8.4

A Welcome return to the classic style, complete with the new moves that he's picked up over the years. Added Minigames m

New Super Mario Bros is a game that has been planned since practically the birth of the DS. We all knew it was coming, and we waited an age. Its surprising that there hasn't been a new 2D style Mario in over 10 years. We all loved the classic original, with Super Mario Bros 3 being the best thing you could see on the NES at the time. Super Mario World took things to a new level, and Yoshi's Island was just fantastic. So in 2006, we welcome Mario and Luigi back to their roots.

The plot is a no brainer. In fact, like all Mario games, its totally predictable. Mario and Peach are taking a walk around Mushroom Kingdom, when the castle is attacked. Mario runs off to investigate. Its a diversion, as Bowser Jr. kidnaps her and runs off. Mario chases. Its a return to the usual Mario fare really.

The world is set out pretty much like Super Mario Bros 3. There are different Icons for different areas. Normal worlds appear in steps, and have an environment around it, so you get the idea of what sort of level it is. There are also Warp Pipes, Mushroom Houses, 1-Up houses and Super Mushroom Houses. In each world, there is a castle and at least one tower. Towers contain a mini-boss, and castles, big bosses. In the first world, players are treated to a semi-familiar miniboss, and a VERY familiar boss!
But as you explore the levels, you may come across some unusually large coins. What are they? Well, in order to access some of the places around the worlds, you need Star Coins to pay. There are 3 in each level, and are quite accessible, though some are more hidden.

Mario's reportoire of moves has increased. This is because of the N64 incarnations, and their influence on the series. He can now ground pound and wall jump! He has the old Mushroom and Fire Flower at his disposal, but he also has a Mini-Mushroom, which turns him tiny, to fit into small pipes and holes. He also has a shell, which makes him act like a Koopa Troopa when he runs. Speaking of Koopa Troopas, they're here! And Goombas! In fact all the familiar enemies are all here. There are one or two new ones as well, but done in the same style. The levels themselves are a homage to the original classics. There is even a level with the climbing frames from Super Mario World, and killing the Koopa Troopas by punching the frame is still hilarious.

The game isn't 100% linear though. To minimally complete the game, you need to complete 6 Worlds. There are two secret worlds (well, knowing how to get there is a secret) that you can explore. While this is a nice incentive to play the game more, it does slice up the game's lifespan greatly.

Another thing is the bosses themselves. If you manage to have the Fire Flower, most will drop with a barrage of fireballs. No skill involved. In fact, the only boss that proves semi-difficult is the last boss(es). However, having said that, the game's bosses do really weird, and sometimes daft things, so the hilarity of Mario still goes strong.

The game has its own quirks. When you put your DS on standby (closing the lid), Mario will say "Goodbye". When opened, he says "Its'a Me, Mario!". This just goes to show how well Nintendo know their console, and it is a nice, and original feature.

The game also features two other modes. One, totally multiplayer mode, named Mario Vs Luigi. This is basically racing through stages. I personally love the idea, and the way they've done it resembles their earlier attempt at link racing (Super Mario Bros DX for the GBC). Eventually though, the novelty of this wears off, but you can always do things to make it more interesting, such as have a tournament, or bet... I dunno.

When that wears off, there is a multi-player/single player mini-game mode. This also has been done before, a little more recently, in Super Mario 64 DS. However, while some are the same, there are some different ones. One of which involves you blowing into the microphone. I always thought though, that the Microphone was a gimmick. The other games are carefully planned though, and can waste a couple of hours, when with a friend.

All I can say is, Mario is back to his original self. While the title isn't as long as Super Mario World or Yoshi's Island, and certainly not as long as I wished, it does have an incredible amount of charm, and if single player starts to grind on you, then the multiplayer facilities won't disappoint. Like you would get bored of the Single Player options though!

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