New Super Mario Bros 2 Hands-on Q&A

Posted in Featured, Features on July 6, 2012 11:43 pm by James B

3DSTribe managed to sample Mario’s new brand of coin hunger recently as we went hands on with the three level coin rush demo last spotted at E3. Is it a Mazza revelation? An evolution of the 2D platformer? Will Nintendo offer a way to transfer our collected coins into real money? (Even if they did the Mushroom Coin to British Pound conversion rate was terrible last we checked…)
Truth be told, New Super Mario Bros 2 is a fairly standard sequel from what we can tell. But if your game was a multi million seller then we doubt you’d rock that boat too too much either. However a number of interesting additions alongside a smart high score focus should ensure that New Super Mario Bros. 2 offers something slightly more than its predecessor.
The Q&A below illuminates these feelings in detail, and if you’ve got any extra queries then don’t shy away from dropping them in the comments below!
Q – Is there a large emphasis on high scores (coin scores?) per level, or are we only focusing on that 1 million coin goal?

A – Well, it depends which mode you’re playing. We were tinkering with the game’s coin rush mode so collecting the moolah was the whole point of the game there, but Nintendo are keeping the actual single player a little candid right now.
That said recent screenshots allude to coin multipliers being apparent during the campaign so there may be a greater purpose to snaffling up coins than just building towards that distant total.

Q – How does the balance between collecting coins and speedrunning for an end-of-level coin bonus work out? Is there any incentive to do the latter?

A – Absolutely. When you finish the level a fraction of your final time (20% if our maths is correct) is converted to coins and added to your purse. So not only are you trying to collect a lot of coins, you’re trying to collect a lot of coins as fast as possible – a few seconds could make all the difference when you’re pushing a level to absolute breaking point. So should you go out of your way to collect one coin if it will take a few seconds to get to it? Should you double back if you miss a few coins in a speedy sprint? Is it worth using the Tanooki to grab the stash up there or just head straight underground for the Gold Fire Flower? Deviating from the path means you’ll lose precious seconds, precious seconds that would be cashed in for even more dollar dollar, so there’s a fun dichotomy in working out how to maximise each element to give you more coins in the overall run.
The true appeal of the coin rush mode lies completely in finding that sweet, sweet balance between speed and capital gain. Live by the buffet fanatic’s motto – make haste with minimal waste. Delicious.
Q – Do levels have more variety to them now – has NSMB finally reached the dizzy heights of Super Mario World?

A – We can’t definitively say yay or nay at this point but the Tanooki tail is an important addition. Verticality now plays a part in levels, with secret coin stashes and areas tucked in the clouds for inquisitive players to sniff out. The game also feels less ‘restrained’. Twisting and turning L blocks present more tricky platforming, while all the extra coin showers add an indulgent appeal to a game full of strange, new mechanisms.
But while there’s definitely ‘more’ to New Super Mario Bros 2′s levels than its predecessor, its high score focus may end up forcing the levels to be a little more straightforward and ‘sensible’ than those of World. No pipes that launch you half way across the level, for instance. Time will tell on this one.

Q – Can we throw shells upwards yet?

A – Nope.
Q – Is there anything that makes smart use of the 3D effect, like those into-the-screen bullet bills Shigsy hinted at over a year ago?

A – Not in our three level sample, no. The 3D effect so far seems very minimalistic, applying a slight feel of distance between the playing field and the horizon. Mutant Mudds still seems to be the poster child for fancy-pants 3D platforming.
Q – Did you play multiplayer and if so, was it the standard game plus Luigi or jut a separate special mode?

A – Unfortunately we weren’t able to sample multiplayer, but from words uttered at E3 it sounds like you’ll be playing the same core campaign with the addition of Mr. Green.
Q – Are there any new varieties of enemies?

A – Every enemy seems to have a ‘pimp’ mode that will spew coins in some capacity. New Super Mario Bros. 2 also continues Nintendo’s recent fascination with the zombification of the mushroom kingdom – Dry Goombas and Dry Phirahna Plants were spotted. However all the foes on display were familiar faces sporting the new clothes, no genuinely new adversaries were spotted.

Q – Did any of the levels serve up some new “wow” moments or was it mostly recycled ideas?

A – Using the Gold Flower is particularly satisfying. A rare experiment in unrestrained destruction as you turn anything and everything around you into pure sparkling sterling. The actual levels themselves? Fairly standard Mario fare. Good stuff then, but nothing outstanding.
Q – Any particularly challenging moments?

A – In our demo? No. We get the feeling that the bulk of New Super Mario Bros 2′s challenge will come from wringing out a super high score from its levels, the cin rush mode seems incredibly compelling.
Q – Scott Varnham ‏@Scottv1
@3DSTribe Is NSMB2 worse or better than the first one?

A – Better. From the slightly stranger level elements to the empowering items and hidden secret Tanooki areas, New Super Mario Bros. 2 feels like a more well rounded, more kooky Mario game. And it’s all the more appealing with it.

Q – Brock Butterballs ‏@BrokButterballs
@3dstribe First impressions?

A – High Score classic in the making. Easily superior to New Super Mario Bros. but whether or not it can take the 2D Mario crown is less of a certainty.
And so ends our brief Q&A session. New Super Mario Bros. 2 is releasing in the UK on August 17th, and the US on August 19th. Of course if you have any other questions drop them in the comments below!