Features & News

Hands on: New Super Mario Bros. Wii

November 15, 2009, Author: Andy Corrigan

This will probably be one of the most difficult hands-on pieces I’ve ever had to write. The game in question is New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Why do I think it will it be so difficult to write about? Probably because I could fit the premise of the game on the back of a stamp and still struggle for filler. Maybe even the front too if I was really creative with my space management. I digress. In one of the rare occasions that Joe wasn’t transfixed to the Split Second booth, he managed to talk me into being the Luigi to his Mario, and to be fair, we had a blast.

Ok, if I really have to do this… Seriously though, what the hell are you doing on this site if you’ve never played a Mario game before?! In New Super Mario Bros. Wii, you have to travel from left to right over a 2D level as quick as possible, jumping on enemies, over obstacles and using power-ups to your advantage to reach the end. Oh yeah, Princess Peach has been kidnapped by Bowser again. Patronised enough yet?

As you can probably tell from the above, this is your typical platform adventure taken right back to its roots, however this time Nintendo have thrown proper multiplayer and co-op into the equation. That’s right; no longer are Mario and his slightly less popular brother forced to traverse the exact same levels one at a time; up to four players can play through the level simultaneously. My initial impression upon starting was that graphically the game seemed bright and pleasing, but there really isn’t a lot you can say about the look; it’s old fashioned but iconic, though it will certainly not win any awards for pushing the industry forward.

The game is played without any of the waggle motion controls, and is exactly as you will remember when you played the original SMB on the NES. We had chance to go over three levels (we were only allowed ten minutes), but we managed a good cross-section of what was on offer. Rather than helping each other however, which I’m sure was the idea, we had seemingly both left our professionalism at the door as we set out to maliciously hinder the other.


Team work? Pffft...

It started when Joe decided that he would try and take all the power-ups. Hitting a block with a power-up hidden therein will throw out two. Young Joseph thought it would be funny to keep taking both. That was until I uncovered Yoshi, and had taken to using the loveable dinosaur to eat him and throw him either into the bottomless caverns or into enemies. This slapstick approach at least allowed us to see how the health/life system worked. Should you die, a few seconds later you will float past in a bubble that your colleague has to pop in order to put you back into the game, until all your lives are up. If you are a complete and utter s**tbag like me, you can the pop re-spawn bubble over caverns. Just for giggles mind.

Killing your ‘frenemies’ can happen a lot by accident too, and there were lots of occurrences where we both tried to take a jump at the same time and one of us knocked the other into a pit of doom, which never seemed to get boring or irritating. Playing with just two of us was extremely hectic, so I can only imagine the carnage and banter should four people be included (the other two spots are Toad characters).

We didn’t really get much of a look at the new power ups either, so we didn’t get chance to sample the much-publicised penguin suit or the ice flower, but we did get a chance to use the propeller suit, which enabled our heroes to fly.

It’s clear that the game brings quickly brings the ‘competitive jerk factor’ out of people and it is for this reason it’s a real shame to hear that the game will sport no online functionality. That aside, Joe and I came away from sampling this title with revised enthusiasm for what a Mario game could be. It seems that Nintendo were aiming to provide a new spin to the classic Mario formula, and based on what I’ve seen it can only be seen as mission accomplished.

New Super Mario Bros. Wii is due out on Novermber 20th