Title: New Super Mario Bros.
Release Date: May 15, 2006 (JA) May 19, 2006 (US) June 30, 2006 (EU) February 24, 2005 (AU)
Platform[s]: Nintendo DS
Rather than Bowser kidnapping the princess – in an interesting twist – Bowser Jr. does and as per usual our pint-size plumber Mario gives chase. The plot is completely minimal but it is existent though more so in subtle cues than full blown storytelling.
In the most recent entry in the mainstream Super Mario series since Super Mario: Sunshine we see a return to the NES style gameplay which propelled the series into the public eye. Basically the player travels from level-to-level as Mario or Luigi, breaking blocks, collecting coins, jumping on enemies and travelling down giant green pipes. In this case eighty levels are split across eight worlds (obvious maths would suggest ten levels per world) don’t worry though – it’s not a requirement to complete all levels to finish the game, with each world displayed on an over-map consisting of a mid-way boss and then a final boss before progressing to the next. Oddly enough this makes the game itself a perfect blend of Super Mario World and the original Super Mario Bros; this is for the fans and what’s interesting is the fact that moves introduced in the 3D outings (wall jump, ground pound and triple jump) have been included in the game but work undeniably perfect in this format.
To make things more interesting the traditional power-ups have been included: Super Mushroom – makes Mario/Luigi grow, Fire Flower – let’s Mario/Luigi toss fireballs and Starman – enables Mario/Luigi to become invisible for a while. New power-ups added to the series are the Blue Koopa Shell – lets Mario/Luigi become a Koopa, Mini Mushroom – shrinks Mario/Luigi and the Mega Mushroom – enlarges Mario/Luigi to gigantic proportions). The previously mentioned power-ups are one of the few aspects in the main game which utilize the touch screen features of the NDS, as the player collects their first it becomes immediately active thereafter it is stored on the bottom screen and can be switched on by tapping on it.
On a side-note there are mini-games akin to those from Super Mario 64 DS which take full advantage of the stylus and microphone. These can be tackled with one or two players along with the battle mode in-which Mario and Luigi fight it out for stars!
What we have is the perfect blend of 2D and 3D. Character models and key objects are three-dimensional, backgrounds and such are two-dimensional. It’s all very cartoony yet nicely presented.
Nintendo knows what the fans want. We have retro sounds remixed to a modern standard. Sure there are the usual clichéd fake Italian voice effects introducing and ending each level but these can be easily overlooked!
Overall Score & Replayability
This is a fantastic platform game which can only be flawed in respect that it doesn’t fully embrace the Nintendo DS’s features. However this is retro-Mario re-presented to a modern audience. Ten years down the road I can see this being remembered as one of the consoles defining moments just as Mario 64 was for the Nintendo 64.