New Super Mario Bros. - game review

Date: 2006-09-06 07:56:00
The review was based on the NDS version.

New Super Mario Bros is a refreshed version of the legendary game with a mustached plumber in the lead role. There are no radical changes in the flagship title of DualScreen's fathers - the characteristic sounds have been preserved, the extraordinary atmosphere of fabulous boards has been maintained and absolutely nothing has been brought that would destroy the Maria phenomenon. On the one hand, the changes do not always turn out to be for good, and on the other hand the player feels that it would be useful to have a breath of freshness, which is usually missing in the re-launched oldschool items. And what about NSMB? I invite you to read the review, in which instead of focusing on writing out the differences between the "New" version and the one released in 1985, I will try to convey to you my feelings resulting from contact with the handheld version.

As NSMB is a typical platformer, the plot is of secondary importance, and it is as follows: Mario disappears for a few days from the castle inhabited by Princess Peach, in which he is in love. Meanwhile, Bowser Junior, a nasty turtle-like beast, sneaks into his fiancee's estate and ... kidnaps her. When Mario finds out about this situation, he sets off to look. Intriguing, isn't it? To paraphrase an old proverb - "no plot adorns dexterity games".

NSMB has not changed compared to the original in terms of the quintessence of gameplay. Mario collects coins, collects coins with star symbols or eliminates bothersome opponents. First of all, the described game is very dynamic. We can't afford a moment of rest because the seconds are passing by. An additional problem are creatures, often appearing out of nowhere, which effectively prevent us from getting a dozen or so valuable coins, a power-up or other useful gadget. Although we have a lot of time, the disappearing numbers have a huge impact on the player. We are in a hurry and thus senselessly lose another life. This is especially annoying in the early stages of the game, when their modest number decreases in the blink of an eye. The refreshed Super Mario requires both concentration and considerable manual skills.

Disputed issues are two extremely important elements: poorly balanced difficulty level and checkpoints. In the opinion of the overwhelming number of players, New Super Mario Bros is not difficult. As I was not raised on two-dimensional arcade games, such as the flagship position of Nintendo, I had a few problems overcoming stages. We will pass through some of them before the counter reaches half of the allotted time, and after a while find ourselves in a place full of obstacles that will lead us to irritation and doubt. In such a moment, when we are already boiling with anger, it is best to put the console on the shelf, cool it down and try again in a few minutes. The player's greatest ally is peace, without him in NSMB we can't do it.

The second detail that raises considerable doubts are the mentioned checkpoints, i.e. save points usually located in the middle of the stage. And here is the buried dog, those moments from which we can continue playing are not always on the boards - difficult boards should be added. Perhaps this is an oversight on the part of the creators, or perhaps a conscious procedure aimed at making the player's life more difficult? Either way, I treat it as a disadvantage, because I hate to spend hours in the same place without making any progress.

A good platformer is not lacking primarily in the crazy, colorful locations. In this respect, no other production can compete with games signed with the name Maria. Level designers have done their job perfectly. The stages are cute and the level of diversity makes them a headache. Our adventure will start in a picturesque village, after some time the action will move into Egyptian climates, so that then the scenery will change again like in a kaleidoscope, this time on the tropics. There are also less pleasant places, such as a dead forest. To make it clear, I will add that these locations are completely different worlds, of which there are 8 in total and between which we can move freely in the later stages of the game. These are divided into boards. I will not cite specific numbers, just say that there are plenty of them. People who expect only the classic stages of reaching the destination are totally wrong! The fun is diversified by the so-called Toad Houses. There are several types of such houses, but they share one feature - each of them brings us greater or smaller profits ...

Hilarious creatures will stand in the way of Maria. Goombasses are movable mushrooms, while Koopas are small turtles with a red or green shell. The above rivals are certainly known to any PC or C64 user who has had contact with games with the magical "Mario" in the title. Flying Lakitu will also try to prevent us from saving the princess. The enemies they meet are not very intelligent, but some of them can really get over the skin. Speech here is the cunning water sliders, various crustaceans or huge fish-like creatures. A multitude of hostile creatures can make an impression. Once we deal with less clever creatures, we'll have to deal with bosses. And they live in gloomy towers usually located at the end of the stage. Before we get to the top, we will lose a lot of nerves due to the lack of a checkpoint, but I have already mentioned a few words about it. Unlike other games, bosses are not tough. However, we must find a way for everyone. Interestingly, we will most often fight with ... Bowser Junior, which is a nasty guy who appropriated our beloved!

What the title hero of NSMB can do can give Neo complexes. I am not kidding! Mario throws objects, climbs the grids, makes use of lianas, and can even bounce off the walls several times to get to the upper floor. Not bad huh? And this is not the end, anyway - you have to see it with your own eyes! One thing is certain, no such hero in any platform game has had such a rich palette of moves. Although, at first glance, the controls seem complicated due to Maria's rich skills, in fact it is not. The configuration of the keys has been well thought out so that during the game we do not have to wonder for a moment which button should we press. Unfortunately, the use of TouchScreen is very limited. By default, it has a map and some other irrelevant information. From time to time we will also use the thumb to activate the power-up. On the one hand it is good that we do not have to divert concentration from the upper screen, and on the other two LCDs oblige to something ... :)

The trademark of Super Mario Bros. were gold coins, which we constantly encountered during the journey. Collecting one hundred coins from precious metal was rewarded with an extra life. It is no different in the case of the DS version, with the difference that giant coins with the asterisk symbol are necessary in its case. Each stage has three of them, and getting them is often troublesome. However, to complete the game 100% and gain access to some unnecessary bonuses, we must collect them all. These coins also allow us to buy the key opening the Toad Houses and hidden stages. I must admit that I really liked the idea. Thanks to him, the game is gaining variety.

The boards contain a lot of interesting secrets. The rock blocks contain a variety of objects to facilitate fun, and characteristic plants allow us to climb to the upper floor, where a surprise awaits us. It may not be too important for the player, but it affects the final rating. These little things make you happy and make fun more enjoyable.

If it wasn't for great power-ups, NSMB would lose a lot. What are these quirks? Power-ups are boosters that give Mario an advantage over his opponents in the short term. Some of them, like Starman, make him immortal. Others, however, make him smaller, which allows him to get to otherwise unreachable places. Mushrooms resembling toadstools are the most interesting. When Mario gets such a gadget, it will grow to a huge size and nothing will stand in his way. It only takes about 10 seconds, but the effect is amazing!

Complaining about the minimal use of the touch screen? And yes, but completely unnecessary, because in the menu we will find mini games! Nintendo has taken a shortcut and most of them moved straight from Super Mario 64 DS, but it's still a nice gesture. Among the new products is even one raisin using ... a microphone! The game may not be as ingenious as the one about resuscitating a dying companion in Resident Evil , but it's still not bad.

Some two-dimensional arcade games with fairy-tale graphics simply love, while others skip them in a wide arc. To encourage as many players as possible to play, Nintendo used a very simple solution. Well, the boards remained two-dimensional, while the characters were moved to a three-dimensional environment! Contrary to fears, it looks very nice, especially when Mario becomes several times larger than the environment. It would be good for you, dear readers, to say something about the face of the created world and its elements. Again, if someone is not allergic to candy 2D, he will be delighted. A realistically distorted water surface, a drowning barrel or a branch breaking under the influence of too much snow - it looks fantastic!

With sound it is the same as with graphics. Some cheerful musicians will love, and others will hate. However, it is important that the sounds are of high quality.

Is New Super Mario Bros worth the large amount we have to spend on it? This question should be asked before we go to a nearby store with a console range. Without a doubt, this is a very good game, refined and designed for players of all ages. If someone is looking for original ideas, unconventional gameplay modes and, above all, a breath of freshness in the ossified arcade genre, do not even take NSMB. However, those who want to feel the atmosphere of oldschool should have a copy of the DS Maria. Did Nintendo play a dishonest release basically the same after twenty years? Definitely not! I would even say that a compromise was reached - people who in two dimensions feel like fish in water, have NSMB, and those who want more polygons got Super Mario 64 DS over a year ago. I don't want to suggest too much, but I still return to the refreshed antiquity.

Szymon "SirGoldi" Błaszczyk

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