NEW Super Mario Bros.
by Polly

Hooooooooooooooly fuck, there goes the princess again! Exactly how long has it been since we've had an all-new, side-scrolling 2D Super Mario Bros. experience? Far too fucking long if you ask me.

I'm one of the few who will proudly exclaim to the heavens that Super Mario 64 did absolutely nothing for me. I thought it was boring and the camera irritated the fucking hell out of me, no matter how much effort I dumped into trying to work around with it. I hated that the levels were just great big "playgrounds" and that you had to collect a specific amount of stars in order to progress past playing the same 2-3 levels over and over.

Then along comes Super Mario 64's [REDACTED]ed cousin, Stupid Mario Buttshine for the GameCube. "Mario without jumping," they said. "Have a nancy little foo-foo waterpack," they said. "SHINE GET!" THEY FUCKING SAID! Well I said, "FUCK YOU, YOU FUCKING FUCK ASS FUCKER!" after my 28th or 29th failed attempt at navigating around a tower with said nancy little foo-foo waterpack. If I could JUMP that shit woulda been cake...and FUN! If I'd had a fire flower, maybe most of those bosses wouldn't have been as FUCKING ANNOYING as they were.

But hey, I'm set in my ways and I don't adapt very well to change. I wanna start at Point A in Stage 1 and get to Point B so I can go to Stage 2!

THANKFULLY, somebody out there was paying attention to that little voice of my inner-child crying out all these years in anguish and got together a team to do something about it. And now, thanks to the meds, I'm down to only four nervous breakdowns a week, but enough about me! You're here to read about THE BEST FUCKING DS GAME CURRENTLY ON THE MARKET!

It's Always The Same Damn Story With You, Isn't It?
It's the same story as always. That blonde twit of a princess has gone and gotten herself kidnapped AGAIN! Guess what you getta do... Yeah, that's right. You're gonna be hanging out in fields and sewers, eatin' shrooms, and jumping on turtles again till this shit is over. Just like my childhood!

Yes, though it says "NEW" on the box, there aren't a whole lot of "new" ideas here at all. That's not a bad thing, either. New Super Mario Bros. takes almost every little nuance of gameplay featured throughout the series, tosses it in a blender, turns that shit up on high, and just fucking EXPLODES IN YOUR FACE with a load of gameplay goo that'll have you lapping it up and begging for more.

Wow... That shit was nasty!

Hello There, Gorgeous!
My GOD is this game pretty! Seriously, I wish I could reach into my DS Lite's screen, pull out all the graphics, throw them on a plate and just eat them. They're so vibrant and charming your teeth might just rot out from over-exposure. Everything is done in 3D, but the action takes place on a simple 2D plane. The game makes excellent use of its 3D assets with nothing EVER seeming out of place or wonky as is the case most of the time in 3D/2D games.

Mario and Luigi are animated quite nicely and definitely have a bit of a cutesy/goofy vibe going for them as all of their actions are nicely exaggerated as they need to be. ALL of the game's enemies are a definite high point here. Though most simply creep toward you from the right side of the screen almost unmenacingly at times, they all stand out and have a personality all their own. Goombas plodding toward you while bopping up and down in time with the stage music and Koopa Troopas diligently marching toward their own certain demise have an unexplainable and unbelievable charm that almost makes it hard to wanna put em out of their misery most of the time. Boss monsters are also here, packing their own bit of attitude as well, and though some can get as big as half of the screen, they're still undeniably charming and well-done.

Stage backgrounds are also quite a wonderful sight. All of the game's worlds carry a particular theme and the stages within those worlds go along with that. Burning hot deserts, dark and murky jungles, and arctic mountain range-esque areas are all presented beautifully here with no shortage of detail and vibrant colors.

I have to say, that I think that in order for anyone to truly appreciate this game's graphics, you'll definitely wanna see it on a DS Lite as opposed to Ol' Fatass.

The audio is simply a treat for anyone who's been a fan of the Mario games for any amount of time. All the game's sound effects are easily recognizable as they're clearly lifted from the older games and dropped in here for nostalgia's sake. And really, why would you want another "enemy dies" sound than the one we've grown so used to all these years? The tunes are a healthy mix of old remixed tunes and some newer catchy material to keep the whole thing from sounding too recycled.

Everything Old Is New Again
New Super Mario Bros. gameplay and level design are absolutely fucking awesome. Period. Mario's arsenal of moves and power-ups are a mishmash of older gameplay material with a new trick or two thrown in here and there. Though moves like the wall jump, triple jump, and ass stomp are here, you likely won't always find them useful. The same can be said of the new Mega Mushroom, Mini Mushroom, and Turtle Shell. They don't appear often enough to really be of much use, but they are quite fun. Come on, who doesn't fucking love growing to the size of the screen and absolutely mowing over EVERY obstacle in your path? It's just too fucking funny the first time you see it.

Every area has a unique obstacle to overcome, which really makes each new level something to look forward to. There's also a healthy supply of bosses locked, loaded, and ready to test your reflexes with simplistic patterns, but most fall entirely too fast if you're fire-powered.

And that's one of the big problems with New Super Mario Bros. It's a little too generous with power-ups, and WAAAAY too generous with 1-ups. I literally had 34 lives by the first time I'd finished the first world map. You'll have a much harder time trying to collect all 3 of each stage's Star Coins than you will just trying to finish the level itself. It's nice to have that added bit of challenge, but it somehow feels a tad misplaced. There are a few stages here and there that'll throw a curveball, but for the most part, you'll cruise right on through if you just take your time and have fire power.

The fact that there are so many levels per map, and that there are a ton of secret levels and hidden exits a-la Super Mario World really helps you to keep playing until every secret has been unlocked. And by the time it's all over, it still manages to feel worth it.

Know what else is fucking great about this game? NO UNNECESSARY STYLUS USAGE!

But Wait... I Got More.
Though the single player portion of the game is quite large, there's another whole smorgasbord of content left to fool around with once you've exhausted every secret of the main game. New Super Mario Bros. features an extensive set of one and two player mini-games that can keep the fun going long before you decide to finally toss this one into your closet for a few years.

I've never been able to stand mini-games in anything. They usually just annoy the hell out of me, and in one case (Breath of Fire IV) completely ruined the game for me. Such is not the case with New Super Mario Bros. my friend. Oh no. Fuck no!

New Super Mario Bros'. mini-games are just as fucking fun as the main game itself. I know that's a bold statement, but I mean every damn word of it. I'd venture to say, I've spent just as much time playing the mini-games as I have on the single player adventure. There's such a huge variety of things to do here.

Mario vs Luigi is excellent fun for two players and you only need one cart for it! Myself and a friend get into heated vs matches with one another that have lasted in excess of two hours! One player takes Mario, the other Luigi. Three stars are scattered throughout a level and the first one to capture all three is the winner. Getting hit by enemies or your opponent makes you drop a star and then it goes bouncing off further into the stage giving your opponent a chance to make a steal. It's simple, fast-paced, and oftentimes laugh out loud fun that hasn't been done right since Sonic The Hedgehog 2's split screen races to the finish. This mode alone, and a friend to play it with make the game worth AT LEAST a rental.

Other mini-games employ use of the stylus, and though I usually hate unnecessary stylus use, these games manage to be both fun and challenging without ever getting annoying. Mario-ized 5 Card Draw, a re-done version of Super Mario Bros. 3's Match game, a ping-pong game where Mario is the ball and you have to keep him from plummetting to his doom, a sling-shot basketball game, whack-a-mole, and fucking hell the list just keeps going on and on, just rest assured, there's probably something here for everyone to get a little bit of enjoyment out of.

The bottom line is that this game is fun. It doesn't matter that it doesn't do anything new or completely turn the genre on its ear with some new gimmick. It's simplya Mario's Greatest Hits compilation. All the good stuff's right here in one convenient package. Though the lack of challenge is a bit of a turn-off, the game's still a "Must own" for any DS owner. Come for the new adventure, stay for the mini-games.

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