to award full points for gameplay. The game is just that fun.

Overall, after having enjoyed this game for quite a few more hours, I give it between a 9 and a 9.5 for offering a fun, challenging experience that is not too long and that really offers a great array of options for those looking for a cool multiplayer experience on the Wii. Anyone with a Wii should add this to a select few "must have" unique, charming and fun titles for the Wii.

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