9.6

New Super Mario Bros. renews a classic series and takes us back to 2D platforming with a 3D twist.

It's been 15 years since Mario was jumping on goombas in Dinosaur Land. We had other Mario Games, but let's face it, we needed our good old side scrolling fix.

That's where New Super Mario Bros. delivers. It's just the right mix of old-school meets new-school to create a game that feels like the classics, but remembers to incorporate new elements to keep it fresh.

Gameplay: At First Impression I felt that Mario ran slower than in previous games and found myself frustrated with this. Somewhere around the first mid-level tower i had completely forgotten about it. It plays mostly like Super Mario Bros. so youll depend more on timed jumps rather than speed (Super Mario Bros. 3). The game features the essential power-ups: Super Mushroom, Fire Flower, Starman, plus some new ones: Micro Mushroom (shrinks Mario), Mega Mushroom (makes Mario giant) and the ever do hard to control Blue Shell (seriously get some practice on this). I wasnt really impressed with the variety since older games seem to have more range when it came to power ups but it will do.

Graphics: New and old enemies with most models taken from their 3D incarnations. Goes to show that 2D gameplay with 3D graphics was the way to go. Beautiful Backdrops. I found myself staring at the background design more than once, and getting killed for it. No complains in this area.

Sound: Music score with a new main land theme and plenty of remade classic themes such as the Underground theme, Ghost House theme and Fortress theme. The sound bits for the original were used for jumping, squashing, powering -up and just about anything Mario does with the exception of the phrase "Here we go!" when blown out from a pipe. Good Sound Quality.

Replay Value: Average considering this is a action platformer. The first play-through will most likely have you skipping 2 entire worlds since they are only accesible through certain methods. It gives you something to go back and do but at the same time limits the length of the game. Perhaps leaving the main game intact and having some kind of SPECIAL world would have been a better choice. Also collecting Star Coins (3 hidden in each level) will allow you to buy more paths and levels.

Overall great game, almost a classic but not quite. Having said that Im very hopefull that the next installment (come Nintendo, you know you have to!) will be even better.

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