Tezuka talks New Super Mario Bros.

Veteran Nintendo director digs deep into Mario's past to rekindle the magic of the fat plumber's 2D glory days

It's been over ten years since Mario last strutted his stuff in a 2D platformer - the genre that he pioneered and evolved in the early 90s. Thankfully, after a long break, Nintendo has decided to take the plumber back to his routes in New Super Mario Bros., which veteran Mario director and project head Takashi Tezuka recently discussed.

Speaking to official US Nintendo mag Nintendo Power, Tezuka explained his approach to recapturing the spirit of the original NES classic. "When developing this game, I really had the original Super Mario Bros. in mind," he said. "After that game, Mario evolved, but it eventually became more difficult and suited more toward hard-core gamers. I didn't want to continue in that direction. Tezuka continued, "That's not to say this game isn't for hard-core players, but I want to recapture the spirit of the original Super Mario Bros."

As well as living up to the original Mario Bros. game, the masterminds at Nintendo have also packed the new DS version with a wealth of new abilities it seems. According to Tezuka, "In addition to the standard Super Mushroom, Fire Flower and those kinds of things, there are quite a few new items. There's a mushroom that turns Mario tiny. Another kind of mushroom turns Mario into a giant if you collect three of them. There's also a Koopa Mario; he wears a shell and can slide back and forth like a Koopa to hit enemies." Tezuka also noted that there were other super-secret power-ups that Nintendo is keeping under its hat for the time being.

"The gameplay itself has a lot of replay value," Tezuka revealed. "Remember how in Super Mario 64 you needed to collect a certain number of stars to reach the next course? We're doing something similar to that. There are also similarities to Super Mario World in that different branches exist to different levels. By completing some task, you'll open a different branch."

New Super Mario Bros. is currently penned for US release in May. We can't wait.