Biased Review - New Super Mario Bros. Wii
OK, first off, let me say that New Super Mario Bros. Wii is a great game. Please keep that in mind during this review. Remember this. I'm saying this game is good. Technically.
Now that the anti-hate disclaimer is out of the way, let me tell you the truth about this game.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii has to be the single most frustrating game in the entire Super Mario franchise. And no, not because of difficulty. In fact, this game is not all that hard. Yes, they are some occasional difficulty spikes, but most of those happen during the last few areas of the game. I'll talk more about that later. What is truly maddening is the design of the game, particularly the design of the levels and the multiplayer feature. They're just, they're just not right.
Alright, the first thing I want to talk about the earlier mentioned multiplayer in this game. It's rage incarnate. You'll never hate your friends more after the first time one of them picks up your character, and throws them into pit. Anger will build. Expletives will be shouted. Punches may be thrown. Things can get pretty rough when playing a game filled with happy and innocence cartoon characters.
The other sad-making issue found in the multiplayer is the fact that many of the levels don't accommodate multiple players. The wide open areas like the ones visited at the beginning of the game are fine, but once you get to the tougher, more confined levels such as the towers and underground levels you begin to see that your friends are now your burdens.
A prime example of such a level is found in the first world of the game. In this level you are introduced to Yoshi for the first time. That, when looking back at other Mario games, sounds good. It is, if you're playing by yourself. If you're playing with others, expect to have your Yoshi stolen, many, many times. You must resist the urge to smack your friend with your Wii Remote. (Or Wii Remote and Nunchuck, if you're that guy.)
Okay, I'll stop harping on the multiplayer. Now I'm gonna harp on the level design. Some levels great. Many are quite fun. But others, others have no business being in Mario game.
Luckily most of the these levels appear in the last few worlds of the game. Unfortunately most of the these levels appear in the last few worlds of the game. Once you get into World 7, you begin to see a lot of maps that seem to discourage good platforming.
The first level of World 8 is my most obvious example. This level, when first playing it, seems like it will be fun to run through, but after a few deaths you begin to realize that it's much more frustrating than you first thought. It, like other levels, seems to get it's difficulty not from clever design, but from trying to trick the player. You see the layout of a level and think that you can keep going, but then an enemy, obstruction, or in this particular level's case a giant meteor just shows up and kills you. Levels like these try to force the player to play a game of Red Light Green Light, rather than test their skill. You can't rely on your knowledge while playing in these areas, you have to play at a borderline trial-and-error level, because you never know what will be put in your way just to make you stop. The game will destroy it own flow because of this, which gives me more fuel for my Hate Fire.
Well, that's all I have to say about New Super Mario Bros. Wii. A fun game, but not one I'm ever likely to play again. The design I felt was not ready. I guess the developers were not entirely sure of how to make a game that worked for one player and also for four players. They got it right in the Wii U sequel though, but that's a biased opinion for another time. Later.
I'll try to make these shorter, I promise. It just sometimes, the fury has me.