It's been a while since Nintendo last mentioned New Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo DS, but the latest issue of Famitsu gives some fresh details on the latest adventure for the plumbing pair.
For the first time in a side-scrolling Mario game, New Super Mario Bros. will let two gamers play simultaneously. The game's producer, Tezuka Takushi, explained in the article that simultaneous play wasn't really possible in past side-scrolling Mario games because both players had to be restricted to the same screen, a problem the DS gets around nicely with its two screens and wireless capabilities. While players can work together to achieve their goals in this mode, Tezuka said that the two-player action will be primarily competitive.
The game limits the versus mode to two players, but Tezuka said that there will also be minigames that can be played by up to four players. In addition to original minigames, Tezuka also hopes to port the minigames from Super Mario 64 on the DS, albeit with some tunings to make them enjoyable for multiplayer competition.
While New Super Mario Bros. uses 3D graphics, it's fundamentally a side-scrolling game. And as such, the developer is throwing in plenty of nostalgia-driven references to the original game. In addition to hidden blocks that hide 1UP mushrooms and stage-ending flagpoles, gamers can expect to run into 3D versions of familiar foes, like goombas, piranha plants, and cheep cheeps.
In terms of music, New Super Mario Bros. will feature a mix of new tunes and arranged tracks from the original game. And, of course, the game will include the classic Super Mario theme.
As previous images released by Nintendo have shown, New Super Mario Bros. introduces various new elements to the series, such as a pump-up mushroom that can be inflated and picked up to make Mario as big as the screen. If beefing up isn't your thing, Famitsu reveals that Mario can shrink himself to fit into tight spaces. Other bits of the classic Mario gameplay are being tweaked as well. For instance, after defeating a koopa troopa, Mario can take the remaining shell and use it to slide himself into enemies instead of merely kicking the shell away.
For more on the game, which is scheduled to be released in 2006, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.