New Super Mario Bros. marks the big return of Mario to 2D platforming, since Super Mario World for SNES. The game is very well done and players will enjoy it a lot. There are a lot of new surprises aswell as old features in the game.
Gameplay is extremely good in this game. Controls and game-mechanics are easy to learn. Also, now Mario got new moves from his 3D adventures such as the triple-jump and the wall-kick. All of the controls respond good and they may be customized in two styles which I would call the SNES style, which uses Y and X to dash and B and A for jumping, and the NES style, which uses Y and B to dash and X and A to jump. You also have checkpoints in stages and an inventory like the one from Super Mario World, but now you don't press a button to use it, instead, you touch it from the bottom-screen. When you already have an item in your inventory spot, it can only be replaced with a better item, which is a good thing. This way, you can't lose your Flower or Blue-Shell because you accidently grabbed a Mushroom. Touch-screen mini-games are included in this game too, which include some from Mario 64 DS and some new ones. While in the Mini-Games menu, all of the actions are done via touch-screen.
The story is as simple as it should be in any 2D Mario game. Bowser Jr. kidnaps Peach, you have to rescue her. No dialogs or long texts to read. You just have to clear stages in various worlds and get to Bowser's castle.
Graphics in this games are really nice. Nintendo did a great job combining 3D and 2D graphics. The game has effects that could only achived through the technology in the DS. You can expect to see enemies from different sizes, and all of them will look very good. Mario and Luigi can also grow giant-sized, and they will still look very well and move fluidly. Water and other background effects also look very cool.
Music in this game is excellent. You will hear some remixes from old Mario games, but most of the music is new. You will really enjoy the music from this game and it's also very catchy. And as a really neat extra, enemies in the game will also move to the beat of the game's music. For example, Goombas will jump and Spinies will change direction.
You can either play the main adventure which is called "Mario Game" or mini-games in single-player. There are 8 Worlds in the game, 2 of them are secret and need to be unlocked in a special way. Each of these Worlds contains various stages, boo houses, towers, and castles. The towers are similar to the small castles from Super Mario Bros. 3. At the end of them you'll fight against Bowser Jr. The castles are always at the end of each World and you'll need to beat a boss that is different in each World to clear them. Also, some stages contain alternate exits, which lead you to secret paths in the world map, which may have secret, bonus, or warp stages.In each stage of the game you'll also have to find and get 3 star coins. This will be used to open alternate paths in the world map, besides the ones opened by clearing stages. Each of the Worlds in the game is themed differently. One little problem I found in the game is the fact that if you haven't beaten the 8th World, you won't be able to save when you wish. You'll only have the option available each time you clear a tower or a castle, or opened a path with Star Coins. Fortunately, getting to the 8th World doesn't take that long, so you will get a "Save" option in your pause menu very quickly. Now, completely getting every Star Coin in every stage and finding every alternate path is a little different. That will take you a little longer to achieve.
New Super Mario Bros. includes two different multiplayer modes, "Mario Vs Luigi" and mini-games. "Mario Vs. Luigi" is for 2 players, while in minigames up to 4 players can join. In the first one, players compete in 5 different stages to get the most amount of stars. All of the power-ups of the game are available here too, but there is no freeze-time when you get them, so everything is always in movement. This mode can get really fun if both players are near the same skill with the game. The mini-games are really good too. Some from Mario 64 DS return and have now been adapted to multiplayer, but others are completely new. Multiplayer mode of mini-games features even more mini-games than the ones presented in singleplayer. Both multiplayer modes are also available available as Download Play.
Game has 2 secret worlds, lots of alternates paths to discover, and a different playable character. As for unlockables, you'll only get wallpapers for your bottom screen of the DS. There are no mini-games to unlock or stuff for multiplayer.
You'll be playing this game for a big amount of time before completely getting everything in it. Still after getting everything, you'll want to play the game, simply because of its good music, beating stages in a different way, and to experiment with the Mega Mushroom in every stage possible, including bosses. Also the mini-games will keep you entertained for a while, and if you have a friend with a DS, you can play together the multiplayer modes.
New Super Mario Bros. is a definite "must have" for DS owners. It is a very good game and it is highly recommended.
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