Well it`s been a long time coming but Nintendo has finally seen the light and have returned Mario to his roots, 2D platforming. Now don`t get me wrong the recent Mario games have been great with classics like Mario 64, Mario Sunshine and even Mario related spin offs like Super Smash Bros but I, like many others, felt that in the transition to the third dimension something had been lost. Well I am glad to say that the New Super Mario Bros lives up to the hype and returns gamers, both young and old, back to the golden age of gaming with its super tight and super addictive gameplay.
Graphically the game is very impressive and a real advertisement to the true 3D capabilities of the DS. Everything is now rendered in full 3D despite the game play taking place on a 2D plain and everything from Mario to the various enemies is beautifully animated and lovingly crafted. The levels are bright and vibrant and although I miss the originals hand drawn sprite look the new graphics work well within the game. The sound also deserves a special mention as it is very well done. All the standard Mario trademark sounds are present and correct and the all new tunes blend seamlessly with some great remixes of the classic old ones.
Game play wise this is Mario in his purest form. The controls are spot on and despite the action being 3D Nintendo have provided us with a very controllable character that is a delight to play with. Mario can now jump off walls, ala Mario 64 and can also pound the ground but apart from these new abilities this is the Mario that we all know and love. Coupled with some new items that can enlarge Mario to the size of the screen and allow him to destroy all in his path and one that can shrink him to a miniature size that allows him to squeeze through tiny hidden gaps this is truly Mario platforming perfection.
One area that the game does suffer in however is its replay value or lack of it. Mario games are well known for their difficulty but the New Super Mario Bros has obviously been watered down a little in order to make it more accessible to a greater number of people which is a shame. The game is great while it lasts and the true fun, as in most Mario games, actually comes from finding all the secrets that are contained within but I feel that it only the die hard gamers that will see this side of the game.
Overall New Super Mario Bros took a long time coming and although Mario 64 did a great job in progressing the series to the next level its great to see him return to his original roots as for me the 2D Mario games still provide the most appeal. Nintendo have done a great job however making a game that will appeal to both loyal fans of the series and new players alike and if it weren`t for the relatively short main game Mario`s latest outing would be flawless. As it stands the game has great visuals and audio and hardcore gamers and anyone else willing to put in the effort to find all its secrets will absolutely adore it from start to finish.