Top positive review
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Games like this are the reason I own a Wii!!
on November 16, 2009
I have been playing video games since the Atari 2600, and was a kid during the Nintendo Entertainment System era. Some of my fondest memories involve one iconic set of characters: Mario, Luigi, Toadstool, and Princess Peach. Over the years, games have changed (some changes for the good, and others...not so much), but I love that the Mario series have stayed true to their roots. Every Mario game that I can think of has stood the test of time, and has served as a model to countless other games. However, despite being one of the best game franchises around, one component was always missing: multiplayer. Sure, previous SMB games had a "2 player" option, but all you were able to do was pass around the same joystick, or take turns using 2 joysticks. The idea of 2 characters on screen at the same time seemed strangely impossible for these games... and why Nintendo wasn't able to make this happen sooner than 2009 boggles the mind. But, having spent 7 or 8 hours playing New Super Mario Bros yesterday, I don't care why or how they were able to finally do it...because this game is an absolute blast to play!
As soon as the game starts, you start to get an idea of just how great this game is going to be... especially if you have played Super Mario games before (and cmon...who hasn't?!?). Everything looks very familiar, but in a good way. The game really feels like they took some of the best ideas, bosses, levels, and music from each of the Mario games and retooled them for NSMB Wii (New Super Mario Bros Wii). In fact, it feels mostly like Super Mario World and Super Mario Bros 3 rolled into one, with a little bit of Super Mario Galaxy thrown in as well... and that, my friends, is an AWESOME combination! Like I mentioned earlier...I have played hundreds...maybe thousands of video games in my time. And this game ranks right up there with the best of them. It is, in my humble opinion, on par with Super Mario Bros 3, which has been rated by numerous gaming sites as the best game of all time. Playing the game for the first time, there were lots of "oohs and ahhs", plenty of mischievous giggles, lots of punching and name calling (see multiplayer), and even several times where one of us paused the game just to point out how great this game is. I hate to gush over this game, but it really is a work of art. It's easily one of the best games I have ever played, and certainly one of the best available on Wii. Here are some of my observations about it:
Old Skool SMB: Mario games are good, and they work. Period. This is one series of games that doesn't need to be retooled, revamped, updated, or changed dramatically in order for it to compete with the likes of Modern Warfare 2. In fact, there really is no competition for Mario games. Historically, they sell, are highly rated, and have a long shelf-life. This game is no different. It is classic Mario at his best. There are some updates that make the game fresh and interesting, but it is mostly classic Mario 2-D action, and that is a good thing.
Music: Mario games have always had great music. Who hasn't found themselves whistling or humming one of the iconic Mario tunes? This game has some really cool new music, as well as some remixes/revamps of classic Mario music. When I found myself in the first of the Koopa Kid castles and I heard the original music from Super Mario Bros 3(??), I was ecstatic.
Multiplayer: For the life of me, I couldn't tell you why Nintendo was never able to incorporate some genuine multiplayer in a Mario game previously. But, add it they did, and it is great. The multiplayer component of Super Mario Bros Wii is really well done. There are some competitive modes where you and your friends (or opponents) are running through a level and competing to get the most coins, and it is really fun. But where multiplayer really shines is when you are actually playing through the games with a couple of your friends. All of you are on screen at the same time. When you hit one of the "?" boxes, 3 or 4 mushrooms may come out... or maybe 2 mushrooms and 1 Penguin suit...and you have a choice: Will we all go scrambling for the penguin suit? Or will the most skilled player just take a mushroom suit and leave the penguin suit to the others? Or, will I scramble and get all of the mushrooms and the penguin suit, leaving my teammates out in the cold? I tried all of these scenarios, and it was pure joy to see the look on my friends faces either way! You see, the multiplayer can be either competitive or cooperative. There will be times where getting a big coin or a 1-up will require that you cooperate...maybe I will need to pick up one player and hold him over my head, and then another player will bounce off his head to get the 1-up. Or, maybe there will be a player that I want to give some grief... so I can pick him up and throw him down a pit or in the lava... or I can throw a green shell at him. There will also be times where you are all trying to accomplish something (like jumping across a lava pit), and because we are all scrambling and trying to save our own skin, one player will bounce off the other's head, giving themselves a boost up and over the lava, but sending their friend to their death. As you can imagine, the cooperative multiplayer would FREQUENTLY and unexpectedly become competitive, and there was no shortage of amazed/shocked looks back and forth (i.e "Dude... I cant believe you just did that!!"), punches in the shoulder, name calling, calling "dibs" on power ups only to be disappointed, and laughing ranging from a mischievous giggle to rolling on the floor in stitches. When we were playing, one guy even got really upset and went home! LOL. It was one heck of a fun afternoon! Once the sore loser left, we started cooperating more and competing less, and it was equally fun. Almost equally anyway...
Difficulty: I hate easy games, and I hate short games. I especially hate short and easy games. This game is neither. From what I have experienced so far, this is one of the most challenging Mario games I have ever played. It isn't necessarily HARD...anyone can pick up New Super Mario Bros Wii and begin playing. That is the case with every Mario game. But it is challenging. You will die...a lot. Especially when playing multiplayer, since frequently one of your teammates will do something that sends you to your end on accident. Plus, the difficulty really starts to ramp up in some of the later worlds/levels. Also, there are 3 hidden achievement coins in each level, as well as these special "star" coins that you can go out of your way to find...and getting to some of these can be a real challenge. I estimate that it will easily take 20+ hours to complete this game... and even once it is done, it will be a blast to start over and play again. And the truth is, Mario games are always long and fairly difficult... I never did beat Super Mario 2! I think this game is going to have a long shelf life at my house!
I will spare you any more gushing details about this game. Clearly, I enjoyed it immensely. If you own a Nintendo Wii, you should own this game. If there was ONE Wii game I would recommend you buy, it would be this one. If you are considering buying a Nintendo Wii because you like this game...I guarantee it will be worth it. This game is destined to be a classic, and it would be a shame to miss out! Here is my personal rating for the game:
Lasting Appeal: 9/10