9

Game is great.

PROS: Great graphics; easy controls; varied levels; awesome music

CONS: Too short; way too easy; not enough voiceovers; plot seriously lacking; where's Yoshi?

An old-school Mario platformer for the DS? Count me in!

OK, maybe not. This game isn't what it could've been.

At first glance, this game looks amazing. You can turn into a gigantic Mario and blaze a path of destruction like General William Tecumseh Sherman did way back in the American Civil War. This is only fun the first few times because it's only applicable to certain levels. Some of the levels have absolutely no use of the Mega Mushroom because of low ledges, huge gaps, and not enough stuff to smash through. Also, using a Mega Mushroom makes Mario immortal from any enemy attacks. And it's not easy to fall into a hole unless there's one beneath the entire level. This makes any level it's applicable to 100 times easier than it could be.

Overall, this game is way too easy to be worth $35. I bought this game two days before a vacation and I was already 75% of the way through before the vacation started. That's a huge problem here, Nintendo. You made this game way too easy. The Mega Mushrooms make some levels way too easy. Also, there are cannons on some worlds that will launch you three worlds ahead, making you able to skip two entire worlds. There are also two alternate routes, which shouldn't be optional because the required levels don't take long to get through. I didn't expect to beat this game in three days because Super Mario World for the SNES, which is a better game, even today, took me about a month when I was five years old. In addition, this game doesn't have the cool stuff that that game had. Where the hell is Yoshi? Mario fans adore the green dinosaur, and he's completely missing here. That completely blows. Also, instead of getting a cape to fly with, we get a Blue Koopa Shell. The control of this shell is completely clunky, so it's unusable on several levels. When you run for a short distance, you duck into the shell and have to let go at the precise time or you'll fall into a gap. You'll die more often using the shell than you'll die when you're not using it. In fact, this game is so easy that you'll rarely die when you're not using the shell. Since the Koopa Shell isn't that easy to come by, it's a relief. It's only semi-useful in the first because you'll miss your enemies because you have to jump correctly while in the shell. Overall, the shell is a huge letdown because they could've taken it out to make room for a flying cape, or better, YOSHI!!

The on-foot controls are solid here, although Mario does slide a little bit after you stop running. This can be used to your advantage in specific situations, and you'll be using it only a couple times. The game doesn't use too many buttons, so nobody will have any trouble mastering the controls, but it might take a little bit getting used to how Mario moves here. You'll eventually forget it's there, like I did. Fortunately, I remembered it when I wrote this.

The graphics in this game are beautiful by DS standards. A 2D sidescroller in 3D? Awesome. The characters are wonderfully rendered and the environments feel cool, even though they are completely recycled in any given world. Also, the music is amazing. It modernizes classic Mario tunes, but there's still enough good stuff to keep the old-school fans entertained in the three days they play this. Some of these tunes will be stuck in your head, others won't. Overall, the graphics and the music are plusses here.

The plot, however, is a letdown. Some explosion occurs at Princess Peach's castle and when Mario goes to investigate, Baby Bowser snatches Peach from behind his back. Mario chases the little brat all over the map. That's all. There are towers here, and Baby Bowser is the boss in every one of them. He only has two fighting styles, one of which is used in the first six worlds. Nice going, Nintendo, you forgot to change it up a bit. There's also a castle at the end of every world, in which there's a bigger boss. Only one of these bosses caused head pains. Another one did when I had to go back as Mini Mario, where you need to beat the boss when you're the size of a grain of rice so you can get to the alternate world. There are two instances where that occurs, and both are pretty difficult. Those are the only times where this game is challenging, and they don't fit in with the rest of the game's easy levels. You'll use Mini Mario a couple other times, too, but mainly just for a while. Mini Mario isn't that easy to see on the screen (it's not as well done as on Zelda: The Minish Cap, where there's a bubble to see where you are), and if you touch an enemy, unless you ground pound directly above it, you die. It'll happen. A lot. Some levels require you to use a stored Mini Mushroom in a specific spot to get to a star coin, which are used to access huts which save the game when you do so. You only get one save per hut, and these huts provide you with items. There are free life huts, Mega Mushroom huts, and Mushroom huts (where you can get a Mushroom, Fire Flower, Mini Mushroom, or Koopa Shell). These also help make the game incredibly easy. And you can only save the game by spending five star coins on one of these, or beating a tower or castle for the first time. This is aggravating at times. There are three star coins on each level, and there are several that are so easy to get that you wonder why they're even in there. You'll have no problem getting several star coins, so saving the game won't actually be a problem. But you can actually beat the game without using any huts in only three days. Not even the free life ones because it's so easy to get free lives. The game placed them everywhere, and 100 coins = free life. There are so many coins available to you, and you can even get free lives by causing major destruction with a Mega Mushroom. My point is: Nintendo made this game way too easy.

The levels, however, are all pretty awesome. Some of them are too short, but there's variety aplenty here. Each of the eight worlds has unique levels. Whether you're riding an elevator platform higher into the sky, delving into an underground sewer, riding on the back of a giant Wiggler, or dodging molten rocks, this game has quite the variety. Several of these levels are fun, however, several of the other levels appear recycled, and some of them in later worlds feel like repeats of older ones. And, plus, the difficulty doesn't change throughout the game. The same enemies- Koopas, Goombas, Bullet Bills, and Boos- are used throughout the entire game. The difficulty never increases, making some of the later levels feel nearly identical to some of the earlier ones. Other levels are unique and fun the first time through, but there's only a handful which you'll want to play over and over again.

I am saying that this is a good game, but it just doesn't live up to the hype. It could've been a whole lot better than this, too, if Nintendo wouldn't have made it easier than making cookies. In fact, it takes longer to make three batches of cookies than it does to beat this game. Don't buy New Super Mario Bros. Rent it. It's not worth paying $35 to buy a game that you'll beat in two or three days when you can rent it for a week for only $8. And since this game is the same every time through, it pretty much has little replay value. They did add four-player minigame action, but it's the exact same minigames as Mario 64 DS. There's a head-to-head multiplayer mode, which is very similar to the main game only with two players facing mano a mano. None of this could save this game from the score this game is getting. New Super Mario Bros. is a letdown. I hope that a "newer" Mario game comes out after the PSP's death that makes it clear that Nintendo rules the handheld market, because this one proves that Nintendo doesn't want to challenge their gamers. New Super Mario Bros. is entertaining while it lasts, and that's not a very long time. A 6 out of 10.

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