Tech: New Super Mario Bros. Wii review
It must be tough being a game designer at Nintendo. Given the company's track record and the overwhelming success of its franchises, every new project is held to an intimidating standard of quality. Take the oft-maligned "Super Mario Sunshine"...reskin the levels, slap a different cartoon mascot in there in lieu of the beloved Mario, and the game would probably be lauded as a breakout hit. Instead, "Sunshine" is considered a disappointment.
Can "New Super Mario Bros. Wii" live up to its famous forebears?
Despite the polygonal graphics, NSMB Wii is a traditional 2D side-scroller that plays like a remix of every Nintendo platformer from the last twenty years. There are new power-ups (including an adorable penguin costume), but the core gameplay will be old hat for any longtime Mario fan. You'll run through ice worlds, airships, underwater stages...it's all pretty familiar stuff. Familiar, that is, until you play with more than one person.
Few games, even the latest-and-greatest shooters like "Call of Duty" and "Halo," showcase absolute chaos quite like 4-player NSMB Wii. Since the onscreen characters can't pass through each other, you end up bopping each other on the head, interrupting each others' jumps, and generally colliding like a bunch of idiots. Depending on your mood, it'll be fun or frustrating, but at least it's never boring.
Unfortunately, the delightful multiplayer mayhem can't be played with online opponents; it might be for the best considering the havoc lag could play with split-second jumps. It's also unclear if simultaneous co-op is the way we'll all be playing Mario in the future, or if NSMB Wii is just an odd one-off (think "Four Swords," Nintendo's multiplayer rejiggering of the Zelda series). For now, though, pull up a couch, grab a Fire Flower, and enjoy the ride.