|Release: August 19, 2012|
|Screen Resolution: N/A||Comic Mischief|
It can be difficult to explain why New Super Mario Bros. 2 just doesn't feel quite up to the usual Mario standard. The controls are solid and responsive (though a teensy bit more slippery than usual with the 3DS analog stick, which is strange as the stick worked beautifully in 3D Land), the levels are varied and have tons of hidden secrets to ferret out, and the Koopa Kids make for fun boss battles. It just feels a bit too rote, too designed-by-committee, and Mario's constant declaration that "It's a good time!" as he jumps into levels isn't quite convincing. Do you really enjoy being chased by homicidal creatures and plummeting off ledges that much, Mario?
The game looks fantastic as usual, and the console's 3D effect is put to nice, subtle use. As all the action is in 2D, the 3D effect simply rounds everything out, making objects stand out nicely from the background and giving things the illusion of actual mass. The music is catchy but quite familiar, and I found myself becoming annoyed with the doo-wap singers in the background, adding jolly "bop bops" to even the most sinister background music.
Don't get me wrong. New Super Mario Bros. 2 is a good game. It just doesn't seem infused with quite the right mix of Mario magic to make it a great game. 3DS owners would be better served purchasing the amazingly crafted Super Mario 3D Land. Those who have finished 3D Land and are looking for a new Mario fix will enjoy New Super Mario Bros. 2, it's just that there's a nagging feeling about the game that says it could have been better. Failing to incorporate the game's coin-centric concept meaningfully into the main campaign's gameplay is an unusual misstep for Nintendo. Perhaps it's unfair to hold the Mario series up to such a high standard, but we only do so because we love it so much.
Date: August 20, 2012