I wrote to you before about how disappointing it would be if Nintendo recycled the graphics and music for NSMB2. And sure enough they did. I was very disappointed by this. After playing the game a ton, and collecting over 1 million coins, I can say I’m still disappointed by this, but for completely different reasons.
The problem I’ve had with the NSMB series is that after I beat the game, going back to play through it over and over again becomes a bit boring. I have so many lives, there is no reason to continue finding 1UPs. I can do speed runs, just like with the original SMB, but the game is so long, it’s more just about picking and choosing the levels I want to play and just trying to get better and better at them.
NSMB2 changes this up completely! With Coin Rush I’m constantly trying to find all of the 1UPs, and I’m working hard to get all of the red coins to get more 1UPs. And I have to do this quickly (although some levels leave plenty of time). Losing a power up at the wrong time can be devastating because now you can’t get a 1UP from the red coins! All of this might seem meaningless, but when you are competing via Street Pass, you will often come across some very skilled players, and knowing where everything is and not getting hit at all is the only way to beat them! Sometimes I think I’m done with a level, and there is nothing else I can do: I’ve gotten all the multipliers (and there are a bunch of them), I’ve found all the 1UPS, etc. etc. Then I get a Street Pass coin rush where someone has 1000 more coins than me. WTF? Back I go to figure out what I missed!
So I love the game… it’s my favourite NSMB by quite a bit… I like the power ups a lot, and the Coin Rush keeps me coming back for more. So why am I still disappointed?
How can I rate this game, that I love, as a 10/10 when they have recycled the basic art? I’ve always come to expect great new artwork from Nintendo, but there is very little of that here. There is a ton of new “content” – in that the new type of gameplay is content in my mind. If they had just spruced up the graphics and put in new songs and kept the old NSMB formula it would have been boring, perhaps. It’s not boring at all… but I think of it this way… If Nintendo had done that bit extra – provided NEW, GREAT music; provided a completely NEW, AWESOME graphical environment…. If they had done this, it would be a 10/10 and would have to be considered one of the very best Mario games ever made.
The only problem with the game (aside from the music and graphics) is that the main story is WAY too easy. They should have at least left the bosses out of Coin Rush in order to add more challenge to the game’s main story. I’m quite willing to overlook that, however, because I play Mario games for a LONG time, and I appreciate the constant challenge. Unlocking all of the levels is a bit of a challenge, and definitely Coin Rush can be very challenging. I’ve only mastered the Mushroom Pack, there are two Coin Rush packs remaining, and there will also be DLC. This game will keep me busy for a long time…. Rather than making the game too easy, coin collecting and Coin Rush in particular have added a whole new challenge to the game. I love the idea, especially on a hand held!
In summary it’s a great game that could have been one of the greatest games ever. A lot of people will pass this up because it looks and sounds samey, and that’s too bad for the folks that designed it, because I think they did a bang up job… But I also hear people complaining about Coin Rush… In my opinion, Coin Rush isn’t the “problem”. The “problem” was that NSMB wasn’t very challenging. Coin Rush is the solution! If you are good at finding those 1UPS, you can turn here for a whole new challenge. It may not be the best solution that they could have come up with (why not just make a game like SMB3? That game is pretty hard to finish!!!), but it’s a fun solution for a hand held.
One thing is for sure: Nintendo would be unable to make Super Mario Brothers if the year was 1985.
I’m replaying Super Mario Brothers right now. The game is actually challenging especially on the later worlds. Yet, this ‘challenging game’ was what created popularity for Mario. Super Mario Brothers 2 USA is also challenging as is Super Mario Brothers 3. Super Mario World? Total cakewalk. It was with Super Mario World that Mario’s popularity fell and characters like Sonic became popular.
I’m really pissed off how Nintendo is neutering Super Mario Brothers and turning it into a game with no challenge curve whatsoever. If people get stuck or frustrated, that is what the warp zones are for. Everyone used them in the original Super Mario Brothers. What is wrong with Nintendo? The Warp Zones in the NSMB games have no value because the game has no challenge curve in itself.
It really pisses me off how we get these shitty ‘challenge modes’ like that dung hole in Twilight Princess. Like colleges who refuse to fail students, neutering any curve from video games is not only making your games less popular, it is making people not respect them. It is not a video game if the player cannot lose. There is no such thing as a game where ‘everyone wins’. It doesn’t exist.
Gaming is about winning and losing. Even in games where this definition isn’t clear cut, there are still obvious ways you can lose. In Minecraft, you lose by getting lost outside at night and hunted down by skeleton archers. In Animal Crossing, you lose by not logging in and having your house overrun with weeds and roaches.
The early 2d Mario games are so much fun because you can actually lose. Winning tastes sweet when the threat of losing is everywhere. It is that tension that makes the game experience fun. Look at the most popular movies. Constant death or the threat of losing gives the movie tension. I was discussing with someone why Back to the Future is still such a fun movie. One reason is that there is a omnipresent sort of tension because if Marty McFly says or does something wrong, the entire space time continuum will be changed.
These modern games have no tension in them. Fuck the challenge modes. I’m paying money for a GAME, not for a ‘challenge mode’. You don’t make gamers by steamrolling the learning curve.