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Joseph Rositano
15 Nov, 2009

New Super Mario Bros. Wii Review

Wii Review | What's old is new again.
New Super Mario Bros. is one of the highest selling Nintendo DS games to date. The title returned Mario to his 2D platformer roots, and took inspiration from many of his past adventures. However, it was far from perfect. Many criticised the game for being a little on the easy side, and the Giant and Mini Mushroom power-ups felt like a gimmick instead of a compelling part of gameplay. Overall though, the game was fun and a welcome addition to any fan’s collection. New Super Mario Bros. Wii is more or less a sequel to its handheld counterpart, but it brings with it captivating level design, tremendously fun multiplayer, and the return of everyone’s favourite green dinosaur.

The game’s story is kept simple and revolves around the typical kidnapping of Princess Peach. One day the Princess is celebrating her birthday with Mario, Luigi, a Yellow Toad and a Blue Toad, when suddenly a large birthday cake rolls into the room. Bowser Jr. and the Koopalings appear from the cake, and throw it on top of Peach to trap her. They then rush her to their airship, fleeing the scene just as the Mario Bros. and the two Toads give chase.

Nintendo hasn’t changed the Mario gameplay formula in any way. You still largely have to make your way from point A to point B, all the while stomping on the heads of enemies and avoiding any hazards that prevent you from reaching the goal. The initial levels are considerably easy and won’t be too difficult to navigate, but as you progress you will notice that you need to be more precise and plan out your movements instead of just blindly running and jumping. The staple power-ups make a return, including the iconic Super Mushroom, Fire Flower and Power Star, and Yoshi even makes a few brief appearances. New to the game are the Ice Flower which gives you the ability to freeze enemies into ice cubes, the Propeller Mushroom that propels you into the air briefly, and the Penguin suit which has the same effects as the Ice Flower but also lets you slide on your belly, gives you better traction on ice and lets you swim faster. The new power-ups have their various uses and feel like a genuine part of gameplay rather than the gimmicky Giant and Mini Mushrooms on the DS.

Penguin Mario slides his way to victory.

Penguin Mario slides his way to victory.
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One of the primary aims Nintendo set out to achieve with the Wii version was to make the system accessible to everyone. While New Super Mario Bros. Wii is one of the most challenging Mario platformers in recent years, inexperienced players will never be put off. The game features a system called Super Guide which is activated after you die eight times without successfully completing a level. This gives the player the option of watching a computer-controlled Luigi complete the level on your behalf, and you can then choose whether to give it another go yourself or simply progress to the next. Luigi however, won’t collect all the hidden Star Coins or locate hidden pathways, so there’s incentive for you to come back once your skills have improved. The system is designed to encourage you to finish the level by yourself and will be an afterthought for most players, but it’s there and will certainly be of benefit for some.

The game is played by holding the Wii remote on its side just like a classic NES controller. The usual run and jump movements are mapped to the D-pad, 1 and 2 buttons, but there are also times when motions controls are required. Usually the controls just translate to a simple waggle of the Wii remote, which will cause Mario to propel into the air if he’s powered-up with the Propeller Mushroom, perform a spin jump, dismount from Yoshi, or pick up an object. It unfortunately feels a little gimmicky at times, particularly when you’re stringing together combos, and is simply unimaginative to say the least. There are also moments where you’ll need to control platforms and, in one instance, the direction of a spotlight by tilting the Wii remote. These moments are actually quite fun as they occur sparingly and offer an interesting twist to the standard Mario gameplay. On the subject of controls, you can also play the game by using the Nunchuck for movement, but for some reason there’s no support for the Classic Controller – lazy work there, Nintendo.

Luigi and the two Toads take out enemies and collect coins, while Mario tilts the platform.

Luigi and the two Toads take out enemies and collect coins, while Mario tilts the platform.
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Most experienced players will have no trouble completing the game within 10 hours, but like most Mario games there are a few incentives to keep playing. First of all, each level has three hidden Star Coins. Collecting the coins unlocks new levels to play, and can be used to purchase Hint Movies in Peach’s Castle. The videos range from guides that show you how to obtain the more difficult Star Coins, to trick movies which display some fancy footwork by the developers. It’s obvious the developers had a lot of fun making the movies, and it serves as a nice addition to the main quest. Additionally, just like the SNES games of the era, there are several alternative pathways to find, and trust us when we say it’s no easy task finding them all.

Perhaps the game’s most boasted feature is the option to play with up to four players simultaneously. The solo affair is grand and will definitely appease most players, but the fun factor increases significantly when playing with friends. It’s just chaotic and feels different when working together. You can grab hold of a partner and use them to shoot fire balls at enemies, you can have one player activate a switch while another fends off incoming bullet bills; it’s all about coordinating and having a good time. Best of all, if one player is lagging behind there’s no need to worry about them. If they die they will reappear seconds later in a bubble, and you can also drop in/out at any moment if someone decides they just don’t like the level you’re playing. Aside from the main story, there are two multiplayer-exclusive modes dubbed Free Mode and Coin Battle. Free Mode lets you play any of the courses you’ve unlocked in the main game, while Coin Battle is a competitive mode that challenges players to see who can grab the most coins. The only real disappointing thing is the lack of online gameplay, and while not game breaking, it’s one of those things that should have been included in this day and age.

Good to see Mario finally take on a metal gear.

Good to see Mario finally take on a metal gear.
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Another gripe we have with New Super Mario Bros. Wii is that aside from its multiplayer options, it doesn’t do anything new for the franchise. Everything from enemies to hazards are all recycled from previous entries, and as a whole it feels more like a reflection of the golden years rather than a completely new adventure. Nintendo are known for taking risks and being innovative in the industry, yet this latest outing is relatively tame in comparison.

All characters are presented in 3D, while backgrounds feature 2D visuals to accommodate the old school platformer gameplay. Worlds are bright, full of colour, and are neat and tidy, but compared to Super Mario Galaxy things aren’t quite as visually impressive and don’t fully utilise the Wii hardware. Your ears will be treated to a number of remixes, and everything is catchy and well suited to the environments. Voice acting is kept to a minimum, and even then it’s mostly grunting or characters screaming “help me” when trapped in an object, but it’s all part of the series’ charm and never feels misplaced.

New Super Mario Bros. Wii is a fun and wonderfully crafted game that is a welcome addition to anyone’s game library. Levels get progressively challenging for experienced players, and those who aren’t as capable have the Super Guide feature to help them through. More importantly, multiplayer is an absolute blast with friends, however the game is far from perfect due to a lack of innovation and gimmicky motion controls.
The Score
New Super Mario Bros. Wii is another wonderfully crafted Mario game that is engaging for both old and new players. Sadly the lack of online multiplayer and innovation, and gimmicky motion controls prevent it from becoming the crown jewel of the series.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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17 Comments
4 years ago
This is waiting under the Christmas tree for me. Luckily I've got plenty of other games to keep me occupied =)
4 years ago
Looks like a lot of fun, and hard (I like a challenge, especially in platformers). Even my mum saw it today and wanted it, because she liked the old Mario games on the Nes. The multiplayer looks fun, but I think I would rather finish it single player first, then multiplayer just for fun, not trying to finish it or anything.
4 years ago
How many wii reviews basically look like 'great game, hindered by gimmicky controls'

Just add a classic control in with the console and keep it in mind when developing you games please icon_biggrin.gif
4 years ago
Coop in this is crazy. I think if we weren't all smeltering in the heat of our airconless loungeroom it would've been less frustrating. There's so much happening on the screen at once when you have 3 players (or more), and the levels aren't cruisy. Going to try again tonight with 2 player to see if it's any easier to follow icon_razz.gif

Still fun though!
4 years ago
I wish the visuals were better. It's a really poor effort on that front. I think Yoshi's story on the N64 looked better or even Super Mario World.

Coming from Super Mario Galaxy to this (which looked almost as good as a next-gen game), you'd expect the game to look like a cartoon.
4 years ago
I absolutely despise the Wii as there is more or less nothing I want to play on it. But god damn, I hate myself for not playing the latest crop of Marios. In fact, the last one I properly sat down and played the entire way through was Mario 64. I know, I've been missing out :(

Thank you for the review, the game sure looks like a pickup. Maybe I need to scam someone I know with a Wii to buy this.... icon_wink.gif
4 years ago
Sounds pretty good, might go out and buy it some time, especially love the look of the multiplayer options, thats a definite plus in my books.
4 years ago
Any game that gets my girlfriend playing is a great game in my book. Doesn't hurt that it's also a hell of a lot of fun.
4 years ago
Sambo110 wrote
Even my mum saw it today and wanted it, because she liked the old Mario games on the Nes.
My Dad saw one of the ads for it on TV and asked me where my copy is. icon_razz.gif I said that I'm waiting since I don't think it's worth the $70-80 it's going for now. He was actually surprised to hear that they go for so much.
4 years ago
The Brett wrote
Any game that gets my girlfriend playing is a great game in my book. Doesn't hurt that it's also a hell of a lot of fun.
I just downloaded mario 3 on VC and my girlfriend loves it... mario is all she has played or will ever play

Girls just cant resist that hairy italian
4 years ago
PALGN wrote
On the subject of controls, you can also play the game by using the Nunchuck for movement, but for some reason there’s no support for the Classic Controller – lazy work there, Nintendo.
Couldn't have used the Classic Controller because of the motion controls offered by the Wii Remote - tilting it to control platforms and the torchlight. And don't really know why you'd need it when you get everything required on the sideways remote, anyway.
4 years ago
I'll just sit in a corner and cry over the fact that I can't play this game icon_lol.gif
4 years ago
Can't wait to play this. I'm not a fan of the 3D mario games. The distance between enemies or traps tends to be further apart. So there can a fair bit of mindless wandering and back tracking. The camera is disorienting as well in those games.
It's amazing how long it took to make another 2D Mario. I might have to wait longer for Castlevania - Symphony of the Night 2, if it ever happens.
4 years ago
I'm the same.Mario 64 is good but I just don't love 3D Mario games like I do 2D ones.
4 years ago
In all fairness, Miyamoto said that Wii wasn't powerful enough to handle online for multiplayer. And I presume the visuals were modest because of the power multiplayer took up too.

The game is best thought of as playing catch-up for the nineteen years 2D Mario has been absent from home consoles. It establishes all the old features in new ways, even if it's only the graphics, which means for the next NSMB, the only way to go is forwards with that desired innovation.

This game really shows what gaming is about: fun. I see it as the bridge game that will encourage casual gamers to gain skill, maybe turning some of the into hardcore gamers. The multiplayer will get the players talking and the Wii back out in the living room (mine's still used constantly in my room. No dust here). The Super Guide will ensure that newcomers will be able to keep progressing, and since the game has a much greater focus on progression, casual gamers will get a more hardcore experience. They'll realise that video games are fun, can be played in moderation and last a long time, are worth the money they pay and aren't always a solitary experience. This game will certainly do its part in bringing gaming forward.

As for the motion controls, I don't even mind the waggle. It's kinda like Super Mario Galaxy's spin, it's effective, isn't annoying and feels better than simply pressing a button. There's a Star Coin in 2-4 where you have to have the Propellor Suit and do a run-jump into the wind as it's blowing over an unending chasm and shake the Wii remote at just the right time to get enough height to grab the Star Coin and only just make it up on the ledge above. Exhilarating! icon_biggrin.gif Without the shake, it just wouldn't feel as awesome.
4 years ago
Good game is good. Graphics are fine. Haters gonna hate.
4 years ago
just realised, after fireflybck's comment on how 2D mario games dont come after a while, im still waiting for the FP version of the original Mario games, would be awesome.
-If a little crazy and hard....
but thats just me, probably not gonna happen......owell.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  12/11/2009 (Confirmed)
Standard Retail Price:
  $99.95 AU
Publisher:
  Nintendo
Genre:
  Arcade
Year Made:
  2009
Players:
  4

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