The New Super Mario Bros.

As likely the most recognized mushroom-eating, turtle-stomping, mustachioed plumber duo in history, the Super Mario Bros. have been synonymous with video games since Nintendo began about a quarter of a century ago. On paper, the premise seems like a schizophrenic mescaline-induced hallucination—a Mushroom Kingdom, transportation pipes, flowers that enable you to throw fire—yet somehow it all comes together to make one of the most entertaining videogame concepts of all time. While there are many side-project games the New Super Mario Bros. continues the core storyline in a familiarly-stylized world as both a tribute to its heritage and a sequel in its own right. NSMB is more like a hybrid of a 3D and 2D game. The motion and controls are solid, but with a slight nod to the original Mario difficulty. Jumping is the primary ability with a new wall-jump that is similar to Mario 64, but easier to execute in the new 2D environment. There is also a triple-jump reminiscent of the Mario 64 ability, but there were surprisingly few opportunities to use it. All of the enemies are from previous games and include red and green Koopas (turtles), Goombas (mushroom-looking things), Lakitu (cloud guy throwing spiky things) and pretty much every enemy from Mario 1, 3, World, and 64 with a few new ones littering castles and haunted houses. There are also a few new items in Mario’s arsenal. The Blue Koopa Shell costume enables Mario to run and turn into a spinning shell to reach secret areas and take out enemies. The Mini Mushroom shrinks Mario down small enough to fit into smaller spaces and narrow pipes, but also makes him light enough to run on water and gain extra loft and hang-time when jumping. The MEGA Mushroom transforms Mario into a Godzilla-sized giant that takes up half of the screen and can destroy most objects in his path. The levels are as active and interactive as before, but with little modifications to specialize for the DS; for example, if you want to use a stored item you touch it on the touch screen. You can also use the touch screen to transport to maps you’ve already visited. There are all sorts of fun little bonus details and secrets that showcase just how much effort Nintendo puts in their. Short and Sweet: BUY THIS GAME. Mario is about as solid and reliable as any franchise and universally fun. For my money, a portable video game should be something I can play over and over without having to remember how far I’ve progressed or what I have left to do. Mario is the best example of a pick-up-and-play.

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