New Super Mario Bros. 2 (Hands-On) (Nintendo 3DS) Preview

By Jorge Ba-oh 16.06.2012 3

Review for New Super Mario Bros. 2 (Hands-On) on Nintendo 3DS

Following the mammoth success of New Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo DS back in 2006, it was quite shocking how long Nintendo took to bring another game of its ilk to the table. In 2009 it did not disappoint, though, with the advent of New Super Mario Bros. Wii, which introduced four-player co-operative shenanigans and helped it be an über-success overnight. Fast-forward to now and later in 2012 the third in the series, and a direct successor to the Nintendo DS outing, will arrive on Nintendo 3DS in both retail and digital formats. Cubed3 went hands-on with the E3 demo of New Super Mario Bros. 2 to see what fans can expect this time around.

Mario is back, and this time he is a tad hungry. Cravings for gold and heaps of it; Wario would be proud. The new mechanic in New Super Mario Bros. 2 is to collect coins, and plenty of them. Those unfamiliar with this latest Super Mario Bros. title on the Nintendo 3DS will wonder exactly how this differs from the plumber's vast back catalogue. The answer is that these gold coins are not an optional casual extra for racking up points and getting extra lives anymore -- they are now a necessity.

The core concept of 2D Mario titles has always stuck true to its roots, with players traversing obstacle ridden levels, overcoming enemies, and going up against Bowser to save the poor Princess Peach. It may sound formulaic having not experienced much of this iconic series, but Nintendo has added a sprinkle of new gameplay mechanics with each successive title in a bid to keep things fresh for the cheerful platform King, Mario.

Screenshot for New Super Mario Bros. 2 (Hands-On) on Nintendo 3DS

There has been controller waggling, co-operative and dual-screen play in the most recent instalments and with Mario's leap into high-definition on the Wii U due to release within months of New Super Mario Bros. 2, just how will this portable 3DS edition differ? The answer, once again, is all in the coins.

It has to be admitted that when Nintendo first lifted the lid, there was an air of confusion. Could the simple act of collecting more and more and more coins really bring something refreshing to the table? Oddly enough, the answer is yes. The main goal is, as always, to overcome Bowser and his cronies, but to beat this game Mario and Luigi need to collect one million coins -- a hefty amount indeed! A tally is made at the end of each level, so players will need to scavenge and scour every nook and cranny, exploring hidden areas in the sky and underground to creep closer to that goal.

Screenshot for New Super Mario Bros. 2 (Hands-On) on Nintendo 3DS

In the opening level of the E3 demo Mario is found pouncing on traditional Goombas, leaping over Petey Piranha plants and scurrying about for secrets. However, the main difference here is the sheer amount of gold available from the outset, with coins literally floating everywhere; at first glance it may even appear that this adventure is glitch ridden! Instead of grabbing a wad mid-jump and carrying on, there becomes a sense of desperation and urgency, not being able to let a single coin slip away. Not right away, but the longer the time spent with New Super Mario Bros. 2, the more this bizarre addiction grows, until the point where my hands were almost engrained onto the 3DS in question.

There were ways to raise the score via some of the newer items, such as a re-jigged Fire Flower that instead of spewing forth old fashioned projectiles, the fiery balls of death now turn enemies and blocks into solid gold coins! It becomes a case of careful, precise aiming, then a frantic dash to claim the remains, which proved to be an oddly satisfying and completely bizarre experience. Other contraptions include the classic Racoon tail for added height and to stumble on secret areas and giant coins.

Screenshot for New Super Mario Bros. 2 (Hands-On) on Nintendo 3DS

Presentation-wise, New Super Mario Bros. 2 felt like a true successor to the DS original, and falling close to the Wii edition thanks to smoother animated characters, bold and colourful textures, plus the familiar visual art style that resonates through all of Mario's projects. Flip the 3D switch and the game's slightly washed backgrounds blur out to really draw attention to the foreground. It certainly isn't game changing, nor does it give that added visual ‘oomph,’ but it does give a dollop of depth to an otherwise quite flat level design. The game's soundtrack is the usual Super Mario Bros. fare, with cheerful jingles and diabolically delicious Bowser melodies working well to resonate Nintendo's charm throughout the handful of levels sampled.

Unfortunately there was no opportunity to dabble with the new two-player co-operative mode, which sees a second adventurer take on the role of Luigi. There is also a frantic Coin Rush mode for speed run fanatics -- stacking up levels that need to be overcome in the quickest amount of time, but also with enough coins to convert to a high score; just don't get bumped into by a Goomba or two!

Screenshot for New Super Mario Bros. 2 (Hands-On) on Nintendo 3DS

Final Thoughts

Going by the short E3 sample, Nintendo has crafted another New Super Mario Bros. title worth giving a go. To some it may seem like a quick rehash of the DS or Wii edition, yet the shift in mechanics gives a very different and refreshing pace to the Mario concept. It is certainly one to keep your peepers on when it launches on Nintendo 3DS this August, and the perfect antidote for anyone thirsty for more 2D Mario action.

Developer

Nintendo

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (6 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now    Also on Also on Nintendo eShop

Comments

Still seems odd the lack of Wario given the theme - many of the wario games had running money totals that resulted in various endings.

http://www.fanficmaker.com <-- Tells some truly terrible tales.
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I think it comes down to sales of Wario Land vs. Mario Bros.

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Pretty much - I was going to say it's using the New Super Mario Bros name, so that instantly means sales.

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