New Super Mario Bros. Review

Started by Blaine, September 12, 2006, 07:00:03 AM

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I was planning on reviewing it for a while now. And while I do make mention of Nolan's Review of the game, I'm not specifically addressing that piece with this one.

While I will offer response to a few of his criticisms, I feel it's a really well written piece with a very clear, well illustrated view point. That's what's most important to me, more so than whether or not I agree. That said...

After reading many reviews of NSMB, I decided to wait for a significant price drop before picking it up. I'm a firm believer in 'voting' with your purchases. If there's a game I'm chomping at the bit for (Contact for the DS) then I'll get it as soon as possible, because sales are the only thing publishers understand.

So often I'll rate gaming purchases to friends by the vague scale of price. That game X is a good pick up for price Y.

Hearing and reading many of the reviews for NSMB I penciled it in for a $20 purchase.

I made my mind up before playing the game.

My girlfriend knows nothing of my esoteric labeling systems and she purchased it for me for my birthday - and honestly? I'm ashamed at myself.

The game is responsive, exciting and fun. The graphics are very well polished, the audio is excellent and it has very nice depth with the inclusion of the alternate boards, the star coins and (to a lesser extent) the mini-games.

I've found no problems with any major component of the game. While I have my own criticisms, they're really nothing like what you'll read in most reviews.

Some of the criticisms laid at NSMB, in my opinion, even contradict. Here are a few examples that you'll find in many reviews.

1)There's no place to utilize the new moves.:
I'm personally baffled by this. I use the wall jump, where you slide down a wall and kick off to the other side, constantly. It's saved me from more than one death by allowing me to climb my way up after having fallen down a crevice. It's very handy to reach out of the way areas and can be really useful for quickly changing directions mid-air. All told, I think this move is the best feature added to the SMB franchise since the ability to carry around turtle shells.

2)The new power-ups are useless and/or gimmicky.:
This comment, I think is viewing the world through rose colored glasses of nostalgia.
Here's something to chew on - Most of the powerups in Super Mario Bros. 3 were useless. Really think about it, the racoon tail was cool... but the Frog Suit? I mean, sure you could swim faster. Yay. The Hammer Bros. Suit was basically a revised Fire Flower that you can find in a very few places. Don't get me started on the Tanooki suit. Turning into a statue, while cool, is infinitely more 'gimmicky' than anything in NSMB. The Turtle Shell is no worse than any of the above I've mentioned and at least offers some new dynamic (while not highly functional, careening around the board as the turtle shell is quite fun). The Mini Mushroom is by far a better powerup. The ability to run on water, climb into smaller areas and the lofty high jump make it a wonderfully enjoyable power. My only complaint for that is the rarity of it, I wish it was more common.

Finally the MegaMushroom. Alright, this one is 90% gimmick. No doubt about it. That said, one of Nolan's critiques was why have another starman-like powerup? It's a good point, however, there are so very very few starman powerups in NSMB! I wouldn't be surprised if there were less than 10 in the entire game. So while sorta useless, it's not that redundant.

3)The Game is Too Easy.:
Apparantly I'm the only one having trouble here at all. I've managed to see the Game Over screen twice and I'm no stranger to platformers. Yeah the game throws 1ups at  you like crazy, some levels are still pretty tricky and might take 2 or 3 lives.
What really bothers me is people who often talk about how easy the game is will also complain...

4)The Save System is Horrible.:
Agreed, but that blade cuts both ways. I mean, you can't tell me the game is too easy then bitch about not being able to save. If the game is too easy for you, consider the limitations on saving to be added difficulty. Considering a fully charged DS will sleep for days on end, just closing it is a sufficient way of stopping gameplay in the middle. That said, I do personally long for the free-save option available after beating the game, but you don't hear me complaining about the difficulty.

If you think the game is easy now, think about how easy it would be if you could constantly save.

These are some of the main points I take issue with. I have problems of my own with the game, though.

1)Power-Ups and Coins are Absurdly Plentiful.:
There were levels where I'd pass up 3 fireflowers after having already powered up myself. Can you think of any level where you needed, or that fact having being hit that many times, deserved 5 power ups? I can't. Also the coin situation is just ridiculous. This is an oft missed issue with regards to the avalanche of 1UP's one can recieve. I don't know what they're trying to show off or prove but I recall a time where I'd stop to collect coins. Now, why bother? There's MILLIONS OF THEM. They're everywhere!

2)Fireflowers Are Unbalanced.:
While this isn't different from most SMB games, it is still a little nuts. I don't think any boss even touched me through the first 5 worlds. I just rapped "B" until they were dead. I honestly couldn't even tell you what was different about the bosses in the Towers. They all died the same way in about 4 seconds.

For me, it's not that the other powerups aren't useful - they are. It's just the Fireflower is so powerful, why bother with anything else when it matters?

3)New Super Mario Brothers Lacks The Charisma of It's Predecessors.:
Maybe a minor beef, but I feel it firmly. Remember beating a tower in Super Mario World? There'd be a little cut scene with Mario blowing up the tower or hitting it with a hammer and something amusing would happen?

Remember how all the old Koopalings had names like Ludwig Von Koopa or Iggy Koopa?

There's none of that in NSMB. There's a certain charm that just not there.

I have Super Mario 64. I have Super Mario 64 DS. I have Mario Sunshine. I've played them all. None of those 3 do nearly as much for me as New Super Mario Bros.

So go out there and play it, form your own opinion... otherwise, why even bother playing them to begin with? Just read the review and take that person's opinion as your own.
If you can mod it... I'll find a way to screw it up!