New Super Mario Bros. 2, according to most reviews that I was reading online, was sub-par compared to its predecessor, New Super Mario Bros. So when I picked it up and started playing with my brother, I wasn’t expecting too much, and what I got was something that, to me, was just as good as – if not better – than New Super Mario Bros.
This is the worst part of New Super Mario Bros. 2. The graphics and music are exactly the same as New Super Mario Bros. and New Super Mario Bros. Wii. While those worlds, models, backgrounds, and music are all passable and allow you to enjoy the game, I was hoping for something a little different. Maybe a different song here and an entirely new level there. If you look at New Super Mario Bros. U, you notice that the style of the game is completely different in backgrounds and in actual models (except for Mario), and I was hoping they’d do something like that with New Super Mario Bros. 2. I mean, would it have killed Nintendo to put in a monochrome or all gold/silver world? That would’ve been cool!
Where New Super Mario Bros. 2 excels is in its gameplay. I haven’t really played the game solo yet, instead opting to complete the game with my brother, but I would assume it’s still as fun as the rest of the New Super Mario Bros. series. The amount of coins is the only difference you’re going to see in gameplay, and while you’ll probably be obtaining a ridiculous amount of lives, the levels aren’t drop-dead easy, and trying to get as many coins as possible is harder than you think. But let’s talk about the co-op.
The co-op is, simply put, fantastic. Not only do you get a x2 coin bonus when both Mario and Luigi are on-screen, but the levels are just begging to be played in co-op. So far, there is only one level my brother and I found ridiculously difficult with two players, but other than that, every level has been awesome for co-op. In reviews, I heard that the camera is a gripe, but I disagree. My brother and I have been able to stay on-screen for most of our time playing, and when we haven’t, there’s the ever-omnipotent bubble to bring us back together. Many of the harder challenges in single-player (like getting to a specific warp pipe) is made simple in co-op, but it still requires a degree of skill to learn how to bounce each other around (especially when moving forward).
The camera itself will not only focus on Mario. If Mario dies, Luigi is the first to go through a warp pipe, or Luigi reaches the checkpoint first, the camera will switch to him (and vice-versa if the camera is on Luigi). Also, you can take the camera away performing a ground pound on the bro with the camera. Sometimes, the bro without the camera will fall behind and be caught in a bubble loop, but this has happened so few times that it’s negligible to really talk about. If you and your friend are roughly the same level of player, you shouldn’t be having any problems with the camera.
Aside from the co-op, there’s one extra feature that I am currently addicted to, and that is Coin Rush. Coin Rush is very simple – you are randomly selected 3 levels (the last always being a mid-point or ending castle), and you have 100 seconds for each level to get through it as fast as you can and collect as many coins as you can. As a gamer who loves to speed run, this mode is right up my alley, and I love it.
The best part is the ability to play as either regular Mario or White Raccoon Mario (which is a Tanooki Suit and Star combined). This lends itself to some rather interesting strategy – should you play as regular Mario or White Raccoon Mario? I’m sure some of you are thinking White Raccoon Mario, but you’d be wrong – regular Mario is usually the better choice, and here’s why: golden hoops. If you go through a red hoop, you have the ability to get 8 red coins – if you go through a golden hoop, then every enemy becomes golden and has different properties to earn coins (Koopas leave a trail of coins behind them, Lakitus throw coins, Boos spawn coins behind them and run away from you, etc…). As regular Mario, you can take advantage of jumping on Goombas and earning more coins with every consecutive bounce or following a golden koopa shell as it spawns coins after being kicked. Regular Mario has access to the Gold Fire Flower, which makes Mario’s Fire Ball turn everything into coins. White Raccoon Mario does not have access to those, and that really makes the difference in the amount of coins you can get. However, there are certain levels where White Raccoon Mario outperforms regular Mario.
Now, since it’s random when playing normal Coin Rush, this isn’t really something to think about – but when you start using Street Pass to pass along your best record (which you can save), you can challenge those records (meaning you play the same three levels they did), and that’s where picking which Mario to play becomes important.
New Super Mario Bros. 2, while really lacking new graphics and music, makes up for it with its incredible co-op and surprisingly deep Coin Rush mode. If you’re a fan of the New Super Mario Bros. series, definitely pick this game up.