Most of us have 'been there, done that' with NSMB2, but even so, Nintendo still knows how to make quality games.
With a coin counter on the bottom of your screen, you'll know just how many coins you've collected and realize that getting that million-coin prize isn't as easy as it seems. Grab a Golden Block and Mario puts it on his head to become a coin-spouting one-arm-bandit. Grab the all-familiar Super Leaf and become the legendary Raccoon Mario (or Fox Luigi) and take flight to secret areas. And last, but not least, grab a Golden Flower and throw gigantic, exploding fireballs that turn bricks into coins. There's also the mini and Mega Mushroom from the first NSMB game, although they are seldom found but still just as fun to use.
The level design is, I personally think, better than that in the 2006 game, although don't expect anything truly 'new' here. There are some secret areas that may stump you for a while as to their whereabouts, but for the most part, everything is laid out in plain view and thus the levels are typically a breeze to complete. The 3D effect works well enough, although some people may be turned off by it, as the background blurs out the higher the 3D slider is set. I personally don't mind it as it's a nice illusion, but it's nothing more than eye candy. As for the Koopaling and Reznor boss battles, it's nearly an insult to veteran gamers' intelligence, who remember well the tough Mario battles of old. At least we don't have to fight Bowser and Bowser Jr. at every castle and fortress.
There are 6 main worlds this time around (what happened to 7 & 8!?), but thankfully, Nintendo made 3 Secret Worlds that offer slightly tougher levels and the chance to face the Star World that requires a high amount of Star Coins to unlock. Toad and 1-up houses are everywhere, providing power-ups and extra lives. But my question is, why did Nintendo include 1-up houses if they knew Mario would accumulate over 100 lives before facing Bowser in World 6? There's no point. 1-ups are officially useless in the Mushroom Kingdom now. They were useless in Mario 3D Land, so why would it be any different now? I would have to try real hard if I wanted to see the 'Game Over' screen. Probably never will.
What I really like about this game, other than the great controls and fun, colorful vistas, is the return of the Koopalings, Reznors (Super Mario World) and Raccoon Mario. Those three things are nostalgic and Nintendo knows that. Sadly, I think this game caters more to our nostalgia rather than the sake of anything creative or 'new', which is why I don't think NSMB2 deserves anything over an 8. It's a fun game but it fails to really give us anything ground-breaking. It's the same ol' story and the same ol' gameplay and the same ol' stuff! You made another fun game, Nintendo, but it's not as special as you make it out to be, in my honest opinion.
Bottom line: If you have a 3DS and like Mario, then I would recommend you purchase this game, either digitally or physically. Even though I would have loved to see a 3rd person, open-world Mario game instead of a 2D side-scroller, a familiar friend is always welcome, no matter how much of the same ol' it brings. Now, on to collecting more coins!