Saturday, March 13, 2010

Jump You Crazy Stereotype, Jump!


At the end of last year I got New Super Mario Brothers for the Wii, I thought it would be a fun game for me and my wife to play together. After all, when we were dating we would sit in my brother's bedroom and play Super Mario 3 for hours on the 'ol Super NES. The first game I bought for the Wii was Super Mario Galaxy, a game I neglected to review because I never finished the thing. Super Mario Galaxy is a fun game with nice scrolling graphics but is one of those games that gets too challenging for my enjoyment. I'm not a fan of super difficult games, I play for fun - if I wanted stress I would do something other than play a video game!

I had gotten the original Super Mario Bros game from the Wii online store which provided a bit of enjoyment for us. While looking for gift ideas for myself I noticed a new version was coming up with a fresh wrinkle: simultaneous mulitplayer action. So I asked for and got the game as a gift (thanks Mom and Dad!). After nearly completing the game I feel I can give a good review for this bad boy.

Automatically the game gets a passing grade because at its core, it's the same old Super Mario we've known before. Side scrolling running and jumping thru obstacles and over amiable enemies. Mazes filled with coins, prizes and secrets. And more theme worlds than a Star Wars universe (desert land, ice land, water land, etc). If you've played any of the prior versions you know this game, which may seem like a weakness but is actually a strength. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

The multiplayer mode is a lot of fun, no more sitting on your hands waiting for your turn to do the maze you just watched other people do. It does mean you have to be more careful though, it's very easy to accidentally put your co-player in a bad spot on screen because it scrolls with whichever character has the most forward movement. Still, being able to cooperate with each other (you can carry other players by hand or with a Yoshi) is a huge plus.

On the negative side, the wii controllers used for the game are tougher to use than the old NES control pad. Holding the controller sideways, the buttons seem too far apart to use as easily as the old system. Also, Yoshi and the other little lizards you can ride are restricted to specific worlds. You can't pick him up and take him with you to the next maze. If you get to the end of a level, Yoshi waves goodbye to you cause that's all he can do. Lastly, this is the first Super Mario game I can recall having where he talks. Listening to Mario and Luigi speak in a cheesy stereotype of an Italian person won't go far towards placating those who feel offended by the plumbing duo.

Despite some drawbacks, all in all New Super Mario Bros is a fun ride that maintains its solid mechanics while adding an enjoyable multi player option. If you liked the old games, you'll like this one.

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