Couple of years ago, not so far actually, Mario used to do a single mere appearance per console. But that time is over and now Nintendo has understood the commercial potential of its mascot, able to boost sales of a console that has struggled to find an audience. Since Super Mario 3D Land was a valuable aid for the 3DS to boost its sales charts, why not play the same trick nine months later during the launch of the improved 3DS XL?
Six years is the period between the two episodes of the New Super Mario Bros. license, but during that time, Nintendo doesn’t seem to bring any fresh ideas. The adventure itself is easily finished in a rough 6 hours of play, unless you enjoy the pleasure of recovering all the star coins, unlocking the hidden paths or the total amount of coins needed (one million, is not really an easy feat). The extra content might effectively extend the pleasure, but there is still something lacking, especially given the fact that the series has crazy potential.
Let’s just face it: Nintendo has played the easy card basing its game to the flagship NES episode, Super Mario Bros. 3, both in structure and the choice of costumes. However, all the new elements from the Wii episode were simply erased as it seems. No trace of Yoshi, penguin suit, ice flower and the helicopter hat, and even the fun four player coop seems to have been avoided.
Nevertheless, newcomers who discover the Mario universe will be delighted to browse the 9 worlds (6 set plus 3 hidden) that make up this adventure. Each world is themed differently and the journey is spread by couples of Ghost Houses and mid-boss towers (which are sadly really childish) and of course the ending castles that give a rather more challenging trial. But for others, it will be a piece of cake, since the challenge in New Super Mario Bros. 2 is much less important than Super Mario 3D Land, which is already considered an episode for beginners. It is plain simple: arriving at the third level, you will have collected more than fifty lives, which gives you this rather justifiable feeling of relaxation that nothing can go wrong, reducing pressure we learned to love.
We sadly can freely justify this feeling of déjà-vu and déjà-played, playing on the nostalgic aspect of the series, New Super Mario Bros. 2 is by far the least inspired opus of the Mario family.
In reality, the primary interest of New Super Mario Bros. 2, this is the gold rush. For some unknown reason, Mario has made up his mind to get one million gold pieces, something we would be used to understand from his evil cousin Wario.
But unfortunately, access to such a score is not an end in itself to the game, and only players daring to go for the goal will go for the Coin Rush mode, which is play as a three random course time attack challenge. Even like that, everything is rather prepared conveniently for the player, who can now use the gold block, which releases coins while running.
It’s even easier when Mario dons his golden suit, throwing nuke-like fireballs, turning any enemy unit in coins. All the gameplay of this New Super Mario Bros. 2 is articulated around this collection, is almost as close as the gold fever.
At the end of the day, we can agree all on one thing: we are much used to more creativity from Nintendo and this title sadly falls behind.