New Super Mario Bros. Wii
Kickin’ it old school, only with co-op
Posted 3 years ago By - JD Speedy
It’s become a bit of a debate recently what is the best way to get your Mario fix. Discounting all the wrong people who pipe up about anything involving Karts, Tennis or Parties; it usually boils down to a preference of 2D or 3D.
For me personally, while I was enamored with Super Mario Galaxy, side-scrolling Mario will always have the key to my heart. So, the promise of a new 2D Mario game that incorporated elements from both Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World had me chomping at the bit for its release. The fact that it works in up to 4 players in co-op sealed the deal that I would need this game as soon as humanly possible, regardless of reviews.
But that brings us to here. And since this is a review and not simply a slobbering bit of praise, I will do my best to present the facts, but I should get it out of the way quickly; this is one damn fine bit of platforming.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii, while not innovative in its naming, is remarkable for one particular aspect, its multiplayer. I don’t love every design decision that was made in NSMBW, particularly that horrifically bad name, but the defining characteristic is well-realized and fun.
If you really want to play this game as it was intended, to really get the most out of it, you have to play it with someone else. And, while calling it co-op is a bit of a misnomer, as this game is more liable to send you to divorce court if playing with your wife or getting smacked upside your friend by any bestie that’s willing to take up a controller, that doesn’t detract from the fact that it is incredibly well implemented.
When players split up, the screen seamlessly zooms out to show everyone at once, and when you gather back together, there is a tighter view on the action. There is, however, a limit as to how far the camera will zoom, and it will occasionally lead to one player being squeezed out of existence by person furthest right, but the dynamic camera works exceptionally well at keeping everyone in frame and able to see what they’re doing.
And adding and dropping players is also easy, as you can do that right on the map screen. Just hit up your menu and you can add up to three additional players, as Luigi and two toads. I would have liked for there to be some more different styled characters than palette swapped toadstools, but it makes the identical skillset work easier explained. Everyone jumps the same height and the same distance and that probably keeps the game from getting needlessly complicated.
The skillset the characters do have is a bit of an amalgam of the last few games but with a few noticeable omissions. For instance, some 3D gameplay traits, such as the triple jump and wall jumping have made it into the game, but the crouch backflip and the quickturn jump have not. For some reason the butt slam (jump and down+B) is in the game, although it rarely comes in handy.
My only qualms with Mario’s abilities are actually those of Yoshi, as, compared to the Yoshi from Super Mario World, he is pretty dumbed down. When you eat red turtles, you just spit out a shell, not fireballs. And the different coloured Yoshi’s have no more abilities than the regular green one. Once again, I’m sure this was done in the interest of retaining some simplicity to the game rules and the level design, but Yoshi’s skills are just something I’ve missed since Mario World.
The power ups in NSMBW are also pretty good, although the list is pretty short. In addition to the mini mushroom from NSMB and series regulars the big mushroom, the star and the fireflower, you have access to a ice flower (for throwing a freezing version of the fireflowers), a pinwheel cap (for short bursts of rapid flight) and a penguin suit (for swimming underwater, better handling on ice and the same projectiles as the ice flower).
All of these add up to a bit of a zero sum result. While I really liked the difference that the ice flower made (you can make platforms out of flying baddies and you can freaking KILL dry bones!), I had high hopes for some of the Mario Bros. 3 powerups and Super Mario World ones to make a comeback. I may just be a hopeless fanboy, but I sincerely miss Kuribo’s Shoe, the Tanooki Suit, the Frog Suit and the Cape. Sadly, I’m guessing that if there was ever a game that would bring these back, it would have been this one and I won’t be able to throw out my NES or SNES just yet.
Oh, and there’s one control issue I had that I must touch on. To pick up any big items, like enemies you’ve frozen into ice blocks, you have to waggle your wii remote pretty viciously. This was quite novel at first, and is not a big deal when you’re playing with four other people who are jumping and yelling, but when I was one my own, I really wished for an alternate control scheme. You just have to really shake the remote quite hard for it to work, and I end up shaking the entire couch every time I need to pick up a block. If you could just use the classic controller or maybe remap that function to the B button on the back of the wii remote, I would have been really happy, but it just isn’t so.
There is a second control scheme, that uses the wii remote and nun-chuk, but to be honest, that sounded so dreadful that I didn’t even bother trying it out. Control a side-scrolling platformer with an analog stick? Are you insane?
Graphics and Sound
NSMBW is a bloody fantastic looking game, with 8 worlds that are unique looking and full of a variety of detailed enemies. It’s not much of a step up from NSMB on the DS, but the looks really compliment the gameplay and if it were any more ambitious, it might not be such an amazing homage to old school Mario games.
That said, I did feel like the game was lacking a bit of personality. If you’re going to go to the trouble of making the Koopa Kids (Bowser’s children who also starred in Super Mario World on the SNES), why wouldn’t you develop their personalities a little further? There was really no use of cutscenes to make them into real characters and it stripped any emotional response, and humour, from the encounters. I know from previous experience that Nintendo can get a lot of character out of their properties, without the use of any type of language, so it was weird that this game felt so stripped down in terms of story and character development.
But despite any of my small gripes about the perfect 2D Mario game I’ve got stored in the recesses of my brain, this is one fantastic and lovingly crafted sidescroller. It is just so chockfull of content, between playing through the game on my own and the countless hours I’m bound to spend in co-op and the friendship destroying Coin Battle mode, that I will certainly still be playing this game in June. And by then, maybe another game will have come out for the Wii that I’ll want to play.
Whether you buy this game for the excellent single player or as the perfect platforming battle for the friends you’re ready to lose (as it can get more than a little combative), this is one of the games I didn’t know I needed for my Wii. Unless you completely hate the original Mario games or you only play games in 3D, this is a must-buy for Wii owners. You just can’t buy a better Mario experience today without breaking out a CRT and an RF adapter.
+ Looks serve the gameplay
+ Co-op dramatically changes the game
+ Drop-in/Drop-out is easy and quick
+ Just the right amount of challenge
+ Some of the Wii remote tilt controls are novel and work well
- Coin battle could potentially end friendships and relationships
- More control schemes and customization would be nice
- What’s with the title? Could it be more generic?
1 year ago :: (WiiWare) Zombii Attack
1 year ago :: Fortune Street
1 year ago :: Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, The
1 year ago :: Rayman Origins
1 year ago :: The Adventures of Tintin: The Game
1 year ago :: Disney Universe
1 year ago :: The Black Eyed Peas Experience
2 years ago :: The Conduit 2
2 years ago :: Mario Sports Mix
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Release Date : 2009/11/15
System : Nintendo Wii
Publisher : Nintendo
Developer : Nintendo
Category : Adventure
ESRB : E
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.7 / 10