Review - New Super Mario Bros. (NDS)

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Reviews & Guides' started by ShadowXP, Aug 21, 2006.

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Aug 21, 2006
  1. ShadowXP

    Member ShadowXP ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Dec 20, 2002
    United Kingdom
    [​IMG] New Super Mario Bros. By ShadowXP

    In the autumn of 1985 Mario jumped on to the Nintendo Entertainment System and for the first time gamers were able to experience true platforming action in the form of Super Mario Bros., pounding Goombas with much joy and unleashing their wrath on the mighty Bowser, only to be told their princess was in another castle. Damn!

    From that point on, gamers all over the world were amazed and left wanting so much more from the little plumber, and their wish was granted. Since the original game many sequels and spin-offs have been released on a whole range of different consoles, but the one gamers have been craving for the last few years is this very title - New Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo DS.


    Princess Peach, the beloved princess of the Mushroom Kingdom, is enjoying a pleasent walk with her friend Mario when they spot smoke billowing out of Peach's Castle. The powerful plumbing marvel instantly snapped into action, rushing over to the scene to find out what's up.

    However, Mario had been tricked - the smoke was simply a distraction caused by cronies, and the instant Mario left Peach's side she was cunningly snatched by Mario's latest nemesis - Bowser Jr.!

    Who exactly is behind the attack on Peach's Castle? Why would Bowser Jr. what to kidnap the poor princess? There's only one way to find out, and that's by leading the mustached man on his quest!

    It's Mario Time!!

    Information taken from the game's manual.

    • Move
    • Enter pipes and doors
    • Climb ropes and vines
    Touch Screen:
    • Choose a world to move to
    • Use stored items
    • Minigame controls
    A - Jump/Swim
    B - Jump/Swim
    X - Dash/Use Fire Powers
    Y - Dash/Use Fire Powers

    This is pretty straight forward. When you start the game you're presented with a world map, and from there you can see that Mario has to traverse a total of eight worlds (although only six of these are complusary) made up of various numbers of levels (again, some are complusary, whilst some are bonuses and can only be accessed by Star Coins, but more on those later) and 'Toad House(s)'. Sometimes a Hammer Bro or Floating Block will appear on one of the levels, which you can then find when you enter it. This adds a bit of variety to the game and sometimes makes you want to go back to previous levels. To advance the game, all the player has to do is complete each of the complusary levels, and complete a world by defeating the boss inside the end of world castle.

    However, in each level there are three hidden 'Star Coins', and players must collect these if they want to unlock hidden areas, which are highlighted through signposts placed around the world map. Star Coins also unlock paths to Toad Houses, inside which is a simple mini-game to be played which will usually reward the player with a power-up - items that can be used to 'power-up' Mario whilst in a level.

    A basic level consists of the player navigating Mario from left to right. There's a time limit that can be seen in the top right hand corner of the top screen, as well as the number of coins Mario has collected in the top left. When Mario collects 100 coins, a 1-Up Mushroom appears and if he collects it he is a given an extra life. On the touch screen there is a map, as well as the name of the level Mario is on in the top left corner, the amount of lives he has left in the top right as well as the player's score, the amount of Star Coins collected and a map at the bottom.

    In the bottom right you can see which power-up you have avaliable. If Mario is already using a power-up and collects another that's not as powerful as the one he is currently using, then it's added as a 'card' to the bottom right of the touch screen, which the player can use later on when needed by simply tapping it.


    There are various power-ups and items avaliable in levels, too. These vary from the basic Red Mushroom which makes Mario grow slightly taller, and also allows him to take one hit before dieing. There's the Fire Flower, which once collected makes Mario either the same size as what a Red Mushroom does and gives him fire powers, or simply gives him fire powers, which can be used by a quick tap of the Y button. There's also a tiny blue mushroom that can shrink Mario down to miniscule sizes in order to acces hard-to-reach areas, and the classic Mario Star that allows Mario to be invincible for a short time. However, amongst all these is one more item, which is personally my favourite, and that's the Orange Mushroom. Incredibly large, this shroom will super-size Mario and allow him to smash through a whole array of obstacles in his path, from the ? Blocks which give you items when you hit them, normal Bricks which may contain coins inside, and he can also smash through pipes in this form, too. Finally there's the Blue Shell - when you get this you're able to roll around inside the shell, gliding about wiping out any enemies in your path.

    At the end of each castle (which can be found at the end of each world) there's a boss fight, which is usually either Bowser Jr. or some enemy he's conjured up for you to fight. These boss battles are relatively boring and pose no threat whatsoever, they're quite literally pushovers, pointless and a waste of time. They're just not tough at all.

    As well as the single player adventure mode of the game, there are also a collection of mini-games on the cart, too. These are accessed easily via the menus that appear as soon as you start up the game. You're then given the choice to play alone or wirelessly with friends, and you don't even have to have friends with the cart. Up to four players can play the mini-games wirelessly with only one cart, and through multiplayer you get more games than you had in the single player version! These range from rolling a snowball through a course, having a snowball fight, playing various card and board games with Luigi, and even drawing trampolines to help Mario enter a door or tapping him to help him beat Shyguys. The mini-games are incredible fun, especially in multiplayer but the only downside is that if you've played the minigames on Super Mario 64 DS, then they're pretty much the same ones with the addition of a few and mulitplayer.

    There's also another multiplayer mode which doesn't require more than one cart either! (Except this time only two people can play.) It's called Mario Vs. Luigi, and there are a total of fives 'levels' in which you play against each other to collect a set amount of stars. The amount of stars you collect, whether Mario and Luigi have lives and the levels you play as well as number of rounds can all be decided by the player. It's an enjoyable multiplayer game that can really get the competitivness of the player going, since you're able to 'attack' one other by jumping on each other's heads, or by collecting a Fire Flower and using the fire powers it gives you. Also, if you collect eight coins in this mode you're rewarded with a random item to use against your opponent.

    The graphics in the game are really nice and extremely clear and vibrant, although some of the menus and screens are a bit bland. For example, the mini-game section is simply a 'brushed metal' gradient with simple buttons, which although does the job is extremely ugly and feels like that part of the game was very rushed. At the beginning of the adventure mode, the so-called 'cut scene' is nicely animated and although simple, well done. The world maps are great, with parts of it including Mario in partial 3D and it's also presented in a nice 'birds eye' view, looking down on the world you're on. The worlds are also clearly themed although sometimes it's hard to distinguish what the theme of the world you're currently playing on is until you've completed a few levels.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The level design is great in the beginning though I felt it became really bland towards the end. They're nicely presented with great pixel graphics, enemies, obstacles and so on but there just isn't enough variety in them, it feels like you're doing the same world over and over again, except this time it's snowing or this time it's in a desert. The boss enemies are the best to look at, and although the time spent looking at them is short, you can come back and admire them later. Their design and animation is superb, though basic. Other enemies just have certain charm - like revisiting the Koopas and Goombas and the Bullet Bills, too. Retro Nintendo gamers are going to love the fact that it's just like shiny, bright version of the original.

    There isn't really much to say about the sound, except that it's catchy and does the job. All of the music fits in to the level design and hearing some of the classic Mario sounds just make you smile. Everything is there, from gaining a 1-Up Mushroom or Super Star and hitting the ? Blocks and Bricks to collecting coins and stamping on Goombas on Koopas. The little things Bowser Jr. says are really nice too, his "oh no!" really suits him well and again, just makes you want to smile at the immense quality of this game.

    Lasting Reply
    Although short, New Super Mario Bros. sports alot of replayability. Worlds 4 and 7 can only be accessed through a special way, there are tons of Star Coins to collect (three on every level) and there's also the bonus levels that can only be accessed through spending Star Coins. As well as all of this there's also a 'cheat' you can do which unlocks Challenge Mode, a mode where you can't go back to an area where you've previously been, making the whole game tougher.

    As well as the main adventure there's also the mini-games and multiplayer you can do. Trying to beat your high scores and playing with friends and/or family is always great fun when you're bored.

    If you're looking for a new Mario platformer or were a fan of the originals, be sure to check this game out. Hell, it's bound to appeal to any and all gamers who have a Nintendo DS - anyone can pick it up and play and you're bound to smile at it's sheer charm as you traverse the Mushroom Kingdom. The great thing about this game is that it's just so universal. It's appears to anyone and everyone, no matter what age or sex.

    If you're looking for a new DS game and haven't played this yet - be sure to check it out!

    + Fun, enjoyable, pick-up-and-play platforming action.
    + A (fairly) large world to explore
    + Plenty of items and power-ups to discover
    + Many alternative routes and exits to levels to find
    + Additional mini-games and multiplayer modes
    + Great classic Nintendo action

    - Can seem boring and tedious at times
    - Level designs aren't the greatest
    - Some people may complain the game seems dated
    - Fairly short for the more experienced gamer

    Overall Score: 8/10
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