Like one of those tantalising 2p machines at seaside arcades, New Super Mario Bros. 2 is chock-full of coins.The plumber's always been partial to them, but this time he's obsessed by them, - and the game reciprocates his gleeful avarice. They're in the usual places, bricks and the like,but also invisible in the environment, or hiding in special pipe rooms that act like enormous treasure chests.
New gold rings turn enemies into Midas versions that reward you with extra money; new tokens give you up to 100 coins in one go; there's even a new Gold Flower power-up that gives Mario the ability to transform enemies and blocks into cold hard cash. Asever, 100 of the blighters results in a 1-Up,but they also act as an overarching high score. The game keeps track of every coin you collect, even across multiple save files. Data can then be transferred via StreetPass, in order to boast to passers-by, or even taken into your local bank to exchange for pounds sterling or traveller's cheques. (Actually, we're not sure about that last one.)
COINING IT IN
The game's coin obsession culminates in a brand new mode that has dollar signs in its beady little eyes. With one life, and against a very strict time limit, you have to rack up as much cash as you possibly can across a series of short stages cribbed from the main game. As with the coin total, your results are shared with the great unwashed via StreetPass, so you'll always have a new target to reach.
Well, you'll always have a new target to reach if you live in a heavily 3DS-populated area, at least. Players in rural areas where 3D is classed as witchcraft may have to make other arrangements. New Super Mario Bros. Wii's four-player mayhem brought a welcome competitive element to the series, so it's good to see that area explored further here.
With multiple players in mind, perhaps the biggest new feature of New Super Mario Bros. 2 is its co-op mode, which lets another player - as long as they have their own copy of the game - join in as everybody's third-favourite Mario brother, Luigi. Annoyingly, we've only been given one copy to play around with, so we haven't been able to test this aspect yet - but there's a great deal of potential to this returning multiplayer mode, particularly if it borrows some of New Super Mario Bros. Wii's best tricks.
If this is your first New Super Mario Bros., you'll likely have a smashing time, but it's a slightly less impressive feat second - no, wait, make that third - time around. This is still a great 2D platformer, but it's lacking the vital creative spark that turns a great 2D platformer into a classic one. We've come to expect more than straight sequels from mainline Mario games, and until this generation we hadn't truly been offered one. That's a definite disappointment, but on the upside, more New Super Mario Bros. is hardly a bad thing.
With its obsessive focus on coin collecting, New Super Mario Bros. 2 does a few things differently to its predecessor, but not enough to stand tall as its own game. It's a fine companion piece to the original DS game, however, and one that's likely to reside in your 3DS for quite some time.
NSMB2 is yet another great Mario platform game, with some cracking new features, but it's too similar to earlier games in the 'New' series to be a classic in its own right.
- Typically tight, enjoyable platforming from Nintendo
- Ideal for collecting obsessives
- Feels very similar to NSMB
- Doesn't do enough to stand tall as its own game