Everything Nintendo does with its Mario franchise, even if it's simply remaking the same game over and over, is generally loved by every gamer who plays it.
The reason I mention this is because Nintendo has launched New Super Mario Bros 2 (NSMB2) for the 3DS, and yes, it is essentially the same game that we've been getting on various Nintendo platforms.
It's a classic sidescrolling Mario where you go from one end of the screen to reach a flag at the other end, collecting coins and power-ups on the way. The added twist is that the emphasis this time is on collecting lots and lots of coins.
NSMB2 is pretty much as you'd expect - it's a sidescrolling Mario game but with a bit of added depth in the visuals thanks to the 3D effect provided by the 3DS.
As far as the 3D effect goes, it's pretty subtle and it's not as major as Super Mario 3D Land, which utilised a behind-the-shoulder third-person view to really showcase how 3D should be used.
What you get instead, is a subtle layering effect with some depth in the backgrounds.
It looks great but certainly doesn't add anything to the gameplay like Super Mario 3D Land does.
The story, as in all Mario games, is a thin excuse for the platforming and as usual, involves Princess Peach being kidnapped.
The gameplay twist in NSMB2 is that it is all about collecting coins - instead of a three-digit coin counter at the top right of the screen, the counter now goes all the way up to eight digits, which should clue you in on how many coins you are expected to collect throughout the game.
Besides the usual Tanooki suit, Fire Flowers and other power-ups, Mario now has a Gold block that when used, will turn blocks that Mario hits into gold coins, thus upping your coin count further.
NSMB2 for the 3DS has a two-player co-op mode where you and another friend with a 3DS will be able to co-operatively play through the levels. Apart from the fact that it's limited to two players, it also differs from the co-op mode in New Super Mario Bros Wii in that the game screen does not dynamically zoom in and out to accommodate players lagging behind.
Another additional play mode is Coin Rush mode - you are given a short amount of time to get through three randomly chosen levels, while collecting as many coins as you can. It's relatively fun and extends the replayability a bit so it's a welcome addition.
New Super Mario Bros 2 for the 3DS may not be as enjoyably inventive as Super Mario 3D Land but it's still a fun game. For anyone who's played a sidescrolling Mario game before, this doesn't offer much that's new, but if you've never played one before, you owe it to yourself to try this one, at least after you get Super Mario 3D Land.
If you're like me, it doesn't really matter, because playing a Mario game is like re-reading a good book -you know what's going to happen, but you enjoy it nevertheless because you love experiencing the world that's created for you.
Pros: Fun, addictive gameplay; lots of secrets to discover; great music.
Cons: Not much that's new. - TAN KIT HOONG
New Super Mario Bros 2
Sidescrolling platformer for 3DS