Monday, November 16, 2009

Game Review: New Super Mario Brothers

While most of the country is busy buying Modern Warfare 2 (and setting all sorts of records in the process), the Rose household went a little old-school yesterday as we bought the latest adventure in the Mario saga, New Super Mario Bros Wii. Unlike the last Mario game to be released on the Wii (Super Mario Galaxy), this game is a nod to the classic side-scrolling gems of Super Mario 1 through Super Mario World. The twist that makes this game "New" is the inclusion of same-screen multi-player gameplay. 1 to 4 people can trek through any of the game's 8 worlds at the same time.

This is the perfect game for the Rose Family as Josh and I can now team up and play Mario together. We spent some time yesterday afternoon working our way through world one. The world map screen is very much like the old map view from Super Mario 3 as you can take different paths that lead you to the two castles (and awaiting Bowser Jr's) on each world. You can earn items and power-ups along the way. New to this version of Mario are two additional power-ups. A helicopter helmet and a penguin suit. We have yet to get the penguin suit (which supposedly makes you swim better) but the helicopter suit is a fantastic addition. With the suit equipped you can shake the Wii remote to propel yourself high into the air. Several other platforms and gadgets incorporate the tilting of the remote. This game was definitely designed to be a hybrid of classic controller play (holding the Wii remote sideways and using the D pad) and gyroscope control (through the tilting functionality).

The co-op same-screen play is perfect for Josh and I as once he loses his man (which happens often) I can pop a bubble to bring him back to life. Basically I can go through the tough parts of the game while he tags along and contributes during the easier parts. It's actually a great way for kids to improve their Mario skills. I'm looking forward to trying this out with more than two players although I'm not sure if Lori would be interested in playing with us. I may have to wait for Christmas and have my sister-in-law's boyfriend Ross team up with Josh and I. All in all, this new Mario title is a worthy addition to the Mario legacy and the overall difficulty of the game will keep us busy for a while.

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