Spoiler alert: Princess Peach gets kidnapped at the beginning of New Super Mario Bros. 2, now out for the Nintendo 3DS.
I actually did not play a lot of Mario games until late in life, as my first Nintendo console was a Nintendo 64. But even I can tell you that Princess Peach is going to get kidnapped in each game, and every time you reach the castle she’s in, she’ll get taken away to another castle. And a giant turtle took her.
Who cares though? You’re not really playing a Mario game for the plot, are you? No. You’re playing for the jumping and the funny power-up suits.
But now… in New Super Mario Bros. 2, a sequel to a game that came out all the way back in 2006, you’re playing for the coins. You must amass every coin in sight. You must even activate a gold flower that turns your enemies into coins. Mario is a hero, but hey, why can’t he make a little money while he’s at it?
You’ll traverse seemingly familiar worlds like deserts, jungles, volcanoes, underwater, etc. Don’t touch the fire, don’t get eaten by the fish, and while you’re at it, get that seemingly impossible coin. You’ll even get applause over the speakers, for instance, when you get all the blue coins after having Mario jump on a button in-world.
Your goal is to not only save Princess Peach, but also amass a million coins. For the sake of this review, I did not get a million coins. (Sorry readers.) I got, maybe, a measly 50,000 coins. But I still had a lot of fun along the way.
While the game can get repetitive – especially the music – it rarely isn’t fun. Even though the boss battles are so easy that my 4 year old niece would scoff at them, there were other spots I had trouble. And developers wisely notice if you keep dying repeatedly, the game is kind enough to toss an Invincible power-up for when you do. (I even used that during the final mission!)
The six main worlds, each with less than ten stages, added up to about eight hours of play time for me. There are secret stages though – though not so secret since you see them on the map – as well as a Coin Rush mode that lets you replay the worlds with the goal of just getting more coins. There are also 3 optional, hidden Star coins in each level. (They are not required for progressing the game as they were annoyingly in Super Mario Land 3DS.)
One note of caution—save your game! The game lets you use five Star coins at certain points in the world to save your game, and it saves it automatically after you beat each of the two castle levels in each world. But other than that, the game does NOT save automatically for you. I learned the hard way. So if you’ve played a level or two and didn’t see the game actually say it was saving, and you want to quit, make sure you hit select and do a Quick Save so you can pick up right where you left off.
It’s called New Super Mario Bros. 2 and yet it’s anything but. And that’s exactly why you’re going to buy it. And it’s precisely why you’re going to enjoy it. Even those of you crazy enough to try and get a million coins…
New Super Mario Bros. 2 is available now for the Nintendo 3DS and retails for $39.99.
* Disclosure: A copy of New Super Mario Bros. 2 was provided to this reviewer for the purposes of this write-up. *