NINTENDO DS REVIEW: NEW SUPER MARIO BROS. DS
Mario has plenty of moves this time round. He will still run, jump and stomp but there are a few more moves that give him more flexibility, and he'll need it to negotiate his way through some of the more deadly platform elements and enemies that he will encounter. A butt bounce will allow him to smash the blocks he's standing on. He can grow large enough to take up the entire screen, which allows him to smash tons of blocks and take care of smaller enemies by trampling them. A mini-mushroom will make Mario tiny and allow him to enter into small places. It will also let him walk over water. A wall bounce lets him scale walls to reach new heights or can be used if he falls into a pit.

Platforms will twist, bend, warp, shrink, expand, hover, fall, elevate and destruct. I don't think the developers left anything out. Even the ground will undulate, causing Mario to experience a rippling effect not unlike a ship on a stormy sea. Despite all these new elements and moves, the game doesn't take full advantage of the DS's unique control system - not the touch screen control system or even the dual screen for that matter. The bottom screen is basically used just to display your progress in each level. The touch feature is used almost exclusively to access your power-ups. In other words, there's nothing that you would really miss, control-wise, if this game were released on the GBA. However, the graphics are what really matters and this game would never look this great on the GBA simply because of the DS's uber-powerful processing capabilities. This version not only looks 10 times better than the Super NES version, but it's just as big. Think about that for a moment. That should tell you how far Nintendo has come.

But wait, there's more…The game also features a two-player verses mode featuring Luigi. The premise is a race of sorts, to see who can be the first to grab five stars in a platforming obstacle course. You can purposely attempt to injure the other player by banging into him. This will cause him to drop his star and allow you to claim it for yourself. This mode can be played via sharing with only one copy of the game card. The same mini-games from the Super Mario 64 DS game are also included but they can be played with other players, requiring only one copy of the game. These mini-games make better use of the touch controls but they aren't incredibly exciting.

The sounds are fantastic. It's like having an arcade in the palm of your hands. "Is that an arcade in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?" Mario has a voice in this game and repeats a few Italian-soaked clichés. Thankfully he avoids saying, "That's a spicy meat-a-ball-a."

New Super Mario Bros. is new in looks, feel and gameplay but thankfully we still get to visit Mario's old super stomping ground. This game is reason enough to purchase the DS system if, gosh forbid, none of the other killer Nintendo titles have tickled your fancy yet.

Features:

  • Run, jump, and stomp your way through raging volcanoes, tropical islands, snowcapped peaks, and unimaginable challenges!
  • Grab a Mega Mushroom and grow to incredible proportions, or smash through your foes in a blue Koopa shell!
  • Challenge a friend to a wireless face-off on specially designed levels, or play up to three friends in a ton of Touch Screen minigames.

By Colin Thames
CCC Freelance Writer

Rating out of 5
New Super Mario Bros. (DS)
5.0
Graphics
Colorful, robust and richly detailed. The third dimension is comfortably imprisoned in a 2D game.
4.8
Control
I would have like to see more use of the DS's exclusive touch control and dual screen. The sweet new moves amalgamated into the old school side-scroller are perfect.
4.5
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The music and sound effects are fabulous.
4.5
Play Value
There is so much to explore and discover that you simply must purchase this game to squeeze all of the fun out of it.
4.8
Overall Rating - Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
2
Preview by Vaughn

Get ready for some new-fangled, yet old-fangled Marioing! by Vaughn Smith

March 16, 2006 - New details have been revealed regarding the upcoming return of side-scrolling Mario, the first in over a decade!

Here are some quotes taken from an interview with Mario creator and designer of New Super Mario Bros., Shigeru Miyamoto.

Regarding New Super Mario Bros. story: "I told them that we really don’t need any story behind this new Super Mario Bros. at all. I have narrowed down the whole story to about half of what my team originally came up with. Peach is kidnapped, Mario has to go and rescue her from Bowser and the Koopa Kids. That’s about all you need to know for the story!"


For Old and New Fans: "Well, there will be many people who play New Super Mario Bros. that have never played a Mario Bros. game before. But at the same time we want to evoke a kind of nostalgic feeling in those people who used to play with the past series, so we are now trying to incorporate as many old tricks and tweaks as possible into this new DS version.

The game will retain that familiar feel of the old games with a lot of gameplay elements taken from Mario's recent outings in 3D. Miyamoto mentioned they are tweaking the game to include lots of cool secrets such as warp pipes, walking on top of the screen etc. The mini-games found in the Super Mario 64 DS version will also be included in the New Super Mario Bros. for those that missed them the first time around and some 2-4 player single cart multi-player games will be included as well.. Finally, the game the will continue in the tradition of Super Mario Bros. 3 with worlds, fortresses and bosses.

For more information, please continue on to the preview below.

By Vaughn Smith
CCC Site Director

Preview by Vaughn

Most of us here at CCC cut our gaming teeth on Super Mario Bros and it's no surprise that we're really looking forward to another classic-style side scroller starring our favorite plumber brothers.

The New Super Mario Bros features all of the classic gameplay you would expect from Nintendo, except that this new adventure has been re-envisioned using 3D polygons yet remains on a 2D side-scrolling plane.

In true Mario fashion, Mario and Luigi have evolved their moves in this new game and can execute many of the moves found in later titles such as Super Mario 64 such as the butt stomp, wall jump etc. As you can from the screens, there will also be some new powerups featured such as the mushroom that M or L will have to pump up to incredible heights. Once taken, they grow to many times their normal stature and can punch and kick for a short time. The DS also gets into the action by allowing our heroes to save three powerups which are stored on the bottom DS screen. Pressing the touch screen drops the chosen powerup from the top of the screen. As well, once players take a pipe down below the surface of the Mushroom Kingdom, the action will take place on the lower screen of the DS.

Expect to run into many of the same enemies that M & L have been fighting for years now - Goombas, Lakitu, Spinys, Thwomps and more will once again make their appearance and attempt to stop Mario from completing his quest - which we assume involves saving Princess Peach from Bowser.

If this game ever sees the light of day, we'll be pleased as Peach Punch to play it. Ummm...we don't mean punch that was made of the discarded carcass of Princess Peach after Bowser freaks out once and for all. That would be a bad thing. But we do mean that we'll be excited to finally play this highly anticipated title.

Previous Preview: Call me a sucker, but out of all the games announced this year, the one I'm most excited about is Super Mario Bros. DS. I've been secretly desiring another classic Nintendo side scroller starring the world's most famous plumber and I can tell you that moreso than any other game announced for the DS, this one will most likely make me purchase the whole darn package.

There isn't much to say about this game, but Mario is back and from the looks of things, takes the "super" in Super Mario to the extreme. Check out the screen where he grows about 50X his height. It also appears as though some of the Mushroom Kingdom's infamous inhabitants (such as the Goomba pictured below) can do the same.

Mario has always been a crowd pleaser and it's been far too long since his last 2D side scrolling adventure. Look for familiar faces, places and chases. I can't wait for this one and I'm sure I'm not the only one. Stay tuned for more info.

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Review Rating Legend
1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor
2.5 - 2.9 = Average
3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
3.5 - 3.9 = Good
4.0 - 4.4 = Great
4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
5.0 = The Best