New Super Mario Bros. Wii Review

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New Super Mario Bros. Wii Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo

Platform: Wii
Reviewed on Wii

Once again, Princess Peach is in peril. This time, however, Peach's rescuer isn't just Mario. Joining Mario and his brother Luigi in their 2D platforming rescue effort are Yellow Toad and Blue Toad!

Kyle Ackerman

New Super Mario Bros. Wii is a perfectly acceptable Mario-themed game. My critique isn't that the game fails as a platformer. New Super Mario Bros. Wii fails as a multiplayer game. Since that's how it was sold to us, and since there's not enough new content to make the game feel worthwhile as a single-player game, New Super Mario Bros. Wii is a disappointment. But it's a solid, attractive, platforming disappointment.

It's easy enough to imagine what New Super Mario Bros. Wii is like. It's yet another adventure in which Mario (or his brother Luigi or one of two toad characters) jumps impossible chasms, dodges mortal traps, and fires fireballs or iceballs, or hurls barrels to destroy enemies. It feels basically like a tweaked version of New Super Mario Bros. for the DS, and (of course) earlier Mario games. As a single-player game, it gives us the great stuff we've had before, just on the Wii.

My beef is simple: Nintendo promised a four-player experience. Nintendo promised the kind of game a Wii owner could share with his or her family, bringing even more fans into the Mario fold. If you have four expert platformer players, you can whiz through the levels, destroy enemies in new ways and even find new, hidden areas. I realize there are die-hard Nintendo fans who will disagree with me, but if I can get four expert players in one room, there are more exciting alternatives than New Super Mario Bros. Wii.

If you have four casual gamers playing together, they are more likely to hinder (if not kill) each other than cooperatively complete a level. Just as one player can boost another to greater heights, an accidental jump from a semi-skilled player can knock a companion into a chasm, killing a friend. With my play group, I often had to wait until everyone else died to complete a level and help the group move on. That's not fun for anyone. It makes casual players feel bad, and means the game is only progressing when 75% of the players are passively watching.

Nintendo could have had a triumph with New Super Mario Bros. Wii by making it as accessible as Wii Bowling. If Nintendo had left a difficulty option for dedicated hardcore Mario fans and an option that allowed a casual group of players to cruise gleefully through the game, the game would have been a win for everyone. Instead, the conventional game requires perfect cooperation, and other modes allow for group competition that, while entertaining for hardcore players, is alienating for casual players.

New Super Mario Bros. Wii is a solid game, but instead of taking the Mario-themed platformers in a different direction, it adds a feature of limited appeal to the already solid franchise.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on February 19, 2010 7:11 AM.

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