New Super Mario Bros. Video Game Review: New and Slightly Improved

I want to take you on a trip back in time�Think back to the release of Super Mario Bros. 2 for the NES, if you can remember that far back. Now, consider what a leap forward it was for the Mario Bros. series. Not only were the graphics greatly improved, there were four characters available with unique attributes, a completely new look and feel, and a slot machine mini-game to boot. Super Mario Bros. 3 brought in the overhead map perspective, and added the frog, raccoon, hammer bros. and tanuki suits, the ability to fly, and a completely new style again.

While Super Mario World didn’t add a lot of new innovations in my opinion, it did introduce Yoshi, the spin attack, some creative level designs, and enough tricks up its sleeve courtesy of the SNES to make it memorable. But while New SMB offers some unique traits, it doesn’t offer enough to make it a classic.

So you might have heard that the new thing in New SMB is that you can grow gigantic and destroy everything in your path. It’s a little gimmicky, but it’s fun. The miniature mushroom is more practically used, though, because it allows you to explore previously un-squeeze-through-able areas. Speaking of mini, skip the mini-games. Many are ripped off from Mario 64 DS, and you’ll get bored of them all pretty quickly.

But more specifically, there are two things really wrong with New SMB. First, the main game doesn’t make creative use of the touch screen. It’s only used to select your extra power-up item and to travel between worlds, and these features feel tacked on. Second, it’s way too short and way, way too easy. You’ll be done in several hours, and for some reason two out of the eight worlds can be completely skipped over. You’ll probably want to go back and play them anyway, but they should have been easily available in the first place.

So it sounds like I don’t really like New SMB, but that’s not completely true. There are some things I do like about it. I like the 3D/2D graphics and the level designs. I really like the wall-jump and butt-stomp moves borrowed from Mario 64. I like the tried and true SMB feel. And I would rank New SMB one of the top three platformers on the DS..for now. It’s not the best Mario game by a long shot, though, and I guess we’ll have to wait for Super Mario Galaxy on the Wii for something that feels truly new.

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