Sales of the Nintendo Wii have been flagging lately, and the number of quality titles coming out for this generation's best-selling system seems to be getting thinner every month. What better to fix everything than Mario? New Super Mario Bros. sold over 19 million copies for the DS, and now the Wii sequel has arrived just in time to give a breath of life into the little white box. We've been quite bullish about this new game after multiplayer hands-on and single-player sessions earlier this year. Now, after playing the final boxed version all weekend, did it live up to our lofty expectations? Our takes are below.
Scott: Nintendo wisely chose to make its headlining release this holiday a marquee game for its most popular mascot. The surprising part was putting the whole game in 2D.
After the success of 3D Mario games, including Super Mario Galaxy, dating back to 1996, the decision to make New Super Mario Bros. Wii a 2D game could be considered baffling. But it's actually a somewhat brilliant move: for all of Galaxy's incredible visuals, it's not instantly accessible to older casual gamers. SNES-era Super Mario is, and New Super Mario Bros. Wii is a better-rendered, 16x9 wide-screen retro-update to the classic series that effectively ended with Super Mario World. The game's all-new levels and clever updates to the game mechanics make this an excellent sequel for the Mario ultrafans.
Much like the DS game New Super Mario Bros., Mario and much of his environment are composed of 3D graphics moving in 2D, lending a much smoother look than sprite-based retro gaming. For single-player fans, the eight-plus worlds and many secrets are actually pretty difficult, and offer plenty of value. Throwing in four-player co-op through the whole game transforms Mario into an experience more like Super Smash Bros. as players compete for power-ups in ways that are often downright mean.
Two other multiplayer modes offer different ways to play the single-player courses, and, sadly, none of the multiplayer is online. Still, the 2D arena offers some of the best multiplayer play that the Wii has ever seen, and that, combined with the mainstream family-friendly feel, could catapult New Super Mario Bros. Wii to the very top of the Wii's best-sellers' list.… Read more