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New Super Mario Bros. 2 – 3DS

New Super Mario Bros. 2 – 3DS

New Super Mario Bros. 2Platform:  3DS

Release Date (NA):  August 19th, 2012

Developer:  Nintendo

Publisher:  Nintendo

Genre:  Platformer

Nerd Rating:  9 out of 10

Reviewed by The Cubist

New Super Mario Bros. 2 is the follow-up to 2006’s New Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo DS.  Whereas the former was more or less a very well-done version of all that works in past Mario titles, New SMB 2 adds a level of fluidity and innovation that pushes it up among the greatest Mario games.  Although often overshadowed by Super Mario 3D Land released nearly a year before (also for the 3DS), New SMB 2 is side-scrolling at its finest.

New Super Mario Bros. 2The most unique facet of New SMB 2 is the emphasis placed on coin collecting.  In nearly every level the player is presented with an opportunity to gather copious amounts of coins, often through such items as the Golden Flower and Coin Block Hat (I don’t know the official name for it).  Rather than the tedious process of item collecting present in some games, racking up thousands, even tens of thousands of coins is a blast.  In fact, I often found myself running short on time and having to sprint to the flagpole after having spent far too many “Mario seconds” grabbing coins.  One can quickly amass numerous lives, and in the rare event that lives seem scarce, a few dozen more are only a few minutes away; all one need do is run back to earlier levels and grab coins.  After only a few days of play, I had something like 180 lives and by the time I’d finished the game I’d earned 495.  The game keeps track of every single coin Mario has ever collected, an interesting stat showing off just how prevalent coins are.

New Super Mario Bros. 2The gameplay will be familiar to any Mario fan, and indeed in some circles New SMB 2 has been criticized for being too similar to its predecessors.  Similar, yes, but such thought and care has been put into level design that this title transcends categorization as “just another Mario side-scroller.”  Players are presented with different ways of completing the level in some cases and there’s always the borderline fun / frustrating task of collecting Star Coins.  Some levels will need to be played twice in order to uncover all the available secrets, and entirely new worlds can be unlocked by locating the “secret exits” that have become a staple of Mario games since Super Mario World.  

Other fun aspects of New SMB 2 include the return of the Raccoon Tail, Star and Moon Coins, and a little bit of help if Mario dies during several consecutive attempts at completing a level.  The Raccoon Tail (obtained via the Super Leaf powerup) functions similarly as it did back in Super Mario Bros. 3 and is required to access certain areas such as those requiring blocks to be broken that are positioned so only a Raccoon Tail can break them as well as sporadically placed “gears” which, when hit with the tail, reveal new areas.

New Super Mario Bros. 2

Star Coins are given a little more significance than in New SMB (1) and are used to purchase new levels.  In some hidden portions of the game Star Coins are replaced by Moon Coins.  Moon Coins do not add to the count of Star Coins, but they do act as an additional challenge.

New Super Mario Bros. 2Borrowing a concept from Super Mario 3D LandNew SMB 2 provides assistance to players struggling with a level.  After 5 (I think) consecutive deaths in one stage, a special box will appear near Mario at the beginning of the level or at the checkpoint.  Inside is the Golden Super Leaf, granting Mario all of the normal Super Leaf abilities and adding one crucial attribute:  INVINCIBILITY!  While some people will call it “too easy” it is a nice way to continue progressing after getting stuck in a particular level.  Whereas some players, especially younger ones, will encounter an impassible situation and soon give up (perhaps never to touch the game again) this allows for an easy out to those rough spots while still leaving the player responsible for going through the motions of finishing the area.  It’s also nice that the Golden Super Leave isn’t imposed on the player; he or she has a choice of whether or not to take the powerup.

New Super Mario Bros. 2The 3D elements exist mostly to showcase depth in the levels, and if you know me, you know it’s a function that I rarely utilize.  In many ways the feature is superfluous as the game is perfectly enjoyable without it and the main 3D showcase is naturally Super Mario 3D Land.  Graphics are spectacular in all respects.  Colors are bright, edges are sharp, and there are many unique levels that would lose their impact with lesser graphics.

Besides the main game, New SMB 2 further perpetuates its focus on coin gathering through the Coin Rush mode.  Here, the player is presented with 3 random levels in which to grab as many coins as possible.  The catch?  Mario has but 1 life and time limits are drastically reduced.  This mode is a fun way to explore concepts embodied by gamers for years, such as the idea of a speed run.  It’s an interesting new way to play a familiar game with a different set of rules and its ultimate success lies in its competitive, multiplayer value.

New Super Mario Bros. 2

New Super Mario Bros. 2New Super Mario Bros. 2 could’ve easily been called Coins or something in that vein.  For the most part it’s good ol’ Mario adjusted for current hardware advances, but in some ways Nintendo has created an all new game with the high emphasis on coin collecting.  Although gathering so many coins has no intrinsic purpose beyond what it always has (extra lives), it is still amazing to experience all the creative ways that the developers have come up with to grab them.  It might be a little more unique if the concept had been fully expanded on and added another reason to collect so much money, sometimes 495 lives is enough of a reward.  This is easily up there with my top 5 Mario games and it’s as good of a reason as any to cramp your hands, squint your eyes, and dive headfirst into the 3DS for hours on end.

Written by The Cubist

The Cubist

Co-founder, Head Author, & Site Technician

Find out what these ratings mean and how I rate video games.

I collect as much video gaming paraphernalia as I can get my hands on, especially when it comes to hardware. With over 40 systems including oldies like the ColecoVision and Intellivision, obscurities like the CD-i and 3DO, and the latest and greatest including the Wii U, PS4, Xbox One, 3DS, and PS Vita, I get easily overwhelmed. Most of the time you can find me firmly nestled sometime between 1985 and 1995 when it comes to my games of choice, but I’m also having a great time seeing what the 8th generation has to offer.

Currently in love with: Mortal Kombat

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  1. Pingback: Top 5 Consoles and Handhelds - The Cubist - Nerd Bacon Reviews

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