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New Super Mario Bros. 2 (3DS) Review

August 21, 2012 | Posted by Adam Larck

Title: New Super Mario Bros. 2
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Genre: Platformer
Players: 1-2
Rated: E for Everyone

The latest entry in the New Super Mario Bros. series is here with an emphasis on coins.

New Super Mario Bros. 2 keeps the same formula the other “New” games have had: original gameplay seen 20 years ago with a new coat of paint on it, and a couple new features here and there. The old formula isn’t bad by any means, it’s just not nearly as new as you’d expect it to be.

The story is the same as it’s always been. Princess Peach has been kidnapped by Bowser and the Koopa Kids, and you have to save her. To do so, you’ll face a Koopa Kid and miniboss in each of the five worlds before the big conclusion in the sixth world. Along the way, there are also some hidden worlds to unlock access to by finding a secret route. It’s not groundbreaking stuff, but it’s a solid formula that’s been good to Nintendo through the years.

New to the formula this time is the emphasis on coins. In the past, coins have just been used as a means to give an extra life. They still do this, but now you also have an extra agenda to get 1,000,000 coins for a surprise. Needless to say, this will take players a bit of time to get.

Helping players get the coins are a few new additions to the formula. The game now features gold rings you can jump through that make every enemy turn to gold. Kicking turtle shells will leave lines of coins, Hammer Bros. throw coins, Bullet Bills leave trails of coins and killing enemies give you coins. It’s a nice feature that gives a good boost for coins.

Also added in is a new Gold Flower. It acts similar to a Fire Flower, but anything a fireball hits spits out coins. Unfortunately, even if you complete a level with the power intact, you just change to a normal fireball-throwing Mario. Another coin addition is a golden block that turns your head into a block, spitting coins as you move or jump.

However, this emphasis on coins also dilutes the gameplay experience a bit. With coins being in abundance, multiple extra lives can be earned on nearly every level. With that many lives being held in reserve, death becomes nearly a minor annoyance than ever worrying about a complete game over. I’ve felt that way about most of the “New” series of Mario titles, but it especially shows here.

Another problem I have with the coins is the fact that the coins aren’t used for anything. You can’t really do anything with them, and the only thing the counter does is tell you when you hit another coin milestone. Some kind of purpose as you went along would have given a better drive.

This isn’t to say that there isn’t a drive, though. It can become addicting to get coins to get towards that goal, and I found myself replaying levels to see if I could get more coins. It’s a fun feature, just not utilized in the best way.

In addition, the Gold Leaf is back in this game for players that fail a level too many times. The leaf turns Mario into an invincible white-tailed Mario that can build up and hold flying speed extremely easily. The special form is also available in Coin Rush to help ignore enemies will collecting coins.

Coin Rush mode unlocks after you beat the first world. The mode consists of three levels you can going through as normal Mario or the white-tailed Mario just mentioned. The levels feature a shorter timer to collect as many coins as possible, with bonuses for complete a level. In addition, beating more worlds will unlock more levels for the mode, letting you get coins faster. The high scores from each Rush you do can be saved and shared via StreetPass. However, I think a leaderboard would have been better here. After all, many people will never use StreetPass due to a limited number of people in an area, and the mode really warrants a leaderboard to compare scores.

Another thing that can be unlocked in the game is Rainbow stages. The stages reduce the number of enemies in a level, and have you instead focus more on coins.

Getting away from the coins, I have to mention that the Leaf power-up is improved from Super Mario 3D Land. It’s more like the Super Mario Bros 3 Leaf, giving you the raccoon tail and ability to fly once you build up enough speed. I didn’t fly very often, but there were a few times it came in handy.

The three Star Coins for each level are also back from the last version, letting you unlock new paths to go through in the world. Often, the paths just lead to a mushroom house, but sometimes it gives a new level to play through.

The game also features two player co-op at the same time, but players need their own copy of the game and can only be played via ad-hoc. In addition, you have to be on the screen at the same time with your partner, meaning one player will also feel like their holding the other one back.


  • Plenty of coins to collect.
  • Leaf lets you fly in this game.
  • New Gold Flower is fun.


  • Coins start to lose worth.
  • Game is fairly simplistic.
  • No leaderboard in the game.

    The 411:

    Overall, NSMB 2 isn’t a bad game. The formula is still solid and experience is fun. I just feel like the coin gimmick could have been used better. Still, this is a title 3DS owners shouldn’t pass up. It’s an enjoyable title that will let you pass the time nicely.

  • Graphics7.0The graphics are nearly identical from the last NSMB title, although the gold overcoat does look nice when you hit a gold ring. 
    Gameplay7.0The platforming is still good in the game, I just wish there had been more done with the coins angle. 
    Sound7.0The soundtrack is catchy enough to listen to, but not much to add other than that. 
    Lasting Appeal7.5If you feel like collecting all 1 million coins, there’s a lot to play here. Otherwise, you may not be revisiting this title. 
    Fun Factor 7.0I had fun with the title, it just left me wanting more. 
    Overall7.1   [ Good ]  legend

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    Adam Larck
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