It can be difficult for any long running franchise to keep from getting stale, but this series has done a fairly good job staying fresh over the years. The majority of next generation installments of Mario games have added some new idea or mechanism to the gameplay that made it feel original without losing that familiar quality that keeps people coming back. It’s this dichotomy between old and new that I’ve come to expect from any future forays into the Mushroom Kingdom or beyond.
That being said, I genuinely did like this game. It’s a 2D side scroller. So if you’ve played classic Mario you’ll feel right at home. All the recognizable sights and sounds are there in full effect and plenty of challenging platform fun to go around. The new multiplayer option for the story-mode can be both frustrating and satisfying depending on who your playing with. This does add a new dimension to the gameplay, but you’ve either adjusted to it or decided to give up on it before the first world is ever finished so it’s a stretch to include this as a series changing concept.
- The familiar sights, sounds and gameplay are on display. All of the little details that are important to longtime fans are handled with care. They clearly have that part of the process down to a science and everything you’ve ever loved about 2D Mario is included here.
- Multiplayer story-mode is an interesting way to play through the game. It adds a whole new set of challenges and promotes player creativity as you strategize and coordinate with your team to get through certain obstacles.
- Free Mode and Coin Battle are two dedicated multiplayer game modes that offer competative fun and also increase the replay value of the game to a certain degree.
- Consideration for new and/or inexperienced players. They include the bubble system which allows for players to become invulnerable within a literal bubble while a more skilled player completes a difficult section. There is also the super guide system created by Shigeru Miyamoto himself. With this, if a player fails 8 times trying to get through a certain level a computer controlled character shows you a safe path to the end.
- There isn’t much that’s actually NEW about the game. There is something to be said about the intimate quality a Mario game can have on the fans, but in order to keep me interested long term there has to be something unique to encounter.
- Multiplayer story-mode is conversely a potentially infuriating way to play through the game as well. If there is a large difference in the abilities of the people your playing with it can quickly become a burden and significantly sour your game experience.
- The new power-ups are pretty boring. The helicopter suit is fun to use and can be useful, but the ice flower and penguin suit don’t contribute much and are only needed for limited sections of the game.
- This is a very short game. Just as I felt myself getting into the groove the game was over. Luckily the levels are enjoyable because I haven’t finished a game that wasn’t of the handheld variety that fast in a very long time.
After over twenty years of being a video game mainstay Mario still has a lot to offer the industry and at this point you already know if you enjoy his antics. This game definitely deserves a good play through and I guarantee if you like the formula you will have fun with this one. Whether or not you come back to it in the future like so many of its predecessors is another story all together.