New Super Mario Bros. 2 (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Adam Riley 01.08.2012 15

Review for New Super Mario Bros. 2 on Nintendo 3DS

Back in 2006 Nintendo harkened back to its old school Mario roots for New Super Mario Bros. on the DS, and following its ridiculous levels of success across the world, three years later it brought multiplayer shenanigans to the fold in New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Another three years down the line and the third in this retro series is set to hit the Nintendo 3DS, this time being what is supposedly a direct successor to the DS game, going under the moniker of New Super Mario Bros. 2. Fans of the previous games are certainly in for a treat.

The phrase "I like gooooold" instantly springs to mind when jumping into New Super Mario Bros. 2, although some may think less Austin Powers and more Scrooge McDuck going for what should technically be a very painful swim through his vast vault of shimmering gold. Not only does Mario have to rescue Princess Peach (née Toadstool) from the clutches of the nefarious Koopa Kids, and ultimately Bowser, but the secondary objective is to aim for collecting one million gold coins during the platform romp. Those familiar with side-scrolling Mario games of yore will feel right at home with this portable sequel, thanks to the exact same structure being used. Looking for an array of different themed worlds with plenty of hidden stages, boss battles and shortcuts within? Sign up now. Anyone merely playing through the first two or three worlds may think there is barely anything altered from the DS and Wii precursors, but further into the adventure the goodness apparent in the early stages multiplies considerably, possibly thanks to fresh minds tackling this 3DS title, rather than it being solely the same team that worked the last two.

Mario can still run, jump, somersault, wall-jump and slide his way to the end-of-level flagpole, but now there are a few twists along the way. In addition to the now-norm power-ups (giant and tiny mushrooms), plus the classics (fiery flowers, enlarging mushrooms, invincibility stars), there is the return of the special leaf that bestows a Racoon tail for the purposes of building up speed and flying for a short span of time, thus opening up areas up and off the general playing field. On top of this, Mario can sometimes find a golden flower to spurt out Midas-esque balls of shiny flames that upon contact turns everything into coins. Another coin-collecting aide is a special block that transforms Mario's head into a golden brick that spews plenty of them as he runs, jumps, floats, and so on. There is Mushroom Kingdom currency aplenty in New Super Mario Bros. 2, that is most definitely for sure.

Screenshot for New Super Mario Bros. 2 on Nintendo 3DS

Whilst the rush of grabbing hordes of coins is amazing, giving off a superb sense of satisfaction for those that love to beat high scores, it does make proceedings even more easier than past Mario adventures, since the same age-old rule of 100 coins equals an extra life still applies, and additionally there is no shortage of extra life mushrooms to be uncovered en route. This has certainly been implemented to encourage fearless gaming from all demographics, with long-term gamers tempted to go for daring speed runs, and amateurs able to keep on chugging no matter how many times they die. Should the latter group struggle too much, there is an ever-useful 'White Racoon Mario' feature whereby no harm can come from hitting enemies. The first game on DS hardly put up a challenge, but the Wii version upped the ante considerably. This third iteration really does tighten the screws the deeper the player gets, so the high number of lives will be a blessing!

Bringing back the Tanooki Suit in Super Mario 3D Land left many wondering why the Racoon Suit had been left in the past, but thankfully Nintendo listened to the masses and dragged it back for New Super Mario Bros. 2, and in great form as well. Rather than there being an abundance of lengthy stretches that would inevitably lead to people attempting to bypass large sections of stages, instead there are many areas where there is just enough space to build up speed, sometimes even having to climb up ledges to craft an extra bit of running space in order to achieve 'take-off.' Those glancing at New Super Mario Bros. 2 and thinking it is nothing more than a cheap follow-up are in for a shock as the level design throughout is expertly pieced together.

Screenshot for New Super Mario Bros. 2 on Nintendo 3DS

The major disappointment throughout is undoubtedly the presentation values. Although looking highly glossy and putting the DS original to shame, the basic visual template remains just as it did six years ago, with the little bland 3D characters trundling along the familiar lands. The variation factor does increase in the latter stages, but not much thought appears to have gone into making this graphically unique. The same goes for the soundtrack, which relies almost completely on the other New Super Mario Bros. outings, which is fine for those that adored the music before, but having basically one theme regurgitated from start to finish can start to grow tiresome after a multitude of retries on specific levels. For a company that normally prides itself on attention-to-detail, the lack of effort on this side is surprising. However, it should be stated it is certainly not a deal breaker, since it looks and sounds exactly how people would expect, but with expectations high thanks to Nintendo's track record, it is hard to not feel moderately disappointed that there are not more positive changes.

Screenshot for New Super Mario Bros. 2 on Nintendo 3DS

In addition to the main adventuring, and the option to play through with a friend as Luigi (although two 3DS cards are required for this two-player fun), there is 'Coin Rush.' This pits players against three randomly selected levels (various level packs open up as progress is made in the main game) with the aim being to collect as many coins as possible without losing a life or letting the timer hit zero. The total score is totalled at the end and can be shared with other users via StreetPass. Whether or not some sort of worldwide online leader-board feature with be patched in once the game has launched in all territories, though, is unknown. For the moment, it is sadly a major oversight.

Overall, New Super Mario Bros. 2 is a delectable treat for all the family, Mario enthusiasts, and platform fans in general. The only gripe is how similar it is to New Super Mario Bros. and New Super Mario Bros. Wii, but considering how great they were, it is hardly a sufficient reason to mark this down.

Screenshot for New Super Mario Bros. 2 on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

New Super Mario Bros. 2 manages to follow in the footsteps of its forebears, but almost too perfectly, not taking any risks by mixing in fresh gameplay features. The fascination with coin collection is engrossing to start with, but becomes inconsequential after several hours and subsequently takes a backseat for the most part. The best inclusion is the re-introduction of the Racoon Suit for flying, allowing for the craftiness of level design found back in Super Mario Bros. 3. Anyone that loved the Wii and DS versions of New Super Mario Bros. cannot go wrong with this second portable outing, while those looking for drastic changes will have to wait a little longer. Whatever the case, New Super Mario Bros. 2 is an ideal second course for 3DS owners that enjoyed Super Mario 3D Land so much.






2D Platformer



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


wildman201 (guest) 01.08.2012#1

will htey make this game for ds:-x

I can't believe how fast they are churning these out. It was barely half a year ago when Super Mario Land 3D came out.

I believe the NSMB DS team is working on NSMBU.

As for 3D Land, that was by the Nintendo Tokyo team (DK Jungle Beat, both Mario Galaxy games). This is supposedly a fresh team...although I'm not sure who the team consists of.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

You can find more info on the team in the Iwata Asks article. It's some guys who were pulled from several teams. Oh and some young people who did this creative Mario level making workshop.

That might partly explain why the game feels fresh in some ways, but constrained by the old template at the same time. The team sounds like people wanting to impart their new ideas into the project, but being told not to stray too far from the trodden path.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Ya only a couple were from the original Mario Bros team, others were drafted in and taught the "2D Mario crash course".

I'm glad it's shaken up somewhat in some areas, and is wrapped up with a solid score. Did enjoy it when sampling just a few of the game's levels; and it's good to know that a little variation does kick in towards the later stages.

For me, gameplay is pretty spot-on with these sorts of Mario games - would like more newer enemies and diversity in mechanics (like Mario Galaxy's side-on gravity sections for example) though. They really should spend a little longer with it to try to bring something Fresh to the Mario setup; even if it's through some DLC or something. Given that it's Nintendo's bestseller by a long long mile, I can understand though why they are a little scared to shake things up that little bit further.

Probably won't be getting this, but maybe sometime in the future.

Good review Smilie

( Edited 01.08.2012 18:57 by jb )

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

I certainly enjoyed my time with it, and the 400,000+ people that bought/downloaded it in the first two days in Japan will undoubtedly do as well. The new Golden Flower is cool, as is the Racoon Suit, and the abundance of POW blocks as well on certain levels.

There are plenty of Ghost Houses, with some cool 'P' block trigger puzzles, the usual batch of constantly moving stages, and some others that I'm not allowed to talk about Smilie

I'm intrigued to see what comes of the SpotPass functionality, since the StreetPass coin comparison thing is a bit too limited. I'm also wondering if a better reward will eventually be made available for achieving 1,000,000 coins. Currently the mammoth task's reward is...underwhelming, shall we say.

I think the meatiest ideas will have been held back for the Wii U version...and maybe some of the DLC that's planned.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Speaking of which, I still haven't beaten the original NSMB. I hate playing the game, it just feels wrong! It's too slow, the flow is bad (you can't keep momentum because you'll crash into enemies), the graphics are poor...

I'm glad NSMB2 looks better.

No fears there. I totally over-sold NSMB back then and will openly admit it. No way did it deserve the 9 it got.

NSMB2 is fast, smooth, responsive, looks sharp (if bland) and is indeed better than its DS counterpart by far. NSMB should be a 7 by today's standards, with this an 8 or 8.5. I still stand by the Wii game's score, though.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses
Our member of the week

Adam Riley said:
No fears there. I totally over-sold NSMB back then and will openly admit it. No way did it deserve the 9 it got.

Reminds me of the 9 I gave it in my own review... which I also regret today Smilie. I think it was the excitement of finally seeing a brand new 2D Mario platformer after years without one more than anything. But with retrospect, it wasn't all that good, indeed... well... for a Mario anyway.

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer
Rob64 (guest) 02.08.2012#11

"I like gooooold"

Classic Smilie

What are the bosses like? Boring as ever?

Linus (guest) 02.08.2012#12

When is this out? I know it's out in Japan, but isn't this UK review a bit early?

Can't wait for it, though. Loved SM3DL and need more Mario!

Linus (guest) said:
When is this out? I know it's out in Japan, but isn't this UK review a bit early?

17th for EU, 19th for US. The embargo for reviews was lifted on Monday, so everyone was free to post reviews as early as they wanted. No harm Smilie

Rob64 (guest) said:
What are the bosses like? Boring as ever?

Tough one. Bosses in many Mario games are somewhat underwhelming to say the least, and this is no different. The best bosses, in my opinion, are from Yoshi's Island on the SNES. Damn fine game...

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

can't wait for this game to come out I just got kingdom hearts dream drop distance the other day which I am loving

Hopefully you'll have enough time to finish off KH3D before NSMB2 arrives Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

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