The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
It’s no surprise that New Super Mario Bros. was a runaway hit on the
DS. Longtime Nintendo fans loved the nostalgia value and familiar
gameplay of the first true 2D entry in the series since 1995’s Yoshi’s
Island, and a new generation of gamers discovered why the plumber is
the most iconic character in the industry. With the success of the Wii
and its focus on local multiplayer gameplay, New Super Mario Bros. Wii
is a no-brainer. Take the classic series that gamers young and old
adore, introduce four-player gameplay for the first time, and watch it
fly off the shelves.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii takes the stellar
core gameplay of the DS version, introduces far more creative and
challenging stages, and includes riotous multiplayer gameplay. I
hesitate to call it co-op gameplay, simply because of the sheer number
of times you’ll accidentally (or sometimes, intentionally) screw your
friends over in hilarious fashion. Mario games focus on running and
jumping; and coordinating difficult platforming segments with three
other people oftentimes means at least one of them is going to get
stomped in mid-air, sending them to their death. Once that unlucky
player comes back to the action, he or she can easily get revenge by
picking up their killer and throwing him or her directly into a Goomba.
It’s these chaotic moments that result in punched shoulders or players
getting banned from future multiplayer sessions.
The Wii’s latest
Mario game is far more than just a nostalgia act, as the level of
quality is on par with the best from the NES and SNES days. Some stages
are simple endeavors that give you experience with a new power-up,
while others truly test your platforming skill. Later levels fill the
screen with Bullet Bills, cannonballs, angry Crowbers, and parachuting
Bob-ombs, ensuring that you won’t have a moment’s rest. Even the
airships from Super Mario Bros. 3 return, complete with their memorable
and ominous background music. Once you reach the end of the game,
you’ll be treated with what might be the best boss fight in any 2D
Playing with a few friends adds a new element to the
Mario experience, but it’s not without its frustrations. Accidentally
falling to your doom is funny when you have a healthy stash of lives,
but later stages require precise platforming, and it’s much harder to
perform quick, accurate jumps when there are three others trying to do
the same thing.
Some gamers may be concerned about the addition
of motion control, but like Super Mario Galaxy the game implements it
sparingly and it’s never too gimmicky. Quick shakes let you pick up
items or spin jump, and tilting the controller manipulates platforms
and cannons. My only real complaint with the motion controls is that
their inclusion means this game can’t be played with the Classic
Controller. It’s a shame, as it would have been a perfect fit. There
are enough buttons on the Classic Controller to handle the game’s
various actions, and the L and R shoulders could have handled the
It doesn’t matter if your first gaming system
was the NES or DS; New Super Mario Bros. Wii proves that 2D platformers
are still a blast. Longtime gamers will love the countless throwbacks
to previous titles, and the multiplayer gameplay is fantastic (albeit
hectic) fun for everyone.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii is a joyous, chaotic return to the series’
side-scrolling roots. In retrospect, simultaneous multiplayer is such
an obvious addition to the game that it’s hard to believe that Nintendo
didn’t do it earlier. Single-player is fantastic, but having three more
along for the ride profoundly changes the game. It was a lot more fun
once I’d resigned myself to the fact that I was going to die a lot, and
that many of those deaths would come courtesy of my so-called
teammates. It’s a shame that a game that trades on tight controls
forces in some waggle gimmickry, but it doesn’t take much of the sheen
off one of this year’s most flat-out fun experiences.