Sunday the latest installment in the multi-billion dollar Super Mario Bros. franchise was released to… Well, I’m sure quite a few happy fans. I can’t say how many exactly, as I don’t have the figures right here in front of me, and frankly I can’t be arsed to look it up. Suffice to say, it was probably more than four.
The important thing here is this is the best Super Mario game since Super Mario World, on the Nintendo Entertainment System. That’s right folks, it’s taken them over a decade to release a game as fun as that old school classic.
I should, maybe, clarify my position on the Mario franchise before I go further: I tend to view Super Mario World as the pinnacle of Mario platform gaming. I loved SMB3, although I prefer SMB2, on the NES – and I enjoyed Super Mario Land 2 on the GameBoy… but I found New Super Mario Bros. DS to be too short, Super Mario 64 too devoid of everything that made Mario fun and entertaining, and the less said about Super Mario Sunshine the better.
Super Mario Galaxy was okay, but it wasn’t the game I wanted – I wanted a true, 2D side scrolling platformer filled with power-ups, jumps, enemies whose heads I jump on, and simple, classic, old school controls.
In other words, I wanted a game that wouldn’t make me shout “GET OF MY DAMN LAWN!” at passers by.
Which is pretty much exactly what New Super Mario Bros. Wi is – classic gameplay with only minor modern updates. It has a perfectly modern approach to game saves (save anytime), and some darn nice graphics (thought not quite as great as Smash Bros.), and the much touted “Super Guide” feature – something that allows the game to play itself should you too hard. The ultimate in easy modes, really.
Other than those additions, and a couple of new powers (Ice Flower, Penguin Suit, Propeller Hat), it’s a return to the glory and greatness that side-scrolling Mario always was, and should be.
Now, I love me some 3D adventure games – I put a couple hundred hours into Fallout 3, and a couple hundred more into Oblivion – but when it comes to fat plumbers in magical kingdoms, I want my game-play to be 2D. In fact, the only console Mario game since SMW that I really enjoyed was Super Paper Mario– mainly because it felt like a sidescroller with a story.
What I am I saying? I’m saying I’m very happy that NSMB Wii is out, I’m happy that it’s the kind of game I’ve been waiting almost ten years for, and I’m happy that my purchase and continued ownership of a Wii has finally been validated.
Now, can we please get a Zelda that doesn’t stink?