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Review

New Super Mario Bros. 2 Review

  • First Released
  • Reviewed:
  • 3DS

New Super Mario Bros. 2 is a fun, overly familiar adventure that lacks imagination in its level design.

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In the pursuit of platforming perfection, few games have come as close to achieving it as those devoted to Mario. His surgically precise leaps, and the unnervingly cutesy but expertly crafted worlds of the Mushroom Kingdom, give rise to platformers by which others are judged--and which so many other games imitate. New Super Mario Bros. 2 is a familiar take on a formula that has worked wonderfully over the past 25 years, but despite some fun, nostalgic moments, its level design fails to reach the lofty heights of its fabulous predecessors.

Such familiarity also raises the question: What exactly is new here? The story, where Princess Peach is helplessly dragged away to yet another castle is a tale that feels as old as time itself. Mario's thoughtfully concocted plan of rescue--stomp on everything that moves while ingesting copious amounts of state-altering mushrooms--is hardly going to catch Bowser off-guard either. And as you leap your way through more than 80 courses of platforming challenges, your mind is drawn to the familiar so immediately that it's difficult to see what has been added.

You jump, and you stomp, and you smash. The bright 2D levels challenge you with platforms that swoop furiously around the screen, disappear in midair, or creep along the floor like expeditious slugs on a sun-baked sidewalk. Pipes deliver you underground to solve short block puzzles and to the ocean to defeat the dreaded jellyfish armies, or catapult you to hidden areas of the map where the coins are plentiful and the obstacles are minimal. Mario's many suits let you unleash fireballs, fly through the air, and--in the only noticeable addition--turn blocks of stone into rivers of gold. It's all so familiar, and all so…regular. There's a lack of variety and imagination to the level design that makes the stages some of the blandest and most repetitive to ever grace a Mario game. That magical Mario spark that promises new and brilliant ideas each and every level is painfully missing.

But even at its monotonous worst, New Super Mario Bros. 2 remains a thoroughly competent and enjoyable platformer. You leap around the screen with the tight precision of a gymnast, collecting coins and bringing swift, brutal revenge to the many weird and wonderful assailants of the Mushroom Kingdom. Some levels require precise, well-timed leaps across vast chasms, while others require more methodical hops over streams of Bullet Bills and meandering Bob-ombs. Others still are all about sheer speed, with the screen pushing you swiftly onward while you manoeuvre your way around vicious spikes and fireballs.

There are, of course, many secrets to uncover too, a few (perhaps too few) of which challenge veteran players and push newcomers to the brink of frustration. With star coins, red coins, warp pipes, extra lives, and so much more to discover, New Super Mario Bros. 2 is an addictive pastime, and compelling enough to keep you entertained after you defeat Bowser and his crew of subordinates. And if you don't mind hurtling down a path of self-destruction, you can collect more than a million coins, which is expedited by a bevy of coin-spilling contraptions and hidden blocks.

Coin Rush mode further pushes those shiny chunks of gold, challenging you to complete three-level runs against the clock, without dying, while collecting as many coins as possible. The fun lies in the challenge, and in the bragging rights of attaining a romance-destroying high score. Sadly, without online leaderboards, you're limited to only sharing that score with others via SpotPass, which limits its appeal. With so many coins to collect, extra lives are bountiful commodities that--when coupled with the dull level design---make things too easy. So too does the sparkling white tanooki suit that grants invincibility, should you fail a level one too many times. It's your choice whether or not to indulge in the suit's life-saving powers, but bear in mind that the shame of its use is forever reflected in your profile stars, which lose their shiny gold lustre.

Cooperative play lets you enlist a buddy's assistance, and is similar to co-op in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, but nowhere near as commendable. Here it's limited to two players, and there's no sign of the on-the-fly screen resizing that made galavanting around levels and stomping heads such fun. Instead, it's a constant battle to stick together, lest you get separated, trapped in a bubble, and left to float around aimlessly while you wait for your partner to free you.

It's a shame that the co-op fails to live up to the heady heights of its Wii counterpart. But then, its halfhearted implementation is indicative of a game that's very much a by-the-numbers Mario experience. Sure, there are some throughly enjoyable moments to be had, and at times a little of that Mario brilliance shines through too. But it's overshadowed by a real lack of imagination in its level design, which makes New Super Mario Bros. 2 little more than a retread of past glories. A fun, and sometimes challenging retread in parts, but a retread nonetheless.

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The Good
Super-precise controls
Lots of secrets to discover
Mix of timed and methodical levels creates a pleasant platforming rhythm
The Bad
Too many levels are retreads of past glories
Co-op is often frustrating
Bland level design makes some sections far too easy
7
Good
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0 comments
EricShadow366
EricShadow366

I don't really care if it's more of the same. All I care if it's fun or not. And if people say it's fun. Then I get the game. Simple.

DiverseGamer
DiverseGamer

Just finished the game and I have to say....I can't play anymore NSMB. It's almost the exact same game as the original NSMB. Def. not worth the $40 price tag.

whiskeystrike
whiskeystrike

Glad to see Nintendo being rightly criticized for their lack of creativity and imagination in this gen's 2D Mario games.

alenth
alenth

Easy game and more of the same, sorry but Rayman Origins > NSMB 2

Wensea10
Wensea10

I was really expecting this game to obtain a higher score

Foxhound1982
Foxhound1982

I wish they'd stop messing around with these 2D side scrolling games and get on with a sequel to Super Mario 64, i want another free roaming, 3D mario game, (i didnt like Sunshine)

zzamaro
zzamaro

Man, there are way too many COD haters here. First of all, I don't play shootes but MW3 got a 8.5 from GameSpot, not 10. I see a metacritic average of 88, there's no way it got many 10s with that number. Second, just like MW3, Mario is getting all. In case you haven't noticed, Nintendo has been milking Mario way too much. I am not surprised they have been getting old now. Finally, I see a lot comments crying about the score here. That's ironic. Vita games also have gotten 7s and because of that, Nintendo fans bashed them. 

 

You should accept that some of the Mario games are not perfect and are getting old. Grow up some of you people.

Psylumin
Psylumin

New Super Mario Bros 2 is a real mystery to me. I picked it up today and have not been able to stop playing, and yet... I can see why it did not receive a higher score.The world map has the same structure as the original New Super Mario Bros. First come the 'grass' levels, then the desert level etc. etc. Still, there is something to be read in-between the lines of this game, I believe. The coin collecting feature is 'new', but easily dismissable... And yet, it is the sole reason why I can't stop playing this game. It might sound stupid and unreasonable, but there really is a great experience to be had in this game because of it (at least there is for me). I remember picking up the original New Super Mario Bros when it was still new (ha-ha) and not enjoying it at all. There was something lifeless about it, something really boring and conventional. Don't be fooled, this is quite different (except if I am the only one experiencing that difference) The environments look nicer than ever, Mario looks livelier, and everything is just joyful. Its a blast to play through this game! The 3D is unremarkable, and yet it adds something to the game. Every small little addition adds 'something' to the game that I can't really explain... But the sum is just breathtaking.I think that's why reviewing games can sometimes be a weird job. Sometimes there is just something about a game you can't write about, and yet that something is why you ultimately enjoy the game so much. Its not just the Nintendo polish this time, there is more.

bmz13
bmz13

Gamespot HATES nintendo, thats all

I just come here to see what score they give to the main games, they never disapoint me, its always low, lower than IGN, metacritic and users.Sony fanboys love it

harold317
harold317

To be fair, there is only one New Super Mario game on each Nintendo console (DS, Wii, now 3DS and soon WiiU). You can hardly call that milking a franchise when we already have like 4 CoD games on the PS3 alone.

Puganj
Puganj

said it before, ill say it again, Nintendo get ur %&%&! straight, no yoshi = fail games

Shinobishyguy
Shinobishyguy

I'm gonna have to disagree about the levels being dull.

The aesthetics may have been rehashed but the actual designs of the levels (the layout, objects, secrets etc) Have been mostly clever so far.

The_Great_Purge
The_Great_Purge

If they can make Mario games a shooter game like repetitive COD games or Battlefield...maybe...just maybe...Gamespot would give Mario games a rating of 9.0 or higher for innovative gameplay and true-to-life action thrill. Mario has been around for what ? 25 years? COD games' been here for the last 10 years. 10 years more and they could beat the number of games Nintendo released for Mario. Lol!

ad0234
ad0234

I've got the game, there isn't much new, but the game is still a lot of fun because the level design is still top.

BloodMist
BloodMist

Whups, there's no CoD in the title, or God of War, so they gotta complain about sameness when they usually praise it almost.

snake63
snake63

Seeing the video on the 3DS I have to agree that it is stale and I played it before. I feel that New Super Mario Bros 2 was rushed for the release of the 3DS XL.

immortality20
immortality20

I think one can actually become dumber reading the comments. In any case,  I hope my friend buys this and lends me his 3DS to play it. I love to beat every Mario game.

TAMKFan
TAMKFan

Seriously, so what if the game is "more of the same", as long as it's enjoyable? At least they still try to change some things up in the Mario games, like the whole coin concept in this one. I really don't understand why gamers complain about this so much these days. Of course it's going to be similar to the others. Video game sequels almost always are.

Morphine_OD
Morphine_OD

This review sums up pretty well how I see every Mario game up to date.

Fooforaw
Fooforaw

Why no remakes of Super Mario Land or Super Mario World?

jakestar0306
jakestar0306

It. Is. Not. A. Tanooki Suit. Get it right.

S-Biz
S-Biz

Nintendo certainly is rehashing for the New Super Mario Bros. series, but anyone that tells me it's the same for the 3D Mario titles obviously hasn't played them enough. Sure, you have the same objectives as collecting Stars, Coins, Power-Ups, etc., but the way you go about it has always been different. The Galaxy games were a radical departure in level design in comparison to the likes of Sunshine and 64. In any case, it seems the general innovation comes from the 3D titles while 2D sticks to the same formula. Sad part is, the 2D sells more. But, if it goes towards polishing up and making new ideas for the 3D titles, I guess it balances out.

 

It's all about voting with the wallet. It seems the casuals love the 2D style while games like Galaxy caused some division between what the Mario fanbase wants. It seems a lot like the 2D. Some want a return to the 64 and Sunshine days. I certainly wouldn't mind something along the lines of Sunshine, the question is what can Nintendo possibly do to freshen up that style of game play?

alenko
alenko

It would be good if they came out for wii...

OhJayDubya
OhJayDubya

It seems to me like mindless rehashing is becoming the norm in gaming these days. Normally I would be quick to defend Nintendo when they are accused of milking Mario but this game is making it impossible for me to defend in any sense, it is just a shameless rehash with a few more gold coins.

laser00
laser00

the next super mario= New Super Mario Bros. 3

 

Its objective= it will be full of bricks and we have to break them all...

 

sighhh....

Nissemean
Nissemean

@HyabusaRyu

Me neither. 7.0 is way to high, 5,0 would be more right.

SiMgUrL1721
SiMgUrL1721

 @Wensea10 I was at first shocked to see GameSpot give New Super Mario Bros.2 a 7 because those games usually score higher, but the real reason on why I believe the score became lower was because there aren't a lot of new elements/changes to the game from its predecessors like having the same exact music or reusing the same bosses. I was slightly disappointed that this game still has no online, single cartridge download play, and for the fact that you can't play as Luigi until you defeat Bowser in World 6. It's still a great game overall with minor disappointments.

Shawn45
Shawn45

 @BloodMist Waaaah, the game I liked didn't get a great score, only getting a 'good' score with a 7! THIS IS THE WORST DAY OF MY LIFE!!!

Shawn45
Shawn45

 @TAMKFan I think an issue is that the coin collecting goal is just really dull, and makes the game insanely easy, because you can easily collect over 500~ coins in the early levels, giving you 5 lives per level, not to mention 1up mushrooms. Though the game is already insanely easy as it is.

 

I wish they'd go back to Super Mario World, Mario 3, and hell, even the original Mario, and looked at those games closely. They had some seriously difficult levels later on that made you want to pull your hair out, but they were a ton of fun, and made it so you couldn't just beat the game in an afternoon (unless if you are very good anyway). Not to mention, Mario 3 and Mario World both had a lot more levels, or at least it feels like it.

Wensea10
Wensea10

 @SiMgUrL1721I guess I can agree with you; however, I guess I am more lenient in judging games I guess.

 

BloodMist
BloodMist

 @Shawn45 Just pointing out an obvious hypocrisy that certainly reduces any credibility this review should have for anyone.Anyone who has a tiny bit of intelligence that is, which is all you'd need to figure that out that's what I was doing.Unfortunately for you.

FlameEmperor
FlameEmperor

 @Shawn45  @TAMKFan I wish they would make a Mario and Luigi superstar saga style game on the 3DS. I loved that game on the GBA and the DS. Hope they'll make another one something soon.

The_Great_Purge
The_Great_Purge

 @jinzo9988 Despite news of EA being for sale, watch out for MW4(2014), MW5(2016)...6, 7...etc. every two years. LOL! If there's a new console system by then, it will going to be much better, right?

rushiosan
rushiosan

 @jinzo9988 25 years on the maket and the concept never died. In other hand, where's Sonic franchise nowadays?

Big_Daddv
Big_Daddv

 @dstarx I agree with you completely. Do you think it'll come out after New Super Mario Bros. 3?

Nissemean
Nissemean

 @The_Great_Purge  well it would be a new way to play Mario and also a different kind of FPS that isnt brown and bloom and instead colorful.

Nissemean
Nissemean

 @HyabusaRyu Typical Fanboy reaction. Yelling go back to cod when they cant come up with any good arguments. But no thanks I hate all cod games after Cod 4:MW. But I rather play a superior platformer called "Prinny: Can I really be the hero?".

Or if I want some action I will play some Ys: Oath in Felghana/origins.

Nissemean
Nissemean

 @BloodMist 

Not really. Most of my favorite games are actually western made. My favorite platformer ever is actually Commander Keen 4-6 and thats made by ID. The only characters I really like from nintendo are Wario and Toon Link. NSMB2 is just so bland because it got nothing new and running around collecting coins is just no fun. If ninty where smart they would at least have used Wario because hes the greedy one, and last the music is just forgettable.

New Super Mario Bros. 2 More Info

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  • First Released
    • 3DS
    New Super Mario Bros. 2 is a traditional side-scrolling adventure game featuring Mario, Luigi, and loads of other favorite characters from the popular Mario series.
    7.7
    Average User RatingOut of 259 User Ratings
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    Developed by:
    Nintendo
    Published by:
    Nintendo
    Genres:
    2D, Action, Platformer
    Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
    Everyone
    All Platforms
    Comic Mischief