After all this single player genius, any multiplayer options were bound to feel a little tacked on, yet New SMB comes suprisingly well stocked with two or four-player goodness. Firstly, while it might just whet your taste for proper cooperative mode – sadly still not implemented – the two-player Mario vs. Luigi mode allows two players to compete across five stages for star coins. It’s a fun, if limited diversion. The party games fare better by virtue of quantity as much as anything else. Divided into action, puzzle, table and 1 on 1 sub-categories, they present the sort of quick fire games familiar from Mario Party (and a few may be very familiar, having been taken directly from Super Mario DS). For the most part, they’re simple to pick up and play, but hugely enjoyable in the right company, with efforts running the gamut from a silly snowball fight to a Mario-style spin on some old casino favourites.
In the end, I guess that there will be much debate about this one amongst the Nintendo faithful: is it really as good as Yoshi’s Island? Does it really get anywhere near the depth of Super Mario World? Is it as inventive as Super Mario 3 was back in the day? Maybe, but then, maybe not. But stop. Just pause for a second and remember what we’re talking about here: a game that stands comparison to some of the very best games of all time. The very fact that we can actually have this debate gives you some indication of just how excellent it is. So meet the New Bros. – it’s the same as the old Bros., but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
A storming new 2D Mario that holds up to the legacy of its legendary predecessors, and another good reason why the DS is the games machine of the year.