GAME REVIEW: The new Super Mario Brothers 2
The New Super Mario Brothers 2 has a focus on gold, but does it shine? Yes. Oh, yes it does.
GAME: THE NEW SUPER MARIO BROTHERS 2
AGE RESTRICTION: NONE
The basic plot is much the same as that of all Mario games: Princess Peach has been kidnapped (this time by Bowser's kids, the Koopalings) and you have to cross six kingdoms worth of platforming goodness to rescue her.
If there is something you particularly liked in past games, chances are Super Mario Brothers features it too.
With the return of old tricks, Super Mario Brothers 2 is not terribly original. It sticks fairly strictly to the Mario platforming formula, with hidden blocks, an emphasis on exploration and bonus areas.
This is not a bad thing because, much like a beloved family recipe, it produces good results, so why mess with it?
The game introduces the new gold flower power-up - it's the same as the normal flower power-up that lets you shoot fireballs, except that the golden one turns bricks into coins.
But the best of all power-ups is still the one that annoys People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals most, the Tanooki suit.
The Tanooki suit is essentially a raccoon suit that lets Mario fly. Peta objected to it on the grounds that Mario shouldn't wear fur.
A large chunk of the Mario series involves stomping turtles' heads and kicking their shells hard enough to break bricks, so the suit relative to this behaviour is only vaguely offensive.
At the end of each kingdom is a castle where you fight a Koopaling. These boss battles are fun and the Koopalings put across a lot of character with very little in the way of speech. Each kingdom is beautifully realised and the level design provides just enough of a challenge to be fun. However, if you die too often on a level the game gives you a super-power-up that I call the Tanooki suit of shame.
This suit works just like the original, except it also makes you invincible, making the level much easier. The game comes with a co-op mode, but with it being early days I didn't get much of a chance to see it in action. The single player mode is well worth the price of admission.
Excellent level design and fun traditional platforming.
It sticks to formula. It is a very good formula, but it's still a formula.