New Super Mario Bros. (DS)

June 11, 2006

Nostalgia can be a powerful weapon for a game to administer, utilising it to mask lacklustre gameplay with the player’s feelings of reminiscence. However Nintendo have decided that yes, nostalgia is a brilliant way to approach the new version of Super Mario Bros purely because these old gameplay elements are so beautifully refined that, even in this day and age, blend to create some of the best platforming in recent years.

     New Super Mario Bros is an amalgamation of what made the first three super Mario games great, with a few aspects borrowed from the more advanced fourth game Super Mario World and even the 3D Super Mario 64. The basic elements of platforming from Super Mario Bros are the groundwork, gone are the flying upgrades of the later versions meaning that Mario is relegated to the ground, through this grounded feeling the game avoids the cheap level completion of simply flying over any hazards and landing next to the exit. The ancient ability of the fire flower makes its triumphant return in this game functioning as effectively as it did in the NES original and the new blue shell will confuse players at first until, with practise, its advantages become obvious. While the true sequel only appeared in its homeland of Japan, the features taken from the third game are much more obvious, the map screen is very similar in design featuring alternate routes, half-way fortress’ and end of world castles. Even aspects such as the moving hammer brothers and toad houses are in abundance throughout the game. Other influences include the cages Mario can climb on and moving platform castles from Super Mario World as well as some enemies taken from all the Mario titles. Not content with simply borrowing from the games of the past, New Super Mario Bros features new abilities such as the mini mushroom, mega mushroom and interesting level features that would not have been possible on the NES or SNES.

     However, as well as copying these positive aspects the game also retains its prequels habit of being a short adventure from beginning to the final boss, clocking in around four or five hours. But in using one of the main improvements from the recent advance remakes of the classic Mario games, each level features three special coins, the collection of said coins can occasionally be confusing and require a large deal of thought on your part. The collection of these coins is merely used for the purchase of background for the touch screen and alternate routes but as a feeling of personal achievement, finding the final coin in world eight is a highly fulfilling task. Another feature of New Super Mario Bros that helps its lifespan is that you bypass both worlds four and seven on an initial play through the game and need to discover the entrances to them. For the thorough player this game offers a great deal to uncover but for someone who simply plays to see the final boss, the game will fall short.

     Alongside this traditional Mario single player are a selection of mini games and an extremely amusing Mario vs. Luigi mode. Another aspect of the retro titles Nintendo seem keen to reinstate is their appreciation for two players, the Mario vs. Luigi mode is specially tailored for this and another category of mini games (one on one) opens up when playing with only two people. The premise of Mario vs. Luigi is to collect stars; however both players have access to all the games abilities (from fire flower to mega mushroom) and can use these to better their opponent, this offers a highly amusing game that is an excellent activity when you and a friend are waiting for a few minutes. The majority of the mini games are taken from Super Mario 64 DS, but a new lease of life is granted to these games when played in multiplayer. As a four-player game they are fast and fun but when there are two players, the one on one action of games such as bobomb volleyball is highly enjoyable and offers a good alternative to the other DS multiplayer titles.

       As a return to Mario’s roots this game is a success and should be sampled by those who enjoyed the classic Mario titles as well as those who may have missed them, along with the polished and enjoyable multiplayer functions this is package of undeniable quality. Just don’t be so blinded by nostalgia that you grow a mullet and consider the NES controller the height of ergonomic design.




One comment

  1. GG, I like it dala.

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