New Super Mario Bros. 2 Hands-on Comic-Con 2012 Preview -- Coin OverloadBy Stephen Johnson - Posted Jul 13, 2012
New Super Mario Bros. 2 is a direct sequel to New Super Mario Bros., but this time, it’s all about the money--the focus here is coins, coins and coins. There are so many gold coins all over every level, it's practically Fort Knox. I'm not sure if it has to do with the lagging economy or what, but Mario is now obsessed with collecting bling.
I’m sure you’re aware of how this 2D side-scroller is played, so I won’t go too much into the gameplay, except to say it plays exactly like recent Mario games--the same slightly "slidy" physics. The same dialed-in, pinpoint accurate controls. I'm sure Nintendo decided not to fix something that wasn't broken here. The difference is the coins. The many, many coins.
All these coins lead me to ask what, exactly, Mario and Luigi spend their money on, besides extra lives. Surely it's not clothing. Maybe it costs a lot to keep their cars so customized. Maybe they have a medical trust set up so that Toad can be taken care of after the brothers die--he'll probably never be able to live independently. Anyway, we’ll soon find out in a sense as Nintendo promises that gamers who diligently collect a million coins will be rewarded with a fantastic surprise. I hope it's a solid gold hamburger!
The demo I played at Comic-Con 2012 was of “Coin Rush” mode. You can access Coin Rush levels after you’ve completed them on regular difficulty, and these levels just throws countless coins from every conceivable place. Coins pour down pipes. They follow jumping turtles. You can use gold flowers to turn blocks into coins. You can get a mask that makes Mario leave a trail of gold coins behind him. Coin Rush gives you one life to play three levels, and collect as many coins as possible.
The demo level was a "typical" Mario level--rolling barrels, mushroom blocks, and turtle enemies trying to kill you, but there were many, many coins here. More than simply a reaction to inflation, the extra coins can change the way you play the game in some unique ways. Less experienced or dexterous players will likely ignore the riches around every corner in order to focus on not dying, but more experienced Mario-heads will pursue each coin like a numismatist.
Coin Rush mode offers you many coins to get, but the one life thing balances out the mayhem and decadence with some very real consequences. These subtle differences amount to a kind of replayability that we rarely seen--one that uses the original levels but presents a brand new experience.
There's no sense getting rich if you can't show it off, so once you’ve collected all your riches, you can use Street Pass to issue challenges for other coin collectors to beat your high score.
New Super Mario Bros 2 launches on August 19, which is, coincidentally, the launch date of the Nintendo 3DS XL.