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New Super Mario Bros. Wii Review

See PixlBit's Review Policies

On 11/14/2009 at 02:02 PM by Nick DiMola

The plumber brothers are back for another round in 2D.

Check out our special Audio Review of the game!


Since New Super Mario Bros. released on the DS in 2006, it has managed to sell an unprecedented number of copies - around 19 million. Given the clear popularity of the title and its mass appeal, Nintendo has created a sequel to the title. Rather than keep the course, New Super Mario Bros. Wii shakes up the formula creating a familiar but unique experience. Players will have a variety of new items to experience as well as some new enemies and worlds. Most importantly, players can now enjoy the game with up-to-three friends, an addition that significantly alters the mechanics and play styles of the game.

Players who grew up with both Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World will immediately feel at home with New Super Mario Bros. Wii, as will those who started on New Super Mario Bros. DS. The game offers many familiar foes and locales, but a completely new set of power-ups and techniques. In addition to the stand-bys - the Fire Flower and Mushroom - the game offers a Propeller Suit, a Penguin Suit, and the Ice Flower. Players will also find that Yoshi makes a triumphant return. Yoshi carries his own set of new techniques as well, including the Flutter Jump, the Ground Pound, and the ability to lick up enemies and even fireballs which he can spit back out.

While all of the new techniques and power-ups are a blast, the game's true beauty is the multiplayer functionality. Never before have players engaged in such a co-operative/counter-operative experience. Throughout each of the levels, players will have to be mindful of their fellow friends. If players move upwards too quickly, eventually the bottom of the screen will become a death trap. If players make a big jump too hastily, they can leave the other players stranded with no choice but death. The unbelievable part is how well the game does in convincing players when it's ok to play as if you are at odds, and when co-operation is absolutely critical. Many of the game's big coins (as seen in NSMB DS) require at least a second player to reach. Because players are able to get a boost up by jumping off a friend's head, they can reach heights that are typically inaccessible without some sort of power-up.

The multiplayer mode also adds a new level of challenge to the game, because you can't just blast your way through a level. You must be careful of your friends, for both their sake and yours. Of course, death is not as impactful here as it is in past Mario games. All players must die relatively simultaneously in order to have to either restart the level, or return to the mid-level checkpoint. As such, players typically build up many 1ups so that they can die numerous times within a single level.

Another great feature of the game is the Super Guide. Though it has caught much flak, it excels in its purpose. When a player dies eight times in a single level, a green box appears, which players must jump and hit in order to activate the Super Guide. This will take over control for the player, allowing them to pass a particularly challenging spot. For someone like my Grandmother who often asked me for help in the DS version, this ability is a godsend. Rather than having to wait until the next time she saw me so that I could progress her, now she can just hit the little box and move on, continuing to enjoy her experience. Because the option is not available unless you die a number of times, most advanced players will never even realize it exists.

It's hard to describe how unbelievably fun this new multiplayer Mario experience is. It's unlike anything players will have experienced before. Chessa and I conquered the game together and at times it felt amazing to perfectly orchestrate a set of moves to reach a challenging big coin. At other times it was frustrating to fail... especially when she would purposely kill me! However, it's all a part of the fun, and it's all encouraged by the game's design. It seems as if Nintendo went through each level and designed it with the intention that at particular points players would be at odds, and at others co-operation would be necessary.

All of what has been described applies directly to the game's story mode. The game also offers two other modes - Free Mode and Coin Battle, both of which do more to encourage competition. Both modes rank all of the players participating at the end of a level. In Free Mode, all metrics are considered in the ranking, including lives, coins, enemy kills and score, whereas in Coin Battle, only the number of coins collected is relevant. With such a dog-eat-dog attitude, these modes encourage cutthroat play where only the strongest, fastest, and smartest survive. They are great for a party environment and with such a different dynamic, make the game feel completely fresh and different from the Story Mode.

It should go without saying, but New Super Mario Bros. Wii is absolutely fantastic. It offers players a one-of-a-kind experience that will continue to be a blast long after this generation ends. Though it's a little disappointing that with such a strong multiplayer focus it doesn't offer online play, it can easily be overlooked when a group of four sits down and enjoys the game together in one room. It's far more challenging than the original New Super Mario Bros. title and more feature rich. Do not hesitate in purchasing this game for anyone, it's a guaranteed hit.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.



Our Take

Lukasz Balicki Staff Alumnus

11/15/2009 at 08:51 AM

Amazon just shipped my copy out yesterday so I can't wait to get it hopefully before Thanksgiving or Black Friday!


11/15/2009 at 07:07 PM

Letterboxed on a standard-def TV! Come on Nintendo, you won't give us HD but you will make your games look like crap on 4:3 TV's? Not that big deal to me since I can just move my Wii to my widescreen TV, but just annoying....

Lukasz Balicki Staff Alumnus

11/15/2009 at 08:51 PM

That's interesting that it is letter boxed on a 4:3. Then again Nintendo always had 16:9 games on all first party games I have ever encountered. Yes, even when Nintendo "cheated" with Mario Party 8, Big Brain Academy Wii Degree, and Wario Land: Shake It!

Jason Ross Senior Editor

11/16/2009 at 11:10 PM

It is surprising to see that the game does letterboxing. I suppose it's true that the way the game handles multiplayer and secrets in stages, that expanding the camera range wouldn't pan out to "artistic vision" or something like that.

Still, I do question the decision on such a popular title.

And yet, it does make you wonder... How can letterboxes be the only glaring flaw in a title? It's definitely fun. I hate to say it, but I'm eagerly anticipating when people remake older stages, and even completely translate games like SMB3 and SMW to this engine. That will be incredible :)

Nick DiMola Director

11/17/2009 at 09:31 AM

I wish Nintendo included a level editor in the game. Would've been a ton of fun to make your own challenges, especially with all of the cool new tools, and especially from the multiplayer angle.

Oh well...


11/17/2009 at 12:29 PM

So I beat the game. Its really good. Hardcore Mario platforming. But to me it wasn't SO amazing. It did nothing new and it felt like they really didn't try that hard to make it fresh. Its a Mario game so its great but something that doesn't do that much new isn't going to be one of my favorite games. Just too many fronts that seem just lazy not to include. Well I beat it so back to Modern Warfare 2.


11/27/2009 at 02:29 PM

Having reviewed the game for NWR I must say I agree 100% with this review. It's a HUGE step above from the DS version, which I felt was lacking in creativity. The game has so many little details that just shows the genius of Miyamoto's talents.

Kraken: While I can't argue about personal experiences I have to disagree about the game not being "new" enough. The stages features a lot of new elements not seen in previous Mario titles, and multiplayer is easily a HUGE addition to the entire franchise.

Also, just because a game doesn't do many new things it doesn't mean it isn't amazing. To me, NSMB Wii is amazing in that it takes some of the best elements of past Mario games and combines them to make one fun and polished experience. It proves that the Mario games can't be beat when it comes to game design and planning.

Also, new doesn't always mean its better.

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