New Super Mario Bros.

Developed by Nintendo

Published by Nintendo

Released: 2006/05/15

Reviewed: 2006/05/20

by Jason Leung



Nintendo again uses its most popular franchise for another game for the Nintendo DS, this time in New Super Mario Bros.

One of Bowser's castles...classic yet new.

New Super Mario Bros. consists of the Main platform game, a Multi-player versus game, and several mini-games.

The story of the main game begins as Mario and Princess Peach return from a walk and are heading back to the castle, only to have Bowser Jr. come by and kidnap the princess (again), and it's up to Mario to save her (again). That's pretty much the story. Nothing really new or unexpected.

Controlling Mario is very easy. Aside from the usual Mario fare of left/right walking and running, jumping, ducking, pipe entering, fireball throwing, swimming, and vine climbing, they have added new moves for Mario: wall jumping and butt-stomping, seen before in the Super NES era with Samus Aran in Super Metroid and Yoshi in Yoshi's Island.

Graphically, the game is very colourful and the movements are fluid. As mentioned, it's a platforming game, and though it is essentially a 2D game, there are some stages, like in Super Mario World, where you have to interact with something that makes you transfer through graphical layers (i.e., hitting the door on the chain-link fence to get to the other side of it).

Nothing stands in Mega Mario's way!

Mario goes through different transformations when he collects certain power-ups. Aside from the Super Mushroom, Fire Flower, and Starman, Nintendo has added in the Mini Mushroom, Blue Shell, and Mega Mushroom power-ups. The animation for when Mario gets the Mega Mushroom and becomes Mega Mario is undoubtedly the most satisfying transformation in the game. Now, he's almost as tall as the screen and can break almost anything by running into them, and not even slow down. He's essentially a bulldozer. However, this power, like the Starman, only lasts for a short while. Once the Mega Mushroom effect wears off, Mario transforms back into Super Mario, despite whatever form he was in prior to getting the Mega Mushroom. Also, depending on how much destruction Mega Mario has caused, he may earn zero to five 1-ups. The Mega Mushroom is not helpful in all stages, though, as there are some auto-scrolling stages in the game as well.

Speaking of stages, they consist of the overworld, underground, underwater, sky, desert, ice, pipe mazes, ghost houses, towers, and fortress levels to name a few. There are 8 Worlds in the game, each with a dominant stage theme, just like in Super Mario Bros. 3. You can walk back and forth between stages you've been to on the map screen like in Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World. Each World consists of about 10 stages. And, like in Super Mario World, some stages have alternate exits that can lead to other stages or a shortcut to another stage. Sometimes you will have to return to a stage to get a Star Coin which you missed (Star Coins are used for unlocking new areas and purchasing backgrounds for the stage map screen). You can get between Worlds you've been to by tapping the stylus on the Worlds display on the touch screen.

A SMW-esque World Map.

If you're wondering if the classic Mario theme is in the game, I can tell you that it is. It really only plays during a time when you're in a Mushroom House trying to get a power-up or 1-ups, though, and not when you're in a stage. They do have the underground music remixed for the appropriate stages, so that's a bright side. A new feature in this game which I personally think is innovative is that the music does more than it does in most other games. That's right, the music has another purpose. At certain points of the music, there will be a short chant or chime. It isn't random, it's part of the musical score, so you can predict when it'll happen. At these specific points, some sprites will do a specific thing. For instance, when the chant is going on, a Goomba will do a little hop, and a Koopa will stop and turn toward the screen before going back to its original patrolling. A Super Mushroom will do a little hop and a Fire Flower will do a little squish.

The main game is simple to understand but takes time to complete entirely (as in all exits found, all stages cleared, and all Star Coins collected).

The mini-games are also pretty simple to understand as well. Most of them require the use of the touch screen. These mini-games may include trying to draw trampolines to bounce Mario to safety or playing a card game with Luigi. Most mini-games in New Super Mario Bros. will seem to be familiar to those who have played Super Mario 64 DS.

I believe that even if a non-gamer were to pick up Nintendo's latest in platforming Mario games, they would be able to figure out how to play and enjoy the game, despite it not being in Nintendo's Touch Generation series of games. I will recommend that all DS owners purchase this game.