New Super Mario Bros 2 is the sequel to the game responsible for bringing Mario back to 2D platforming since the SNES. With an official sequel, you’d expect a lot right? Well it’s more of the same for Mario: rescue Peach, go through 8 worlds, and defeat Bowser. The story is never Mario’s priority, but it’d be nice to at least see a change of scenery. They at least have a theme, albeit a weak one: COINS!
This sequel marks the return of the leaf and Tanooki tail, not suit, and the power meter harkening back to Mario 3. To coincide with the heavy coin theme, Mario can also use a gold fire flower that’ll turn bricks into gold, a gold block hat that spits out coins when you run, and golden rings that turn everything into gold momentarily. While creative and fun, these mechanics throw off the balance of the game and make everything way too easy. But if it’s a challenge you want, there’s Coin Rush mode, which is essentially time trials you can compete in with your friends. There’s also a CO-OP option, offline, that’s okay, but could have used refining.
As I said before, it’d be nice to see a change of scenery in the New Mario games. It looks great on the handheld and the golden effects look brilliant, but if you showed me the original NSMB, NSMB Wii, or NSMB Wii U I probably couldn’t tell them apart. Also, for being a 3DS game by Nintendo, they sure skimped on the 3D effects especially compared to last year’s Mario 3D Land. Remember when each Mario game was actually NEW and different and not just by name? How about when the music mattered instead of being the same mmm-bop song remixed over each game?
Yes, it’s sad to say that Nintendo has mastered the formula for success with the New series and have abandoned experimentation. Don’t get me wrong. If you love Mario then this will satisfy your hunger…kind of. The gameplay is as good as ever, but I didn’t feel the love. It felt like a rushed job for money which, hey, maybe the coin theme was an inside joke. Suffice it to say this is one Mario adventure that’s easily forgettable.
Score: 3/5 Stars
Special Notes: This article was originally published on September 19, 2012 via my Examiner account before the website shut down.