Can We Ditch ‘New’ Super Mario Now, Please?
We need to get one thing straight before we go any further. I love Mario games. The original Super Mario Bros enchanted me from the first moment I played it in a local store, where it was running on a demo machine with R.O.B attached.
From that game, all the way up to the Super Mario Galaxy games, I have treasured each and every one of the fat hairy plumber’s adventures. Even so-called ‘weaker’ entries in the series, such as Super Mario Bros. 2 and Super Mario Sunshine, were still fantastic releases that I relish.
So now you are guessing that I am going to start a rant about how shit the new Wii U game is, aren’t you?
The answer is no, I think the Wii U version is an extremely playable game. What I really don’t like about the series is the artstyle- not just as a matter of taste, but what it has actually meant for a series that already looks incredibly uninteresting, just a few years since the first game on DS.
I look at New Super Mario Bros U and it looks like a simple, revved up version of the Wii game, which itself was a sharper version on the DS game. The 3DS title sits somewhere in the middle. It is all just so dull.
Remember the days when every new Mario game took off in a new direction, both in terms of gameplay design and visual variet? Super Mario World is not simply a sharper, prettier version of Mario 3, it looks different. The same way that the Galaxy games are not just Sunshine +1.
OK, I get that having this same visual style means Nintendo can churn out one of the ‘New’ games with every hardware iteration, and I agree that it hasn’t affected gameplay- to a certain extent. While each new entry has added different items and a few new enemies and suits, just think how different Super Mario World is to Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island in terms of gameplay and design. Imagine if Nintendo had released New Super Mario Bros, then thrown the style out the window and released a brand new 2D Mario game with a gorgeous new look. Even if that meant far fewer releases.
I believe that, in making all the recent 2D Mario games with the same graphical style, Nintendo has created a situation where the developers are limited in where they can take Mario. Just look at the utter pointlessness of the coin collecting in New Super Mario Bros 2 for 3DS. They didn’t know where to take that one, so stuck a million coins on top of the same design.
The Wii U version is essentially the Wii game with a map, HD graphics and a load of new gimmicks. That ‘s not to say it isn’t a good game, but it is a sign that Nintendo have a cookie cutter and they are not afraid of using it.
My point is this: if Nintendo continue to employ this technique, gamers may just start to fall out of love with Mario.
I’m sick of this soulless, empty, ‘New’ Super Mario. I remember when every Mario game was ‘New’, and exciting, and didn’t need a label telling us just how new it was. Nintendo, give us a truly new 2D Super Mario game. Surprise us, like you used to do.
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Editor and founder of VoxelArcade and The Smartphone App Review. Favourite games: Uridium 2, Frontier: Elite II, Sensible World of Soccer, Far Cry 3, Zelda: Ocarina, Metroid Prime, Solar Quest, F-Zero GX, Monkey Island 2 and Tetris.