New Super Mario Bros. 2 is a Mario game built around the principle of collecting coins. A lot of coins.
There’s some sense to the notion that having so many coins available at any given time takes a little value away from this experience. Certainly, by setting a goal of 1,000,000 coins in front of the player the moment they start Mario’s newest adventure, Nintendo had to make more coins present in every single level. And they’ve done so.
New power-ups will add to your coin count, jumping towards certain corners of each stage will make coins appear, the Coin Rush mode will encourage you to pile the Mushroom Kindgom gold on in heaps… seemingly, everything you do translates to earning more coins.
The downside? Coins quickly become worthless. Playing any Mario sidescroller before this one, players were encouraged to hit 100 coins as often as they could. Doing so would earn them a 1UP, the tokens needed to get beyond the tougher stages down the line in Mario’s campaign.
With an ever-present plethora of coins, players constantly earn 1UPs. I mean, constantly. You’ll snag five on any given playthrough of one stage. By the end of this game, with a healthy heap of death, I had well over 200 lives in the bag. 200 lives. I can remember blasting through the 3rd Super Mario with roughly 10 lives the entire time.
So, with the new 1,000,000 coin objective, some of the challenge and drive for this experience has been removed. The thing, though, is that 1,000,000 coins will be exceptionally tough to get to. In more than a week of constantly play, I only have 50,000 coins. Yep, 950,000 to go. I don’t see it happening.
That said, those who are in love with this game and want a reason to keep coming back, collecting 1,000,000 coins will eat up a ton of time.
If you’ve played a sidescrolling Mario title since the launch of New Super Mario Bros. for the DS in 2006, you know what you’re getting into. Minor new mechanics aside, this feels like a bit of a copy-and-paste effort from Nintendo. The assets, the music and the general gist are all in place, and they feel tired.
The good news? Some of the classic Mario charm has returned in spades with New Super Mario Bros. 2 as well. Most notably is the raccoon tail and the glory it delivers. Full flight is back in this Mario sidescroller, something that’s been missing since Super Mario World. The designers at Nintendo EAD have built this new campaign around flight and the variety it can add to levels.
Remember back when you played Super Mario World for the second or third time and you discovered an unending rabbit hole of secrets based on getting into a single, tiny section of some random level? Do you remember the route you took to get all the way to and beyond the Star World? That magic is back. The hidden secrets and tiny, secret holes have returned.
More than the lust for coins, more than the drive to complete the game, I kept returning to New Super Mario Bros. 2 because of its secrets.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a Mario title through and through. The whole entire base is starting to feel very old and heavily recycled. Nintendo will need to reinvent this wheel soon if they hope to get more life out of it.
However, for now, New Super Mario Bros. 2 is a brilliant entry in the Nintendo 3DS’ catalogue. It’s a bit old hat, but it delivers the spirit fans love.
CraveOnline received a digital copy of New Super Mario Bros. 2 for the Nintendo 3DS from Nintendo nearly two weeks before the game’s launch. We played the title to completion (and then some) before starting this review.