New Super Mario Bros. Review
Although I love playing videogames, very rarely do I ever pay full price for a game - normally I wait until it has gone down in price at least somewhat. Super Mario Bros. Wii was an exception to that rule, after I heard many great things from all my friends about it. Thankfully, unlike some games in the past, I was not disappointed. Super Mario Bros. Wii is entertaining, well designed, and offers plenty of challenges for Super Mario fans and non-fans alike.
The biggest draw of this game is the fact that players no longer have to wait their turn to play each level as was the case in past Super Mario games. Instead, up to four players can play simultaneously on each level. This is useful in many ways, as players can interact with one another by jumping off one another's' heads, picking other players up and throwing them, and even doing a super kill move by jumping and smashing the ground at the exact same time. Also, if a player is about to fall to his or her doom, he or she can push a button and put a bubble around the character that is about to fall, and shake the controller until another player pops the bubble by hitting it or shooting it with fireballs.
However, this multiplayer interface also has its share of drawbacks. For instance, if one player is not able to catch up to the one in front, he or she will end up off-screen and facing instant death. Also, players tend to get in one another's way at important times, such as trying to jump out of the way of a bullet. One might think that this only happens when one player is not as good at Super Mario as the others, but it also happens when both players are highly skilled - the problem being that both players know instinctively, after years of practice, when and where to jump, and they both end up jumping to the same place at the exact same time, only one can fit ... you can see where this is going. Also, if one player decides to be a jerk, there are plenty of ways to do so - again, getting in the way, throwing other players where they will get injured, kicking turtle shells at them, etc.
As usual, in this game Mario and his friends get all kinds of cool new powerups. I still remember being super excited in elementary school when my mom told me all about how Super Mario 3 for the NES was going to give Mario a raccoon tail! I can't even imagine how I would have felt about the new array of tools Mario has in this game. (Okay, maybe a little ... my inner child isn't gone yet!). Mario and his friends now have a hat that allows them to helicopter themselves into the sky, a penguin suit that allows them to throw snowballs and slide across ice on their bellies, an ice flower that allows them to shoot ice balls, complimenting the regular fireball flower that is still there, and a mini mushroom that makes Mario, well, mini. No, there is no tenooki soot, sorry to disappoint you!
The enemies are refreshingly similar to those found in past games. Mario and his friends are still stomping goombas and koopas and dodging Bullet Bill and Bob-oms. Even Big Bertha, that annoying giant fish, makes a reappearance. There are also new characters, such as some clouds that blow fog in your face and seem pretty harmless until you realize they've obscured your vision completely and a goomba falls on your head from a pipe above you. One other random, somewhat interesting fact is that if you watch carefully, you'll notice that many of the enemies dance to certain beats of the background music. Sadly, this can actually be less innocuous than it seems - a koopa dancing has actually thrown off my timing enough to get injured. Finally, if you have ever played Super Mario World on the SNES, you will recognize the bosses and many of their tactics, such as Wendy and her rings. However, an annoying wizard creature changes things up a bit to make things more challenging.
The controls are, for the most part, the same as past Super Mario games - the wii remote is held sideways and one must use the directional pad to move and the two circle buttons to run and jump. However, some new controls have been added, such as holding a button and shaking the controller to pick things up, shaking the controller to spin, and tilting the controller to control certain equipment in the game. This can make the player feel almost like they're getting a decent workout. Okay, not quite, but it does make things different!
As for the different worlds in this game, they are very similar to past worlds - the first world is pretty cute and fairly easy, to get used to the controls that I explained in the previous paragraph. The second world is a desert, giving one memories of Super Mario Bros. 3, though thankfully without the spiraling sun guy. Other worlds include a world of water, a world of ice, a world of clouds, and a jungle world. I won't spoil the surprise for the rest ;)
One final positive aspect of this game in my point of view is the fact that there are side quests. For example, sometimes (in single player mode only) toad gets stuck in a level and if you are able to pick him up and carry him through the entire level, he will give you free lives. Well, not free ... he is a pain in the rear to carry, and is almost worse to deal with than Minnie was in Mickey Mousecapades for the NES. Also, each level has three star coins that range from being "completely out in the open" to "only possible to find if you use a Youtube walkthrough." You can keep track of the coins you have collected from the main menu. Finally, there are a number of levels with secret exits that lead to cannons and other fun areas, though not nearly as extensive as the number of secret areas to be found in Super Mario World.
In conclusion, Super Mario Bros. Wii is an awesome game and definitely worth playing. Though in some opinions it may never compare to some of the classics like Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World for the SNES, it is highly entertaining and can keep up to four people (or more, as the game can be just as fun to watch) occupied for hours.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.