2D Mario games are the foundations of all the Mario goodness we see right in front of our eyes when we are playing these marvelous titles. From the beautiful scenery of Super Mario Galaxy to the large raceways of Mario Kart, all of this evolved from the more basic 2D Mario titles. In modern times, the New Super Mario Bros. series of games showed up, and they have proven to be great games. It had been over a decade since we’ve seen a true side-scroller Mario title (from Super Mario World to New Super Mario Bros. DS), and since then the NSMB series has come up with enormous sales and positive reception. Now there stand 4 New Super Mario titles, each coming from Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, Wii, and for the launch of the new Wii U, Mario’s first high-definition game. However, it would seem like things are beginning to show signs of aging. Not necessarily with visuals, but the re-usage of particular things in the games.
New Super Mario Bros for the DS became really popular due to the fact that 2D Mario games just entertain so many. Plus, it’s the first time a 2D Mario game went beyond just using sprites for the playable characters and the enemies; in fact the characters are all in 3D. New Super Mario Bros. Wii brought the “here we go!” into reality by allowing up to 4 people to play together on a single screen. It was just the boost 2D Mario titles needed to feel fresh and new as its title suggests. New Super Mario Bros. 2 on the other hand is all about the coins. Coins are littered everywhere across the ground and skies, and you aim for receiving the highest amount of coins possible. Gold is very important as It is very valuable for Mario and Luigi. Unfortunately, the rewards weren’t worth the time invested. A newer title screen Nintendo? Really? Was this all you could come up with? You guys really need to fit in accomplishments with awards.
Now, New Super Mario Bros. U. I really needed to try it out first before any fair judgment because one may just underestimate the greatness of a title coming directly from Nintendo themselves. This game has been pretty darn good, considering how the series is beginning to age. Due to the “more beef” (Iwata’s phrase for referring to console power) of the console, this is probably the most beautiful 2D Mario experiences I have ever witnessed. The characters look nice, the scenery is colorful, the 1280x720p resolution (up from 854×480 in 16:9) looks crisp, and the background has a lot of layers. This really does show that the console is much more capable than what we saw on Wii. Though the game is bright, the resolution is high, and the scenery is colorful, it definitely could look a lot nicer. Sure, Mario games tend to have a cartoony art style, but adding more modern effects to take advantage of the modern GPU (AMD Radeon HD based Graphics Card) would really have helped a lot more than what was actually seen. This game took 3 years to create, and this is all you could do with a larger amount of power presented to you? The only excuse I give you, is your lack of knowledge with using modern graphical effects.
So what’s up with the New Super Mario series after this game? The game itself is nice, I’ve mentioned that…..but certain parts are showing their age. Out of the 4 games, the Koopalings appeared 3 times. Seriously, whatever happened to trying to come up with new offerings with every Super Mario experience Nintendo? 3 2D games in a row, Koopalings are the “bosses” of these games. It’s great that you add newer enemies to the gameplay, but please do the same with the important boss battles.
The music needs a change, BAH-dly. The music was cute in the first game, it really fit in well. Using it again for Wii was OK…..but then again for 3DS…..and then again for the Wii U, Nintendo you really need to change your tune, literally! The moods of the music hasn’t changed at all from each New Super Mario game, the moods are exactly the same! Look back at how things used to be with your first few installments when entering the console era. The music was drastically different from the original Super Mario Bros. to the American Super Mario Bros. 2, then an even bigger difference from Super Mario Bros. 3 to Super Mario World. The music style changed along with the system there, but it’s just not happening with the New Super Mario series. It’s in the 4th entry, in its 4th system, and I’m already BAH-ed out.
Don’t get me wrong, I like the game with all of its changes and additions like with the challenges and I’ll hopefully love the downloadable levels and courses made available in the future. We’re probably not going to be seeing another 2D Mario game anytime soon, unless of course either Wii U or 3DS become the next system after the NES (or Famicom in Japan)to house multitudes of them. If they do become holders of the next 2D Mario game, Nintendo, please change your attitude towards the genre. If on Wii U again for the next game, please use the GamePad in more unique and innovative ways, as simply placing blocks on the screen in multiplayer is not innovation, rather it’s simply a convenience to have. The GamePad is a tool on its own, not innovation. The innovation happens with the unique experiences used with the main tool of a console.
So what do you believe? Is the New Super Mario Bros. series still going fresh? Or should it continue with its same trend? Or should the next 2D Mario title contain large changes like we’ve experienced in the past?