Can’t Princess Peach invest in a stronger security system than two plumbing brothers and hand full of talking mushrooms? Evidently not, hence the latest addition to the Mario and Luigi franchise: New Super Mario Bros. Wii. If that smacks of an unimaginative title, take it as a sign of what’s to come.
Everything in New Super Mario Bros. Wii is teaming with nostalgia. The enemies are fairly strict reincarnations from the first three Mario Bros. games on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Thankfully, much of Super Mario Bros 2 is left out. The world maps and level styles are extremely reminiscent of Super Mario World on the Super NES. Even the music brings back familiar melodies, but not in the bonus level type way Super Mario Galaxy did. No, after a few hours of game play, the tracks become a little annoying.
So where is New Super Mario Bros. Wii innovative? In the multi-player arena. Finally, Mario, Luigi, and a Blue Toad and Yellow Toad can go head-to-head in levels to compete over coins, or play the cooperative mode and still throw a wrench or two in each other’s progress. Not only can you mess with another player, if you are riding Yoshi, you can eat them!
Other than the multi-player aspect, New Super Mario Bros. Wii is a bit flat. Traveling world to world to save the princess is a bit ho-hum. There are star coins to collect in this game, 3 each level to be exact. However, collecting the star coins doesn’t further along the game. No, during your first play through, you can spend star coins at the first castle to see impressive game play video or hints for tricky sections of the game levels. At the end, for each world you collected every star coin in, including Bowser’s castles, a level is opened up in the secret world 9.
As far as age appropriateness, the game has a Super Guide feature. Once you die on a level 8 times, a green box with a yellow exclamation mark appears. Just like in Super Mario World where this originated, it is giving important information. By bumping the green block, you can allow Luigi to show you the safe way to beat the level. Luigi will only go straight through the level; he will not show you how to get star coins or any other bonus areas. You can take back control at any time. Once the level is finished under Super Guide mode, you can opt to try the level yourself or completely skip it and move on.
Unfortunately, the level construction of New Super Mario Bros. Wii makes this a tough title for younger Wii players. Even some of the early levels in World 2 require a slight background knowledge in manipulating Mario’s world for gain. There aren’t any puzzles to solve like Super Mario Galaxy, but the abilities are somewhat clunky on the controls. New Super Mario Bros. Wii wants you to play holding the Wiimote sideways, but for too many abilities like picking up items, you must shake the Wiimote. In a platform, it’s a little difficult to hit those perfect button combinations to reach the highest jumps, or execute perfect timing while shaking the controller.
If you are a super fan of all the Mario Bros. game titles, then yes, this Wii game is for you. However, if you are looking for the same type of imaginative game play and exploration afforded by Super Mario Galaxy, you will be sorely disappointed for your money by New Super Mario Bros. Wii.