New Super Mario Bros Wii
It’s four player Super Mario with a mixture of new and familiar gameplay. And its New. And on the Wii.
There’s a charming simplicity to seeing Mario run across the screen in a two dimensional platformer. New Super Mario Bros Wii keeps this simplicity that has made the Mario series so popular while adding just enough to justify calling it NEW Super Mario Bros Wii
Ever since Mario chose to become Super Mario back in the eighties, the flat two dimensional Mario games have been pretty simple platformers where the challenge usually lies in reactions rather than any kind of problem solving. In each game the princess is kidnapped by Bowser triggering Mario and his brother Luigi have to run across several worlds, collecting coins, avoiding fire and lava while bouncing off the heads of the Bowers minions to find her. Fast forward about 20-25 years with New Super Mario Bros Wii where the princess is kidnapped once again by Bowser and Mario & Luigi have to run across several worlds, collecting coins, avoiding fire and lava while bouncing off the heads of the Bowers minions to find the princess. Perhaps thats a little harsh, as in actuality New Super Mario Bros Wii brings us a feature which Mario players have been wanting for some time; multiplayer.
The biggest and most advertised advancement here is being able to play four player cooperative throughout the entire story as Mario, Luigi or a couple of Toads (mushroom people). It does feel a little strange to have a pair of Toads rather than Wario and Warluigi but I’m guessing that would require a degree of story telling beyond: Princess is captured, Go! Of course cooperative is just a suggested play style, it’s all too easy to grab the Toad that just scarfed all four fire flowers and throw him into a chasm but most likely you’ll end up causing enough accidental of your friends due to you colliding while performing a tricky jump. There are people out there who know Mario games so well that they could moonwalk their way through any level that you can throw at them, well fortunately if you get teamed up with someone like this, just a simple tap of the A button and your character will be encased in a bubble and drift towards the leaders location where you can avoid whichever jump has been troubling you. In theory this should keep everyone together and stop anyone from getting too frustrated but with too much skill difference between players, it may not always play out like that for the newer players. Fortunately should these newer players fancy playing through the single player they’ll have the option to skip through any level (even the final one) should the level prove too tough for them but only after they’ve been shown how to complete it properly. The new suits and items in the game aren’t a major factor in gameplay except the propeller hat that willturn some of the toughest jump into a memory as you sail over them by shaking your controller to victory.
The difficulty can be inconsistent and there can be no worse frustration than dying from poor controls, an issue that seldom plagues the Mario series. In rare occasions you’ll be introduced to a new mechanic such as tipping the controller to move a platform or light. The problem is moving the controller a little too roughly triggers a spin jump and often spin you all the way to your doom. These issues don’t occur too often as the primary focus of the levels is to cram them full of nostalgia rather than new elements. Water and sand levels are a given but you’ll also have throwbacks such as airships and moles hurling wrenches before a battle with one of Bowers long forgotten Koopa Kids. These throwbacks are all well and good but the level map design feel more like a trimmed Super Mario Bros 3 in most places, where a more diverse Super Mario World would have been a far better fit as we are three console generations further down the line.
New Super Mario Bros Wii is a great game, but it just falls short of the grand standards that the series had set for itself. The biggest redeeming feature here is the multiplayer which may not be the most effective way of getting through the game but, four times the people really is four times the fun.