The Good: This game is an update to the old school, side-scrolling Mario games. It turns out that Mario has aged very well because this game is great. Now up to 4 players can play on the same screen on any level. This makes the game hectic and very fun whether you are trying to help each other and beat each other. Player 1 must play as Mario, but other players can choose to either be Luigi or a toad, shaded in various different colors. And there are 2 new suits for Mario, the penguin suit and the propeller suit. The penguin suit is really just a glorified ice power, but the propeller suit…Most. Useful. Suit. Ever.
On a more technical note the graphics are quite good, very clean, very Mario. Well done and do not get in the way, but still make the world look beautiful. You guessed the storyline I’m sure. Bowser captured Princess Peach…. NOOOOOOOO!. Okay, anyway, you have to fight through 8 worlds to reach Bowser at the finale and defeat him to get the princess. On a side note, this final Bowser battle is great. It is different from all other battles in the game and very challenging/fun. That is the main game, but doesn’t speak to how fun the journey is to get there.
A piece newly added to this is the Star Coins added in each level (3 in each). These are challenges placed in each level in order to unlock star worlds. In order to unlock a star world you have get every star coin in the corresponding world. This means there are 8 star worlds and each one corresponds to a world you had to play through to get to Bowser. Get all star coins in world one and unlock star world 1. The Star Coins are very challenging, VERY challenging. Now, they are fun, but sometimes it seems so impossible, like trying to build the Empire State Building out of LEGOs, somebody probably can, but they spent way too much time trying and now lost all semblance of social skills. But, when do get them…..oh the satisfaction!!
The last thing, which is also a new feature, is the ability for a player to “bubble” in which you cannot be harmed and the other players can pop you in order to bring you back into action. This is very useful when you are in multiplayer and certain sections are just easier with one person or when you are a moment from death bubbling can be very economical.
The Bad: When there is more than 1 person on the screen at a time, you have to stay together or one of you will get pulled along, and probably directly into a fire. The multiplayer is great, this is true, but it has some innate flaws like the fact that you will kill the person you’re playing with even if you don’t mean to. This will cause a lot of unnecessary death and annoyance. Speaking of annoyance, some levels are just that. I appreciate a challenge, I really do, I think they make games, but this game pushes the line (and occasionally passes it) of being irritatingly difficult over just challenging. Last negative aspect is the controls for me. Only a small problem but sometimes you will “bubble” when you don’t mean to (the A button to bubble) because your finger will slip. This is a bit agitating.
Overview: If you have a Wii and you like Mario (and what Wii owner doesn’t?) then this is a great game for you. It is the second best Mario game for the Wii (see This for that review). But if you like old school Mario definitely pick this up. And make sure you have a friend to play with in order to get the full experience. Also, do not go in thinking you are going to be good just because you were good at the old ones. It’s different, but equally as fun.
Hours to complete: 10-15
(Including star coins and star world 20+)
A look at a trailer giving a good display of gameplay throughout the game including the propeller and penguin suits.