New Super Mario Bros. 2 Review

By Alex Rubens - Posted Aug 08, 2012

New Super Mario Bros 2. doesn't do anything to innovate on the classic sidescrolling platformer, but the core gameplay is still strong enough to make navigating the wonderful levels worth your time.

The Pros
  • It's more classic Super Mario Bros.
  • Great new powerups
  • It looks beautiful in 2D
The Cons
  • Boss fights are the same on every level
  • 2-player co-op is hindered by a bad camera
  • The beautiful levels are muddied by bad 3D
  • Lack of innovation and 3D tricks

New Super Mario Bros. 2 Review:

After the original New Super Mario Bros. redefined 2D platformers on the Nintendo DS, Nintendo needed to do something different for the transition to the 3DS. While New Super Mario Bros. 2 doesn’t do much to innovate on the NSMB format, the core gameplay is still strong enough to make navigating the wonderful levels worth your time.




Don’t let the lack of innovation dissuade you though, New Super Mario Bros. 2 is 2D platforming at its finest. Navigating the levels as Mario feels just as it should, I never thought that a death was the result of the controls. Even when flying in the Tanooki suit, everything handled just as I expected, the controls are extremely tight, as is standard with the series.

As per usual, Peach has been kidnapped, but this time by the Koopalings from Super Mario World, and Mario sets out to rescue her. In typical fashion, every time that he gets close, they manage to escape with the princess while he sits there and watches. There are two castles per world now, one at the half point and one at the end, that break up the platforming with a boss battle. Unfortunately, each of the castles is the same style of boss battle only reskinned with the new environment. I would have liked to see some sort of variation in the battles, rather than the same thing every time.

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Six Hours of Fun

New Super Mario Bros. 2’s main solo play campaign isn’t that long, maybe six hours at the most. There’s 8 worlds, six that can be unlocked through regular play and two that require you to find secret exits in levels. The biggest challenge perhaps is the final Star Road unlocked after you’ve beaten the game, which requires 90 star coins to enter. If you’ve used any along the way to purchase powerups, you’ll have to go hunting for them back in earlier levels, which can be a bit of a challenge.

However, in those 80 levels, it manages to take the core gameplay and keep it fresh and exciting with the inclusion of metagames. These metagames aren’t necessary to the completion of the game, and aren’t even pointed out, but there’s plenty of little things that extend the gameplay and hold a greater risk/reward proposition. It might be worth it to jump for that Star Coin but you might also fall to your death and lose a life in the process.

New Super Mario Bros. 2

White Tanooki is no match for Lava!

New Super Mario Bros. 2 isn’t much of a challenge either, you can make your way through most levels without incident, but some of the later levels can be somewhat difficult. If you die at the same spot a few times in a row, the game will take pity on you in the form of a White Tanooki suit that makes you invincible to everything in the level besides lava and weird purple goo. It’s the perfect time to run through a level smashing everything you can to grab all the extra coins.

The solo play campaign is fully playable in two-player co-op as well, making it the first handheld Mario title to do so. It’s a neat experience, but it doesn’t work as well as it should. At the beginning of the level, one player is designated as the leader and the camera will only follow that character. It leads to much confusion between players as they must be on the same area of the screen and can’t really explore for Star Coins or other areas of the map. It’s truly a shame, as that camera style works much better on home consoles, not handhelds.

New Super Mario Bros. 2


The better multiplayer experience is Coin Rush. It isn’t multiplayer in the traditional sense but instead scores players on three randomly-selected timed levels as they grab as many coins as they can without dying. That score is then put out via Streetpass to compete against other local players. It’s really neat and works extremely well in quick bursts, trying to beat someone else’s score as you Streetpass with them.

The game also keeps track of the coins that you collect throughout all modes and playthroughs, with the goal of obtaining one million coins. As cool an idea as that is, you’ll spend hundreds of hours with the game before getting close to that number. After completing the solo campaign, portions of the coop campaign, and a few matches of coin rush, I was nearing 20,000 coins collected. That’s nowhere near one million. I can’t imagine what kind of reward would be worth playing through the game that many times to unlock, none the less, the constant coin counter is still a neat idea.

New Super Mario Bros. 2

Is New Super Mario Bros. 2 still worth a play?

Despite the lack of a challenge and odd co-op experience, New Super Mario Bros. 2 still manages to be an exceptional platformer that shouldn’t be overlooked. The 3D doesn’t do the game any favors by washing out the beautiful environments, but that’s more a system limitation than the game itself. While it might not be as innovative as Super Mario 3D Land, but it is a wonderful sequel to New Super Mario Bros. and one of the best games available on the 3DS.