When I say “Mario,” what do you think of? Chubby guy, overalls, 2-D platforming, right? Well, that’s pretty much this game, plus three other people on-screen at the same time.
Nintendo decided to go back to the nostalgia well with New Super Mario Bros. Wii, which is the first 2D Mario game released to consoles since… well, the Super Nintendo days. In the game, you take Mario, Luigi, and two versions of Toad (a blue Toad and a yellow one) on a quest to save Princess Peach after her most recent kidnapping by everyone’s favorite megalomaniacal dinosaur/dragon/whatever, Bowser. So yeah, the story’s the same. Who cares, it’s FRIGGIN’ MARIO. You’re not in it for the story, you’re a Wii gamer in it for the gameplay!
Good thing, because NSMBW plays just like most other Mario games: beautifully. The new power-ups (Penguin Suit and Propeller Suit) come in quite handy, and if you’re at all familiar with New Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo DS or earlier Mario titles, you’ll feel right at home here. But just because the game shares names with the DS version doesn’t mean it’s the same thing: Nine new worlds (World 9 needs to be unlocked after finishing the game), plenty of new challenges, and one of the best damn final boss segments ever make this game superbly fun to play.
It’s also ridiculously hard at times. The game hands out extra lives seemingly like candy, and you’ll need them, because you’re going to die. A LOT. Just because Nintendo has a “kiddy” reputation now doesn’t mean they’re going to take it easy on you, apparently.
Graphically, you’re not going to see NSMBW push the limits of the Wii, but what you do see is nice. Bright colors, varied landscapes, etc. all look fine. Is it in HD? No, but it doesn’t need to, really.
The biggest – and newest – addition is the four-player multiplayer. You and three friends can all join in and play either cooperatively or competitively, and sometimes one leads to another. A major problem, however, arises when it’s four people on one screen and you all have to do a bit of climbing. Or you’re playing a self-scrolling level. Or you’re bouncing off each others’ heads, either sending yourself careening into an enemy or sending the bouncee right into a pit. Let’s just say if you take this game seriously, don’t play with people you love; because you won’t love them afterwards. There are some complaints that there should be online multiplayer as well, but for whatever reason Nintendo still doesn’t seem to put much stock into playing online.
Overall, though, whether you’re playing for nostalgia or a thirst for something new, you’ll likely find something to like about NSMBW. While it’s not the best Wii game ever, it’s definitely a game every Wii owner should own (or at least rent).
Genre: 2D Platforming
Length: If you hurry, 6 or 7 hours. Collecting everything will take much longer.
Gripes: Difficulty ramps up really fast, especially in multiplayer.
Get it for the: fun platforming, hectic multiplayer modes, great final boss segment.