REVIEW: New Super Mario Bros 2

  • Released: 2012
  • Played on: Nintendo 2DS
  • Also available on: – (3DS of course)
  • Time to get into: 30 minutes
  • Time to complete: 8 hours
  • Multiplayer: No, although someone else with another console and copy of the game near you can play co-op

I’m not going to labour this review too much for two reasons. Firstly, this game first came out in 2012 and secondly you already know what I’m going to say! Let’s be honest; a) it’s a 2D side-scrolling platformer, so how good can it really be? But then b) it’s a Mario game, so how bad can it really be? It had 4 stars written all over it before I even started and that is exactly where I am at the end as well!

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It’s more of the same… but that’s ok
You know the drill: Bowser and his minions have kidnapped Princess Peach and you are going to get her back. Here you’ll be chasing them down across 6 ‘Worlds’ of varying types facing all the usual different kinds of enemies and other hazards. However old this formula gets there is something about Mario that means it never gets tired! What Nintendo have done to try and differentiate this iteration is an abundance of coins. New Super Mario Bros 2 is all about collecting coins and there are all kinds of mechanics to increase the number available to you. Ultimately this doesn’t really change the gameplay significantly although there is also an additional ‘Coin Rush‘ mode, where you have to dash through a selection of levels quickly whilst collecting as many coins as possible.

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It’s hard… but we’ll make it easy
The most noteworthy thing about this title is it’s odd take on difficulty. Back in the day games were often rock hard – I regularly started games knowing that I would probably never make it through to the end because having to do 30-odd levels without losing all my lives would prove more or less impossible. Compare that with modern day games where after taking a bit of damage you only need to hide briefly to get back to full health. Neither of those extremes is ideal but what this game does to try and bridge the gap is also not ideal.
On the one hand the game doesn’t go easy on you – outside of collecting power-ups (that you then lose when hit), it’s basically a one-shot-kill concept here. Each shell or flame or anything else that you run into will kill you and send you out of the level. As such, particularly when learning each new level to begin with, there is lots of restarting here. Not only that but the game only allows you to save progress every few levels, so if you were to run out of lives on the level before one of those you actually get sent back 3 or 4 levels, not just to the start of that one.
All of this could seem frustrating to your modern day gamer but what Nintendo have done to mitigate it is essentially give you a cop out option. Any level that you have failed at least five times you are thereafter given a White Raccoon power up for Mario. Whilst you can still fall down on levels without a floor this otherwise allows you to sail through each level – busting through each creature trying to get you as if they weren’t there. This even applies to the boss levels. It more or less removes any challenge from the level in question as you can just rush through to the end leaping over the gaps without a care in the world until you see ‘Course Cleared‘.

It’s a free pass.. but that’s not a bad thing
For me, this is a messy solution. It’s basically the same as being given a free pass on any level you are struggling with. I took to trying to ignore the shiny gold boxes until I really did start to get frustrated with a given level, when I did sometimes give in to the temptation. However, my opinion of this changed when I watched The Boy play. For him White Raccoon Mario was not only a fun thing to be given in and of itself but was actually a progress – and thus interest – saviour. He would start to get frustrated if he was stuck, close to the point of giving up on the game entirely but then the White Raccoon box would appear and his enthusiasm would return. For The Boy it wasn’t just level-skipping solution, it was a genuine aspect of the game, just like any of the other power ups. He would probably say it was even his favourite part!

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Verdict
It’s a fairly simple decision whether you want to play this game. Whilst a whole ton of fun, it’s not going to change your world at all so if you are looking for your next great game you can give this one a miss. On the other hand, if you are looking specifically for a game to pick up and play when out and about with your 2 or 3DS, but would like a decent amount of challenge, then this is one of your best options.

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Click below to purchase New Super Mario Bros 2 on cartridge from Amazon.co.uk:
Click below to purchase the 2DS + New Super Mario Bros 2 from Amazon.co.uk:
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Mobile Golf: Mario Golf & Golf Zero

I’ve been casually playing two different golf games recently. I won’t get deep enough into either to be in a position to fully review them so I thought a comparison post might suffice.

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I have regularly enjoyed golf games since playing Tiger Woods 2005 – I really think the sport translates better into playing a video game than onto TV to watch (and I won’t go into my ability, or lack thereof, at the real thing!). The challenge to your skill is significant but not under any time pressure – a rare thing in sports and sports video games.

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The two games I’m currently playing are Mario Golf World Tour on the 2DS and Golf Zero on my phone.
Mario Golf World TourHNI_0001 Despite the analog stick on the 2DS this game doesn’t use any kind of motion control, instead opting for the usual press-a-button-as-a-slider-moves-along-the-screen concept. Even so this works well and once you’ve got the basics you find that the things you have to consider – how hard you hit it, topspin, fairways and bunkers etc – are reasonably close to those you’d face in a proper golf sim. Of course this game is not that and it brings all the usual Mario charm to proceedings.

Golf ZeroScreenshot_20170626-125909This game, on the other hand, is about as far away from a golf sim as it is possible to go and still use the word golf to describe your game! It’s a platformer combined with a kind of extreme golf. You end up taking your shots whilst in the air plummeting towards the sea. Really, it defies explanation, so watch this video for an example of what I mean:

Golf Zero from The Gamer Boys on Vimeo.

I consider both of these games just brief distractions from life and from my main gaming due to their relative lack of depth and repetitiveness. But that said, I would still recommend either game to anyone looking for just such a distraction. Whilst a couple hours spent hunting in an open world or thrashing around a track in a driving game endurance race are fantastic, sometimes a quick ten minutes hitting a small white ball about the place is just what is required!