Community Review: New Super Mario Bros. 2

Community Review: New Super Mario Bros. 2

For the first time in a while, we have a Community Review of a game I’ve actually had the time to play, so this is exciting for me! Please forgive me if I got a little overboard.

New Super Mario Bros. 2: there is nothing wrong with this game. Not really. The platforming is tight, the level design is fairly inventive. There’s variety in the visuals. On a fundamental, technical level New Super Mario Bros. 2 does everything right.

But it’s probably the least enjoyable Mario game I’ve ever played.

Before its release I had high hopes. Nintendo had a young team of new designers working on the game. Said team had even been put through a course teaching them precisely what a Mario game should be. According to Iwata asks, they had been taught those rules in order to break them — to recreate Mario, to find new inventive ways to subvert the template.

Well, that didn’t happen. Not even close.

This may border on hyperbole, but I believe I could probably play the first world of Mario blindfolded.

I’m on world 4 of New Super Mario Bros. 2 — I’ve legitimately seen rough 50% of what the game has to offer — and it feels as though I’m playing on auto-pilot, as though I’m being mindlessly dragged through a Gus Van Sant style shot for shot remake of a game I’ve already played multiple times. It felt as though my brain was being lulled to sleep — you could have switched out NSMB. 2 for its predecessor and I wouldn’t have noticed.

This new team was supposed to subvert the rules, but instead it followed them to the absolutely letter, to the point of sterility. New Super Mario Bros. 2 may actually be perfectly emblematic of the creative dead end Nintendo seems to have walked itself into.

Where is the endless invention of Super Mario Galaxy 2? Playing that game was an joyous, because each and every single level seemed to reinvent the fabric of the game itself — it created a surreal, constant shifting universe in which anything felt possible. That’s what made it so captivating. New Super Mario Bros. 2 captures zero amount of that spirit — the spirit of invention that the Mario series is supposed to embody.

And that’s a terrible, terrible shame.

Alright, I’ll get off my soapbox — what did you guys think of the game so far?


    • I 100% 3D Land in under a week. And it forced you to do each level twice, which was lazy. I was really disappointed in how easy 3D Land was, so I doubt I’ll pick this one up ever. Especially at $70.

      • See I played 3D Land a little bit at a time, like 1 stage each time I played so it took me until June to finish the main quest and then they flip things around on you and suddenly stages have time limits or special coins to collect or a ghost mario who chases you! I thought that was really cool. I still haven’t finished the first “special” castle due to the devious 10 second time limit!

        3D Land is a very inventive game (would’ve loved to play Galaxy but don’t own a Wii – will wait for the WiiU I think)

  • I completed it pretty quickly but now need to find all the coins and hidden stuff if I can be bothered.

    It’s a nice game as you’d expect but it’s exactly the same as the previous 2 NSMB games. The same graphics, same sounds, the only difference is the focus on gold but that’s not a groundbreaking change.

    • Not a total reinvention, but at least something to indicate it’s a proper sequel.

      Mario games have remained fundamentally the same, but if you look at the changes between Super Mario Bros 1, 2, 3 and World they all improved on the game in some way. NSMB2 just seems like an expansion pack for the original DS game.

    • Look at the leap from Super Mario Bros to Super Mario Bros 3.

      It’s a sequel.

      Look at the differences between Mario Galaxy and Mario Galaxy 2.

      Nintendo needed to make that kind of leap. These DS/3DS games are almost indistinguishable from one another.

      • Difference between Mario Galaxy and Mario Galaxy 2? I’d say they’re almost indistinguishable as well. Although the Star Coin things added something new for completionists.

      • You really can’t expect those kind of leaps every time a new Mario game comes out, give Nintendo a break, they’re the innovation kings and have been doing it for over 25 years, I think they’ve earned a little break. I swear gamers these days are demanding as f**k.

  • If I had a 3DS I’d get it.
    I’m sure it’s same ol’ Mario but that’s good enough for me.
    I haven’t really played a game like it since the last one.

  • I still think we should have gotten NEW ‘Super Mario Bros. 2’.
    With all the platforming advancements over the years, they could get real creative with the whole ‘pick up and throw enemies’ mechanic.

  • I was really looking forward to this game when it was first announced, but the more I see of it the less excited I get. Especially since Mario 3D Land fell a little flat for me (it was good but I just felt like I was going through the motions).

    Obviously I haven’t played it yet so I can’t judge. I’ll probably get it if I see it cheap somewhere. Luckily there’s plenty of other games coming for 3DS that I’m very hyped for.

  • I wanted more ‘New Super Mario Bros.’ and that’s exactly what they delivered. I don’t every Mario game to be a massive game-changing thing. I’m honestly having to restrain myself, trying not to eat this whole cake in one sitting.

    • Exactly. Because it’s so samesey it’s easy to plough through it. There’s never a mechanic that makes you stop and think, you’re basically playing on Autopilot. At least, that’s how I was with NSMBWii. And even that added multiplayer.

    • Exactly. Because it’s so samesey it’s easy to plough through it. There’s never a mechanic that makes you stop and think, you’re basically playing on Autopilot. At least, that’s how I was with NSMBWii. And even that added multiplayer.

      • One thing I did like about NSMBWii was that that later, special, levels were HARD. Like the hardest I’ve ever played in a Mario game. If they made a game where all the levels were like *that* it would be sweet. But it’s never going happen.

  • I finished it two weeks ago via JP copy. This sums it up
    ‘This is a high-quality game by anyone’s standards, but that doesn’t change the fact that I spent a good deal of my time playing it feeling blasphemously bored. ‘

  • I kinda feel that Nintendo are resting on their laurels with their franchises these days instead of trying anything genuinely innovative :/

  • It does seem a shame that this game, which is to all intents and purposes excellent – amongst platform gaming’s best – gets viewed so negatively. But there’s no denying it, this game just feels phoned in. I’d hate to think that the Mario platforming series is the new Mario Kart or Mario Party; annual updates on essentially the same game. As some have mentioned, a new Mario game used to mean a brand new experience full of surprises. At least the Wii version had the multiplayer angle. This one just feels… lazy. But having said that, it’s still really good, and it’s had me glued to my 3DS for the last couple of days!

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