|New Super Mario Bros. Wii|
|Genre||Multiplayer Mario Mayhem|
|Buy from Amazon|
My oldest son is four years old now, I’ve been playing games with him since he was one. In some ways, gaming is a lot more accessible now: Wii Fit, touch gaming, and even the Kinect allow little kids and casual gamers to ease into things like never before. But on the other hand, give a toddler an Xbox 360 controllers with its nine buttons, two triggers, two thumbsticks, and a D-pad, and they’re more likely to send Batman sailing to an icy death.
So that’s how my Wii has been resurrected. Having collected dust for years, its wide array of kid friendly but adult awesome games is a godsend. We recently played through Donkey Kong Country Returns, and have now finished New Super Mario Bros. Wii. This is a newbie attractive game that features an especially excellent and forgiving cooperative mode. We can both play at the same time, and the punishment for death is rather limited.
But that’s not to say New Super Mario Bros. Wii isn’t challenging, and it certainly doesn’t lack in content or even replayability. Let’s take a deeper look at NSMBW, played completely through in cooperative mode with a four year old.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii is a semi-traditional side-scrolling Mario game for the Wii. It features four player cooperative play, allows optional use of the nunchuck, has eight worlds with 10 levels each, and introduces two new powers with Propeller Mario and Penguin Mario. Neither of them are critical to defining NSMBW, but the propeller goes a long way in helping to break the game.
The worlds are very traditional Mario settings, but each feature a Super Mario Bros. 3 like overworld where you can find mushroom houses and discover shortcuts. Some stages are optional, and Nintendo seems to make these just a bit extra devious. There are also mini-castles, ghost houses, and airships, plus the original Koopa Kids are back, so this honestly feels like a great NES reunion at times. Even the Koopa Kid fights are reminiscent of their 20 year old brethren. Bowser Jr. is also included, which makes it a bit jarring to fans of the Mario lore that Nintendo seems to be openly acknowledging that both Bowser Jr. and the Koopa Kids exists. Weird.
Princess Peach is kidnapped, of course, which makes the multiplayer options a bit lacking. If you were expecting free-form player selection like in Super Mario Bros. 2, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Player 1 is forced to use Mario, Player 2 is Luigi, and worst of all, Players 3 and 4 are stuck with color changed Toad variants. Yes, Nintendo, we’re very tired in rescuing the Princess at this point, so why not include her as a playable character? It seems like a confirmation that while Nintendo may naturally create great gameplay, they’re still behind in other aspects of gaming.
But the multiplayer is absolute mayhem, and a blast. I’ve played the game before with three and four players, and it’s almost impossible to make any decent progress: everyone constantly getting in each other’s way, jumping on heads, even picking each other up like Chip 'n Dale! Two players is manageable, however, and it helps that my partner is a four year old. It is really fun to bounce off each other to reach new heights, New Super Mario Bros. Wii really feels like a cooperative team game, and if things get rough, the other player can float in a bubble through the rough spots.
Another nice thing Nintendo gives cooperative players are near unlimited continues. Normally, if you lost all your lives, you’d be back at the beginning of the world, but as long as at least one player has one more lives left, the other players will automatically continue after the current level is over. This means my kid can use over 50 continues throughout the game and we only had to restart one world once (which I will admit was a pretty big annoyance, and a nasty surprise).
The most important aspect of being a Mario game is that it feels like a Mario game, and NSMBW nails the running, jumping, and sliding perfectly. Some platformers just feel unplayable due to their funky way of implementing its basic gameplay, but even with multiple players running around, it all feels right. There are very few accidental deaths due to uncooperative controls, which is key since some of the levels are downright diabolical.
An excellent entry into the 2D Super Mario Bros. series, made even better with the cooperative multiplayer. New Super Mario Bros. Wii almost never stumbles, and makes for the elite 2D platforming game on the Wii (because, hey, Super Meat Boy never made it).