• New Super Mario Bros.


  • Platformer


  • Nintendo


  • Nintendo

Release Date:

  • May 15 2006 (US), May 25 2006 (JP), June 30 2006 (EU)


  • DS

Box Art Credit:

  • Wikipedia

Systems Used:

  • Nintendo DS

On Wikipedia:

Back in 2011, I posted my Open Letter to Nintendo, which outlined my disappointment with the Wii U and would lead to my defection to the Steam team, though I continue to play great SNES RPGs (as of this writing, I have just completed Final Fantasy VI, which started after finishing up Chrono Trigger). Part of the problem originated from the exploitation of the Mario series. Much like what Sega did with poor Sonic years before, they keep producing Super Mario games with similar mechanics and every "improvement" made just keeps degrading the series. The poison started with the New Super Mario Bros. series, but similar degradations occurred to Mario Kart and others as well.

Super Smash Brother! (official screenshot)

Let me back up. New Super Mario Bros. was released back in spring 2006, at a time when Nintendo's future (and what would be the Revolution, renamed the Wii) wasn't entirely clear. The game basically took all the classic Mario game mechanics, which hadn't been seen in a number of years (seeing only re-releases in the Super Mario Advance series, something we may cover another time) and revamped them in a new "2.5D" environment, which for the most part are well put-together. Ground pounds and wall kicks well in 2D, for instance. There were eight worlds (cribbed from the SMB3 layout, for the most part), the requisite ice world as part of them, secret exits to levels, stored items (these taken from SMW), and all the others in a great new game. There were collectible coins too, with three hidden in each level. It was a challenge to do, and the game is great when playing through once. It's a blast when trying the Mega Mushroom for the first time, destroying bricks, enemies, and even pipes(!) in your rampage. And if you beat the game, you can play as Luigi. If I recall correctly, I think I beat the game in April 2008 or whereabouts but I don't remember when I got it.

No matter how you beat the game, you'll fight Bowser Jr. no less than five times, an obnoxious addition for which they would eventually retcon the Koopalings from SMW out of continuity as being Bowser's kids. Bowser Junior, introduced in Super Mario Sunshine, which also featured a fully-voiced Bowser (the dialogue and voice seemingly ripped from a sitcom), is probably one of the main tumors on the Mario series, and it gets worse from there.

The minigames are pretty lame. The graphics and sound are largely ripped from Super Mario 64 DS, an outing that I did not revisit (partially because I think from what I've read mucks too much with what made Super Mario 64 great), they lack a lot of replay value, and at some point, trying to get a higher score becomes pointless (a distillation of this is TouchMaster Connect, which I dumped just a not too long after getting) and it just becomes an exercise in masochism. The two player games are a little more enticing, though.

Actually, it gets worse, though. I found out that "Wanted!", one of the minigames that reuses elements from SM64DS IS in fact a Super Mario 64 DS minigame. The appearance of Wario and Yoshi, neither of whom appear in this game, should've been a dead giveaway. And the actual minigame ends up becoming a pixel-hunt. Hope you like eye strain!

The replay value is pretty lacking, as even though are 70 levels (including unlockables), it still feels like you won't pick it up again or even look back in that much fondness. It's been about four years since last futzing with the game and I put it back down again. Not good. By contrast, Super Mario World has about 75 overall, it has levels like the top-secret Secret World (as if you thought Star World was the only secret, silly you) with challenging levels. There's no secrets of the sort in NSMB, nor the cooler power-ups of games past (no Feather, Tanooki Suit, or Yoshi).

For what it is, NSMB is a decent romp, and between that and New Super Mario Bros. Wii are the only "NSMB" games I'll play. It lacks the magic that Mario World, SMB3, or the others had, and the later games only amplify that. But at this point, it's not so bad, and it's worth at least a play through if you can pick it up for a decent price.

April 11 2014