This is a guest post from Ryan V., one of our subscribers. Ryan is 10 years old and an avid gamer.
It’s been 18 years since a Mario platformer has appeared on a console, so you can expect that this adventure has most of the stuff that appeared in it’s platformer predecessor s(Super Mario Bros. 3 & Super Mario World). One good example of this is the inclusion of Yoshi. While Yoshi is rare in this game, appearing in only 5 levels (Worlds 1-3, 2-5, 4-4, 6-4 & 7-6), getting to ride him is worth it. Yoshi can swallow nearly every enemy there is, do his famous Flutter Jump, he can eat Koopa Shells, fireballs, & hammers & spit them out at other enemies, & if he eats 5 berries in a level, he will lay an egg containing a Mushroom, a Fire Flower, or a 1-Up Mushroom. The game also gives you a variety of Yoshis to choose from, with 4 colors; green, yellow, pink, & light blue. Unfortunately, you cannot take Yoshi into another level with you.
Now I get into the real meat of the game: the multiplayer. While multiplayer may seem difficult from a distance, it’s actually very easy if you & your partners can work things out. Multiplayer is also one of the rare opportunities to play as a Toad (Blue Toad & Yellow Toad are playable). Also, instead of returning to the beginning of the level or the checkpoint when you die in a level, you reappear in a bubble that your partners can pop to put you back in the game, making clearing levels a lot easier. While you and your partners may have to share the power-ups(which is a pain sometimes), multiplayer Mario is a great way to really see the Mario skills you & your partner have.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii also has something that makes it stand out from other video games: the assist function(here called Super Guide).
Many people think that Super Guide will take away from the game’s challenge level, but in my opinion, the game is so hard that even some expert players may be on their knees begging for Super Guide (take World 8-1, for example, has you jumping over lava geysers, dodging meteors falling at random, & running from a poisonous death cloud-all at the same time!).What Super Guide is, is if you fail to beat a level 8 times, Mario’s brother Luigi comes & shows you how to beat a level. If some players still think that Super Guide will make the game too easy, I’ll just say this: You never have to accept the help, & if you do, Luigi won’t take shortcuts or discover secrets, & if he grabs any Star Coins, you won’t get them at the end of the level.
Another great thing about the game - the return of Bowser’s Koopalings. The 7 Koopalings(called Larry, Roy, Lemmy, Wendy, Iggy, Morton, & Ludwig) made their first appearance in Super Mario Bros. 3, made another great appearance in Super Mario World, had a minor role in Yoshi’s Safari, another small appearance in Hotel Mario, had a smaller role in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, then mysteriously disappeared from Mario games for a while. Now they have an even bigger role in New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Each Koopaling has the same attack pattern: they cast a magic spell, make one large leap, if they get stomped on, then they slide in their shells, then they repeat the pattern. However, most Koopalings have special powers. For example, Roy & Morton’s jumps create small earthquakes that can stun Mario, Ludwig gets to flutter in the air when he jumps, & Wendy’s magic spells create candy rings that bounce around the room. Koopalings take 3 stomps or some fireballs to defeat, after which they retreat to the world’s castle, where Kamek the Magikoopa casts a spell to make the fight tougher (for example, Iggy gets a giant Chain Chomp to drive around, Lemmy gets to ride a giant bouncing ball, & Roy gets Warp Pipes in the ceiling that he can jump into).The inclusion of the Koopalings certainly is a notable feature of this game.
Taking another cue from Super Mario Bros. 3, this game features new power-ups that can make a large difference in how quickly a level is beaten-the Propeller Mushroom, the Penguin Suit, & the Ice Flower (replacing the Blue Koopa Shell & the Mega Mushroom from New Super Mario Bros.). Propeller Mario can rocket up into the sky with a shake of the Wii Remote, Ice Mario can freeze enemies with snowballs & throw them at other enemies, & Penguin Mario can freeze enemies like the Ice Flower, can belly-slide through large portions of levels, & gives you enhanced swimming abilities (but if you ask me, it only makes swimming harder). These power-ups come in handy when you’re in a pickle, & they can get you to the end of the level very quickly (the Propeller Suit is a big help, as you can skip large parts of the level with it).
I also applaud the varied amounts of gimmicks in the game: each stage manages to throw something different at you until you get the hang of it. Since the original New Super Mario Bros had a variety of things to help or hinder your progress (mountain ledges that Mario can barely stand on, poisonous water that is deadly to the touch, and so on), I am pleased to say New Super Mario Bros. Wii brings back most of that stuff plus more advanced obstacles (hidden passageways that cannot be seen until you walk into them, clouds that hide platforms & must be cleared with the Spin Jump, & so on). Every level has a different theme that allows you to practice a new skill (World 2-3, for example, is pitch-black, & the Fire Flower must be used to light the way through the level), which allows even hardcore players to polish their Mario skills. Each level has it’s own special level of difficulty: some are easy (World 1-1), some are tricky (World 4-5), & some are very, very, hard (World 8-3).
What is bad, however, is Mario’s classic Spin Jump: it’s activated with a shake of the Wii Remote, which can lead to disaster. Also, Mario is helpless when Spin Jumping, which can lead to an easy Game Over. The level of difficulty is also very high (like I said), but remember this: if you ever get in trouble, Super Guide is there to bail you out.
Despite my complaints, New Super Mario Bros. Wii is a great game that is very, very fun at the same time. If you like platformers, Mario games, or if you just love playing with your friends, you owe it to yourself to play this game. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait another 18 years for a Mario platformer as outstanding as this one.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10