This is a game I have been waiting for ever since I played New Super Mario Brothers on my borrowed Nintendo DS. This is the purity of Mario. Screw all this 3D stuff. Yeah, it rocks to have a 3D space to run around in, but that’s not Mario. Mario is a side scroller and its charm comes out best that way. Or maybe I’m just an old codger nostalgic for what I grew up with. It’s probably the latter given that the Mario theme in New Super Mario Brothers Wii (NSMBW henceforth), a modified version of the original with a little “ah” a capella thrown in, excites me in ways I cannot express. Apparently it also excites the goombas and turtles because they do a little dance move during the a capella parts.
The genius of NSMBW is in its four player mode. This is a frenetic manifestation of what Mario could and should always have been. I played with the wife and my brother and it was a chaotic mess and it was beautiful. We had to replay a level over five times because we kept killing each other. And what’s so genius about this mode is the fact that it doesn’t always have to be intentional. Many a time we killed each other while jumping and accidentally jumping on each other. Or in a level with moving platforms it’s easy to get caught up in the fast pace and leave the others behind and once they get off the screen they die.
What can I say of the joy of going into a pipe and forcing my team mates to go along. This happens any time anyone goes into a pipe. If someone’s taking too long to do something, just go in the pipe. Picking someone up and walking around with their character over your head is also great. What a violation of that person’s right to play the game unmolested! And you can throw them off cliffs or into other creatures. This is brilliant. It’s a million times better than Bomberman because in Bomberman the others are clearly your opponents. But in NSMBW you could simply decide to antagonize a player and they’d never see it coming. And they can get you back when you least expect it. And your teammates are also at your whim once they die. You have to touch their little bubble before they can rejoin the game.
The game is also fun in one player mode, and this is where the developers have succeeded. The game works just as well in either mode. One thing disturbs me and that is that I am collecting these large coins as in New Super Mario Brothers for the DS, but unlike the DS game, they appear to have no purpose. In the DS game you use it to get to the Toad Houses. Here, I seem to be collecting them without reason. (I have learned from Dan that they serve a purpose later in the game)
I think the developers have succeeded in distilling everything I have ever loved about a Mario game and putting it together in one game. It only saddens me that this game is coming out when I’m an adult. No doubt if this game had come out when I was a kid, I would have already beaten the whole thing. As it is, I haven’t even finished the first world in my single player game. (We got to about world 4 in our multiplayer game) Work, household responsibilities, and other hobbies have gotten in the way of sitting and playing Mario through until I have to get to bed. If you have a Wii and you ever enjoyed playing a Mario game in your life (especially Mario 3), you must pick up this game. And if you want to have the most fun, invite three other people to join you. Just make sure everyone’s cool with being thrown around and won’t quit the game out of frustration.