New Super Mario Bros revives the classic side scroller elements and makes them seem new all over again.
The plot in this game is simple. Princess Peach gets kidnapped by Baby Bowser, and its up to Mario to save her. Mario then goes on a journey to save her through a variety of worlds.
The graphics are an interesting mix of 2D and 3D. Mario and other characters are displayed in 3D, while the environment remains in 2D. The 3D models are sharp and look great on the DS. The animations run well for everything on the most part, and there aren't any slow downs. However, because of the DS screen resolution, the characters may look a bit gritty. Environments in the game don't share the resolution problem. All of the backrounds, boxes, platforms, and buildings are bright and solid. There are also several effects going on in the environment depending on where you are. Water, for example, will ripple whenever something falls in or jumps out of it.
New Super Mario Bros may take most of its gameplay elements from previous games in the series, but this game has a few things of its own. There are several worlds to go through, each one having a specific amount of stages and a unique theme. Each world will give different challenges depending upon its theme; for example, the fire world has flaming rocks falling on you, and the ice world has a slippery surface. You'll use powerups to help you through each stage and keep things from getting too repeditive. All the basic powerups from previous Mario games are here, such as the Fire Flower and Mushroom, but now there are the additions of the Mega Mushroom, Minimushroom, and Turtle shell. The Mega Mushroom will make Mario grow the size of the screen and allow you to crush anything in your path, while the Minimushroom will make him shrink and able to get into small places. The turtle shell will give Mario a turtle suit and allow him to spin attack enemies and slide.
Although the gameplay is great, it isn't what it could have been. Some levels seem a bit too short, and some powerups that would have been great are not there(feather or frog suit anyone?). Yoshi would have been a nice addition as well, however he is also absent. The game is also too easy and short. If you've played the previous Mario side scrollers, you can probably blaze though this one in about a day or two.
The sound in this game is a mix of classic and remixed tracks from previous mario games. Backround music is clear and different in each world and area. For example, if you are to go under water, you'll hear a theme for that, and another for the classic grass worlds. Sound effects are basically upgraded sounds from previous Mario games, but are upgraded to the point that they seem new again. Each one is clear, and makes great use of the audio capabilities of the DS. The character voices sound good for the most part, but Mario and Baby Bowser sometimes sound a bit fuzzy. Other than that small problem, the audio quality in this game is fantastic.
Like other past Mario side scrollers, this one is highly addicting. After you go through the main quest, chances are you'll go back and jump through the levels all over again. If you get bored of the main quest, you can challenge a friend in the minigames, or a versus battle. A versus game will put one player as Luigi and the other as Mario. The object of the game is to get to gather as many stars as possible. Some minigames you may recognize from Mario 64 DS, but there are some new ones, and they have the option of multiplayer. There are a variety to choose from, such as cards and action games, to keep you from getting bored too quickly.
New Super Mario Bros brings back the memories of Mario's side scrolling days, and somehow makes the entire experience seem new all over again. Although it gets the main formula down, it lacks a few things that would help to make the game better. For the most part, this game is a must-have for any Mario fan or DS owner.