First Looks// E3 '09: New Super Mario Bros. Wii

Posted 4 Jun 2009 16:00 by
One of only three games I managed to get a hold of at the Nintendo booth today, and one of the ones I was sadly least excited to play, was New Super Mario Brothers Wii. The spiritual sequel to the hugely popular NSMB DS from a few years back, it features classic 2D Mario game-play with 3D, pre-rendered, characters and lovely, highly detailed backgrounds.

The big deal this time around though is the inclusion of four-player play. I don't say co-op or competitive play because adding extra players to a Mario game doesnít necessarily lead to team work or combat. Instead Nintendo has tried to balance the game so that in some parts you feel compelled to help each other and in some you will want to fight over certain items and prizes. Itís a very dynamic experience and one that I was a bit fearful of.

For those who tried it the two-player competitive mode in the DS version was a blast to play. Taking the classic ďstep on each others heads without killing each otherĒ game play from Mario Brothers and mixing it with level design from the Super Mario Brothers games was a stroke of genius. The issue I had going into this was a fear that A: It would be too hard to keep track of my character; B: a game of skill like Mario would turn into a train wreck when youíre forced to deal with other human beings and their whims.

While my worst fears werenít realized upon playing, they certainly were put to rest either. I had the (mis)fortune to play the game with three strangers. As we all knew we only had a few minutes to play, everyone wanted to try everything.

Thankfully item blocks now produced the appropriate number of mushrooms for all players. Unfortunately the same canít be said for fire flowers or Yoshis. As such it was often a race/fight to grab the ďgood stuffĒ. Another issue is that once you have a power mushroom you can still collect more of them for extra points. So, unless your teammates are very thoughtful and careful, itís not uncommon for one player to grab anotherís mushroom unnecessarily.

The other issue, losing track of myself, was a bit of a problem, though mostly because I wasnít sure which character I had when I was first handed the controller. Once I realized I was Blue Toad it wasnít too bad but I couldnít help but think that having four or more distinct characters, rather than different colored versions of two, would have been the way to go. Blue toad can look an awful lot like blue Mario from a distance.

Itís hard to say what it will be like to play this game with real friends, and seeing as there is no online play planned, thatís pretty much the only way Iíll ever be playing it with more than one person in the future, but I am very interested to find out.

This brings up another concern I have in that, I donít know if Iíll be able to ever really play the game with more than just myself. Usually when Iím gaming with friends on the Wii, we break out the party games like Wii Sports, Wario Ware, and the Rabbids games. This is because itís easy to pass the control or pop in / drop out at will and thereís no heavy time commitment.

A game like Mario should really be played for at least an hour at a time, probably more. I canít imagine the scenario in my life right now where I convince three friends to come to my house for four or more hours to play Mario together.

While I know some of you out there wonít have this issue I tend to imagine a lot of my ďover 25Ē brethren will. I hate to think there will be coins and items in the game I will never be able to get because I donít have a group of friend there to help me.

Does making a Mario game multi-player tarnish the single-player fun? Only time will tell.

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Comments

mono 4 Jun 2009 16:20
1/8
wat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Juz da same as da 1 on da DS
Anonymous 4 Jun 2009 17:13
2/8
Its clearly different as you can see it has 4 players, and a different graphics style.
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Can't login! 4 Jun 2009 17:29
3/8
If it ain't broke don't fix it!
BLANK 6 Jun 2009 07:07
4/8
WHO THE F*** TALKS LIKE THAT
ozfunghi 8 Jun 2009 23:16
5/8
The spiritual sequel to the hugely popular NSMB DS from a few years back, it features classic 2D Mario game-play with 3D, pre-rendered, characters and lovely, highly detailed backgrounds.

I highly doubt that those characters are prerendered. Why go through the trouble to prerender if the system would have no problems running the 3D graphics engine? This looks to me like full 3D engine, just sidescrolling.
LUPOS 9 Jun 2009 16:11
6/8
ozfunghi wrote:
I highly doubt that those characters are prerendered. Why go through the trouble to prerender if the system would have no problems running the 3D graphics engine? This looks to me like full 3D engine, just sidescrolling.


Being as they are fairly small on the screen, especially with 4 players, it's a bit difficult to tell but either way I don't think it would make much graphical difference. Nor is this a particularly important point, but, whatever. Game is fun to play, as it's a Mario game. I don't know if it will be fun with friends or not. But what I do know is it feels just like the DS version. Which is a good thing.

I was definitely not intending to sound negative about it. It just didn't really excite me either. I like "real" Mario games when they have new exciting game play ideas. The tanooki tail and suites in 3. The huge world map and cape and Yoshi in world, the water pack in sunshine (yes I liked sunshine) and the planet hoping, gravity fun of Galaxy. The big change in this one is 4 player which, from my brief experience, doesn't seem all that great. Also Galaxy 2 is just more Galaxy, which is fine, but again, not exciting.
ozfunghi 9 Jun 2009 20:04
7/8
I didn't mean to insinuate you were sounding negative.

I just said the SNES days are over, and so are the times they needed to prerender simple 3D characters and put them in a 2D environment as sprites. It's a lot more of a hastle than just keep it 3D.
LUPOS 10 Jun 2009 22:00
8/8
ozfunghi wrote:
I didn't mean to insinuate you were sounding negative.

I just said the SNES days are over, and so are the times they needed to prerender simple 3D characters and put them in a 2D environment as sprites. It's a lot more of a hastle than just keep it 3D.


My bad, first paragraph was for you, second was aimed else where. I should really quote both.
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