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3DS  header logo

New Super Mario Bros. 2

For: 3DS

Mo money, mo problems?

Product: New Super Mario Bros. 2 | Developer: Nintendo | Publisher: Nintendo | Format: 3DS | Genre: Platform | Players: 1-2 | Networking: wireless (adhoc) | Version: Europe
New Super Mario Bros. 2 3DS, thumbnail 1
When the first New Super Mario Bros. was released on DS, I reacted just a little less reservedly than these guys.

2D Mario has always been - and will always will be - superior to 3D Mario in almost every conceivable way, and the modern take on old skool side-scrolling action was so fantastic that it made me... well, you've seen the video.

New Super Mario Bros. 2 doesn't merit this same level of enthusiasm. It's another high quality release from Nintendo, to be sure, but it does little to develop the groundwork laid down by the original, falls back on one too many old ideas, and consequently feels far less special.

Jump man

For this jaunt around the Mushroom Kingdom, your focus is on collecting coins (in addition to saving the princess). Where coins used to present an additional challenge for an extra life, they're so plentiful here that the concept of lives is completely meaningless.

In addition, the game is way too easy for the most part. Everything up to your first confrontation with Bowser is a cakewalk, and it's only after you've reached the end that additional levels start to present any sort of a challenge.

The platforming remains among the best in the business, of course. With the D-pad, controls are streamlined to perfection - you'll need just 'up', 'down', 'left', 'right', 'run' and 'jump'. The Circle Pad is on the twitchy side, though.

Power-ups are plentiful, letting you shoot out fireballs, grow to fill the entire screen, and temporarily become invincible. 'New' powers include the leaf first seen in Super Mario Bros. 3 (which grants flight should you run fast enough), Invincibility Leaves from Super Mario 3D Land, and a Gold Flower that turns enemies into coins.

World 1-1 ad infinitum

The biggest issue is that you've seen almost all of this before.

There's a bit of the awe-inspiring gameplay breadth found in Yoshi's Island, a little of Super Mario Bros. 3's ambition, a dash of the reverence of New Super Mario Bros., but it never goes in its own direction or brings much that's new to the series: it's a paint-by-numbers Mario release.

Even its main gimmick of collecting coins doesn't feel fresh - it just makes for a more forgiving single-player game. The side-by-side multiplayer is fine, and Coin Rush mode (in which you play levels to try and get the most coins) is also decent, but there's rarely a stand-out moment.

Make no mistake: if you like 2D platformers, New Super Mario Bros. 2 is top fun, and you'll be pleased you bought it. But it smacks of a studio stuck in a rut. A magnificent rut, but a rut all the same.
New Super Mario Bros. 2
Reviewer photo
Peter Willington | 6 August 2012
New Super Mario Bros. 2 is exactly that: a sequel to the original. New levels and new abilities will keep fans pleased, but there's little in the way of creative spark to be found here
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