New Super Mario Bros Wii

Mario…how can I paint you in a positive light? You and Nintendo brought gaming back from the brink of death. You are a worldwide celebrity on par with Mickey Mouse. You have saved the same princess from the same angry turtle monster for the past 20 years. That is what New Super Mario Bros is, a fresh coat of paint on a game you’ve played countless times before.

The story is as simple as always. Mario, Luigi, and a couple of Toads are at a party for Princess Peach. An ominously large cake is brought in when suddenly Bowser’s reptile children spring from it and run off with Peach. Cue the long journey to multiple castles where the Princess is not.

The game is set up near identically to Super Mario 3. There are nine worlds with a total of 88 levels. You move from level to level on the map depicting each world. There are two castle segments where you fight the same Koopa kid per world. Along the way, you stop at Toad’s house to gather power ups for later use.

What makes this version of Mario so “new” and “exciting” is that it supports four players. Things can get hectic and a little out of hand when four people are playing at once, but I suppose that is part of the charm. So long is one player remains alive, you can continue playing the level, freeing your fallen comrades from bubbles as they float by.

Powerups are of the standard fare from mushrooms to Yoshi. New to this outing are the ice flower which freezes enemies, the propeller hat which allows players to fly, and the penguin suit that grants better control in water and freezing powers.

Graphically, it is a cute game. Everything is crisp and has a friendly vibe to it. The soundtrack is the standard Mario fare with some remixes thrown in. The replay value is on the higher end as there are multiple coins and trapped Toads to be rescued.

While I personally cannot stand Mario, there are those that love the monotonous play. The children I tested the game on where not among those that enjoyed it. They were my girlfriend’s daughters, aged nine and six. After a half hour of play and fighting with one another, they had enough. The most common complaint was that it was too hard. I tend to agree. Mario has always been a series that initiates those unfamiliar with games. Even with this outing goes back to the directional pad and two buttons, some of the actions required to progress gave even me a challenge. It seems that this Mario was designed for those that enjoy the repetition this series brings and have played the same game over the past 20 years.