New Super Mario Bros. 2 review: Gold coins are the thing


(CBS News) For those who are excited about the release of the New Super Mario Bros. 2 on Nintendo 3DS, there is both good and bad news. Now before you jump to any conclusions, know that the good seriously outweighs any bad. Starting with the good news, anyone who grew up on a classic NES system and played the original Super Mario Bros. games will immediately recognize and wax nostalgic at this new handheld entry to the classic gaming series.

Combining elements you will recognize from Super Mario Bros. and, to a much greater extent, Super Mario Bros. 3, the side-scrolling game includes most of the upgrades and functionalities you know and love. In fact, while playing, many who grew up playing the classic NES system won't help but think of this latest entry to the Super Mario Bros. series as an update to the much-loved and praised Super Mario Bros. 3 from 1988. Jumping on enemies is the standard attack, mushrooms will have Mario grow larger, flowers will give him the ability to shoot fireballs, leaves give the ability to fly, levels are traveled on a map that gives a multitude of options and ways to move ahead (including bypassing whole areas) and gold coins are the currency sought out in order to really up your ante on points and a variety of added options.

In fact, gold coins have never been more vital to the game series as they are now in the New Super Mario Bros. 2, with the ability to unlock key areas by obtaining the somewhat rare Star Coins found within most of levels. While traveling on the map and choosing your next location challenge, you will end up coming across a multitude of areas that are blocked until you have the minimum number of Star Coins needed to unlock the path. This will obviously up the replay value on many levels as you take on the challenges again and again to try and find any Star Coins you may have missed the first, or even second time, around.

Now for the bad news, though don't jump to any conclusions in terms of what that might mean. The New Super Mario Bros. 2 is a classic side-scroller that harkens back to one of the ground-breaking games from the Mario series, Super Mario Bros. 3. For any of who played and loved that game, this will be a chance to play it all over again in a whole new way with updated graphics and some new functionalities included. It's also a chance to introduce this particular style of classic side-scrolling gaming to a new generation, who will hopefully embrace the fun and challenge that comes with this style of play. There will be some who simply may not enjoy classic side-scrolling after such innovations to the Mario series such as the much-lauded Super Mario Galaxy (and almost every game in the Mario series created in the 21st century). If you know side-scrolling gaming isn't something you enjoy, then the New Super Mario Bros. 2 will simply not be the game for you.

To everyone else, however, the New Super Mario Bros. 2 for the Nintendo 3DS is a nostalgic tribute to the classic series and masterpiece in its own right that will have you scrambling to save the princess, collect the coins and find all of the hidden areas and secret drain pipes that you know and love all too well.

New Super Mario Bros. 2 is rated E for Everyone by the ESRB. It is available now for Nintendo 3DS.