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Wii. $50. 9 Worlds. Wiimote & Nunchuck supported. 1-4 Player (offline only). No Button Customization or Classic/GC support.
Worth the price?: NO
Worth the time?: Only in multiplayer
Recommended to: Your kids or anybody new/terrible to videogames that is genuinely interested in a non minigame experience.
Recommended to: Players with consistently available friends or family that have the interest, patience, motor skills, and want to play a game longer than 10 minutes.
Highly Recommended to: Fans of competitive multiplayer.
Not Recommended to: Anybody seeking a single player challenge.
“Super Mario Bros. Wii isn’t easy-in fact, the game is hard. We’re willing to bet that this is one of the hardest games in the series. If you’re looking for a true test of platforming skills, you’re about to get all you can handle.”
A short breeze feels kinda nice. A short breeze is quickly ignored.
I always liked the 2D platforming formula. It is one of those cornerstones of gaming that makes almost every entry into it a must buy. Everybody loves a good obstacle course. It’s American. It’s Japan. It’s Australian probably because they aren’t banned yet. I dunno if it’s European, but I’m pretty sure they don’t pan obstacle courses. Anyway, a 2D Mario is something my pre-wife takes notice of. She asked me about this new Mario thing back in the spring. I said it’s multiplayer at the same time, it’s something to do other than Farkle and Ratscrew. I thought that conversation was the end of it and guessed it would be a terrible idea to go after the game myself hearing about all the Demo Play Super Guide brouhaha. Yesterday, I come home to find the pre-wife hookin’ the Wii up, saying she bought this here Mario game. We wrapped ourselves up in a blanket and decided to play together. I’m pretty sure after a half hour we broke off our engagement and I’m supposed to move out, but I digress.
The hook of this New Super Mario business is multiplayer. Player 1 is forced on Mario, Player 2-4 can choose between Luigi, Blue Toad, or Yellow Toad. Instead of separate minigame collections like DS Mario games and Party, multiplayer finally takes place in the main game. There are separate modes for cooperation and competition, where getting the most coins before dying makes somebody the winner. The problems begin when you realize every player takes up physical space and is apparently made of pinball bumper material, so anytime players run into each other, somebody is going to fly somewhere they don’t want to be. This is the only challenging thing about the entire game. It’s a lot of fun to use this against each other when battling a level. When you’re trying to play co-op, this player bouncing shit will frustrate everybody and instigate fun shouting matches of who’s at fault: the guy who mistimed the jump to fall on the other guy and bounce into a pit, or the guy who didn’t get far enough out of the way to accommodate for the other guy’s jump. It’s chaotic and fun for serious players, but the experience won’t last long as with all multiplayer, somebody is going to get bored and quit very quickly. Hence, the mileage you’re going to get out of this Mario game is very dependent on who you surround yourself with. This game would get a lot more use with working online multiplayer, but AHHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA *ahem*
The rest of you are going to make the mistake of buying this for a solo experience. I say you’re getting ripped off. The short story is Nintendo still refuses to add difficulty settings, time attack support, or leaderboards for speedrunners. Because of this, the stages are still setup for a multiplayer experience. Because of that, these stages are easy as fuck. Really easy as fuck. The hardest stage in the standard game is on World 2. Freakin’ 2! Remember how in Mario 1, it was a big deal to rig an infinite loop with a turtle shell to get 100 lives? I just played through the game avoiding coins out of laziness and I still ended it at 99 lives; the game got pissed off and took away my goddamn hat. I am to understand that ending life count is not a fair comparison to make with all the waves of infinite life games out there, so I counted how many times I died. I beat the game losing 18. Sheeeeit if I knew it wouldn’t be the longest, most boring video to watch, I could totally make a superplay mix of this game.
Speaking of music, it sucks. Some staples have been brought over from other games, but it’s still all done in crappy midi synthesizer, so there’s nothin’ going for it. On the flip side, like DS Mario, the enemies and powerups still bounce and dance to the “Wah! Wah!” notes in every song. I always liked that.
A brand new addition to the 2D Mario series is shit-tastic control issues. Isn’t that fantastically special? First dumbass move, Classic controller isn’t supported. Good controllers aren’t supported because you apparently need motion to control certain platforms and objects in the game. Of course, this coulda been done easily (and control easier) with the L and R buttons, but you know…innovation by making control worse is the survival horror way…and Nintendo’s way. Strike two is the waggle button. To spin jump, you have to flick the Wiimote in the air. Thank god spin jump isn’t very useful besides dispelling clouds. What it does do is cause all kinds of crazy deaths. Remember how I said I died 18 times? I’m pretty sure 8 of those were from adjusting my seating or scratching my nuts or something practical as the waggle makes Mario leap to his fuckin’ doom as punishment for reaching at my beer. The new helicopter hat powerup is a different story. Sure they coulda made the heli hat function work as a simple double jump like every other game ever made. Nope, it’s forced to the waggle function. I can get by with it being inconvenient, but sometimes the waggle jump doesn’t work when you flick it. This makes the double jump unreliable and can lead to unnecessary deaths like another third of my 18. I also have issues with forcing waggle to pick up shit instead of just hitting Run button, but I bet there’s good reason to limit player pickups in multiplayer where people could abuse that. The third strike was the camera in vertical stages. Since the focus is multiplayer, to scroll the camera along, somebody has to drag the camera by trying to leave the screen. That means to advance the camera up or down, you need to leap into the unknown or swim upward with very little space to see what kills you the second it comes into the playfield. Thankfully most of the stage layout isn’t setup to exploit this oversight, but the enemies aren’t. You’ll jump to a platform below just to find out a projectile was barely off screen in your path or you swim upward right into a fish you can’t see up ahead. Weak sauce. Strike four is awkward swimming controls especially involving switching to/from penguin suits and leaping out of water. Strike five is Mario himself: He’s controlling more like Luigi in Japan Mario 2 (Lost Levels). Erm-…-why? Strike six, is there’s nunchuck support, and there’s enough buttons, but no way to remap the buttons to disable waggle. They even rigged one of the run buttons to do less features than another run button, so you have to switch run buttons just to pick up something. It gets reeeeal stupid reeeal fast. R-Type Dimensions got hit hard in review scenes for not allowing button configs. This Mario thing does not deserve all the free passes.
We’ll share good news. Let’s talk about the stages. The cumstain everybody’s shooting excuses for in this iteration are the stage designs. There are some positive things to speak of here. Think of Mario Wii as the designers making the Super Smash Bros. or Metroidvania bestiary/trophy gallery, but just on the entire Mario series. It’s like an interactive museum of 2D Mario objects, but aligned in such a way that you can easily walk through it without feeling threatened; kinda like Sonic Jam. The designers do a great job of researching everything the old games did and stick the right stuff in. There’s so much to use that most stages become pretty unique with exception of the selective lighting and spinning object stages. Those are kinda commonplace. There are very few circumstances and enemies you haven’t seen before. Everything else dies in one hit and doesn’t put up a fight. Also, prepare to avoid the slowest projectiles in all of videogames. There are boss fights, but besides the (neat) Bowser Jr. fights and Final Castle 7, there isn’t any reason you have to try or care. Actually, the hammer/fire/boomerang brothers put up more of a fight than all the bosses combined, but you only find them mostly in the first few worlds; so for the most part, the game actually gets easier the farther you go through it. Heaven forbid I’m wrong and enemies give you any problems, powerups are available roughly every twenty feet. For the first time I started using the complex strategy of “fuck it, run through enemies” to get many star coins. Taking hits no longer matters because three jumps later I find a hidden block and get flower again. Most of the danger in this game is through difficult jumps. However, if you know how to wall jump, most of that danger is averted. Remember when in multiplayer, only one person needs to clear a difficult jump. Other players can hit A to jump in a bubble and float to where the leader is. It’s kinda like the stages are almost designed for players who don’t hold the run button when they play. I guess that’s understandable given the target audience, but the good things to write home about suffer greatly because of this. Looking at the stage design, I’m telling you that the whole of the Newb Super Mario experience is a pleasant stroll, but nothing memorable; pretty disposable and throwaway at best.
If for whatever reason you’ve already bought this game. There is a secret World 9. World 9 is a worthwhile playthrough, but the only way to use it is get all the star coins. This task is a chore, dude. While some require right-place right-time powerups, many involve finding invisible passageways. Star coins are no good excuse for still refusing to allow selectable difficulty levels, but they do extend your replayability beyond a simple blowout afternoon.
New Super Mario Bros Wii is the Guilty Gear Isuka of platforming. It’s a great idea, but it doesn’t work. You need at least two people in the same room to think this game is a great idea in order for you guys to do all that cool stuff you bought the game for in the first place. Wii Mario is a pretty decent rent, but too forgettable to find any reason to recommend owning. There’s better games out there at 1/5th of the cost. You don’t need Nintendo first party for solo platformers anymore. Go play Mushroom Kingdom Fusion (free), Prinny: Can I Really be the Hero ($10), Jump! ($4), Fancy Pants Adventures (free), Line Rider ($0-$20), Syobon Action (free), I Wanna Be The Guy (free), Megaman 9/MH:X/Powered Up ($10-$20), goddammit even try crappity-crap Little Big Planet ($30) before going after this Wii Mario business. At least you can rig a custom stage that could actually make players think.
Why do Mario games keep track of score? It’s still broken. Always, always broken. 1991 called. They want their busted-ass scoring system back.