Super Mario Bros Wii Review (Wii)
Nostalgia is back in style and the huge success of the newest Super Mario Bros game on the Wii is a true testament to the trend. With over ten million copies sold its clear that plenty of gamers are not only pining for the less graphic intensive games of their childhood, but also appreciate excellent game play.
As a long time Mario fan I truly felt that the soul of the Super Mario games was lost once they switched to 3D. But they are finally back, in original 2D with one of their best titles since Super Mario World.
From what I have read, the resurrection of Super Mario Bros is not solely about nostalgia (shocking I know!!) According to Miyamoto (the creator of Mario) he has been trying to integrate multiplayer into the Mario games for a long time and finally found a solution in the Wii.
It’s a new feature that I took full advantage of, as I played almost the entire game in multiplayer mode.
Warning!! Multiplayer is not for the faint of heart or for the overly competitive and serious. It requires a copious amount of good humor or a Zen like take on dying and restarting, preferably both.
Release date: Nov 15 2009
Platform I played on: Wii
Genre: 2d jumping platformer
I shall not say too much about the specifics, as the classic Super Mario game play is really a triumphant historical marker in the game industry, akin to the invention of the wheel. (Not that I’m biased or anything!) =D
Side scrolling platform jumping game awesomeness. If that doesn’t immediately conjure nostalgic memories of hours at the arcade or in front of the SNES, then I am including some video links just for you.
For all you laymen this is an excellent collection of videos, one for each level in fact. Highlights the game play for Super Mario Bros Wii.
This site’s videos are dedicated to finding the super secret stars. It does have commercials, which it didn’t when I first noticed it.
GameSpy has an excellent walkthrough of the game also, especially if you are looking for secrets or how to get the most out of your game.
IGN’s Red Mushroom house cheat sheet. http://faqs.ign.com/articles/105/1050206p1.html
Some new features:
Each level contains three star coins. Collect these to purchase bonus videos inside Princess Peach’s castle (its found back in world one). These are only revealed if you have discovered some of the secrets hidden in the levels, like extra coin areas and alternative level endings. (Yes you read that correctly, the videos not only have to be revealed, they also have to be purchased. Though a few of them are free. Go watch them, they are jaw dropping.)
In single player mode, if you fail a level eight times the game gives you help. They call it the Super Guide. A game controlled Luigi takes a spin through the level displaying the optimal and safest route. But don’t despair if you can’t follow suit, once Luigi is done, he lets you skip the level if you want too.
Also, each level has a halfway marker. Once reached, you will restart from that location until you have completed the level.
World and Story
Peach has been Bowser-napped again! Mario and cohorts must traverse the eight worlds in search of her highness. Naturally she is only to be found in the very last castle (always in the last place you look!) There are plenty of levels and castles to search along the way, and Bowser of course left swaths of his best minions behind.
Once saved, Princess Peach reveals a hidden ninth world – a world with only eight levels, one level per each previous world. They are locked until you have found all the star coins for the world that shares the number with the levels found in world nine. So for example, once all the star coins for world one have been found, level one in world nine will be unlocked and playable.
Anyone accustomed with the Super Mario Worlds will find the world and level set up rather familiar. Each world has a theme that is expanded upon in each of the levels. And possibly most important, there are plenty of nostalgia moments to be found, including the graphics.
It still boasts the classic side scrolling 2D fabulousness that we all remember, but there are added elements and embellishments that give the game more depth than its 2D predecessors.
The world selection screen is a clear nod to 3D, as selecting involves rotating through the 3D representations of the worlds, somewhat like a little globe.
Practice makes perfect, or in our case, practice might just let us finish a level. Most levels will require multiple goes at, especially if you are looking for secret exits and such. And if you are trying for all three stars, it might just require twenty or more attempts. =)
Replaying is certainly a huge part of the game, or maybe I should call it re-attempting.
The new thing, the big shiny, the whipped cream with a cherry on top, is multiplayer, or as some people are calling it “simultaneous multiplayer”. This essentially means that all players share the same screen (no split screen). Reminds me very much of Gauntlet multiplayer.
Divorce Mode, as multiplayer was aptly dubbed by the folks over at Penny Arcade, is not what I would call cooperative. There are just too many ways (intentional or unintentional) to mess up other players. Sharing a screen with three other players and a bunch of monsters leaves the playing zone a bit crowded.
Sharing does boast some advantages like jumping on top of friends results in a much higher jump or simultaneous ground pounds will wipe the screen clean of fiends. Having a buddy can be great!
Bubble mode was also introduced in multiplayer, as a way to deal with party members dying (or so I think anyway). When a player dies (granted they aren’t the last left alive, and they still have available lives) they return to the screen floating in a little bubble. The bubble will only burst, and thus release its occupant, when a non bubbled character touches it. You can home in on a friendly target, while in a bubble, by shaking the controller vigorously.
Bubble mode can also be self induced, which is a great way to catch up when left behind, or save yourself when you miss a jump and are plunging to your doom.
Things that bothered me
-Collision and sharing
When player characters can collide, sharing the space becomes of the utmost importance.
Here is where the “easy to mess up other players” comes in. You can push players off of things, you can pick them up and throw them, and you can jump on top of them, thus interrupting their jump.
These are all things that can actually be quite beneficial, but most of the time, if you are just trying to make it through, the other players get in the way. Never mind if you have a partner that feels the need to repeatedly pick you up and throw you into lava.
If you do, I say learn how to bubble, learn it well.
When a character dies the entire game pauses. When someone gets a power up the game pauses. Pauses that are unexpected result in disruptions in the force. I can’t count the times I was just about to jump, some idiot died, the game pause, my jump never registered, and I died.
Pauses cause more death.
-Not really multiplayer
Once the levels become more demanding the game becomes infinitely easier when played by only one character. Actually toward the end of the game, we pretty much all took turns (some more than others), but essentially it was one person playing the game while the rest of us bubbled through as much of the level as we could.
It just doesn’t seem like multiplayer was taken much into account when the levels were designed. I think the worst culprit was level 8-1; it was certainly the first level that we all agreed had to have just one person attempting it for the entirety of the level.
What makes it so tricky is that it’s forced scroll, meaning you have to move forward at a decent pace or be obliterated by the massive cloud that is bearing down on you, and (adding injury to insult) it is populated with these little platforms that tip over as soon as someone touches them. Which means that if you aren’t keeping up with the first person you will be stuck without any way to get over the lava.
And that is but one example. Throughout the whole game there were plenty of situations where the burden of success is left to one person. It’s certainly easier and sometimes seems impossible to succeed any other way.
We have played a good thirty five hours of the game. Which has gotten us through all the levels in each of the eight worlds. Yes, we have revealed the ninth world, but currently only have two of the eight levels in world nine unlocked. Which leaves our current mission at collecting all the missing star coins.
Of course we have gotten all the easy ones, now only the hard ones are left. And though we have every intention of collecting all those pesky coins, our most recent bout has left us rather unenthused about continuing on this rather aggravating endeavor.
I have to say that I’m not quite sure why they suddenly designated the Wii as Mario Multiplayer capable. Seems very much like any of the previous Super Mario games could have easily duplicated this multiplayer feat. What makes this Super Mario game on the Wii so much more worthy?