As a 5-year anniversary gift, BF pre-ordered me the new SMB for Wii. I’ve been pretty vocal about wanting it, but it’s also a win-win because it means I’ll stop bugging him for 360 time (we just put the Wii in the bedroom, problem solved).
I dragged his ass out of bed at 10 a.m. on Sunday to pick it up, and we started playing 2-player the moment we got home (well, after 2 Wii updates). Later in the day, I embarked on a 1-player game.
Either way you play it, this game is great.
I was struck by the nostalgia that it evoked. From the intro screen (pretty uncomplicated) to the map and even levels, the game echoes Mario 3 to me more than any other game. There is even an airship involved for Bowser’s flock. There’s mid-world mini-castles, and the familiar lineup of enemies (although I’ve yet to see a lakitu). There are also mid-world baddie challenges (recently I got to stomp a bunch of goombas).
The controls are pretty instinctive (I’m not playing with a nunchuk). To my delight and BF’s frustration, the controls are pretty loose. BF said it was like his character was “on ice” — they don’t stop and turn on a dime. However, the shake function is pretty touchy. I must be spaztic while playing or something, because I kept accidentally sending Mario up into the air.
2-player can be frustrating. BF and I found ourselves getting in each other’s way, especially when challenging jump sequences were involved. Normally we just would have gone 1 at a time, but with a scrolling screen, you die if you get left behind. I’m not sure if I enjoy the level of complexity that adds, or if it’s just frustrating to be on par for a perfect jump and then have BF unintentionally knock me out of the way. At this point, I can’t imagine playing the story mode with more than two people. We haven’t gone very far into actual co-op (for example, me launching him into the air to find things, etc), so maybe there’s more to be found there once we stop trying to work around each other and start working with each other.
As far as single-player goes, I’m really enjoying the game. There’s a fun new optional part of the levels where a Toad is stuck in a “?” box somewhere in a course, and you have to find him and carry him throughout the level. If you succeed, new surprises show up on the map.
I’m only in the middle of world 2 (a desert map, like in Mario 3), but the difficulty level has ratcheted up already. I like this — I thought the first map was a little too easy, but it did its job getting me accustomed to the play style, controls and conventions of the game.
There are some fun additions: Star coin movies (where you can watch tips and tricks for a variety of different levels. I find this fascinating, BF thought it was dumb); and the baddies’ dance. You’ll see the baddies bopping out to the music on a variety of levels. This is cute, but can throw off your game a little bit if you’re trying to jump on them.
Overall, I love this game. It walks the thin line between reminding us of old-school Mario games, and being the same as those games, with newer graphics and a multiplayer. As far as I can tell, they’ve taken what worked about the older games, and have given it a fun new twist. I love it, and I’ll probably be playing it nonstop for the next few weeks.