New Super Mario Bros. Wii Review

Nintendo showers us with enough brotherly love for quadruplets. Does the first 2D console platformer staring Mario since 1991 live up to the legend?

By Rupert Higham, November 20, 2009

Difficulty has been the subject of much debate since Nintendo announced the NSMBW would be the first title to include the new “Super Guide” dynamic help system that jumps in and offers to play difficult levels for you, should you prove to be repeatedly incompetent. This isn’t the end of all civilisation as the Nintendo hardcore feared as it only kicks in after eight failed attempts at one course and the resulting play-through is so cautiously leisurely that you only ever use it out of pure desperation. It’s worlds away from the incredible unlockable super plays that demonstrate how to really play the game.


It's not the Unreal Engine 3, but the lighting effects add a new element to the gameplay and look pleasant enough.

As you may expect from a series that has been refined for the best part of three decades, the controls are nigh-on perfect. Use of motion control is limited to the spin jump (as with Super Mario Galaxy), lifting items and delicately balancing certain platforms to your advantage. In keeping with tradition, NSMBW features a number of new suits designed to make Mario look even more ridiculous. Nothing beats the sight of an overweight forty-something wearing a red baby grow with a propeller on his head, except perhaps the same portly fellow belly-sliding across the floor at high speeds dressed as a penguin. Even the seemingly ineffective blue flower power up that grants Mario freezing ice bullets comes into its own on the game’s many lava levels, neutralising troublesome flames.


Locations don't really deviate from the standard, fire/ice/desert/cloud environments, but the familiarity is pleasing.

The jump to console hasn’t had quite the impact on graphics that you might expect. The colourful clean-cut visuals of the DS game have transferred across with little in the way of upgrades aside from some simple but effective lighting, though the additional backdrops can make it seem a bit visually cluttered – a far cry from heights of Mario World’s elegant simplicity. Musically things remain stubbornly midi synth, but the results are far more coherent. As with the DS game, the soundtrack is so joyously up-beat that even the game’s enemies take time out of their busy platform-patrolling duties to skip in time to it.

NSMBW bends over backwards to be inclusive and somehow manages to succeed. From the Wii Fit owner that’s never even seen an 8-bit pixel to the expert that uploads time trial runs to YouTube, like the best Nintendo games, there’s something for everybody. Sure, it’s not going to win any awards for innovation and it hardly pushes its host hardware to the limit, but for all of Mario’s masquarading as a sportsman, doctor, racer, etc, this is what the guy was born to do, and he still does it better than anybody else. Little over a month before Christmas, there really isn’t any other game that deserves to be spinning inside your Wii more over the festive season.

8 out of 10

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One Response to “New Super Mario Bros. Wii Review”

  1. Edwin says:

    “This isn’t the end of all civilisation as the Nintendo hardcore feared…” – Nintendo still has a hardcore following then? :p


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