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The Mushroom Kingdom Never Looked This Good June 25, 2006

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Reviews, Video Games.
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I finally gave in to temptation and gave my copy of New Super Mario Brothers a whirl on my DS. And boy did it ever live up to expectations!

So far, the game is great. Graphics-wise, it’s pure eye candy. Backgrounds are colorful (but not overly so) and all the characters are rendered in superb fashion. Bowser and Bowser Jr. particularly stand out, in my opinion; they’ve never looked better. Game play is well balanced: it’s not too difficult to be enjoyable and not too easy to remain interesting. The format is more a cross between the original Super Mario Brothers and Super Mario World (I really dig jumping to the castle flagpole at the end of the stage – ah the nostalgia!), and the ability to go through every stage as many times as you want makes for perfect casual gaming.

Then there are all the bells and whistles. First, new items: the mega mushroom, the mini mushroom and the blue koopa shell. The first turns our favorite plumber into a ginormous version of himself (that can crush everything in the stage), the second into a puny version of himself (great for reaching those small pipes), and the last is worn so that if you run and press down, you can take out your enemies as, well, a turtle shell. Second, the new gimmicks in the stages: trampoline, the spin blocks that launch Mario high into the air and allow him to helicopter downwards, the red rings and coins (hard to describe, sorry) – the list goes on and on. But what I enjoy the most is the greater variety in what Mario is able to do. Now he can double and triple jump, jump off walls, and jump-stomp onto the ground. This last feature, as stupid as it may sound, is my favorite so far. It adds an entirely new dimension to everything I knew about Mario when you can activate blocks from above.

My only complaint at the moment is that you can only save after boss every castle. But other than that, this game is golden. Or whatever your favorite color mushroom is.

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