New Super Mario Bros. 2
It’s hard to believe this game is almost ten years old now, while the Nintendo 3DS is still alive (but on life support due to the portability of the Nintendo Switch).
That’s where it falls into odd territory as a “retro game” but I feel it’s old enough now to go back and explore – anyone else’s definition of “retro” be damned!
Released in 2012, NSMB2 is the successor to the Wii title of a similar name, which itself was a sequel to the first of the “New” Super Mario Bros. titles, released for the Nintendo DS.
Did you follow all of that?
Essentially this is “New” Super Mario Bros. 3 – and as such, it shares a lot of similarities to the NES Super Mario Bros. 3, namely the reintroduction of Racoon Mario. For the unaware, grabbing a leaf powerup would give Mario a raccoon tail he could use to swipe enemies, smash blocks, or, for whatever reason, fly.
Considering SMB3 was one of the greatest titles of all-time, it’s not hard to imagine that this was one of the highest-selling 3DS games of all-time as well. Yet, it felt like it was lacking.
In my opinion the game reuses too much of the same “new” formula: that’s not really a bad thing, just an observation. It has the same 2.5D graphics (3-D models in a 2-D platformer) plus the familiar super mushrooms, fire flowers, and the invincible star man.
In addition, there are golden variants of the same which make for a coin-collecting boost – as collecting coins becomes a major focal point in this game over previous ones, though the star coins are also important to unlocking areas or challenging completionists.
With that component in place, a “blockhead” powerup (for lack of better terms – not sure what it’s really called!) has Mario (or Luigi) produce even more coins as they run and jump around every stage.
The game tracks every coin you collect in something akin to a “career mode” throughout every playthrough on your saved game file.
Speaking of stages, this title is deep: with 85 levels over 9 worlds and tons of hidden exits and areas.
There’s also a Coin Rush mode, which admittedly I didn’t get into very much, so here’s what Wikipedia had to say about it:
In addition to the main game, New Super Mario Bros. 2 features a Coin Rush mode, made accessible after the player completes the first world.
In Coin Rush, the player plays through three randomly chosen levels collecting as many coins as possible. Star and Moon Coins add several coins to the player’s running total in this mode. However, the player is given only one life and each level gives a time limit of 50 or 100 seconds.
It’s a need addition, but really just a distraction from the main game.
The premise of NSMB2 is the same as it’s predecessors: rescue Princess Peach from Bowser and his underlings. Again, no departure from the norm which can be seen as a good or a bad thing – or both.
Regardless this is a fun game and deserves attention from any Mario fans. Newcomers to the series may be best served starting with earlier Mario titles, just to get the mechanics down – some of the coin grabbing and non-linear landscapes tend to be great for experienced gamers but a bit of a learning curve for kiddos.
Either way, I enjoyed NSMB2 as its yet another Mario title where Nintendo can seemingly do no wrong.